Welcome back – it’s lovely to have you here once again. As is customary, I’ll
begin by commending you on a very good effort. However, as always, there is
still some room for improvement.
First of all, I'd like to once again mention the importance of good grammar.
The more grammar errors there are in your essay the lower the band – it’s as
simple as that. Please note band 7 requires ‘frequent error-free sentences’ and
band 8 calls for ‘the majority of sentences to be error–free’. In my experience
those who get band 7 and band 8 are familiar and comfortable with English
grammar. So if you have any doubts at all about your grammar then you really
need to work hard at it. So, how else can you improve your grammar? Aside from
the obvious - which is, of course, working hard on grammar exercises and reading
more, there is another way to help boost your score. The intelligent approach to
IELTS writing is to understand how it is marked. Many candidates make mistakes
that they could avoid because they do not fully understand the 4 IELTS writing
band scores. The main idea is that Task Response, Lexical Resource, Coherence
and Cohesion and Grammatical Range and Accuracy all count for 25%. One problem
is that system is not universal – meaning that many IELTS candidates come from
systems where writing is marked differently. For example, here on 51pigai the
scoring is divided into six categories. This is because it helps give the
students a better indication of what areas require further work. So, let’s get
back to our original question. Grammatical range and accuracy is perhaps the
most misunderstood grading criterion in IELTS writing. The clue is in the name:
it is not enough to not make mistakes (accuracy); you also need to use a variety
of grammatical structures (range). Too often candidates focus only on the
Accuracy of grammar: Accuracy is not a simple idea and it can be thought
about in 2 ways.
How many mistakes: One key here is to understand that examiners look at how
many error-free sentences you write. For example, to get band 7, you need to be
able to write “frequent” error free sentences. This means that basic grammar
such as articles, which you need for every sentence, is very important.
What kind of mistakes: Not all mistakes are equal. The basic rule is that you
need to be more accurate with simple grammar than complex grammar. For example,
to get band 5 in the writing, you need to attempt more complex structures, but
these do not have to be as accurate as simple structures.
Range of grammar: This is as important as accuracy. It is important to use
not just a range of structures, but also to use more complex structures too. It
is important to understand that this grammar is not just about tenses, but also
about how you organize your sentences.
Two suggestions for more complex grammar:
1. ‘If’ clauses are very useful for explaining and giving examples.
2. Relative clauses (who/that/which/when etc) will also impress the examiner
and are a good example of more complex grammar.
Secondly, there were quite a number of errors in word formation and usage. I
find your writing a little odd. In some places, you demonstrate a broad
vocabulary, but in others your phrasing seems to be a little “Chinglish” still.
This is unfortunate, as I think this type of poor phrasing can lead the reader
to believe that you have not fully understood the question. Therefore, to better
prepare for IELTS, you must make English vocabulary a strong focus of study.
This can be accomplished in various ways. Most importantly, you must become an
avid reader of all sorts of material – - fiction, non-fiction, newspapers,
magazines, and the internet. Try to read at least one English language article
every day. Feel free to explore any subject you desire; however there are some
areas which may be more relevant than others. For example, some of the most
popular topics in IELTS currently are: environment, education, crime, terrorism,
travel and immigration. So whenever possible, I recommend that you read some
articles or stories related to these topics. Pay special attention to their use
of idioms, grammatical structures, and words that are unfamiliar. Working on
your writing skills is incredibly important also. Write much and often. Keep a
journal or diary in English, and use it not only to record your experiences, but
to practice using words that you are not as familiar with. There are many tools
that are especially helpful for those preparing to take the IELTS. These include
dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri, maps, and other reference materials. In
addition, you may find it helpful to read some sample answers.
Thirdly, I feel that your writing could benefit from the addition of some
transitional phrases. Please note one of the criteria for assessing your essay
is a clear coherent and cohesive structure. Coherence refers to the linking of
ideas in a logical sequence or order. Cohesion refers to the organization of
sentences and ideas in your essay working together as a whole within their
paragraphs. They hold together by cohesive devices (transitional words and
expressions). This makes it very easy for the reader to follow your presentation
of information in the essay. They don’t get lost or confused. Here are some
useful transitional/linking words and phrases to use to show the different
relationships between your ideas and sentences:
ADDITION: • also, again, in addition, additionally, furthermore, further,
moreover, as well as, what’s more, besides this/that,
CONTRAST (show two things are different): • on the other hand, however,
despite this, conversely, in contrast, on the contrary, although, while, though,
compared with, in comparison with, rather, whereas, but, instead of, in spite
of, still, nevertheless, regardless, otherwise.
COMPARE (show two things are similar/alike): • likewise, similarly, also, in
the same way, in comparison to.
SEQUENCE: • first, second (etc.), to begin with, initially, at first, then,
next, from there, and then, following this, finally, lastly.
EXAMPLES: • for example, for instance, a good example of this is, such as, to
illustrate, in particular, particularly, namely, specifically.
CONSEQUENCE: • therefore, as a result, thus, so, consequently, admittedly, so
that, depending on.
EMPHASIS/CERTAINTY: • indeed, certainly, in fact, of course, undoubtedly,
CONDITION: • if. . . then, unless, whether, provided that,
SUMMARY: • in summary, in conclusion, overall, in short, in brief, to sum up,
in other words, all in all, to put it differently, to summarize, on the
REASON: • because, since, as, so, due to, owing to, the reason why.
CONCESSION (accepting/acknowledging something is true): • granted, naturally,
This is not a complete list and of course, many words can link ideas in
different ways depending on how they are used.
*NOTE: It’s important to not overuse so many linking words in your essays
because it makes it even more difficult to read, rather than making it smooth
and easy to read. So choose a few carefully when you write and make sure you
don’t overuse these phrases.
Finally, I'd like to bring something to your attention. You submitted this
essay under the Task 1 category; however it is clearly a Task 2 essay.
Therefore, please be aware that some of the marking criteria are different, for
example the 'organization & structure' aspect etc. I have marked it as a
Task 2 essay though, so no need to worry. Just please be aware of this in
future. It is important to correctly label and identify your work. If you make
this type of error in the exam you WILL be penalized.
I hope that you find this helpful. Keep up the hard work & good luck!