IELTS Writing Task 2 Marking Criteria

IELTS Writing Task 2 is the second writing task and is worth around 66% of the total writing marks as opposed to task 1 which is worth around 34%. Both, the IELTS General Training as well as the IELTS Academic have questions posed the same way in writing task 2. In this task, you’ll have to write a 250-word essay, for which you’ll have a time limit of 40 minutes. Once done, you’ll be assessed and scored based on 4 marking criteria

  • Task Response – 25%
  • Vocabulary – 25%
  • Grammatical Accuracy – 25%
  • Coherence and Cohesion – 25%

IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Score

Assessing ElementsBand 5Band 6Band 7Band 8
Task response
  • The task is addressed vaguely. There are pointers on the general topic but not on the specifics.
  •  Opinion might be unclear.
  • Ideas are neither relevant to the topic nor explained clearly.
  • No proper opening or closing passages.
  • Topic and issues are addressed yet are vague.
  • Their side/opinion is clear.
  • The main ideas are relevant.
  • The supporting ideas are not relevant.
  • The concluding passage may be unclear or repetitive.
  • All the issues and questions in the task are addressed.
  • Their opinion/side on the topic is presented clearly.
  • The opinions are supported by reason and examples.
  • There might be an obscure supporting point rather than a distinct point.
  • Addresses all parts/questions in the essay clearly.
  • A clear side is taken and reasons supporting this opinion is made in every paragraph of the essay.
  • The main ideas are relevant.
  • Supporting ideas are explained clearly with examples.
Coherence & Cohesion
  • Content in the paragraphs aren’t structured properly.
  • Vocabulary used might not be suitable or appropriate for the topic.
  • Repetition might occur due to lack of ideas.
  • Information is organized into paragraphs effectively.
  • Linking devices may be used but not precisely.
  • References are used but not clearly.
  • Information is organized into paragraphs effectively.
  • Each paragraph focuses on one central topic.
  • A good range of linking devices are used but might also over-use or underuse it at times.
  • References made are good.
  • Information is organized into paragraphs effectively.
  • Each paragraph focuses on one central topic.
  • Linking and coherence in the passage is excellent.
  • References made are excellent.
Lexical Response
  • A minimal range of vocabulary.
  • Spelling errors or wrong word formations.
  • Ideas are not conveyed properly to the examiner (i.e) poor language usage.
  • A fair range of vocabulary is used.
  • Some uncommon words are used but might be used incorrectly.
  • Ideas are conveyed clearly.
  • Spelling errors or wrong word formations are less.
  • A good range of vocabulary specific to the topic/issue or ideas.
  • A decent number of less common words.
  • Usage of style and collocations.
  • Random errors in spelling and wrong word formations.
  • A wide range of vocabulary specific to the topic/issue or ideas.
  • Ample of less common words used correctly.
  • Rare spelling errors and wrong word formations.
Grammatical Range & Accuracy
  • Limited range of sentence structures.
  • Grammar and Punctuation errors.
  • Poorly built sentences/paragraphs w.r.t to language.
  • Fail to use complex sentences with sentence structures.
  • Simple and complex sentence structures will be used.
  • Limited grammar and punctuation errors.
  • Sentences/paragraphs that convey meaning to the reader.
  • Ample of complex sentence structures.
  • Error-free sentences.
  • Grammar free sentences.
  • Grammar and punctuation errors from time to time.
  • Majority of the sentences are free of errors.
  • A variety of complex sentence structures.

Task Response

One aspect that the examiner will definitely be looking for is whether the issues mentioned in the question are addressed in your summary. Some tips to follow are

Plan your key points

This is an important tip to remember. Don’t start writing your summary in a hurry. Spend a few minutes reading and understanding the question. After reading, start planning the key points that you want to add in your summary. This’ll help in not deviating and missing out the important points.

Stick to the word limit

It’s very important to stick to the given word limit. For writing task 2, the word count given is 250 words, which means your summary should be of at least 250 words. Remember, marks will be deducted if the word count is less than 250.

Address all the issues in the essay question

Make sure to read the question a few times to have an understanding of what is required. Once you’ve understood the question, make sure to address all the issues mentioned in the question, in your summary. The examiner will definitely be checking for the same.


It’s very important to practise on your vocabulary to use a variety of words and not make any spelling mistakes. Some tips are given below

Avoid spelling mistakes

It’s necessary to practice to avoid making spelling mistakes in the test. Making mistakes in the spellings can lead to marks being reduced, that’s why you should practice, to be more confident during the test.

Range in vocabulary

Having a range in vocabulary basically means knowing how to use less common words in the right way. It also includes knowing how to use nouns and verbs correctly while writing. It’s important to focus on these factors to make your content more readable.

Using collocations in the right way

What is a collocation? It is two or more words that are often said together. More often than not, between the two words, one of them will be a noun and the other will be a verb. For example, when it’s raining a lot, you can call it a ‘heavy rain’ but you can’t say it’s a ‘large rain’. You can learn the commonly used collocations by listening to English speaking speakers or reading English content in newspapers, magazines, etc

Avoid using informal language or slang

While practising, you should try to pick up on a formal and respectful way of speaking and writing. Avoid, at all cost, using informal or slang language during this test. 

Grammatical Accuracy

It’s important to remember that grammatical accuracy accounts for 25% of the total marks for the writing test. So make sure to focus on your control of grammar, sentence structure and punctuation. 

Avoid basic grammatical errors

To avoid the basic grammatical errors in your content, you should focus on learning the difference between, verb, adverb, nouns, adjectives and so on. Make sure to understand what they mean and how they’re used. 

Using punctuations correctly

Punctuation marks are basically language aids that help with the interpretation of the text. Punctuation marks are used everywhere in content, the most common ones being full stop, commas, and question mark. 

Use the right verb tense

An important aspect of grammatical accuracy is knowing how to use the right verb tenses according to the context. There are three verb tenses, the past tense, which is used for things that have already happened, the present tense that is used for things that are currently happening, and the future tense, which is used to describe things that haven’t happened yet. 

Coherence and Cohesion

While writing the summary you should make sure to follow the proper content structure and use the right linking devices according to the context. Some tips to follow are

Proper Content Structure

One of the most important things to remember while writing the essay is to make sure you’re following the proper content structure, i.e you have to write 4-5 paragraphs. The first paragraph should be the introduction. After that, should be 2 – 3 body paragraphs, depending on how much you plan to write about it. Finally, the last paragraph should be the conclusion paragraph.

Organize the content

The essay should have 4-5 paragraphs, so it’s important to remember what to write in which paragraph. The first paragraph will be the introduction paragraph, so it should contain a brief description of all the key points you’re planning to cover in the essay. After that is the body paragraphs, and there can be 2 or 3 body paragraphs depending on how you wish to write it. The body paragraphs should contain all the key issues that are mentioned in the question.

And then finally the last paragraph should be the conclusion paragraph, where you conclude the essay.

Use a range of linking devices/ transition words

Linking devices are words used to help link sentences and paragraphs together so that the content is more readable and there is continuity while reading. Examples of transition words are ‘as’, ‘and’, ‘like’, ‘as well as’, ‘likewise’ and so on. Make sure to learn how to use these transition words in the right way.

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