The IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Score Criteria

In the IELTS Writing test, the examiner will assess you based on the following criteria:

  • Lexical Resource (vocabulary)
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Task Achievement

Each of these criteria makes up 25% of your IELTS writing Band score and are the same whether you take the IELTS exam in Singapore or any other location where the IELTS test is offered

In this article, you will learn how to optimize your score in each of the above-mentioned areas with regards to the IELTS Writing Task 2 essay, but many of these principles also apply to writing task 1 as well.

How Are The IELTS Writing Band Scores Calculated?

You will receive a score from 0 – 9 in each area and then these scores will be combined to create your final score for Task 1 or Task 2. The score for writing task one is worth one-third of your overall writing test score and writing task 2 makes up two-thirds of your overall writing score.

Task Achievement

Task achievement refers to your ability to answer the question properly. In order to maximise your task achievement score, you must answer all parts of the question clearly and express your opinion by supporting it with well-developed ideas and, ideally, examples.

Cohesion And Coherence

Cohesion and Coherence refer to your ability to organize and present your ideas so that your essay is easy to read and understand.

In order to do this, test takers must write an essay with clear ideas that are logically laid out and easy to understand.

Coherence refers to how well the examiner can understand what you write. There are several things that can affect this, such as grammar mistakes, the use of inappropriate words and phrases or the illogical ordering of sentences and idea.

Cohesion refers to your ability to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs using cohesive devices like linking words or discourse markers. They link ideas, sentences and paragraphs and help you to progress clearly from one idea to another. You can think of them as the glue that binds your essay together, without them your essay would just be a bunch of randomly disjointed sentences.

If you do not include discourse markers and linking words in your IELTS writing, your answer will appear illogical and be more difficult to understand.

A few examples are, Nevertheless, Particularly, Thus, Naturally, etc.

Different types of linking words are used for different functions. Here are just a few common linking words that are used in the IELTS Writing test:



It’s important to note that these phrases should be used in moderation, otherwise your essay might seem unnatural.

Vocabulary/Lexical Resource

Lexical Resource refers to the words and phrases you use in your essay. In order to score well in this area, students must demonstrate a wide range of topic-specific vocabulary that is used correctly and appropriately. They should also be able to paraphrase and use uncommon collocations with ease.

Many students make the mistake of thinking that you need to use long, complicated words to score well in the IELTS writing exam. This is not the case. You just need to use the right words correctly. You must also be able to spell them correctly.

Grammatical Range And Accuracy

Grammatical Range and Accuracy refers to your ability to use a range of grammatical structures and to use them accurately. In order to maximize your score in this particular area, you must be able to produce complex and error-free sentences. As well as demonstrate that you are able to flexibly use different tenses. It’s important that your sentences sound natural, so you should not attempt to impress the examiner with advanced grammar that you are not comfortable using as this could result in basic or systematic errors.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.