On my Facebook page, many people ask questions like this about writing task 2:
‘Could you please tell me, for agree/disagree questions, what is the best approach to achieve a higher score? In my previous IELTS exam, I completely disagreed with the question and mentioned all points related to that whereas my friend wrote about both sides (advantages and disadvantages) and he scored 7.5. Can that be the reason for my low score?’
I receive these questions whenever I talk about discussing both sides of the question in your answer. The people who question this view tend to be people who have studied a set formula to use in each essay question. One such ‘formula’ incorrectly states that you ‘must only discuss the side you agree with.’ In my experience, people who try to follow a set formula for different question ‘types‘:
- do not fully cover all parts of the task
- do not present a clear position throughout
- produce conclusions that are unclear or repetitive
If you look at this extract from the IELTS band descriptors, you can see that these are problems for Band 6 candidates, but not Band 7 candidates:
So, using a set formula could be a key reason why you are stuck at Band 6 or 6.5.
Don’t think about using a specific formula in writing task 2. Instead, think about discussing the issue you are given and answering the question.
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