Please help to mark my IELTS writing task 2 based on 4 criterions: Task response, Coherence and cohesion, Lexical resource, Grammatical range and accuracy.


Some people think that all university students should study whatever they like. Others believe that they should only be allowed to study subjects that will be useful in the future, such as those related to science and technology.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

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There has been an argument regarding the way to choose subjects of undergraduate students. While some people think that they should be forced to study subjects which will be beneficial in the long run, I believe that choosing subjects based on students’ interest is a better option.


On the one hand, there are several reasons why some certain key subjects should only be offered to students in universities due to their usefulness in the future. From a personal perspective, if students pursue vital subjects, such as technology or science, they will be more likely to have greater job opportunities, career progression, and better salaries. For example, information technology has been growing quickly and is a promising field to provide jobs for prospective workforce, while the demand for artists in current job market has been decreasing over few years. From a societal level, by forcing studying some essential subjects in higher education, governments are able to ensure the workforce having adequate knowledge and skills in the vital fields for the national economy so that maintain the stable development and prosperity for nations.


On the other hand, I support the view that students should have freedom of choice regarding their preferred areas of study. Firstly, there is no doubt that the more passion students have, the more enthusiasm and efforts they will make. Consequently, students may be more likely to acquire higher achievements on these subjects due to their hard-working processes. Secondly, studying in favourite subjects would stimulate creativity because learners always want to discover new things in their interested fields. Last but not least, it is undeniable that nobody can really predict exactly the most useful areas in the future, and there may be changes in the demands of society and employments. If this happened, perhaps employees would need more artists rather than scientists or technical staff .


In summary, although focusing on some key subjects in higher education brings some positive effects, I believe that society will have more benefits if students are allowed to study courses of their choice.


(340 words)



I don't know if anyone here is trained or experienced as an IELTS examiner.

I am not, so I can't give you band scores in each of those categories.

I do give feedback on errors in students' essays for grammar, word choice and structure.

But you did not ask for that.

Oh. I am sorry for asking based on IELTS mark. Please give me feedback in the essay for grammar, word choice and structure.

Many thanks.

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The (public) Band descriptors for Task 2 are here:

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/IELTS_task_2_Writing_band_descriptors.pdf

There is presumably a confidential version, which examiners are not allowed to disclose.

The public descriptors leave quite a number of questions unanswered. For example: compare "the majority of sentences are error-free" with "produces frequent error-free sentences". If there are, say, fifteen sentences in Task 2, where exactly is the borderline?

"Simon" on ielts-simon.com says he is an ex-examiner, and another contributor "Sjm" also. Occasionally it is possible to glean some information:

"I have asked five other IELTS examiners and we all agree. There is nothing wrong with ‘firstly’ ‘secondly’ and ‘finally’ and they will never negatively affect your score. They are normal words in formal written English. I even put this to a senior examiner and he was surprised that anyone would say that they should be avoided." sjm

https://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/08/ielts-writing-task-2-real-opinion-or-easy-opinion.html

Here are the overall IELTS statistics, which show that the writing score is on average about half a band below the reading score.

https://www.ielts.org/teaching-and-research/test-taker-performance

This suggests that if you are not already achieving at least 7.5 in the reading score, you are statistically less likely to score Band 7.0 in writing.

At the end of the day, it is your job to analyse your own mistakes from the corrections and comments given, and take appropriate remedial action.

I am not, and have never been, an examiner.

To me, the latter half of the third paragraph is not clear, so this would adversely affect your score for coherence and cohesion. I would question whether the second paragraph really supports a "consistent position": perhaps it would be more suited to "discussing both views".

There are vocabulary issues which would have knock-on effects in coherence and task achievement. For example, "if this happened, perhaps employees [Employers?] would need more artists rather than scientists or technical staff ".

There are also grammatical issues, such as "by forcing studying some essential subjects" [by forcing students to study some essential subjects].

Band 7 is often used as the minimum required level for postgraduate study and professional registration by nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals. My impression is that there is more work needed on the issues outlined above in order to achieve an acceptable professional standard.

There has been an argument regarding the way to choose subjects of undergraduate students. (Unnatural English. It does not have the meaning you want. ... "the way undergraduate students choose their majors." ) While some people think that they should be forced to study subjects which will be beneficial in the long run, I believe that choosing subjects based on students’ interest is a better option.

