Marking ielts essay

IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Scores 5 to 8 with Tips

Learn how your IELTS writing task 2 is marked and the difference between band scores 5, 6, 7 and 8 with tips to improve your score. You need to understand the 4 marking criteria used by the examiner to fulfil the requirements of the score you want.

IELTS band scores are from 0 to 9. However, this page focuses on the main band scores of 5 to 8. If you are aiming for band 9, the main difference is the density of errors in your writing. Also remember that there is a penalty for being under the word count: see link at bottom of page. Tips

4 Marking Criteria for IELTS Writing Task 2

The examiner will assess your IELTS essay using the 4 criteria below. Each criterion is worth 25% of your total marks for task 2. You will be given a band score for each criteria and then a total score for task 2. See bottom of page for example of scoring.

  • Task Response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy

Task Response

This task 2 marking criterion is about your answer to the IELTS essay question, your main ideas and how you develop them.

Your score will increase if you:

  • pay attention to ALL issues in the essay question
  • write about the issues rather than just the general topic
  • answer the essay question with relevant main points
  • plan your supporting points so they don’t go off the topic
  • write over 250 words

Coherence and Cohesion

The IELTS examiner will check the organisation of your essay, the paragraphs and your use of linking devices.

Your score will increase if you:

  • have either four or five paragraphs but not more and not less
    • this means you should have two or three body paragraphs only
  • have just one central topic in each body paragraph
  • organise your ideas logically
  • use a range of linking words
  • avoid errors in linking words

Lexical Resource

Your use of vocabulary, your paraphrasing, your spelling and the number of mistakes you make will be assessed in this criterion.

Your score will increase if you:

  • pay attention to collocations (which verb matches which noun)
  • paraphrase carefully to avoid errors
  • use a range of words appropriate for the topic
  • spell words correctly
  • avoid making errors (errors will lower your score – see table above)
  • avoid using informal language

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The IELTS examiner will give you a band score for your sentence structures, the tenses you use, your control of grammar and also the number of mistakes you make.

Your score will increase if you:

  • use different grammar tenses (conditionals, perfect tenses, passive voice, past, future etc)
  • pay attention to word order in your sentences
  • use a range of sentence structures
  • use the correct punctuation (full stops and commas)
  • avoid errors in grammar (errors will lower your score – see the table above)
    • common grammar errors: articles, plural nouns, uncountable nouns, word order)

Example of Writing Task 2 Scoring Calculated

You will get a band score for each of the above criteria and then a total score for task 2. Here’s an example:

  • Task Response: Band 6
  • Coherence & Cohesion = Band 7
  • Grammar: Band 6
  • Vocabulary: 6

Total Score for IELTS Writing Task 2: 6 + 7 + 6 + 6 = 25/4 = 6.25. This score will be increased to 6.5. To calculate your score, add all scores together and divide by 4.

Note: The information above is taken from the band score descriptors published by IELTS. To learn about band scores 1-9, please see the public band score descriptors for writing task 2 published by IELTS.

Recommended Pages for IELTS Writing Task 2

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.

How IELTS Writing Task 1 is Scored: Band Scores 5 to 8 with Useful Tips

Learn how your IELTS writing task 1 is marked and the difference between band scores 5, 6, 7 and 8. The examiner will mark your writing on the 4 marking criteria below. Also, get useful tips to learn how to increase your band score by fulfilling the requirements of each marking criteria.

Writing Task 1 Marking Criteria

The examiner will assess your writing on the 4 marking criteria below. Each criterion is worth 25% of your total marks for writing task 1.

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Below are tables to show you the requirement for IELTS band score 5 to 8 in writing task 1 for each assessment criterion. At the bottom of the page is more information about the marking criteria.

Task Achievement

The examiner will chekc your information, overview, detail and accuracy.(click table to enlarge)

You can increase your score, if you:

  • analyse the chart and identify all key features
  • highlight your key features in an overview (see table above)
  • supporting your body paragraph with data (numbers and dates if possible)
  • avoid putting in information which is wrong
  • avoid an opinion
  • write a factual report
  • write over 150 words (penalty for under word count)
  • watch my overview or conclusion lesson

Coherence and Cohesion

Your organisation of information, your paragraphing and your use of linking devices will be marked.(click table to enlarge)

You will increase your score, if you:

  • plan where to put your information
  • have four body paragraphs (structure and paragraphing)
  • use a range of linking devices
  • avoid mistakes with linking words
  • use referencing (this, it, etc)

Lexical Resource

Your use of vocabulary, your spelling and the number of mistakes will affect your score.(click table to enlarge)

Your score will increase, if you:

  • use a range of vocabulary (useful task 1 vocabulary)
  • use vocabulary for presenting accurate data(click for list)
  • understand collocations (matching verbs with nouns)
  • avoid spelling mistakes
  • don’t use the wrong words or informal language

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

You will get a band score for your sentence structures, tenses, control of grammar and the number of mistakes.(click table to enlarge)

You will increase your score, if you:

  • use a range of sentence structures
  • use the right tense for the chart given to you
  • use the right word order
    • adjective noun / verb adverb
  • avoid mistakes (see table above to learn how mistakes affect your score)
  • use the right punctuation

Example of Writing Task 1 Scoring Calculated

You will get a band score for each of the above criteria and then a total score for task 2. Here’s an example:

  • Task Achievement: Band 7
  • Coherence & Cohesion = Band 8
  • Grammar: Band 6
  • Vocabulary: 7

Total Score for IELTS Writing Task 1: 7 + 8 + 6 + 7 = 28/4 = 7. To calculate your score, add all scores together and divide by 4.

To learn about band scores 1-9, please see the public band score descriptors for writing task 1 published by IELTS. All information above is taken from the descriptors published by IELTS.

Recommended

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free videos and more.

Recent IELTS Exam Questions

Current IELTS exam topics and questions:

Post Your IELTS Results

Share your IELTS test results

Advanced IELTS Writing Lessons

Techniques for a high score Click here: Advanced Writing Task 2

IELTS Writing Correction Service

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