8 Feb 2017

IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments/feedback: Agree or Disagree

IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments/feedback: Agree or Disagree

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic.

It is important to ensure that children with a wide range of abilities and from a variety of social backgrounds mix with each other at school.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Student`s answer:

I most definitely agree with this statement, and I am convinced that if more people would share this statement, many of today's problems could be avoided and, under the risk of sounding candid, " the world would be a better place ".

If one is aware of the general, Western (well, global really) civilization tendency towards living within closed groups, almost from "birth to death", one may find that addressing the subject at the earliest moment possible is a reasonable possibility of starting to fight that tendency. Children are naturally kept, in the first few years of their lives, in a very limited and controlled environment, and then gradually start opening up to the world around them. So it is very important that, when they start doing so, they also begin to understand what surrounds them - people, races, social backgrounds, family structures, religious beliefs, etc. - as parts of the real world where they will live and be called to change, improve or condition.

The alternative to this will be, as it is already today, that children will live more and more isolated from reality in all its varied, and sometimes cruel, features. I believe these children, not having had a chance to directly communicate and interact with other kinds of children, will fear and even resent such differences. Ignorance and misunderstanding is (has been and will be) one important source of conflict, and social conflict in the first instance.

I think I can say I was fortunate enough to have attended an elementary school which was characterized, among other things, for just such a feature: even though it was a private school, where parents who could afford it had to pay a substantial fee, it had a policy of taking in children with all kinds of differences. I got accustomed to having colleagues and friends of lower social backgrounds (economically speaking), who were state- financed to attend the school; with different learning abilities (deaf, mentally-disadvantaged, etc.) and of different ethnic backgrounds (Asian and from Portuguese African ex-colonies).

I am very certain that this part of my education helped me better understanding and accepting the world around me; still nowadays I have all kinds of friends and like to know things about all kinds of people, and I know not everyone around me does the same. (387 words)

*note: all the words in this writing sample is originally written in capital letters by the student.

Examiner`s feedback (with band 7)

Task Response
Although the topic could be more precisely introduced, this response opens with a clear statement of the writer's opinion, and goes on to develop its position clearly and logically, right through to the end. The conclusion would possibly be stronger if it referred back to the actual topic rather than being wholly personal.

Coherence & Cohesion
Paragraphs are used to good effect and the writing flows well, helped by skillful use of referencing pronouns to link sentences.

Lexical Resource
There is quite a wide range of vocabulary used, with a natural feel for style and collocation, although there are also occasional errors in both word choice and spelling.

Grammatical Range & Accuracy
The grammar consists of a wide range of sentence types used flexibly and accurately; though occasional mistakes occur in verb form and word order, these do not impede communication, and the majority of sentences are errors free.

25 Jan 2017

IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments/feedback: A School Map

IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments/feedback: A School Map

The diagrams below show the site of a school in 2004 and the plan for the changes to school site in 2024. 

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features,and make comparisons when relevant."

Write at least 150 words.


Student`s answer:

The diagrams indicate the alterations being made to the school from 2004 to 2024 to accommodate for the predicted increase in student numbers from 600 to 1000. In 2004, the school only has one car park with a path leading from the main entrance to the sports field. The path seperates the two school buildings which, together with the sports field, are located north. Trees are present north, north-east, east and west of the school. In comparison the school planned for 2024 has two car parks and three school buildings. The path in the 2024 plan links building three to building one and two, which are planned to be joined together by building infrastructure. A road is envisioned to connect carpark two with car park one. In addition, the sports field will be reduced in size and relocated south of its previous location below car park two. The surrounding trees remain in similar positions only requiring a few trees to be repositioned or replanted around new infrastructure.

These changes to the school buildings, road, path, car parks and sports field aim to house the extra 400 students planned to be attending the school in 2024. The only decrease in size of any point of the school from 2004 to 2024 is the sports field in order to accommodate school building number three.

Examiner comments 7.5

Task Response
This is a very accurate description of the two diagrams, which covers every aspect of the information shown. There is nothing inaccurate or irrelevant in this response with regard to content. It has a clear introductory sentence, and a summing-up at the end.

Coherence & Cohesion
The middle section of the response is logically arranged by year, though this first paragraph is rather long and could usefully have been split into three. Cohesive devices are few, but flexible, and help the reader when they are used.

Lexical Resource
The range of vocabulary used is quite wide and precise, and includes several low-frequency items used appropriately. Errors in word choice and spelling occur rarely.

Grammatical Range & Accuracy
A wide range of grammatical structures and all punctuation are accurately used throughout, but this criterion is not a 9 as the choice of tense could be more precise and consistent.

Source: Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Another example of a decent answer:

The two pictures compare the layout of a school as it was in the year 2004 with a proposed site design for the year 2024.

It is clear that the main change for 2024 involves the addition of a new school building. The school will then be able to accommodate a considerably larger number of students.

In 2004, there were 600 pupils attending the school, and the two school buildings were separated by a path running from the main entrance to the sports field. By 2024, it is expected that there will be 1000 pupils, and a third building will have been constructed. Furthermore, the plan is to join the two original buildings together, creating a shorter path that links the buildings only.

As the third building and a second car park will be built on the site of the original sports field, a new, smaller sports field will need to be laid. A new road will also be built from the main entrance to the second car park. Finally, no changes will be made to the main entrance and original car park.

