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What are writing examiners looking for?

Watch Nuria, a learner of English, talk to Gad Lim and Pauline Cullen about how IELTS Academic Writing is assessed.
OK. So I think I understand what I have to do in the Writing test. So how can I write better and improve my score? The writing that I’ve seen can be improved in three different ways, I think. Firstly, reading and fully understanding the question to make sure you answer it, secondly, planning carefully before writing, and thirdly, leaving enough time at the end to check your writing. What about you Gad? Well, I think it’s also good to remember the criteria on which you’re getting assessed on. So there are actually four different criteria that IELTS examiners are looking for. OK. Makes sense.
So how do IELTS examiners assess my writing because there are no right or wrong answers like in reading or listening tests, right? That’s right. And it isn’t an easy task. There are specially trained examiners. And they’re trained in how to assess your writing based on four different criteria, four different elements, which as Gad said - these are called criteria. The first of these is task achievement, for Writing Task 1 or task response, for Writing Task 2. And that looks at how well you’ve answered the question. And the second criteria is what we call coherence and cohesion. And that looks at how well you communicate your ideas and how well your ideas are connected together.
And then there’s lexical resource, which looks at your vocabulary, and then grammatical range and accuracy. When I write, I worry a lot about using correct grammar. But actually, there are a lot of other things I need to think about. Yes. So as Pauline has mentioned, there are all these different criteria. So you just want to make sure you are responding to the task. And then perhaps one other way is to just make sure you check your work so that if you’re worried about grammar you’re able to look at those things.
Keep in mind too, it’s not just about getting grammar correctly, but using a variety of different grammatical structures because if you just say I woke up, I brush my teeth, I went out - Yes. - it doesn’t sound very good, doesn’t it? No. So the same thing with writing in IELTS. Where I can find more about this? Well, if you look at the bottom of the page, you can find some more information about writing assessment. And in the next few steps, you’re going to look at how the assessment is carried out, and you’re going to look at some writing samples so that you can see how the different criteria are applied by the examiner in the test. OK. That’s great.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
Watch Nuria, Gad and Pauline talking about how IELTS Academic Writing is assessed.
Then look at the pdfs below. The first one is a simple guide to the assessment criteria. The others have more detail – these are the public versions of the band descriptors for Academic Writing.
The pdf ‘How is the Writing paper assessed?’, and many other resources in this course, come from the Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS from Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
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Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test With the Experts

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