5 Tips for an IELTS writing task 2 band 9 essay

1. Answer what is being asked!

Make sure you read the prompt carefully and answer the essay questions you’re being asked. I can’t emphasise this enough. In order to score well on Task Achievement, you need to appropriately and fully address the task.

2. Plan your work, work your plan.

Plan out your essay before you start writing. What are your main points? What order are you going to make them in? How do they link together? Having a well organised essay is key scoring high marks for Coherence and Cohesion. Many IELTS test-takers will spend up to 10 minutes planning out their essay before they start writing. A few points to keep in mind:

  • Your essay should have 4-5 paragraphs in total and at least 250 words
  • Plan your supporting points so that they don’t go off topic

3. Write, review, re-write

Write your essay, review it and then “rewrite” it. Don’t focus on getting things perfect upfront – you don’t want to waste 15 minutes trying to come up with the perfect synonym for something and then not have enough time to finish your full essay! Write your essay first (an unwritten essay won’t score well at all!) and then go back through it to see how you can improve it. Some essay questions to ask yourself at this stage:

  • Are there places where you can swap out stronger words for weaker ones in order to improve your Lexical Resource score?
  • Are there places where you can phrase things differently in order to illustrate your Grammatical Range?

4. Where are you falling?

To pass with a Band 9 the reality is you need two sets of skills:

  • Exam skills
  • Language skills

What are exam skills?

Can you plan an effective essay? Quickly? Ideally between 3-5 minutes.

Can you think of enough ideas and examples to put in the essay plan?

Firstly you need to discover which of these skills you need. To do this you write a lot of essays and then find out which part of the essay writing process is costing you the most amount of time, points or stress.

Personally the easiest and fastest way to get these skills is to do an online course specialised in training students with these skills. Here is a good course for that.

5. Better language skills?

A lot of students fail the IELTS exam or end up with a band in their IELTS writing test that does not meet their requirements . Also, a significant number of students look to Google to search for “IELTS Writing tips” or “Task two tips”. These tips might be helpful but sometimes the real problem might just be in their general language or writing skills.

Writing error free perfect sentences is probably much more challenging than students think, especially under exam conditions i.e in 40 minutes with immense pressure to pass. These can result in often mixed outcomes with both positive or negative development occurring at one and the same time.

One of the most important ways to improve language skills is to receive feedback. This can be by asking someone to review written work and will expose the positive or negative development mentioned earlier. This is very common and not something that is a negative issue overall.

Have a look at our essay correction service that will review your essays for you and help you improve and pass the IELTS test.

Here is a checklist of what is needed for reaching Band 9, it includes what the examiner wants to see, and what to do to write at a Band 9 level.

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