IELTS Study Tips and Skills

 

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Hello Livon,

I think you're rather misunderstanding the nature of the descriptors for a productive skills test (i.e. speaking and writing), to be honest.  Speaking and writing cannot be reduced to the number of errors made, for a number of reasons.  If a person is trying to use complex language and express themselves in imaginative and interesting ways then they will make more mistakes; should they be given a worse mark than someone who makes fewer mistakes but uses simple and unambitious language?  Other aspects, such as fluency and style, can only be marked by impression.  In other words, these skills are inevitably subjectively marked, to a degree.  Assessors are standardised and trained, and descriptors are provided as a frame of reference, but the assessment is a judgement, not the mathematical scoring that you seem to be looking for.  That is simply the nature of these skills, I'm afraid.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, 
Your point is understood that if candidates use complex language,they will achieve more marks than those using simple language.
However, on TAKE IELTS website ,it is clearly stated spelling,word formation and grammatical errors will reduced candidates' score.http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-your-test/test-day-advice/wr...
So it was requested that how many mistakes they count as occasional and rare.
In other words,occasional errors =4 errors and rare errors =2 errors. I am correct or not.
IELTS DESCRIPTORS STATE Band 8 make occasional errors and Band 9 makes rare errors.
So the question is clear enough for the IELTS organisation. If it desires to keep candidates wondering,nothing is required to say about the association as actions speak louder than words.
 
I think the query based on IELTS Descriptors is clearly a factual one .
A clear answer to the query is desired.
Please clarify it if possible.
Best wishes,
Livon

Hello Livon,

I think the question has already been answered in a very clear way, even if the answer is not the one you would like.  The marking system does not work as you think it should and, while you are entitled to your opinion, there are very good reasons why it does not and should not work on a 'counting errors' basis.

Once again, just to be absolutely clear: the descriptors are there as a guide, not to indicate acceptable fixed numbers of errors irrespective of the nature of those errors, and the examiners assess the overall quality of the answer in accordance with those descriptors.  This is appropriate and sensible and in line with best practice as indicated by assessment research and theory across a wide range of disciplines; the kind of system you are is suggesting would be neither fair nor effective in measuring candidates' language ability.

We here at LearnEnglish are not in any way a part of IELTS, and we do not set the marking standards or implement them.  Therefore I do not see any purpose in continuing this discussion; please contact IELTS directly if you wish to pursue it further.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

The response of the IELTS organization is this " FOR SECURITY REASONS WE CANNOT COMMENT ON IELTS BAND DESCRIPTORS".
when the organization cannot explain candidates' queries regarding the IELTS band descriptors then why do we need these. 
Best wishes,
Livon
 

Hi Teachers,
I have only one query.
The following is an IELTS band descriptor.
Presents, extends and supports main ideas, but there may be a tendency to over- generalize and/or supporting ideas may lack focus.
The query based on the above IELTS descriptor is that how can you over-generalize and how your supporting ideas may lack focus.
Please provide an illustration with its explanation. 
Best wishes, 
Livon

Hello Livon,

You can over-generalise in numerous ways.  Making sweeping statements rather than referring to specific instances, for example, or using overly general language such as good/bad/nice/interesting rather than more specific and descriptive language.  One common issue for candidates in the writing part of IELTS is that they present a large number of superficially made points rather than a smaller number of clearly presented points which are explicitly linked to the topic under discussion.  In other words, you need to say what the supporting point is and also show exactly why it is relevant to the main ideas and/or argument.

You can find a sample writing test on this page, and download a model answer from the link at the bottom.  If you look at the model answer (though I suggest you try doing the task yourself first) you will see that the supporting points in the argument are clearly made, sequenced using linkers (first, finally, ultimately etc) and connected to the main argument rather than just stated in the abstract.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter,
I agree with what  you say. 
A few days ago,I squared the same query with an IELTS trainer but he guided me differently. He advised when you write firstly, secondly to mention supporting points , you are overusing the linking devices.By this usage, your writing becomes unnatura and hence you will be marked down ( band 6). Clearly he suggested me to disregard this method.
Instead, he recommended me to offer one example to support the topic in each paragraph. In his opinion ,this way you are developing a topic fully and you will obtain higher grades in the task achievement ( band 9 for task achievement).
Now I am confused which way to follow.
Kindly advise us . 
Best wishes,
Livon
 

Hi Livon,

I think Peter was merely giving examples of common linkers when he mentioned first, finally, etc. - whether to use these linkers or not is up to you given the context and what you are trying to communicate. It is certainly true that misusing or overusing linkers can make your writing unnatural; on the other hand, a complete lack of cohesive devices would, at least as I see it, be even worse. One good solution for many IELTS writing tasks is what the IELTS trainer suggested to you, though there is certainly more than one way to skin a cat.

There is no single formula for great writing, and this is perhaps especially true in the higher bands. I would suggest that you read as much good writing as you can as part of your IELTS preparation. Certainly reading sample texts from the IELTS is extremely important, but you can also learn a lot by reading many kinds of authentic texts such as essays, short stories, opinion pieces, etc.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

dear sir ,i want to know that grammar knowledge is important for IELTS exam.grammar based question will  be taken in to exam or not.please suggest me for this grammar  area.in speaking & writing test for this exam, grammatical  point is view or not. thank

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