IELTS Band 9 Essays

The IELTS Writing Test consists of 2 tasks of which both are essay writing. In the first task, you’ll have to write an essay of at least 150 words, and in the second task, an essay of at least 250 words. You’ll get an hour altogether for both the essays, so it is advisable to not spend more than 20 minutes for task 1. Task 1 will be worth around 33% of the total Writing test score while task 2 is worth around 66%.

The Writing Test will be assessed based on 4 marking criteria, so if you’re aiming to write a band 9 essay, you should aim to fulfil each of the criteria. The 4 marking criteria, namely, Task Response, Vocabulary, Grammatical Accuracy and Coherence and Cohesion, are given equal weightage of 25% each.

How to write a Band 9 Essay?

Now I’ll tell you about the process you need to go through while aiming to write a Band 9 essay.

Let’s take an IELTS Writing task 2 sample question:

“Some people believe that the violence shown in movies and video games has a damaging effect on society. While others don’t believe that these don’t have an influence on people’s behaviour. What is your opinion?”

After reading the question, the first step would be,

Understand the type of question given in the task

The five most common types of IELTS Writing essay questions are:

  • Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Problem (and Solution)
  • Discussion (Discuss both views)
  • Two-part Question

So based on the type of question you get, you have to approach it accordingly

For example, in case you get an advantage and disadvantage type of question, you should remember:

  • Discuss both the advantages and disadvantages.
  • Possibly the advantage in body paragraph 1 and the disadvantage in body paragraph 2.

In case you get a problem type of question, remember to:

  • Discuss the problem, cause and the solution according to what the task question requires.
  • Give your opinion only if it is asked.

In case you get a discussion type of question, you should remember:

  • Discuss both the views without favoring one over the other
  • Possibly one viewpoint in body paragraph 1 and second viewpoint body paragraph 2.
  • Give your opinion only if it is asked.

So in this case, since the question ended with, ‘What is your opinion?’ we come to the conclusion that it’s an opinion type of question.

Since it is an opinion type of question we should remember:

  • State your personal opinion regarding the topic
  • Support your opinions with clear reasons

With this in mind, we move on to the next step

Plan out your content

After reading the question, since it is an opinion type,  you have to plan out your opinion regarding the topic and how you wish to express it. Do you agree with the statement or you disagree with it?

In this case, do you agree that the violence shown in the media has an effect on society or do you disagree with that? And since it’s an opinion question, you can only either agree or disagree. You can’t take both sides. And once you decide whether you agree or disagree with the statement, you also have to think about the reasons behind having such an opinion.

After this, the next step is

Keep in mind the essay structure

Once you figure out the message you’re gonna convey and how you wish to convey it, you plan out your essay structure. An essay should always be presented in 4 paragraphs.

Paragraph 1 (Introduction) –

  • Paraphrase the question
  • Give an outline of your opinion.

Example (Taking the sample question into consideration)

‘Nowadays, with the rise in violence and crime all around us, some people believe that the violence shown in movies and video games has an influence, while others believe that it doesn’t. I believe that media violence does not have that much of an effect on the rising crime in society.’

As you can see, in paragraph 1 I’ve started the essay with an introduction, by paraphrasing the question and then giving an outline of my opinion

Paragraph 2 & 3 (Content Body) –

  • Go in-depth regarding what you discussed in the introduction
  • Give examples
  • Use proper vocabulary

Example (Taking the sample question into consideration)

‘Firstly, although I agree that the rate of crime and violence around us has increased lately, I don’t think we can blame the media violence for that. I am sure any responsible citizen who watches a movie or plays a video game with violence in it, is aware that it is there only for the sake of entertainment. That being said, in any case, if any individual does cause harm to his society, it would have to be due to his character or his circumstance. So in my opinion, a reasonable and conscious person would not cause harm to others, regardless of what he sees in any form of media.

Moreover, movies and video games actually provide escapism into a virtual world where people can relax and release their anxiety. After a long day at work, when someone comes back home and watches a movie or plays a video game, they automatically forget about all their worries and tensions and recover from the frustration they may have. Personally, I enjoy playing video games as soon as I get back home from work.’

Paragraph 4 (Conclusion) – 

  • Summary of the main points
  • Summary of your opinion

Example (Again taking the sample question into consideration)

‘Finally, despite some people believing otherwise, I don’t believe that the violence shown in the media plays a role in a person’s character or in the increase of the violence and crime in our society. In fact, the content in the movies and videos can actually help in reducing the frustration and stress factor.’

As you can see, my conclusion paragraph includes a summary of the main points of the question as well as my opinion on the topic.

Complete Sample Model Answer

Nowadays, with the rise in violence and crime all around us, some people believe that the violence shown in movies and video games has an influence, while others believe that it doesn’t. I believe that media violence does not have that much of an effect on the rising crime in society.

Firstly, although I agree that the rate of crime and violence around us has increased lately, I don’t think we can blame the media violence for that. I am sure any responsible citizen who watches a movie or plays a video game with violence in it, is aware that it is there only for the sake of entertainment. That being said, in any case, if any individual does cause harm to his society, it would have to be due to his character or his circumstance. So in my opinion, a reasonable and conscious person would not cause harm to others, regardless of what he sees in any form of media.

Moreover, movies and video games actually provide escapism into a virtual world where people can relax and release their anxiety. After a long day at work, when someone comes back home and watches a movie or plays a video game, they automatically forget about all their worries and tensions and recover from the frustration they may have. Personally, I enjoy playing video games as soon as I get back home from work.

Finally, despite some people believing otherwise, I don’t believe that the violence shown in the media plays a role in a person’s character or in the increase of the violence and crime in our society. In fact, the content in the movies and videos can actually help in reducing the frustration and stress factor.

Remember the Marking Criteria

To write a band 9 essay, it is naturally important to make sure you focus on the 4 marking criteria while writing the essay. Here are the criteria you need to focus on, along with the explanation

Task Achievement

To address and acknowledge all the parts of the task question, and answer accordingly with well-supported ideas.

Coherence and Cohesion

To present the information and ideas in an organized manner with a good amount of linking words.

Lexical Resource

To use a wide range of vocabulary with accuracy and almost no mistakes.

Grammatical Range

To use proper grammar in a range of grammatical structures.

Once you’ve kept all these criteria while writing the essay, the final step is

Check the Word Count

Since you’re writing a Task 2 Band 9 essay, you should aim to write at least 260 words, and as you can see the word count of the sample essay, it is 287 words. So feel free to refer to the given sample essay to understand how to do well, taking the structure and each of the marking criteria into consideration.

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Written By

Syed Monif is a professional content marketer and IELTS Trainer by day, and a bookworm by night, and sometimes during the day too! He currently works on creating extremely user-friendly and engaging content for the online portal IELTSmaterial.com. His work involves creating and editing content while making sure they're super interesting and easy to read! And also as a master procrastinator, right now he's probably googling something so arbitrary like 'How rich is Scrooge McDuck?' without realizing that his lunch break is almost over.

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