IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Scores 5 to 8 with Tips

Learn how your IELTS writing task 2 is marked and the difference between band scores 5, 6, 7 and 8 with tips to improve your score. You need to understand the 4 marking criteria used by the examiner to fulfill the requirements of the score you want. There is a penalty for being under the word count: see link at bottom of page. Tips

Don’t just read the band score you want. Read all the band score descriptions to learn how you lose marks and how you gain marks.

4 Marking Criteria for IELTS Writing Task 2

The examiner will assess your IELTS essay using the 4 criteria below. Each criterion is worth 25% of your total marks for task 2. You will be given a band score for each criteria and then a total score for task 2. See bottom of page for example of scoring.

  • Task Response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy

Task Response

This task 2 marking criterion is about your answer to the IELTS essay question, your main ideas and how you develop them.

task response marking criteria

Your score will increase if you:

  • pay attention to ALL issues in the essay question
  • write about the issues rather than just the general topic
  • answer the essay question with relevant main points
  • plan your supporting points so they don’t go off the topic
  • write over 250 words

 Coherence and Cohesion

The IELTS examiner will check the organisation of your essay, the paragraphs and your use of linking devices.

coherence and cohesion criterion task 2

Your score will increase if you:

  • have either four or five paragraphs but not more and not less
    • this means you should have two or three body paragraphs only
  • have just one central topic in each body paragraph
  • organise your ideas logically
  • use a range of linking words
  • avoid errors in linking words

Lexical Resource

Your use of vocabulary, your paraphrasing, your spelling and the number of mistakes you make will be assessed in this criterion.

vocabulary band score

Your score will increase if you:

  • pay attention to collocations (which verb matches which noun)
  • paraphrase carefully to avoid errors
  • use a range of words appropriate for the topic
  • spell words correctly
  • avoid making errors (errors will lower your score – see table above)
  • avoid using informal language

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The IELTS examiner will give you a band score for your sentence structures, the tenses you use, your control of grammar and also the number of mistakes you make.

grammar band score

Your score will increase if you:

  • use different grammar tenses (conditionals, perfect tenses, passive voice, past, future etc)
  • pay attention to word order in your sentences
  • use a range of sentence structures
  • use the correct punctuation (full stops and commas)
  • avoid errors in grammar (errors will lower your score – see the table above)
    • common grammar errors: articles, plural nouns, uncountable nouns, word order)

Example of Writing Task 2 Scoring Calculated

You will get a band score for each of the above criteria and then a total score for task 2. Here’s an example:

  • Task Response: Band 6
  • Coherence & Cohesion = Band 7
  • Grammar: Band 6
  • Vocabulary: 6

Total Score for IELTS Writing Task 2: 6 + 7 + 6 + 6 = 25/4 = 6.25. This score will be increased to 6.5. To calculate your score, add all scores together and divide by 4.

IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Scores 5, 6, 7 & 8: Differences and Tips

All IELTS Band Scores Explained

Penalty for Under Word Count

Note: The information above is taken from the band score descriptors published by IELTS. To learn about band scores 1-9, please see the public band score descriptors for writing task 2 published by IELTS.

Recommended Pages for IELTS Writing Task 2

Main IELTS Pages

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