IELTS Writing Marking Scheme for 9 Bands

Academic Writing Practice Test 1

Check to see how the candidates perform for 9 bands and 5 bands.

Task 1
In this report I will describe a bar chart that shows the estimated world illiteracy rates by gender and region for the year 2000.
First I will look at male illiteracy for the 6 areas shown. The lowest rates were in Developed Countries, Latin America/Caribbean and East Asia/Oceania with rates of 1% (approximately), 10% and 8% (approximately) respectively. The rates for the next three areas were much higher and quite similar to each other. Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South Asia had rates of approximately 31%, 29% and 34%.

Female illiteracy was much higher relatively in each area except Latin America/Caribbean where it was only slightly higher. The lowest rates for female illiteracy were again Developed Countries, Latin America/Caribbean and East Asia/Oceania with rates of approximately 2%, 12% and 20%. Again the rates for the next three areas were much higher and quite similar to each other. Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and South Asia had rates of approximately 48%, 52% and 56%.
This ends my report.
(168 words) Estimated IELTS Writing Band 9

Commentary on the above answer.
This letter was written by an IELTS examiner to give an example of a good answer. Please remember that there are other ways of approaching this question that are just as good.
The Academic Task 1 Writing is marked in 3 areas. Let’s look at these.

Task Fulfilment 
This mark grades you basically on whether you have answered the question or not. To answer this question correctly the examiner looks to see whether a report has been written which wholly describes the bar chart with appropriate, accurate detail. Because there is not a lot of information on the bar chart, an appropriate amount of detail here would be all the figures for all the areas for males and females. Looking above we see a report has been produced and that all the detail required is there and it is all accurate. The word limit has also been achieved. This would mean a good task fulfilment band.

Cohesion and Coherence
These two are interrelated which is why they are done together. Cohesion is how your writing fits together. Does your writing with its ideas and content flow logically? Coherence is how you are making yourself understood and whether the reader of your writing understands what you are saying. To start with the structure helps cohesion. There is a small introductory paragraph saying what the report is about and there is a short closing sentence to finish the report. In between there are 2 paragraphs, one for male illiteracy and the second for female illiteracy. This is a good approach to describing this bar chart. The report also has good cohesion linguistically. It is sometimes difficult when writing these types of report with lots of numerical detail to make sure that the reader always understands which detail refers to which relevant item. Here the writer only describes 3 areas at a time and uses respectively to make clear the order. The coherence in the report is also very good. The reader notices bad coherence when he has to stop because he cannot understand what has been written for any reason. This report can be read straight through without stopping. The sentences are short and clear and none of the information is muddled or disorganised. The good grammar, word choices, structure and punctuation all help to giving the report good coherence. This report would get a very good cohesion and coherence band.

Vocabulary and Sentence Structure 
With Vocabulary the examiner looks at the range of words used and whether they are used in the right place and at the right time. With Sentence Structure, the examiner looks at the grammar. The word choices in this report are good. All the vocabulary is clear, used in the right way and spelled correctly. The grammar is also good. All the verb forms are accurate and all the other grammar is correctly used. The report would get a very good Vocabulary and Sentence Structure band.

Task 2
What young people should study at school has long been the subject of intense debate and this is a question that certainly does not have one correct answer.
We need to provide young people the best possible chance of doing well at school. In traditional curriculum there is a wide variety of subjects with a mix of academic and non-academic subjects. In this way a young person is formed with a rounded education. Non-academic subjects would include sports, cooking, woodwork and metalwork. I believe this is the best form of education. A young person should learn things other than academic subjects. Sport is particularly important. Young people have to learn to love sport so that they can be fit and healthy later in life. If not we will be raising an obese and unfit generation.
I totally understand the point of view that education is so important that students must be pushed as hard as possible to achieve their best. It sounds a good idea to only expose the students to academic subjects as then they can spend all of their school hours on studying areas that will get them into university and good jobs later in life. I just feel a more rounded education would produce a better individual. We must remember too that a lot of people, maybe even most people, aren‛t academically minded and would benefit more from a more vocationally based education. Forcing academic studies onto them would lead to failure and the student leaving school too early. Therefore I agree that although a wholly academic curriculum would suit and benefit some young people, I believe that for most students non-academic subjects are important inclusions still in today‛s syllabuses.
(283 words) Estimated IELTS Writing Band 9

This essay was written by an IELTS examiner to give an example of a good answer. Please remember that there are other ways of approaching this question that are just as good.
The Academic Task 2 Writing is marked in 3 areas. Let’s look at these.

