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ARTICLE – TASK ACHIEVEMENT

This article will look at ways to help you get maximum marks for the ‘IELTS Writing Task achievement’ rating. The examiners expect the following from a level 7 candidate.

Task 1

 

•  covers the requirements of the task

•  (A) presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages
(GT) presents a clear purpose, with the tone consistent and appropriate

•  clearly presents and highlights key features/bullet points
but could be more fully extended

 

Task 2

• addresses all parts of the task
• presents a clear position throughout the response
• presents, extends and supports main ideas, but there may
be a tendency to over-generalise and/or supporting ideas may lack focus

 

To achieve the above you need to pay attention to the following:

 

Task 1 (Academic)

 

1. Structure

 

Make sure you have a clear 4-part structure:

• Paragraph 1 – Restating the purpose of the chart.

You should make sure to describe the title in your own words and not simply copy. Remember that paraphrasing can involve using different structures as well as simply replacing words with synonyms.

• Paragraphs 2 and 3 – These two paragraphs should focus on giving the main details of the chart.

• Paragraph 4 – This should be an overview of what you regard as the most significant point(s) of the chart.

Note that this may also come before you go into detail.

 

2. Relevance

 

You will be assessed on how well you can describe relevant detail, which means avoiding minor details. For example, there is no need to describe every change in a  line graph; it is the trend that matters.

On this point as well, restrict your comments to descriptions. Do not speculate.

 

3. Numbers

 

You will need to refer to some numbers but remember that you are being assessed on your ability to express yourself in English, so sentences which simply give precise numerical information are less likely to impress than approximations which at least show that you have the vocabulary to describe rough estimates. For example, “The population rose by 24.5%” could be better expressed  as “The population rose by just under 25%”, as the correct use of the phrase ‘just under’ will be noted in your favour.

 

4. Word Count

 

You will be penalized if you write under the required minimum but that doesn’t mean you should try and write a lot. Remember that being able to write concisely is a key feature of good writing and avoiding unnecessary or irrelevant details is something the examiners will be looking for.

 

5. Comparison

 

The question usually contains an explicit reference to comparisons. For example, the following wording is used for a question related to two pie charts:
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.”

 

So make sure to include comparisons and contrasts.

 

6. Time Management

 

Remember that you should not spend more than 20 minutes on this question. Task 2 has more marks so that should be your main focus.

Task 2

 

1. Answer the Question

 

The point here is that you must first make sure you understand what you are being asked to do. Is it a question asking you: a) to agree or disagree? b) discuss both sides of an issue or c) offer explanations and solutions to a problem?

All of these require different approaches.

 

2. Structure

 

Opening Paragraph – You should reformulate the question and indicate your attitude to the topic. It is also a good idea to briefly describe how you will approach the question, that is say what your essay plan is.

 

Middle Paragraphs – Make sure to begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, that is a sentence making clear what the paragraph is about. Supporting sentences should be clearly linked to the topic sentences.

 

Final Paragraph – Your conclusion should mirror the opening paragraph. Summarize the main points you have made and, most importantly, restate your position with reference to the actual question.  Check that your view in the final paragraph matches what you wrote in the opening one.

 

3. Be Logical

 

As with achievement on IELTS writing task 1, you will be penalised if you add irrelevant details. For Task 2 it is also important to ensure that there is a logical connection between the points you make and the supporting details for each point. Similarly, it is good to give examples, but only if they provide support for your argument.

 

A temptation some students have is to, for example, produce sentences which show they can use certain complex structures. This is fine, but the content must be relevant, otherwise, even if it is an impressively constructed sentence, you will lose marks if it is considered to be off topic.

 

4. Plan

 

Make a plan before you start to write. This will help you to avoid adding irrelevant information.  Spending 5 minutes on this is definitely not a waste of time, as having a clear idea on what you want to say before you start writing will allow you to focus more on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’.

 

5. Word count

 

Before you start writing, it can also help to do a rough word count for how much you think you can write on each point. Doing this before you start the essay will make it less likely you end up writing sentences just to meet the minimum word count.

 

6. Number of points to make

 

Note that the number of points you wish to make is up to you. It is acceptable to have just one point provided it is well supported with relevant detail, but in most cases it is probably easier to use two or three points. You’re also likely to use a wider variety of language, especially vocabulary.

 

If you use more than three points there is a risk that your supporting details will be too superficial.

 

Exercises – Task 1

 

Chart A

 

A pie graph chart

 

Chart B

A line graph chart

From IELTS-Exam.net

 

Exercise 1

 

Write an opening paragraph with the following sentence beginnings and endings for the two charts.

 

Chart A: The two pie charts give information ………………………………in 1950 and 2010

It is clear that…………………………………………….………..…. the two charts.

 

Chart B: The graph shows ………………………………………… in 1950 and 2010.

The numbers in 2010 ……………………………………………………………1995

Task 2

 

Exercise 2

 

1) “Some people think that there are things individuals can do to help prevent global climate change. Others believe that action by individuals is useless and irrelevant and that it is only governments and large businesses which can make a difference.”

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

 

Complete the following sentences to form a coherent opening paragraph in response to the above question

 

Global warming is a phenomenon……………………………………………………..…..

One viewpoint is that …………………………………………………………………………..

In contrast to this, it is argued that ……………………………………………………….

It is my view that ………………………………………………………………………………..

 

2) “As the number of private cars has increased, so too has the level of pollution in many cities. What can be done to tackle this increasingly common problem?”

 

Use the following words and phrases to form a coherent opening paragraph in response to the above question

 

Sentence 1: The amount of traffic in our cities / year………………………………….

2: ……………………………………….significant rise in urban pollution

Sentence 3: This problem …. / overreliance on cars ………… / public transport.

Sentence 4: This essay ……………/ a few suggestions / air quality in our cities

Remember not to underestimate the importance of getting a good mark in task achievement. However, accurate your language, if you fail to adequately answer the question, you will not be able to reach level 7.

 

If you are serious about taking your IELTS writing task achievement 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. The video lessons are led by our highly experienced UK native IELTS teacher, Katherine. We also provide you with exercises to test your understanding about writing task achievement in IELTS!

Sign up your FREE IELTS writing video course by clicking here: https://swoosh-english.thinkific.com/courses/ielts-writing-video-course

Don’t forget to COMMENT and SHARE with friends and classmates who are doing the IELTS exam also.

 

Answers to Exercises
Exercise 1

(Suggested answers)

Chart A: .The two pie charts give information about household expenditure on goods and services in 1950 and 2010. It is clear that there are some quite significant differences between the two charts.

Chart B : The graph shows the overall numbers of tourist arrivals in five countries between 1995 and 2010. The numbers in 2010 were higher in all five countries than in 1995.

Exercise 2

(Suggested answer)

1) Global warming is a phenomenon affecting every person on the planet, regardless of their social position. One viewpoint is that each individual needs to play his or her part in helping to reduce the impact of climate change. In contrast to this, a lot of people argue that only action by governments or other big international organizations can realistically make a difference. It is my view that all efforts to fight global warming should be welcomed.

2) The amount of traffic in our cities is increasing year by year. As a result, there has also been a significant rise in urban pollution. This problem has made been made worse by our overreliance on cars at the expense of public transport. This essay will put forward a few suggestions on how we can improve the air quality in our cities.

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