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IELTS Writing Scores

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task Response/Achievement

This breadth gauges the depth with which the student is able to answer their essay question. The essay should make use of relevant examples, draw reasoned conclusions and exhibit a central theme throughout. Essay language should be assertive and the student’s position on the topic presented should be clearly stated somewhere in the essay (this may either be in the introduction or conclusion paragraphs depending on what kind of essay is required). Students scoring well in the Task Achievement portion of the rubric tend to analyze the essay topic to a much greater degree than the average student. Fitting lexical resources and sentence constructions help to give the response an overall completeness.

Coherence and Cohesion

This section of the mark gauges the student’s ability to write in a way that expresses a message fluently. Sentence structure, fitting vocabulary choices and grammar really contribute to how coherent a student’s message is. Cohesive phrases help tie ideas together at the sentence, paragraph and essay level and solidify the overall theme of the essay.

Lexical Resources

This area refers to the accuracy and relevance of the vocabulary a student chooses to employ in their essay. Successful students exhibit the ability to use a variety of contextually accurate words and phrases without sounding unnatural or robotic. Word variation accuracy is also a defining trait of a successful student performing at a high band level.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Grammar is often the area that holds students from moving into the upper echelons of IELTS bands. As a marker, keep in mind that students scoring band 7 and above are capable of composing grammatically accurate sentences at least 50% of the time.

Grammar issues also influence a student’s performance in other sections, too. For example, poor grammar can hinder the examiner’s ability to understand what the student is writing, and this directly impacts the student’s Coherence mark.

How IELTS Writing scores are calculated

The four individual scores are added together and then divided by four to give an average, which is your overall score for that task. For example: (6+6+7+7) ÷ 4 = 6.5. Numbers are rounded up, which means that (6+7+7+7) ÷ 4 = 6.75, which is rounded up to 7.0.

As there are two tasks of unequal length, your final score in IELTS Writing is not an average of both tasks but is weighted towards Task 2. The student’s overall writing band weights a third to Task 1 and two thirds to Task 2.

For example: Task 1: 6.5 + Task 2: 7.0 = Overall 7.0. This is why you should always spend more time writing Task 2.

The band score descriptors below are the official band scores published by IELTS.

IELTS task 1 Writing band descriptors

IELTS task 2 Writing band descriptors


Do not forget to check Overall IELTS scoring here

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