Arguments, Ideas and Evidence
This band grades the essay on its content, how it structures its ideas and backs up the ideas with examples. When you look at the above essay, you are first struck by how the it is set out with the paragraphs. Firstly there is a short introduction. Then there are 2 paragraphs that provide the ideas and evidence on both sides of the question of the essay with the writer starting to put forward his point of view. Finally there is a conclusion where the question is answered by the writer with his point of view. The writer examines both sides of the argument and shows that it is not an issue that is black or white. The minimum word limit of 250 words has also been passed so that is not a problem. All these things would lead to a good band for Arguments, Ideas and Evidence.

Communicative Quality 
This mark grades the candidate on how easily the reader understands the essay. This depends on accuracy in grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as bad grammar, punctuation and vocabulary will cause a breakdown in communication. Other things affecting communication would be structure, linking words, prepositions and agreements. The paragraphing is the first thing that helps the communicative quality. As said above the paragraphing is very good. It splits the essay up into easy-to-read chunks and separates the ideas of the essay into these chunks. The grammar, punctuation and vocabulary are all very good and all the linking words, prepositions and agreements are all correctly used. The Communicative Quality in this essay therefore is very good.

Vocabulary and Sentence Structure 
With Vocabulary the examiner looks at the range of words used and whether they are used in the right place and at the right time. With Sentence Structure, the examiner looks at the grammar. As pointed out in the section above, the Vocabulary and Sentence Structure are very good. All word usage is correctly used and spelt correctly. The grammar is all error free and the punctuation is good. The Vocabulary and Sentence Structure band would be very good.

Academic Writing Practice Test 2
Task 1
On graph on 1997 11 million dollar is sell on intrnet, on 1998 is small ris to16 million dollar, on 1999 is mor ris to 19 million dollar, on 2000 rise is mor smal 22 million dollar. The 2001 21 million dollar and 2002 24 million dollar. 1997 to 2003 is ris 13 million dollar. On chart is 4 parts most big is englnd 81% books bought on internet, next scotland 10% next wales 8%, last is northern ireland 1%. This mean that mor money is spend in england on books on intrnet.
(92 words) Estimated IELTS Writing Band 4

IELTS Examiner Commentary
This report was written by an Indian lady on an IELTS preparation course.
The Academic Task 1 Writing is marked in 3 areas. Let’s look at these.

Task Fulfilment 
This mark grades you basically on whether you have answered the question or not. To answer this question correctly the examiner looks to see whether a report has been written which wholly describes the chart with appropriate, accurate detail. The first thing that one notices is that the report is considerably under length. By not writing the required 150 words the writer is not answering the question and so is penalised under Task Fulfilment. If fewer than 150 words are produced then only a maximum band of 5 (less than 5 can also be given) can be awarded for Task Fulfilment. Apart from that the writer has made an attempt to describe the two charts. Unfortunately some of the detail that is included is inaccurate. The 2001 figure from the line graph is wrong and the writer has also mixed up two of the sections of the pie chart: Scotland is quoted at 10% and Wales at 8%. The financial detail given in the report is also all given in dollars while the graph gives the detail in pounds sterling. Because of all these errors this report cannot get a very good Task Fulfilment band.

Cohesion and Coherence 
These two are interrelated which is why they are done together. Cohesion is how your writing fits together. Does your writing with its ideas and content flow logically? Coherence is how you are making yourself understood and whether the reader of your writing understands what you are saying. Cohesion isn’t too bad in the report. There is so little writing that there is not much to join together. The writing consists of short sentences that are not elegantly put together. There aren’t many cohesion errors but there is little style in the writing. The coherence is very problematic. The lack of punctuation allows the sentences to run into each other and it is difficult for the reader to know when one sentence ends and the next begins. This with the big grammar and spelling errors make it very difficult to understand and read quickly. This report would get a poor Cohesion and Coherence band.

Vocabulary and Sentence Structure 
With Vocabulary the examiner looks at the range of words used and whether they are used in the right place and at the right time. With Sentence Structure, the examiner looks at the grammar. The vocabulary in the report is very limited in range but there are no very bad word choices. The grammar in this report is terrible. Most of the verb forms are inaccurate, there are inaccurate prepositions, plurals are missing, articles are missing, the verb to be is often missing and comparatives and superlatives are inaccurate. The problem with the punctuation is that there seem to be commas instead of full stops in many places. The Vocabulary
and Sentence Structure band would be very poor for this report.
The above report is useful as an illustration of how a bad report is written. Below you will find a good version written by an IELTS examiner answering the same question. Please remember that there are other ways of approaching this question that are just as good.

