To achieve a level 7 or above grade, it is important to be able to edit your own work, and this involves not only being able to spot errors but also to recognize where you can improve the coherence and range of language used. The descriptors for bands 7 and 8 are given below to give you an idea of what you need to be looking for when you assess your work. To help you in this task, we are going to give you a series of task 2 essays written by students. The aim is to allow you to practice analysing the language used so that you can become more familiar with the range of language required for level 7 and above.
Analysis of an Academic Essay:
Coherence & cohesion
Grammatical response & accuracy
sufficiently addresses all parts of the task
presents a well-developed response to the question with
sequences information and ideas logically
manages all aspects of cohesion well
uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately
uses a wide range of vocabulary fluently and flexibly to
uses a wide range of structures
the majority of sentences are error-free
makes only very occasional errors or inappropriacies
addresses all parts of the task
presents a clear position throughout the response
presents, extends and supports main ideas, but there may
logically organises information and ideas; there is clear
uses a sufficient range of vocabulary to allow some
uses a variety of complex structures
produces frequent error-free sentences
has good control of grammar and punctuation but may
Below is the first half of a task 2 academic essay requiring you to describe benefits and risks (the second half will be covered next week) on the subject of nuclear power. Read the first half of the essay and then decide what changes would you make to the underlined parts, and what you would add for the … parts.
We have been living in the nuclear age now for over half a century. Since the first atomic bombs were developed, nuclear technology has provided governments with the ability to totally destroy the planet. Yet the technology has been put to positive use as an energy source and in certain areas of medicine. To what extent is nuclear technology a danger to life on Earth? What are the benefits and risks associated with its use?
It is true to say that nuclear technology 1. gives both advantages and disadvantages 2. to our planet 3 but in my opinion 4. ………… 5. there are still more risks according to use of the technology.
On the one hand, there are several benefits associated with its use. Nuclear power is a relatively sustainable energy source, 6. which could replace the use of natural resources such as coal, gas or oil. So it can be used to produce electricity without wasting natural resources. In addition, nuclear power stations are cleaner than fossil fuel 7. one so they 8. could are muchhelpful to the planet as they reduce carbon emissions which 9. mainly cause global warming.
( Can you think of an alternative way of rewriting this sentence beginning with:
‘A further advantage over fossil fuels is that nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide, ………………………’.)
If you are serious about taking your IELTS academic essay writing to the next level, sign up for your FREE 3 part IELTS writing video course that takes you through both task 1 and task 2 academic essay. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding!
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It is true to say that nuclear technology . has both advantages and disadvantages….’’
Suggested alternative: ‘….. that nuclear technology. offers both advantages and disadvantages…’
Explanation: ’has’ is also acceptable but ‘offers’ might impress the examiners more.
‘….. both advantages and disadvantages .to our planet.’
Suggested alternative: ‘….both advantages and disadvantages . for our planet.’
Explanation: straightforward preposition error.
and 4 ‘….advantages and disadvantages for our planet but in my opinion..’
Suggested alternative: ‘…..advantages and disadvantages for our planet. In my opinion while we cannot turn our back on the undoubted benefits that nuclear technology can bring…’
Explanation: Rather than continue the sentence with ‘but’, starting a new sentence with ‘In my opinion’ allows the writer to use ‘while’ as a linking word and to make clear that she accepts that there are significant advantages as well as risks with nuclear power.
‘…. there are still more risks according to use of the technology’.
Suggested alternative: ‘…the risks mean we should be extremely cautious in how we use this technology.
Explanation: i) ‘more risks’ is incorrect here as no specific risks have been previously mentioned to justify the use of ‘more’; ii) ‘according to’ is also incorrectly used – this phrase is used to show the source of your information; e.g. ‘According to today’s newspapers, food prices are going to rise quite a lot in the next few month’; iii) the adjectival phrase ’extremely cautious’ will help to add to the writer’s score for lexical range.
6.’ …..relatively sustainable energy source, which could replace the use of natural resources such as coal, gas or oil. So, it can be used to produce electricity without wasting natural resources.
Suggested alternative: ‘relatively sustainable energy source unlike the fossil fuels, coal, gas and oil, which we have relied on since the Industrial Revolution to generate electricity.
Explanation: i) The alternative version states the intended meaning more clearly and concisely. ii) The use of the linking word ‘unlike’ helps to widen the range of sentences used, and, similarly, using the present perfect, ‘we have relied on’ , shows the examiner that you can use this verb form correctly.
. ‘In addition, nuclear power stations are cleaner than fossil fuel .one
Suggested alternative: In addition, nuclear power stations are cleaner than fossil fuel .ones
Explanation: straightforward but common error of using ‘one’ instead of ‘ones’
‘so they could are much helpful to the planet.’
Suggested alternative: ‘ so they are much more environmentally-friendly’
Explanation: i) basic error of using a modal + are ii) ‘much’ is not equivalent to ‘very’ – it needs to be followed by a comparative form iii) ‘ ‘the planet ‘ has already been used so to show lexical range the adjective phrase ‘environmentally-friendly’ is used.
‘as they reduce carbon emissions which mainly cause global warming.’
Suggested alternative: ‘as they reduce carbon emissions, the main cause of global warming.’
Explanation: i) note the use of the comma. ii) ‘the main cause’ expresses the intended meaning more clearly.
Alternative sentence: ‘A further advantage over fossil fuels is that nuclear power plants do not emit carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming.’
Explanation – This is more concise than the original.