Give your examiner exactly what they want

Imagine this. You have a new boyfriend or girlfriend. He or she is hot and awesome and you REALLY want to impress them.

You’ve invited them around to your house and want to cook him or her a surprise meal.

There’s only one problem. You’ve only been together for one week and you don’t know each other very well yet.

Does he or she like spicy food? Do they eat fish? What’s their favourite dish and how do I cook it? Argh!!

If only there was a document telling you exactly what they wanted and how to prepare it.

Would you read it? Would you follow the instructions?

Of you course you would!

That’s (kind of) the situation with your IELTS writing test. The examiner is your brand new gorgeous boyfriend or girlfriend. Your essay is the dinner.

The only difference is that this time the examiner does have a document telling you exactly what you need to do to impress them.

Here it is: the IELTS score descriptors. Your examiner will use a version of this exact document when deciding what score to give YOUR essay.

That’s why it’s essential to study the descriptions for the score you want, as well as the scores you don’t.

I also strongly suggest that you watch this fantastic video from an ex-IELTS examiner explaining each criterion in detail:

Jump to a specific part of the video by clicking on the times below:

0:34 Document overview
1:18 How is your score calculated 
2:21 Task response: address all parts of the task
3:02 Task response: present a clear position throughout the response
3:53 Task response: present, extend and support your ideas   
4:30 Coherence and cohesion: how to get a 7
4:59 Coherence and cohesion: faulty or mechanical cohesion (band 6)
5:16 Coherence and cohesion: example of faulty cohesion (band 6)
5:43 Coherence and cohesion: example of mechanical cohesion (band 6)
6:26 Coherence and cohesion: referencing and substitution (this/that/these, etc.)
8:01 Coherence and cohesion: how to use paragraphs
9:15 Lexical resource (vocabulary): how to get a 7
9:38 Lexical resource (vocabulary): accuracy
10:07 Grammatical range and accuracy: how to get a 7
10:26 Grammatical range and accuracy : frequency of errors
12:25 Summary: what you need for a 7 overall

Save the IELTS band descriptors, look at them frequently and try to give the examiner exactly what they want every time you do an essay.

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