This is the key question of many students: please explain how the band score is calculated. Finally, I decided to try and summarize what I know about the scoring process so this is it – the scoring process in my understanding.
When your Writing 1 task gets graded (I am talking about IELTS Academic module here), you can get (or loose) points for:
Filling the requirement of the task
That means writing a report that shows – this student understands what he needs to do and does as we ask.
Selecting what information to present
A bit tricky, you need to be careful to not throw away useful information and to not include every little detail.
Presenting an overview
Describing what the graph shows without repeating the task, in your own words. If you don’t have an overview or copy the task it will cost you marks.
Presenting key features
Almost any graph has the most noticeable features, write about them.
Organization of information
This is mostly about paragraphs that should come in logical order.
As the examiner reads your report he needs to see how you “slide” on the graph from one thing to another.
Cohesion, reference and substitution
That is to do with the way you present statistics. If you repeat the same structure to mention all the numbers, or choose awkward expressions to do it – that will cost you marks.
Range of vocabulary
Your choice of words can point at limited, normal or wide vocabulary. It also matters if your vocabulary is adequate for the task or not (if it is not wide but enough to write a clear report, that’s fine)
Control over grammar, spelling and appropriate choice of words
No need to explain
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