IELTS Writing Task 2: 7 mistakes preventing you from a band 7
Need some help in preparing for IELTS? We’ve got your back! Read on to understand 7 common mistakes that might prevent you from reaching a band 7 in IELTS Writing Task 2.
Mistake 1: Not enough paragraphs
This is an easy mistake to make, so let’s take a closer look at the band descriptors to see why paragraphing is so important.
Coherence and Cohesion
uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately
presents a clear central topic within each paragraph
uses paragraphing, but not always logically
may not write in paragraphs, or paragraphing may be inadequate
We can see that only 2 paragraphs have been used – one, very long paragraph with a number of ideas squeezed in, and a single sentence paragraph to conclude. This essay has inadequate paragraphing and matches the band 5 descriptor.
Keep the following in mind when responding to Writing Task 2:
- Use paragraphs for each idea.
- Leave a space between each paragraph.
- Don’t use one-sentence paragraphs.
When we use paragraphs with a clear and central topic, the essay becomes easier to follow and understand.
Mistake 2: Incorrect format
Writing Task 2 must be written in an essay format using paragraphs to break up your ideas. This will help to structure your essay in a way that is easy to understand. You should not use headings, bullet points or numbers.
Make sure your response includes the following:
- Body paragraphs
But avoid using the following to structure your essay:
- Bullet points
Mistake 3 – Partially addressing the question
Take time to read the question carefully and decide how many parts are in the question. Let’s take a look at the question below. You are asked to discuss two viewpoints and give your own opinion.
So to fully address the question, you need to discuss view 1 and view 2 in separate paragraphs and finally, give your own opinion.
If you fail to answer all parts of the question, your essay will be incomplete.
Keep the following in mind when answering the question:
- Read the question carefully and decide how many parts must be addressed
- Answer all parts of the question
- Look for plurals – For example, ‘problems’ – more than one problem must be presented
- Look for ‘and’ – For example, the individual and the society
- Make sure your opinion is very clear, use a separate paragraph
- Don’t only present one view, when you have been asked to present both
Mistake 4: Presenting an unclear position
If you present an unclear position in Writing Task 2, this can affect your final band score. Make sure you decide on a position and maintain it throughout your response. If you discuss what ‘some’ people think and what ‘other’ people think, you have not yet expressed your opinion. Make sure the examiner knows what you think.
Keep the following in mind when writing your essay:
- Decide on your opinion and present it clearly
- Use personal pronouns to express your opinion
- Don’t change your opinion during the essay
Mistake 5 – Spelling errors and typos
Spelling plays a major role in written communication, so it is important that you spell correctly. Remember that computer-delivered IELTS does not have spell check. A ‘typo’ is considered a spelling error. Why don’t you turn off ‘spell-check’ on your device and then turn it on again after you complete your essay to see how often you misspell words. Make a list of your common errors and make sure you learn how to spell them.
Common typos and spelling errors include:
- teh/ the
- adn/ and
- tehm/ them
- thier/ their
Before you complete Writing Task 2, make sure you:
- Check your writing for spelling errors
- Make corrections
- Don’t type too quickly
Mistake 6: Using inappropriate memorised language, phrases and clichés
The examiner is looking for memorised language, phrases and clichés. Memorised language is easy to identify, so use your own words and avoid overused phrases.
When responding to Writing Task 2, remember to:
- Use your own words.
Don’t use memorised phrases such as:
- Controversial topic/hot topic
- Two-edged sword/double-edged sword/2 sides/faces of a coin
- In a nutshell
- I pen down by saying
- There are pros and cons
- This essay will discuss
- Reasons why I hold this view
- This is a highly controversial/is a highly debated issue
Avoid proverbs and clichés – ‘old is gold’
Mistake 7: Using surveys and research to support your opinion
Use real examples and evidence from your own life experience to support your opinion. Examiners cannot check if your research and survey examples are real.
Make sure you present a clear position supported by examples from your own life experience. For example:
- Student experience
If you avoid these 7 mistakes, you will be well on your way to a band 7.