In this report I am going to describe 2 charts.
The first is a line graph that records the amount of money (in pounds sterling) spent on books on the internet in the UK from 1997 to 2002. In 1997 £11 million were spent. This rises by £5 million by 1998. The increase in money spent then rises less rapidly through 1999 (£19 million), 2000 (£22 million) and 2001 (£23 million) until 2002 when £24 million were spent. This gives a total increase from 1997 to 2002 of £13 million.
The second is a pie chart that shows the relative percentages of books bought on the internet in the UK individual countries. England is where by the far the most books are bought with 81% of the market. Wales comes next with 10% closely followed by Scotland with 8%. Northern Ireland lies last with only 1% of the market.
This ends my report.
(153 words) Estimated IELTS Writing Band 9

Task 2
Last 150 year the medecine make too much important cure for bad diseaze. Now you no hear of people dying of colere, tubercule or other killer. It is because the medecine to stop it is no expinsive and easily to find. Nowaday we have other diseaze for fight against for example the AIDS and the cancer. The drugs are use to treat this diseazes and slow there affects can be find in west but in more poor countrys the people cannot pay it so people are die for no reazon. I think drug companys should be obliged to make there products at smal prices in poor countrys or allow cheaper one to be made in those countrys. They are still make the mony and nevertheless they are make more of mony if many of people buys cheap copies rather than no one buying the expinsive one. Anyway if they dont, companys in the mor poor countrys will produce the copies anyway. In Inde many drugs are copy and sell ilegal. The people from more rich countrys go to there for buy the drugs they want with a more cheap price. Some drug companys have promissed that they will give the drugs at a more cheap price. A company promised for example anti AIDS drugs to South Africe. Nowaday it seems the promises are just the words in the air and no action or drugs go to the millions of AIDS sufferers there.
Therefor I am really believe that drugs companys should give the low cost drugs to mor poor countrys. It is a question of people die just to help the business dollar. It is imoral and indefendable no matter what companys say about there busines interests.
(284 words) Estimated IELTS Writing Band 6

IELTS Examiner Commentary
This essay was written by a Japanese IELTS student studying in the UK.
The Academic Task 2 Writing is marked in 3 areas. Let’s look at these.

Arguments, Ideas and Evidence 
This band grades the essay on its content, how it structures its ideas and backs up the ideas with examples. The structure with the one big paragraph and short conclusion means this is not set out as a proper essay should be. The content though is mainly directed at the question and has examples to back up the ideas. In the conclusion the writer draws on his essay to give his opinion and fully answers the question. The band for Arguments, Ideas and Evidence will be quite good though the structure does spoil it a bit.

Communicative Quality 
This mark grades the candidate on how easily the reader understands the essay. This depends on accuracy in structure, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as bad grammar, punctuation and vocabulary will cause a breakdown in communication. The Communicative Quality here is not that good. The structure does not help, with most of the writing being grouped in one paragraph. In addition to this the grammar and spelling are all quite poor and this makes reading the essay not as easy as it should be. Some of the sentences, expressions and vocabulary are a bit awkward too. This would lead to a middling Communicative Quality band.

Vocabulary and Sentence Structure
With Vocabulary the examiner looks at the range of words used and whether they are used in the right place and at the right time. With Sentence Structure, the examiner looks at the grammar. As stated above the Vocabulary and Sentence Structure are quite weak. The actual vocabulary choices are not too bad but a lot of the spelling is not very good (medicine; disease; colere; tubercole; expinsive; affects; mony etc.). There are actual vocabulary mistakes as well though (more of money; Inde; indefendable). With grammar the article use is often faulty (Last 150 year the medicine), plurals are sometimes wrong (countrys; companys; other killer; etc.) and verbs are at times wrong in tense choice and form (the medicine make; are use; can be find; are die; They are still make; etc.). Some negatives are wrongly expressed (Now you no hear; it is no expensive). There are other grammar weaknesses: pronouns (there affects; there products; there business interests;), comparatives (more poor countrys; more rich countrys), prepositions (go to there; with a more cheap price), the infinitive of purpose (for fight; for buy;) and adjectives/adverbs (and easily to find; this diseases; and sell ilegal). Some of the errors seem to come from the writer’s first language. There is though some good grammar in the essay and a lot of the vocabulary is well chosen. However there are really too many errors to get a good band for Vocabulary and Sentence Structure.
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