To have a good result for your IELTS Writing Task 2, you must prepare well before the exam. Therefore, what we're trying to address in this article is how you can do that YOURSELF. We admit that there are many good IELTS classes both online and physical ones but without your real effort, you are less likely to achieve up to your expectation.
1. Understand the examiner
IELTS examiners are really experienced people who have been well trained for this purpose. From the very short description, you can see that they have some criteria that are used to judge your level of English.
Hence, we should understand what they want from us. Without knowing that, it's like you're playing a game but without knowing the rule how to win.
Now let's get into the real work. What are the criteria that you need to know? They are the way how your essay will be graded.
This is how your essay is graded
There are 4 components: Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy.Task Response
means to what extend your essay covers the topic. For example, if the topic is
"The advantages and disadvantages of globalization", you would have to write about both aspects not just only advantages or just only disadvantages.
Coherence and Cohesion means how well your paragraphs and sentences are connected. If your first paragraph is about advantages of globalisation, you should start your second paragraph with phrases such as "Despite the advantages, there are many disadvantages we should be aware of". Otherwise, your essay is just a list of items which are not related to each other.
Lexical Resource means vocabulary and different types of sentences, simple and complex. You should be able to demonstrate your capability in using English.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy means spelling and grammar of sentences. You should be able to spell the words correctly, do not forget articles “a” and “the”, punctuations is also important.
One more important thing to know: the four criteria are equally weighted. It means that if you forgot about “Coherence and Cohesion” in your essay, you will loose 1/4 of your essay points.
2. Don't repeat the mistakes of others
The topics of IELTS are very different every year. However, they are very similar to each other in content. Because of this, you can study other people's mistakes and based on that, you can improve yourself.
Following are some mistakes that you need to be aware of:
a) Lacking of linking words
Sometimes, IELTS students also have mistakes in using these linking words such as misusing between "On the other hand" and "Moreover".
The tenses such as simple present, present perfect and simple past are not used probably. There is no way that you can master this in a short time. We are developing this section for you but it will take some time. For the time being, you can google it up for exercises related to this.
c)Repeating the question:
This is a very common one. For example, a sample writing task 2 requirement: "You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Professional sports involve large sums of money and receives enormous media coverage. Meanwhile serious culture, including music, art and theatre, is badly neglected. This is making our society shallower. To what extent do you agree or disagree?"
Then in your introduction you shouldn't write like this "Professional sports involve large sums of money and receives enormous media coverage. Meanwhile serious culture, including music, art and theatre, is badly neglected. Personally, I think that ..."
d)Your writing doesn't address the issue
For example, a sample writing task 2 requirement: "Successful sports professionals can earn a great deal more money than people in other important professions. Some people think this is fully justified while others think it is unfair. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion."
For this requirement, you have to write both why it is justified to have sports professionals' salary higher than the salary of people from other professions and why it is unfair.
If you don't write any of the two aspects, you will lose half of your marks.
e)No clear writing structure:
Following is a general structure for an IELTS Writing Opinion Essay.
IELTS is designed in such a way that your score reflects your English capability not how smart you are. Saying as such doesn't mean you can write whatever in your essay. Remember this is about academic writing. Hence, you need to follow some certain structures to express your ideas.
As you can see from the example above, there are generally 3 sections of an essay:
1) Introduction is a must. You don't believe you could get a good grade without introduction, do you?
2) Body: Normally we have to give 3 paragraphs. Three is a magical number. It can do wonders to your overall band score.
3) Conclusion. You do not want to infuse your examiner with a feeling of incompleteness.
Take a look again at the picture:
As we mentioned, this is an opinion essay. It means for this type of question, you are given the problem (in red) and then asked to discuss it (in blue). Example: " Some people believe that studying at university or college is the best route to a successful career, while others believe that it is better to get a job straight after school. Discuss both views and give your opinion."
Because of the nature of the opinion essays, you need to do more planning and thinking of the ideas. What are the other types of questions you can see in the exam? Totally there are 3 different types for an IELTS Writing Task 2: