Revisions in IELTS Writing Assessment Criteria

Great news for aspiring IELTS candidates: there is now enhanced accessibility to the IELTS Writing Assessment Criteria.

Despite the announcement of changes to the IELTS writing format from May 2023, the core assessment criteria remain unaltered. The notable shift lies in the increased accessibility and transparency of information regarding how Writing assessments are conducted.

Previously, examiners had access to a detailed “confidential version” of band descriptors, distinct from the “public version”. However, this confidential version has been eliminated, rendering all information publicly available. This change ensures that both examiners and candidates, along with teachers, can now refer to the same comprehensive set of guidelines outlining the assessment process for IELTS Writing.

The essential four Key Assessment Criteria remain unchanged. The revised Key Assessment Criteria and Band Descriptors now employ simplified English, facilitating clearer comprehension. The updated guidelines express requirements explicitly, avoiding excessive academic terminology. This enhancement aims to simplify the understanding of the assessment criteria, providing clear insights into the expectations for achieving specific band scores across each category. Each criterion receives an individual band score, and the final assessment is an average of these four scores. This streamlined approach ensures greater clarity and comprehension regarding the expectations and scoring mechanisms for IELTS candidates.

IELTS Revision

Task Achievement for Academic Writing Task 1

In Academic Writing Task 1 for Task Achievement, you are required to describe a graph or diagram. It is crucial to select the essential information, present it accurately with sufficient detail, and highlight any differences observed. The Band Descriptors specify that to attain a score above Band 5 for Task Achievement, it is necessary to include numerical data and integrate it effectively within your sentences. It is important to focus solely on describing the information depicted in the graph or diagram, without speculating reasons or adding external information.

Task Achievement for General Training Writing Task 1

In the General Training Writing Task 1, under Task Achievement, you are tasked with composing a letter. It is imperative to clearly articulate the purpose behind writing the letter, thoroughly cover and elaborate on all three aspects outlined in the question, and adhere to the prescribed format and tone suitable for the given task.

Task Response for Writing Task 2

In Task 2, under Task Response, the requirement involves composing an essay. It is imperative to address all components of the question comprehensively, elaborating and reinforcing your ideas effectively. The task demands the articulation of a well-defined and well-supported standpoint, culminating in a coherent conclusion. Organizing the essay into distinct paragraphs, preferably comprising an introduction, multiple body paragraphs, and a conclusion, is crucial. The Band Descriptors highlight that failure to utilize paragraphs restricts achieving a score beyond Band 5 for Task Response.

In terms of Cohesion and Coherence, your written work must exhibit a logical flow and meticulous organization into coherent paragraphs. It is imperative to establish connections between ideas, both within sentences and among paragraphs. Furthermore, your ideas should possess clarity and simplicity, ensuring ease of comprehension for the reader.

In regard to Lexical Resource, it is essential to employ a diverse range of accurate and suitable language, incorporating idiomatic expressions with minimal to no misspellings or errors in word formation.

In terms of Grammatical Range and Accuracy, it is necessary to employ a blend of simple, compound, and complex sentence structures accurately and suitably. Additionally, one should aim to minimize grammatical or punctuation errors within their writing.

With the elimination of confidential marking criteria, the expectations and requirements for achieving a favorable score are now transparent. Adhering to the summarized guidelines outlined here ensures a pathway to attaining a commendable score.


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Suroj Moktan Tamang (ELiN)
IELTS Instructor
International Career Counselling Centre- ICCC, Putalisadak

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