IELTS | Writing Mark Scheme

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IELTS Writing Mark Schemes

IELTS is a multi-level exam. You get a score between 1 and 9 for each section. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.

The two writing questions are marked out of 9 according to the following criteria:

 Task AchievementCoherence and CohesionLexical ResourceGrammatical Range and Accuracy
9fully satisfies all the requirements of the task clearly presents a fully developed responseuses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention skilfully manages paragraphinguses a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features; rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy; rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’
8covers all requirements of the task sufficiently presents, highlights and illustrates key features / bullet points clearly and appropriatelysequences information and ideas logically manages all aspects of cohesion well uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriatelyuses a wide range of vocabulary fluently and flexibly to convey precise meanings skilfully uses uncommon lexical items but there may be occasional inaccuracies in word choice and collocation produces rare errors in spelling and/or word formationuses a wide range of structures the majority of sentences are error-free makes only very occasional errors or inappropriacies
7covers the requirements of the task (Academic) presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages (General Training) presents a clear purpose, with the tone consistent and appropriate clearly presents and highlights key features / bullet points but could be more fully extendedlogically organises information and ideas; there is clear progression throughout uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under-/over-useuses a sufficient range of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision uses less common lexical items with some awareness of style and collocation may produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling and/or word formationuses a variety of complex structures produces frequent error-free sentences has good control of grammar and punctuation but may make a few errors
6addresses the requirements of the task (Academic) presents an overview with information appropriately selected (General Training) presents a purpose that is generally clear; there may be inconsistencies in tone presents and adequately highlights key features / bullet points but details may be irrelevant, inappropriate or inaccuratearranges information and ideas coherently and there is a clear overall progression uses cohesive devices effectively, but cohesion within and/or between sentences may be faulty or mechanical may not always use referencing clearly or appropriatelyuses an adequate range of vocabulary for the task attempts to use less common vocabulary but with some inaccuracy makes some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communicationuses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms makes some errors in grammar and punctuation but they rarely reduce communication
5generally addresses the task; the format may be inappropriate in places (Academic) recounts detail mechanically with no clear overview; there may be no data to support the description (General Training) may present a purpose for the letter that is unclear at times; the tone may be variable and sometimes inappropriate presents, but inadequately covers, key features / bullet points; there may be a tendency to focus on detailspresents information with some organisation but there may be a lack of overall progression makes inadequate, inaccurate or over-use of cohesive devices may be repetitive because of lack of referencing and substitutionuses a limited range of vocabulary, but this is minimally adequate for the task may make noticeable errors in spelling and/or word formation that may cause some difficulty for the readeruses only a limited range of structures attempts complex sentences but these tend to be less accurate than simple sentences may make frequent grammatical errors and
punctuation may be faulty; errors can cause some difficulty for the reader
4attempts to address the task but does not cover all key features / bullet points; the format may be inappropriate (General Training) fails to clearly explain the purpose of the letter; the tone may be inappropriate may confuse key features / bullet points with detail; parts may be unclear, irrelevant, repetitive or inaccuratepresents information and ideas but these are not arranged coherently and there is no clear progression in the response uses some basic cohesive devices but these may be inaccurate or repetitiveuses only basic vocabulary which may be used repetitively or which may be inappropriate for the task has limited control of word formation and/or spelling; errors may cause strain for the readeruses only a very limited range of structures with only rare use of subordinate clauses some structures are accurate but errors predominate, and punctuation is often faulty
3fails to address the task, which may have been completely misunderstood presents limited ideas which may be largely irrelevant/repetitivedoes not organise ideas logically may use a very limited range of cohesive devices, and those used may not indicate a logical relationship between ideasuses only a very limited range of words and expressions with very limited control of word formation and/or spelling errors may severely distort the messageattempts sentence forms but errors in grammar and punctuation predominate and distort the meaning
2answer is barely related to the taskhas very little control of organisational featuresuses an extremely limited range of vocabulary; essentially no control of word formation and/or spellingcannot use sentence forms except in memorised phrases
1answer is completely unrelated to the taskfails to communicate any messagecan only use a few isolated wordscannot use sentence forms at all