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How is IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Checked?

In this article, we will explain on what basis and how IELTS examiners check and assess your Writing Task 2 Essay.

The IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay is an important part of the IELTS exam. Its purpose is to test your ability to write a clear and coherent essay in response to a given prompt. Your essay is assessed based on several criteria, which are used to determine your overall score.

In simple terms, your essay is checked and evaluated on a band scale from 0 to 9 according to IELTS writing band descriptors and the examiners evaluate the essays based on the following criteria:

  • Task Response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Each of these criteria will impact your overall score in Task 2.

At first sight, these marking criteria only say a little. Therefore, let’s break it down and see what each of these criteria actually means:

Task Response

It means:

  • Did you form a position in relation to the topic question or statement?
  • Did you support your position with evidence (facts or views)?*
  • Is there enough content included? (at least 250 words)

*Evidence can include examples from your experience or knowledge.

The examiner will evaluate your essay based on how well you’ve addressed the prompt. Your essay needs to be relevant to the prompt and answer all parts of the question. It also needs a clear structure with a logical progression of ideas.

Coherence and Cohesion

It means:

  • Is your view presented clearly and fluently?
  • Is your response well organised?
  • Are there different views or points of information well connected?
  • Are there connecting words, such as: ‘so’, ‘and’, ‘but’, or even more complicated versions of these words: ‘therefore’, ‘furthermore’, ‘although’?
  • Is the view that you develop clear to the reader?

The examiner evaluates the essay based on how well you have addressed the task prompt. The essay must be relevant to the task prompt and fully address all parts of the question. The essay must also be well-structured and demonstrate a clear and logical progression of ideas.

Lexical Resource

It means:

  • Is there a wide range of vocabulary (nouns, adjectives, adverbs)?
  • Is the vocabulary used correctly?

The examiner evaluates the essay based on your use of vocabulary. You must use a range of vocabulary appropriately and accurately to convey your ideas effectively. You must also use collocations and idiomatic expressions where appropriate.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

It means:

  • Is there a wide range of grammar structures used (correctly)?
  • Is your grammar error-free, and is the punctuation correct? 

The examiner evaluates the essay based on your use of grammar. You must use a range of grammatical structures accurately and appropriately. You must also demonstrate a good understanding of sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling.

Overall Impression

The examiner evaluates the essay based on their overall impression of your writing. The examiner considers factors such as your ability to develop and support ideas, the clarity of the essay, and your use of language.

Please keep in mind that your answer must relate exactly to the given topic. For example, if you write an excellent essay that is off-topic, you cannot get a good score. On the other hand, if you use very simplistic language, you will not get a high grade either.

Therefore, to attain a high score in IELTS Writing Task 2, you must correctly address the task, clearly organise the response, connect your ideas, show a wide vocabulary and use grammar correctly.

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IELTS teacher and examiner Tom

I am a qualified IELTS examiner and I have 5+ years of IELTS teaching experience. I will flawlessly correct grammar, punctuation and spelling and provide suggestions on how to improve appropriate word use.”

— Tom, IELTS teacher and examiner from the UK

If you want to see more on IELTS Essay, please see:

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