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IELTS Writing Task 2: 7 mistakes preventing you from a band 7

Published on November 18, 2019

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.

Question: 

Some people think that wild animals should not be kept in zoos. Others believe that there are good reasons for having zoos.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion. 

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

Band 8

uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately

Band 7

presents a clear central topic within each paragraph

Band 6

uses paragraphing, but not always logically

Band 5

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. 

Since the dawn of times wild animals are kept in zoos all over world. This is a controversial issue. At present, zoos are tourist attraction in many countries and need wild animals to attract vistors. I beleve that they should not be kept in zoos and there should be alternative places to see them. This essay will discuss both sides and an opinion will be put forth. There are many good reasons to not build zoos in our cities. 1) First of all, god’s precius gifts need to live in their natural habitat. Furthermore, zoos are no place for wild things. If animals need to be cared for, they should be looked after in theier natural habitat in game parks or wildlife reserves. Goverments should look after the precious wild animals at their country and should close down zoos that profit for them. 2) Another valid reason to support this view is that people can see wild animals on the internet, or in books. They don’t need to visit htem in cages where they are sick or dying. Moreover, These zoos try to make money from animals misery and they don’t care of the animals welfare. A recent research in Harvard shows that 89% of all wild animals die in cages. 3)In addition to this, we should allow animals to live in the wild. They can be healthy in their own habitat, they can hunt and have normal behaviour. They cannot do this in a zoo. In the future, if man wants to see wild animals, we must travel to their country and see them in the wild in their enviroment and not ours.

In a nutshell people believe that zoos are good places to keep wild animals, I feel that we do not need zoos anymore and we can look at wild animals on the internet or travell to there and we can be happy for these wild creatures. 

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.

Since the dawn of times wild animals are kept in zoos all over world. This is a controversial issue. At present, zoos are tourist attraction in many countries and need wild animals to attract vistors. I beleve that they should not be kept in zoos and there should be alternative places to see them. This essay will discuss both sides and an opinion will be put forth.

There are many good reasons to not build zoos in our cities. First of all, god’s precius gifts need to live in their natural habitat. Furthermore, zoos are no place for wild things. If animals need to be cared for, they should be looked after in theier natural habitat in game parks or wildlife reserves. Goverments should look after the precious wild animals at their country and should close down zoos that profit for them. Another valid reason to support this view is that people can see wild animals on the internet, or in books. They don’t need to visit htem in cages where they are sick or dying. Moreover, these zoos try to make money from animals misery and they don’t care of the animals welfare. A recent research in Harvard shows that 89% of all wild animals die in cages.

In addition to this, we should allow animals to live in the wild. They can be healthy in their own habitat, they can hunt and have normal behaviour. They cannot do this in a zoo. In the future, if man wants to see wild animals, we must travel to their country and see them in the wild in their enviroment and not ours.

In a nutshell people believe that zoos are good places to keep wild animals, I feel that we do not need zoos anymore. We can look at wild animals on the internet or travell to there and we can be happy for these wild creatures. 

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: 

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs 
  • Conclusion

But avoid using the following to structure your essay: 

  • Bullet points 
  • Headings 
  • Sub-headings 
  • Numbers 

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. 

Question: 

Some people think that wild animals should not be kept in zoos. Others believe that there are good reasons for having zoos.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion. 

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:

  • Country
  • Family
  • Job
  • Student experience

If you avoid these 7 mistakes, you will be well on your way to a band 7.