IELTS candidates usually find the writing component harder than the other parts of the exam. This is mainly because they don't know what the IELTS examiners are looking for. Here are some hints to achieve at least a band 7.0 essay. This article is helpful not only to understand how to get 7 band in the writing of IELTS but also for those who are planning to take PTE and want to score 65 or above. Read the full article If you really don't know how to get 7 bands in writing.
1. Give your opinion
I cannot stress this enough! To write an essay worthy of a band 7.0 score, having an opinion is extremely important. While you can (and sometimes must) write about two sides of an argument, you shouldn’t forget to include your own opinion. Don’t write bland statements such as, ‘every coin has two sides’ or ‘it depends on the person’, add your point of view. Your opinion can be written right in your introduction (optional), but having a point of view in the body and conclusion of your writing is a must.
2. Don’t memorise
You may start with memorising collocations, or useful phrases and expressions, but this is just the beginning. In fact, you are very likely to begin with memorising but this should end in using those phrases and collocations several times so that you feel comfortable using them. A vital tip at this stage is to be creative.
Creative thinking can help you adapt your previous written samples and ideas and use them in a new context. Think of those useful phrases and expressions that you memorised as tools in your writing toolbox; but you still have to be creative in how to use such phrases in your writing. That’s one of the keys to successful writing and how you can achieve a band 7.0 essay.
3. Read well-written samples
If you don’t know where to start or what you need to write about, don’t worry as you are not the only one! What you should focus on is trying to write fluently on your topic context by reading well-written samples.
Even an ordinary native speaker might find writing about the challenges of retirement or the disadvantages of online education hard without reading samples. This is the bare-bone essential of writing an acceptable essay. If you are wondering why, here are two reasons:
- You will get ideas about different topics when you read samples.
- For example, if you are an avid fan of technology, you might never have thought about the disadvantages of technology. Reading samples on this topic can definitely give you greater insight that you would never think of without reading others’ opinions.
- You will learn useful collocations, phrases, discourse markers, and even new grammar structures by reading well-written samples -- therefore adding more tools to your writing toolbox.
If you don’t know where to find samples, you can find several here. Besides, just Google ‘sample essay writing band 7’, and you will find a lot of information realted to how to get 7 in ielts writing.
4. Keep the conclusion short
It is recommended to finish your essay with a conclusion, but you might be surprised to know that ‘the conclusion is the least important part of your essay’*. Don't bother writing a long conclusion as it’s not really necessary. Use one to two (maximum three) sentences to summarize the key elements of your essay. Make sure to include your own opinion as well.
5. Do not include new ideas in your conclusion
You might find this as being an old cliché. However, it sometimes happens as you push yourself to write a long conclusion. Examiners should not be surprised by finding new ideas or information in your conclusion paragraph with no references to them throughout your essay.
6. Do not overuse discourse markers
Needless to say that ‘cohesion and coherence’ is one of the four critical criteria in assessing your writing skills in the IELTS test. Keep in mind that overusing cohesive devices and discourse markers, such as ‘however’ and ‘although’, make your essay mechanical. Be creative! Use a variety rather than repeating a single one several times and only use them when absolutely necessary. You can see some examples here.
7. Do not paraphrase every single word in the instruction*
IELTS test takers often worry about using words from the question in their essays. While it is important to show that you can paraphrase the question and explain your ideas in a variety of ways. In fact you should use words from the question somewhere in your essays. But why? Here are three reasons:
- The first reason is easy: some words or phrases are difficult to paraphrase. For example, in an essay about 'living alone', I found it difficult to avoid using the phrase 'live alone'. Almost every sentence refers to this topic, and nobody expects you to find ten or more different synonyms.
- The second reason is more interesting: repeating certain keywords or phrases helps to hold your essay together. The reader cannot miss the connection between ideas (whereas he or she might miss the connection if you use too many synonyms).
- The third reason is equally important: repeating words from the question helps you to stay ‘on topic’. Refer to the question to show the examiner that you are answering it. This can help your 'task response' score.
It seems fair to admit that getting a band score 7 in IELTS writing is not easy, but it is achievable once you know what the examiners are looking for(. From now on after reading this article, you are one step closer to your target score and you know how to get 7 bands in writing.
Break a leg!
- *http://ielts-simon.com by Simon (former IELTS examiner)
- http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/discourse-markers/discourse-markers-so-right-okay by Cambridge Dictionary