Being concise and keeping it simple.
If someone asked me for my advice about the best way to approach the IELTS essay tasks, I would say keep it simple and concise. I correct a lot of IELTS essays but the one thing that stands out is that so many IELTS students are trying too hard to use ‘complex sentences’ and completely miss the point and end up using ‘complicated sentences’ that the reader would have trouble understanding.
Some students might also memorise lists of words and then just put those into the essay without actually knowing fully what the word really means. This is sure to ruin your band score in coherence and cohesion as well as grammar and vocabulary. Complex sentences are not actually complex or complicated, here is a lesson on those, click here to see it
Many IELTS candidates use very complicated sentences or memorised words thinking that they are impressing the reader with this. To be honest, this is not impressing anyone and it is having an opposite effect. In fact, the IELTS examiners will most probably mark these kinds of essays down to a Band 5 for coherence and cohesion.
In the IELTS marking criteria, coherence, cohesion, grammar and vocabulary are linked. This means that if your sentence structures, grammar and vocabulary are not right, it will affect the overall ability to understand what is being said in the essay. Bad news for overall coherence and cohesion as well as grammar and vocabulary. The same goes for Writing task 1. Just keep it clear and concise.
Dictionary definition of concise and convoluted.
Take a look at these 2 examples.
Task question 1
Which of these introductions would be better in the essay?
There are global concerns over environmental problems caused by the growth of air travel. Tax hikes on tickets have been suggested as a measure to limit the number of air travellers, I completely disagree with this, because more research and development to reduce carbon emission should be the focus instead of taxing travellers.
As air travel gains more prominence among the populace, there are great concerns over the environmental problems as a result of airports and flights. Putting tax higher on tickets have been suggested as a measure to control air travel from certain quarters, but I disagree with this. More research and development should rather instigate and reduce carbon emission from aviation sources, while environmental assessment tests should be looked into in the positioning of airports.
Task question 2
Which of these is a good introduction?
Of all mankind’s manifold creation, internet must take pride of place. But sadly, not all information’s in the internet are true, which makes it a victim of it’s own and portray’s as an unreliable platform to some extent. Perhaps,this issue can be battled by constructing some authenticating software’s and by other means that can lay aside the issues.
The internet is a huge source of knowledge which has enabled people worldwide to learn new things. However, not everything on the internet can be trusted, therefore, regulations need to be implemented to curb the spread of fake information and misleading websites.
Here is a conclusion from another essay
The prevention of health problems and illness is more important than treatment and medicine. Government funding should reflect this. To what extent do you agree?
In a nutshell, this opinion is double-edged sword, so I can’t agree fully. It is important to use money depending on cases. For instance, in case of people in hospital which are relatively prevented with ease, you should pay for the prevention more.
It takes time and effort to build your grammar skills and build vocabulary. Use the grammar that you are comfortable with until you can use more advanced structures. There is no quick fix here as it takes a while to develop your English. Reading is important for building vocabulary and reading and listening at the same time is a good way to develop your vocabulary.
There are various free websites to help you with this. TED Talks, BBC News, The Times, The New Scientist, Podcasts and so on, see the link below.
Learn exactly what a complex sentence is and practice writing them. You do not have to use high-level grammar to get a Band 7. In fact, a Band 9 essay uses surprisingly straightforward grammar structures and is very easy to read.
Find a good teacher in your area and make sure you get good feedback on your writing. Ask yourself these questions below when you are practicing your writing.
- Does this make sense to someone reading it for the first time?
- Is it clear what point I am making?
- Is my language too ‘convoluted’?
- Am I still on topic?