On the one hand, there are several reasons why some certain key subjects should only be offered to students in universities due to their usefulness in the future. From a personal perspective, if students pursue vital subjects, such as technology or science, they will be more likely to have greater job opportunities, career progression, and better salaries. For example, information technology has been growing quickly and is a promising field which to provides jobs to many graduates for prospective workforce, (wrong usage) while the demand for artists in the current job market has been decreasing over few (wrong usage) years. From a societal level, by forcing studying (wrong usage ... by forcing people to major in ...) some essential subjects in higher education, governments are able to ensure the workforce having (wrong usage) ... that there will be a workforce with...) adequate knowledge and skills in the vital fields for the national economy so that maintain the stable development and prosperity for nations. (wrong usage ... so that the nation will continue to develop and prosper.)


On the other hand, I support the view that students should have freedom of choice regarding their preferred areas of study. Firstly, First, there is no doubt that the more passion students have, the more enthusiasm and efforts they will make. (wrong usage .. "the more enthusiasm they will have and the more effort they will make in their classes.) Consequently, students may be more likely to acquire higher achievements on these subjects due to their hard-working processes. (hard work) Secondly, Second, studying in favourite subjects would stimulate creativity because people learners always want to discover new things in their interested fields. (wrong usage .. "fields of interest". / "fields they are interested in") Last but not least, it is undeniable that nobody can really predict exactly the most useful areas in the future, and there may be changes in the demands of society and employments. (wrong form) If this happened, perhaps employees (wrong word) would need more artists rather than scientists or technical staff .


In summary, although focusing on some key subjects in higher education brings some positive effects, I believe that society will have more benefits if students are allowed to study the courses of their choice. ("choose their majors." is better.)

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

Thank you for your reply.

There are some corrections that I do not understand. Please clarify:

Employments --> wrong form?

Employees --> wrong word?

provides jobs for prospective workforce --> wrong usage?

few years --? wrong usage?

a promising field --> wrong?

dongtanEmployments --> wrong form?

Employment is non-count. We do not use the plural form.

dongtanEmployees --> wrong word?

Why would a person working for a company (an employee) need an artist? To make pictures for their home? To make personal greeting cards to send to friends and relatives?

dongtanprovides jobs for prospective workforce --> wrong usage?

That is not the way we use "workforce." This is the sum total of people that are currently working.

This is a natural phrase..

provides jobs for the workers of the future.

dongtanfew years --? wrong usage?

There is a big difference between "few" and "a few".

"few years" means "some, but not many, individual years" and

"a few years" means somewhere between 3 and 8 years.

Wine takes a few years to develop in the cask. ( It takes wine 2-6 years to develop. "A few years" is a length of time regardless of when. A few years could refer to a time 1500 years ago or 40 years ago.)

Our land was productive. There were few years when we didn't have a good harvest. = There were some, but not many, particular years when the harvest was not good.

.has been decreasing over few (wrong usage) years.

dongtana promising field --> wrong?

You did not use that phrase.

"A few" is used when zero was expected, that is, taking a "positive" viewpoint.

"Few" with no article contrasts with "many", where much larger numbers were to be expected.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=%5Bfew+years%5D-%5Ba+few+years%5D%2Ca+few+years%2C +few+years%2C+*_VERB+few+years&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2C%5Bfew%20years%5D%20-%20%5Ba%20few%20years%5D%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ca%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2C%2A%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Ba%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Blast%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BA%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bpast%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bnext%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bvery%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bfirst%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bthese%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bsome%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bthe%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B.t2%3B%2C%2A_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bfollowing_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bpreceding_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bcoming_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bare_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bremaining_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bwere_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bensuing_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bsucceeding_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bbeen_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bhad_VERB%20few%20years%3B%2Cc0

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22were+few+years%22&hl=uk&tbm=bks&ei=nl1kXOaWDpmevQSqloKICA&start=0&sa=N&ved=0ahUKEwjm3f6rp7ngAhUZT48KHSqLAIE4ChDx0wMIQQ&biw=1220&bih=958&dpr=1

https://www.google.com/search?hl=uk&tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=%22decreasing+over+the+past+few+years%22&num=10

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