Source: IELTS Simon

15 Jan 2017

IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments/feedback: A Map

 IELTS Writing Sample with Examiner`s comments: A Map

You should spend 20 minutes on this task.

The two maps below show an island, before and after the construction of some tourist facilities. (This is an answer written by a candidate who achieved a Band 7 score.)

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.


Student`s answer

The two maps show the same island while first one is before and the second one is after the construction for tourism.

Looking first at the one before construction, we can see a huge island with a beach in the west. The total length of the island is approximately 250 metres. Moving on to the second map, we can see that there are lots of buildings on the island. There are two areas of accommodation. One is in the west near the beach while the other one is in the centre of the island. Between them, there is a restaurant in the north and a central reception block, which is surrounded by a vehicle track. This track also goes down to the pier where people can go sailing in the south sea of the island. Furthermore, tourists can swim near the beach in the west. A footpath connecting the western accommodation units also leads to the beach.

Overall, comparing the two maps, there are significant changes after this development. Not only lots of facilities are built on the island, but also the sea is used for activities. The new island has become a good place for tourism.

Examiner`s comments

Task Achievement 
This answer clearly presents the key features of the diagrams, and although the first map is described only briefly, this is acceptable for this particular task. The description is accurate thought some aspects, such as the section on the accommodation, could have been more fully extended. The final paragraph summarizes the main points effectively.

Coherence & cohesion:
The information is logically organized and can be easily followed throughout the response. A range of cohesive devices including reference and substitution is used appropriately, with only occasional inaccuracies.

Lexical resource:
Some less common vocabulary and collocations are used appropriately, e.g. central reception block; western accommodation units, and there are no spelling errors.

Grammar:
There is a variety of grammatical structures and many sentences contain no inaccuracies. Where errors do occur, they do not affect understanding.

Overall: 7

12 Jan 2017

IELTS Writing Sample with comments / feedback: Discussion essay

IELTS Writing Sample with comments / feedback: Discussion essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

In the past, when students did a university degree, they tended to study in their own country. 

Nowadays, they have more opportunity to study abroad. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence.

An answer by my student in an IELTS class:

       Today, different individuals have varied options about the study option. Some people tend to study in their own country, while other prefer to study abroad. Hence, I would give sone reasons why study abroad better based on my experience.
         There are various reasons why people believe that they have to study in their own country. In this case, study in theirs make them easier than abroad. They don't have to learn about english fluently, because mostly use their own languages. They shouldn't pay expensive living cost. Hence, they feel comfortable at all
         On the other hand, there are some people who believe that they are advantaged by studying abroad. However, studying abroad give them more experiences. It can increase their value as individual by learning in new places. Studying abroad challenge people to get out from their comfort zone, and learn eduacation system as a modern country.
         Additionally, based on my personal experienc that i gathered when went to Japan, I felt there were many things we could get when abroad. Such as, their attitude, discipline, and their education system. 
        To conclude, there are more advantages by studying abroad. It could build our personal value, self confidence, and independent. Thus, it could open our eyes that we could do better things to our country. (214 words)

My feedback

Task Achievement: 5 (214 words); needs more to be balanced (1st body is very limited; the two main ideas are less adequately developed) – I would give a 6 if the author has at least 250 words.

Coherence & cohesion (6): central topic for the third body is not very clear; could be better if put within the same paragraph, or at least one (or two advantages) is well developed. The author mentions a number of advantages, yet lacking details. Linkers are used quite well (e.g., on the other hand, however). Referencing seems to be repetitive (studying abroad – options)

Lexical resource (5.5): Sufficient (6); little or no attempts for less common lexis (5); spelling errors, word formation/choice do not impede communication (6)

Grammar (6): mixed with simple; errors happen, yet they do not hinder communication

Overall: 5.5


Some advice for improvement

        Today, different individuals have varied options about the study option. Some people tend to study in their own country, while other prefer to study abroad. Hence, I would give sone reasons why study abroad better based on my experience.
Different individuals may have varied options … In this essay, I would give some ….
         There are various reasons why people believe that they have to study in their own country. In this case, study in theirs make them easier than abroad. They don't have to learn about english fluently, because mostly use their own languages. They shouldn't pay expensive living cost. Hence, they feel comfortable at all
Pursuing education in one`s own country would be far easier to the extent that he need not spend time studying another language as a preparation to study abroad. Another edge would be due to the fact that he may not need to provide hefty accommodation invoices if he decides to study in a university located in the same place as where he is currently living. Moreover, ….
         On the other hand, there are some people who believe that they are advantaged by studying abroad. However, studying abroad give them more experiences. It can increase their value as individual by learning in new places. Studying abroad challenge people to get out from their comfort zone, and learn eduacation system as a modern country.
Others, on the other hand, seem to believe that studying abroad gives far more experiences such as
         Additionally, based on my personal experienc that i gathered when went to Japan, I felt there were many things we could get when abroad. Such as, their attitude, discipline, and their education system. 
Additionally, based on my personal experience when I visited Japan, I would tend to suggest that (mention one reason and develop it)

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Feedback was provided by Muhammad Ahkam Arifin, graduating from the University of Edinburgh in MSc TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). He took a class of Language Testing during his studies in Edinburgh, where he had the opportunity to learn how to understand `a rating scale`, as how it is used in the IELTS test. Now, he is actively working as an IELTS tutor.