What’s the difference between a Band 7 and a Band 9 essay?

IELTS WRITING

There are some clear differences between an essay scored at Band 7 and an essay scored at Band 9. Achieving a Band Score 9 essay can help you improve your chances for your study path and a professional career.

Firstly, it’s important to understand the expectations of the examiner who will score your essay. There are clear differences in the criteria that determine a Band 9 from a Band 7 essay. Regarding Task Achievement,A Band 9 essay answers the essay question in full and offers a well-developed response. In relation to coherence and cohesion, the essay is perfectly cohesive and paragraphed, usinga range of language and accurate structure. A Band 7 essay aims to respondto the question although the answer could be more fully developed. It tries to becohesive and logical, but there may be some errors in the use of connectors. A Band 7 essay shows a fairly wide rangeof language with occasional repetition and minor mistakes in grammar and word selection.

Let’s take a look at paragraphs from two examples of Academic Writing Task 2 –the essaypart of the exam. The first one scored a Band 7:

Q: Should wealthy people be obligatedto share their financial success with poor people by supporting health services and education, or is this the responsibility of the poor to improve their own standard of living?

A: Many people are in need of help. I believe that wealthy people should be obliged to share their wealth with poorer people. But they shouldn’t have to support health services and education only, but other areas if they prefer.

First of all, we cannot avoid people which are poor. As an example, we see homeless in the train station, at the bus stops and asking us for money. Rich people have extra money and therefore, they should give some help to people with no housing and money.

Secondly, many people now are not finding jobs or although they are working, they are not having enough money to pay forhishouses or flats especially in city-living which has a high cost of living now. For example, people living in London are working on low income salaries but the cost of living is so higher in contrast. Therefore, it is so difficult for these people to have extra money for extra things.

In the introduction, the writer addresses the first part of the question but doesn’t respond to the second part of the question regarding the poor taking responsibility for its own standard of living.Therefore, the task is not fully achieved.

In the second paragraph, the candidate provides a topic sentence and example. There is a punctuation error and some redundancy using the word but. The example is quite vague – there is no reference to a specific train station or how rich people could give money to the poor. Instead of using a synonym, the writer uses the word money three times.The lexical resource is somewhat limited.

The second paragraph is slightly better as there is a specific example.It refers to London and illustrates the contrast between the cost of living and purchasing power. However, the errors in tense, wrong possessive adjective (his instead oftheir) and basic, repetitive language will keep the score of GRA(grammar range and accuracy) to band score 7/

Let’s turn now to an example of an essay scored at Band 9:

The gap between the rich and poor is growing in modern society. Some people think that affluent people should help the poor, and others think those in poverty should help themselves. This essay aims to show thatthe wealthyhave a duty to support the health, educational and financial well-being of poor people in our communities.

First, there is a muchlarger wealthy class nowadays than in previous decades. As it is becoming easier for individuals and companies to grow business, people are getting richer faster than ever before. For example, there are about 100 successful start-up companies in the city of Pittsburgh, USA. However, there is still a huge problem of poverty in this same city. Therefore, I feel that the wealthy class can offer free training, education and support to those who have not had access to employment or advantages.

Secondly, evidence from history shows that trickle-down policy and voluntary donations from the rich to the poor never succeed.The wealthy must be obligated or encouraged to give a percentage of their earnings to charity, associations or individuals in need. For instance, Bill Gates donates a huge amount of his earnings to philanthropic organizations. While this is a very generous gesture, it is also a tax incentive to reduce his tax bill at the end of the year.

Each paragraphin this Band Score 9 essay starts with a topic sentence that clearly defines the writer’s opinion and main ideas. Complex adverb clauses – starting with Whereasand While–are well-structured. Instead of repeating the word obliged, the writer uses synonyms such as requiredand have a duty to offer a variety of language. The examples in the first and second paragraphs are very specific and clearly develop the main idea.

To conclude, a Band Score 9 essay meets all the requirements of task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexicalresource and grammar range and accuracy. Prepare in advance and take two to three minutes at the start of Task 1 to prepare the essay structure.

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