Doing well in your IELTS essay seems like a daunting task? Still not sure if you could meet your IELTS writing requirements or not? Well, you are not the only one! The majority of students taking the IELTS exam struggle with essay writing. In fact, the IELTS essay seems like the most complicated part of the exam to most students.
Needless to say, to succeed in your study abroad dreams, you have no choice but to meet your IELTS requirements. Let’s be fair, IELTS is quite a tough exam and demands serious preparation. It’s not something that you can clear by fluke or fortune. Your fortune might favor you a little in the reading, listening and speaking modules. However, when it comes to writing, performance is purely subject to writing skills and preparation.
While IELTS Writing Task 1 seems like a cakewalk, IELTS Writing Task 2, the essay can trigger panic. After all, completing two writing tasks within an hour is challenging even for the evening for the pros. However, just because it is challenging does not mean it is undoable! With the right strategy, skills and preparation, you can ace even the most complex IELTS essay topics.
This blog offers a complete guide to scoring 8 bands in IELTS essay. Hence, this guide is not just about meeting the threshold requirements but acing the task like a pro! At the end of this guide, you’ll also find a meticulous IELTS essay sample worthy of scoring 8 bands. So, let’s get started!
Some Important Facts About IELTS Task 2
Before we tell you how to approach your IELTS essay, there are a few important things for you to know. These insights will aid you in preparation as well as the attempt at the exam.
- You get a total of 1 hour to attempt the IELTS Writing module. The module has two tasks; IELTS Writing Task 1(Letter/Report) and IELTS Writing Task 2 (Essay).
- It is suggested that you spend 45 minutes on the essay and the last 15 minutes on Task 1.
- The world limit for an IELTS essay is 250 to 280 words while that for task 1 is 150 words.
- An IELTS essay usually has 4 to 5 paragraphs two of which are introduction and conclusion. Depending on the topic and task, the essay can have either two or three body paragraphs.
- Like other modules, IELTS writing is also for 9 bands. Task 2, the IELTS essay accounts for 66 percent of the total writing score.
- Given the weightage of Task 2, it is recommended you attempt your IELTS essay first followed by Task 1.
IELTS Writing Scoring Parameters
Is IELTS only a test of your English proficiency? The answer is no! There is a lot more put to test in IELTS, especially in IELTS writing. The 4 parameters that form the guidelines for IELTS writing marking are listed below.
- Task accomplishment – The amount of justice you do to the task/essay topic
- Cohesion – The connection between ideas, sentences and paragraphs
- Vocabulary – The range of words and relevant vocabulary used
- Grammar – Precision in grammar
Each of the above criteria is given equal representation in the marking scheme. Hence while practicing and finally attempting your IELTS essay, make sure you have these parameters in mind. The same holds true for IELTS Task 1.
IELTS Essay Topics: An Overview
Given below are some IELTS essay questions so that you can get a fair idea of how diverse these topics can be.
- Should governments make decisions about people’s lifestyles or should people make their own decisions?
- Some people argue that technological inventions, such as mobile phones, are making people less interactive. Do you agree or disagree?
- Some people think that students in high schools should not waste their time studying literature, such as poems and novels.
- With increasing populations and ever-growing urban centers, many countries are losing their natural beauty spots. What benefits are there to protecting places of natural beauty? How can this be solved?
- Doctors should be responsible for educating their patients about how to improve their health. Do you agree with this?
- Internet crime is increasing rapidly as more and more people are using the internet to make financial transactions. What can be done to tackle this problem?
- Global warming is one of the biggest threats to our environment. What causes global warming? What solutions are there to this problem?
So, as you can see, IELTS essay topics can vastly vary between different niches. These include health, education, policy making, technology, environment, crime and so on. It’s this complexity of topics that makes writing a 250-word essay in 45 minutes almost impossible. The greatest preparation is to go with an open mind! You should be able to tackle anything you may get to write an essay on.
Now you know the scoring parameters and also have an idea of IELTS essay topics. Now would be the perfect time to guide you on writing an 8 band IELTS essay.
Your Guide to Scoring 8 Bands in Your IELTS Essay
We have further divided this guide into two parts; practice and taking the exam. This bifurcation gives you a better understanding of things leaving no room for confusion. So, let’s get going!
Tips For Practicing for IELTS Essay
- Practice a diverse range of topics
As you saw above, the topics for IELTS essays can vary drastically from health to outer space and more. You will certainly have no control over the essay topic you get in the exam. Having said that, the only thing you can do well is practice, practice and more practice!
