Many students need an IELTS band 8 if they want to emigrate to another country such as Australia. The requirement for a Band 8 also applies to people who are already native speakers.
However, even if you are a native speaker, this does not necessarily mean you will automatically get a band 8 or higher.
This is because it is not just about writing as you normally would. You need to know the techniques that will get you the band 8. You have to show off every aspect of your English in each of the 4 columns of assessment.
Think of it like a UK Driving Test where you need to deliberately demonstrate to the examiner that you fully understand and can show how to drive. During the test you will make it very obvious, for example, when you are looking in the rear view mirror – so the test examiner can see you doing it.
It is the same with the IELTS Test. Candidates need to show off their use of English and use every opportunity to demonstrate their competence.
All candidates, irrespective of whether or not they are a native speaker, need to apply the same approach to the IELTS Test.
This article explains how to write an IELTS Band 8 Task 2 piece of writing.
Published IELTS Band Guidance
Let’s take a quick look at the published guidance for the IELTS bands. This will help you to understand what you need to do to get the higher band scores.
The 4 columns of assessment are:
- Task Achievement: Did you answer all parts of the question sufficiently and are your ideas well supported?
- Cohesion and Coherence: Are your ideas easy to follow and do you use paragraphing and good linking expressions to help this?
- Lexical Resource: Are you using good natural and unusual English expressions and collocations? Are some of these specific to the question topic?
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy: Are you using a wide range of grammatical structures accurately and flexibly? Are you sure there are hardly any errors in your writing?
Learn how to assess your own IELTS writing
The easiest way to help you do this, is to ask you to compare a task 2 band 7 and a task 2 band 8, so that you are thinking of the essential differences when you begin practising writing the task at a band 8 level.
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Here is an IELTS Student sample task 2 writing band 7.
What makes this a band 7?
Read the student’s writing example and use the IELTS Task 2 Writing public band descriptors to guide you in your assessment of this piece.
IELTS Task 2 Question
Some people are walking less today, however, many health experts say that walking is the best exercise to maintain health. Why do people walk less? What might encourage people to walk longer distances?
It has been said that ‘Health is Wealth’ AND under this slogan people the world over acknowledge that health is an essential element of their lives. Despite the fact that healthcare professionals elucidate that a brisk daily walk renderS their well being more robust, some people tend to go less on foot. The reasons behind this paradigm will be shown in this essay before reaching plausible solutions.(THE LAST SENTENCE COULD BE BETTER EXPRESSED)
To begin with, individuals tend to minimise their walking due to A wide variety of causes. For one, people are leading busy lifestyleS AND they have AN odd thinking that walking is waste of energy and they need calories to maintain their stamina, while engaging in over-time duties. However in countries where there are extremes of climate the story is different. Because (BECAUSE SHOULD HAVE A LOWER CASE B AND FOLLOW A COMMA)the volatile hot weather as in the UAE or hard dry chilly winter as in Canada, people are hindered from going on foot. Nevertheless, in terms of facilities to enable this, many developing countries are lacking of (WRONG PREPOSITION – IN) parks and pedestrian areas.
In order to tackle this universal phenomenon and encourage the public to take long walks, certain effective measures can be implemented. THE Mass media can be used to raise awareness and many television programmes such as The Doctors help individuals to throw themselves into more walking and endorse the fact that the more they walk, the healthier they get. Furthermore, in less developed countries, governments need to invest more in building modern walkways with shade from unbearable weather conditions and beautiful landscapes to inspire people to take this daily exercise on foot. Moreover, citizens could work more flexible hours to have the luxury of time to practise to fortify (FORTIFYING) their health and avoid(ING) serious illnesses. Since the measures can be applied to different countries worldwide, the positive impact on people can easily be identified.
In conclusion, having analysed the causes attributed to fewer daily trips on foot and how to eliminate this, it is recommended that people pay more attention to their stamina and health and take brisk walks for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week to be of sound health and mind. (348 words)
The IELTS Writing Task 2 public band descriptors (Band 7)
- Task Achievement: Did you address all parts of the question? Do you extend your ideas – maybe over generalisation
- Coherency and Cohesion: Are your ideas logical? Are there a range of cohesive devices?(some under/over-use Is there a clear central topic in each paragraph?
- Lexical Resource: Is there a sufficient rage of vocabulary (some range and precision)(occasional inaccuracies)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy: Is there a variety of complex sentences? Are there frequent error free sentences?(a few errors in punctuation)
In the example, you can see that the student has answered both parts of the question (7), has used good linking expressions (7) and has lots of uncommon lexical items (8), although there are still some basic grammar mistakes which stop the student getting 7, so a 6 is given here, giving an overall 7. The grammar mistakes are noted in capitals.
Here is an IELTS Writing sample Task 2 band 8 for the same question used above.
Read the example and notice how much smoother and more complex the writing is, allowing the band 8.
It is thought that a proportion of the population does not use walking as a means of exercise as much as it did previously, allowing professionals in health to criticise this turn of events stating that, on the contrary, this is in fact the best way to maintain physical fitness. And if this is so, why then are people walking less than before and what could be used to promote the benefits of spending more time on walking to exercise?
To tackle the first point as to why some of the population are not using ‘Shanks’ Pony’ as much to keep themselves fit anymore, the many reasons for this need to be examined, with the most obvious one being the lifestyle of today’s modern generation. As part of the younger generation’s pre-occupation with a need to display their wealth, what comes as part and parcel of their way of living is being a highly paid professional, which allows them to own expensive cars and belong to costly gyms. One result of this is that these individuals drive everywhere in their beautiful cars rather than walking for exercise and use state of the art equipment in their gyms rather than exercising for free on foot and thus they are all walking much less.
Although this way of life is clearly the preferred one for the younger generation, it is not one that suits everybody, so how might society in general be encouraged to walk longer distances instead of using the car or going to the gym? To do this, what could be emphasised, is that walking as exercise is much kinder to the pocket.
If the government were to offer cash incentives,for example,such as cheaper petrol for those belonging to walking for exercise clubs,or vouchers for buying healthy food options to these members, then many members of the population would certainly consider making the effort to walk longer distances.
Having discussed these two aspects of walking for exercise, it becomes apparent that the more beneficial walking for exercise becomes, the more likely people are to leave their cars at home and to allow their memberships to the posh gyms to lapse. (360 words)
What stands out in the Writing Task 2 band 8 example?
Firstly, I would say that if you are on your way to a writing band 8, you are likely to be able to write a much longer task than a 250 word one. The extra word count will also allow you to show off your natural English expressions and your complex grammar.
On comparison of these two examples, it is clear that the band 8 one has a much more sophisticated use of natural language, with unusual lexical items fluently and flexibly used. All parts of the question are answered and the points are well developed and supported.The ideas are written in clear, easy to follow paragraphs and obvious linking expressions are not used. The sentences are all complex and error free, using many different examples of grammar.
For all of these reasons, the task would be given an 8 according to the public band descriptors.
Benefit from this article
Now go away and practise these ideas until you can use them easily under exam conditions and achieve your band 8.