By Anna China
Are you stuck at band 6 or 6.5? We know how frustrating it can be. We’ve helped thousands of people overcome this barrier to reach band 7+ in IELTS Writing, and we can help you too! If you want to increase your IELTS Writing score, you first need to know there is no magic word or phrase or sentence. But one thing is certain – to increase your score you’ve got to put in some hard work. It’s all about knowing English and knowing about the IELTS Test. In this post, I’ll focus on writing Task 2 but many of the same rules apply to Task 1 too.
Let’s get started. First things first…
Know the IELTS Writing criteria
Your IELTS Writing score is all about meeting the criteria.
The publicly available IELTS Writing criteria.
Oh dear! Band descriptors, aren’t they mysterious? Well, they’re much easier to understand if you get help from an expert who can clarify the differences between low-scoring and high-scoring writing. Understanding the band descriptors will guide your writing so you can fulfill the requirements of each marking criteria.
The four criteria
Scoring band 7+ means fulfilling the requirements in all 4 criteria, so you really can’t afford to be flying blind when it comes to the band descriptors.
Make your IELTS writing original and authentic
Stay away from templates. You may think they’re helpful, but they’re not! A structure, like the ones we use at E2, is useful to organize your ideas and adhere to essay-writing conventions, but memorizing chunks of language or sentences and squeezing your own writing around it is a recipe for disaster!
So, what’s the best strategy? What is IELTS looking for? For Task 2, in terms of content, one of the best strategies is to make your writing original and authentic. How to go about this? Write about realistic situations that you have experienced or that relate to real facts as examples to support your ideas. So, once you have the original and authentic idea, all you have to do is write about it, right? Yes, and you do this by including details – this is one of the key elements in your writing that can make the real difference to jump from 6 or 6.5 to 7.
Don’t follow the crowd. Use your own experience and knowledge to write something original.
What this looks like in practice
A well-structured paragraph can have 4 to 7 sentences:
Sentence 1: Topic sentence
Sentence 2-5: Reasons/ Examples (Supporting sentences – an example is extended and detailed)
Sentences 6 -7 Summary and/or paragraph conclusion
Let’s see this in action in a sample paragraph. (By the way, this is a real piece of writing from an E2 student who made the leap from 6.5 to 7 Ioanna Tsigkouli – England.)
Immunising children is an important tool to improve public health. Since it was mandatory for many decades, it has helped to eradicate diseases, as there were no hosts available for them to develop. This way, smallpox does not exist anymore, and poliomyelitis is bound to follow. Looking at common childhood diseases, they may seem harmless and parents may think that it is not necessary to vaccinate their children against them. This is wrong though, as these diseases can have severe complications; measles, for example, can cause encephalitis, with severe consequences for the child. Vaccines have helped drastically to improve communal health overall by reducing the number of patients of such diseases. In short, to reduce the possibility of contracting a disease or even eradicating it, parents should be obliged to vaccinate their children.
Read below the sample paragraph divided in sentences with explanations.
Sentence 1- Topic sentence: Immunising children is an important tool to improve public health.
Sentence 2 – Reason: Since it was mandatory for many decades, it has helped to eradicate diseases, as there were no hosts available for them to develop.
Sentences 3 to 5 – Example and supporting sentences (extended and detailed)
Sentence 3 – Example: This way, smallpox does not exist anymore, and poliomyelitis is bound to follow.
Sentence 4 and 5 – Supporting sentences: Looking at common childhood diseases, they may seem harmless and parents may think that it is not necessary to vaccinate their children against them. This is wrong though, as these diseases can have severe complications; measles, for example, can cause encephalitis, with severe consequences for the child.
Sentence 6: Summary sentence: Vaccines have helped drastically to improve communal health overall by reducing the number of patients of such diseases.
Sentence 7 – Concluding sentence (paragraph): In short, to reduce the possibility of contracting a disease or even eradicating it, parents should be obliged to vaccinate their children.
Developing a strong paragraph in which all the criteria requirements are fulfilled includes extending and supporting your ideas. If you just to put lots of ideas down without extending and detailing them – you’ll be stuck at 6 or 6.5. You’re better off writing fewer ideas that are explained properly with reasons and examples.
Only deal with experts
You need accurate and efficient guidance to increase your writing score and conquer your IELTS. If you want to know specifically where you are going wrong you need to discuss your writing with an IELTS expert teacher (https://www.e2language.com/ ) who can point out exactly what is wrong with your writing and what you need to focus on to get it right. Otherwise, you´ll probably continue repeating the same mistakes and will be eternally stuck at 6 or 6.5.
Read! Read! Read!
Reading is really the most important skill to develop when learning foreign languages because it is the foundation of vocabulary and structure. Be sure to read well-structured, varied and authentic material.
Read anything, anywhere!
…and practice! practice! practice!
We all know that writing is one of the greatest challenges for test-takers. In order to cross the 6 to 6.5 barrier, you need to know all of the tips above and apply them. Use these IELTS Writing questions to practise with.
Be strategic in your studies. When you start an IELTS course with us, we help you plan out your assessments and tutorials so that you get the most out of your preparation. There’s no point submitting 8 essays two days before your exam, right? Our courses are designed so that you get maximum actionable feedback – at the right time. So, before you book your next test, think about where you are now, and how you can make that leap to the next level.
Now you´re on track to increase your writing score and conquer your IELTS !!
Beware of the myths
Last but not least, be careful with the information you get online. There are so many false ‘hacks’, tricks and myths; don’t fall for them!