Practicing a diverse range of topics will give you greater confidence. To substantiate, when you tackle different niches of topics while practicing, your idea generation feels empowered. You then start to think along different lines and it does enhance your ability to brainstorm new ideas and content.
Remember, you only have 40 to 45 minutes for your IELTS essay. In this duration, you first need to generate ideas and then present those ideas with perfect structure, coherence and grammar. Only practice will make you more proficient at it.
- Develop an eye for detail
IELTS essay topics can be quite tricky at times! Make sure you have an eye for detail to catch the intricacies and twists in a given topic (if any). Let’s try to understand this through an example.
Topic – Some people think that space exploration is a waste of resources while others think it is essential for mankind to continue to explore the universe in which we live.
Discuss both views and give your opinion
Now, if you carefully read the bottom line, it says you need to talk about both perspectives and then present your opinion. However, a lot of students would ignore the last line which explains the actual task. They would look at the given statement, choose one side and write the entire essay defending it. In that case, they would certainly not be doing justice to the task.
This is why I reiterate, you must develop an eye for detail. Make sure you understand the task well before you start planning your essay.
3. Practice with the stopwatch
As talked about several times, IELTS is a time-based test. Speaking of the IELTS essay, at best you will have 45 minutes to complete it. You need to ensure that you do enough practice to finish the test in the stipulated time.
If you are not otherwise comfortable with essay writing, completing it in 45 minutes will seem insurmountable. So, you will have to practice consistently and gradually increase your speed. The best way to do that is to practice with a stopwatch. You need to time your essays and track your speed. It should get better and better every day.
You should only book your IELTS test when you are confident enough about your writing speed. Even if you get a pretty straightforward essay topic to write on, completing it in 40 minutes will still remain a challenge.
4. Take mock tests
Mock tests will help you prepare with a sense of competitiveness. Moreover, mock test results will give you a clear picture of how prepared you are. Hence, it is highly recommended that you take at least 3 to 4 mock tests before you finally take the exam.
Tips for Attempting IELTS Essay In The Exam
- Understand the task well
Understand the topic with a sense of assurance so that there is no confusion. Besides, pay attention to the nature of the task associated with the essay topic. Do you need to discuss both sides of the topic or choose one to justify? Does the essay ask for only advantages or both merits and demerits?
These are some of the questions you need to ponder upon to be sure of the task. The greater the surety of the task the better the task accomplishment.
- Map your essay
Do the idea generation first and then start writing. Spend the initial 5 to 7 minutes to map your essay. By mapping, I mean you think of the ideas and arguments that you will be elaborating on in the essay.
In this way, you would not get stuck in the middle of the essay. Don’t take the approach of starting hastily and then thinking of arguments on the way. That could be a blunder! The better thing to do is to do the brainstorming first and then begin your essay.
- Use a lot of connectors
Remember the 4 criteria along which IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2 are marked? One of those critical criteria is coherence. It implies that your essay should have a good structure and there should be connectivity between lines and paragraphs.
Some common examples of connectors include; moreover, furthermore, however, besides, on the contrary, and so on.
- Use topic specific vocabulary
Using a wide range of vocabulary does not really mean a random bragging of your vocabulary resources. The key is to use vocabulary that is relevant to the topic of the essay. For instance, if it is a technology-based essay, relevant vocabulary will include a few technical terms.
On the other hand, if it is an essay on workplaces, relevant vocabulary will include some corporate words. So, make sure you are using a good range of topic specific vocabulary in your essay.
- Use a variety of sentence structures
Another tip to write a high scoring IELTS essay is to use a variety of sentence structures. It implies that you use a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences. Exhibiting different sentence structures with coherence reflects effective command over the language.
- Proofread your essay effectively
Last but not least by any means! Once you complete your essay, take a minute to quickly proofread it. In fact, it is recommended that you write your IELTS exam with a pencil. In that case, you can easily erase the errors and rectify them before submitting your exam.
IELTS Essay Sample – Your Template to Scoring 8 Bands
This guide will be incomplete without a meticulously written sample essay that ticks all the above boxes right. Having said that, given below is a perfect sample of a high scoring IELTS essay.
So, now you are all set to score 8 bands in your IELTS essay. Use the above IELTS essay sample as your template.
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Author Bio : Mr. Almasto Kapoor
I believe that wisdom and information amplify when shared with others. With more than 14 years of vast experience in tertiary education and having assisted a plethora of students in accomplishing their higher education dreams, I’d like to believe that my knowledge is substantial. To make this knowledge count, I love sharing it with students to apprise them of the intricacies of overseas education and to go with that, my keen interest in writing makes it an even more fulfilling thing to do!