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Work on Task Achievement and Cohesion

and Coherence for a band 9.0 score


January 6, 2017 kevinadean2014

A quick post today with another Discuss both views essay


example
I was talking with a student about how to get a band 9.0 essay
score (he scored 8.0 in his last test) and I was saying that all
things being equal in terms of grammar and vocab, the best way
to pick up the points he needed was to work on Task
Achievement and Cohesion and Coherence. That is to say, if
your grammar and vocabulary are good, then its the little things
in the other criteria that are going to make the difference. What
are they? Well, I have written about these before of course,
simple things such as always including an outline sentence in
your introduction, making your examples more specific, making
sure that you refer to your main ideas throughout the response,
etc.
So, lets have a look at some examples. As you may have seen
from my other posts, I recommend a simple structure for the
introduction, depending on the question type, but in general
1. sentence 1: paraphrase/restate the topic
2. thesis statement/express opinion (if asked depending on q
type)
3. outline sentence: briefly mention two main ideas/briefly
answer the questions
Taking the question below as the basis for this lesson..
Some people think that art is an essential subject for
children at school while others think it is a waste of time.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Sentence 1: paraphrase the topic
It has been argued that the teaching of art to school children is
a waste of time and effort, whereas other would argue that art is
a vital lesson to be taught at school.
Sentence 2: for this question type I would recommend briefly
mentioning the two main ideas you will discuss. However, I
know lots of people will write something like In this essay I
will discuss both views and then give my opinion, or This
essay will consider both views and give reasons and examples.
Well, yes, we know you will, after all thats what the
instructions tell you to do. In essence, this is a waste of a
sentence, it does nothing except add words to your word count
and does not tell the examiner where the essay is going or what
it is about. You should always try to include an outline sentence,
as it signals clearly what the essay is about, it makes you essay
more cohesive as you will have several points of reference
throughout the essay, and it allows you to include more
vocabulary than simply repeating the instructions.
A better sentence is therefore: This essay will discuss the lack
of employment opportunities for artists, and also how art
stimulates a childs creativity
In this sentence we can see the specifics of the two views to be
discussed, that art is useless for children, and that it is essential
for children. We are moving from the general views (useless vs
essential) to specific reasons and examples to illustrate our
points. This is much better than simply writing This essay will
discuss both views and give examples
Which leads me to my next point, giving specific examples. As
you know every essay has these instructions, write at least 250
words, and give reasons and examples, etc. And according to
the official marking criteria, the more your ideas are relevant,
fully extended, and well supported the higher mark you will get
for Task Achievement. What this translates to is this, the better,
more specific your ideas, reasons and examples, the better. To
illustrate, using the above question again, which is a better
example?
This is paragraph two, where we are discussing the view that art
is a waste of time in general by moving to the specific idea that
artists have trouble finding a job (I spell this idea out in the
paragraph).
So, sentence one, topic sentence: Firstly, although art may well
be useful for a childs creativity, later in life it may be difficult to
find an art related job.
Sentence two, explanation/reason If a child wants to continue
with art as a profession, it has to be noted that only a minority
of artists are a success.
Sentence three, example: option one or two?
1. For example, it is common knowledge that many artists
struggle to be a success after graduation
2. For example, a recent survey by the University of Hanoi in
2016 showed that 90% of arts graduates from Vietnamese
universities were unemployed for some years after
graduation.
Sentence four, summary/conclusion: This fact may well explain
many parents attitude to the teaching of art in schools.
Which example do you think is better? I think two, as it is more
detailed and more specific and better supports the previous
sentence. Now, you may be thinking that you cannot remember
such a specific example and you cant use it in the exam, but as I
tell people, make something up. It is perfectly fine to invent a
survey or a piece of research or whatever to support your ideas.
The examiner will not check them, they dont have time and the
IELTS is not a truth test in any case, you will only lose marks if
your example is patently absurd or ridiculous, so, feel free to use
your imagination here.
Next point, Cohesion and Coherence, now you can pick up more
points here by linking and connecting your ideas and main
points. Signpost words and phrases, discourse markers, like
firstly, additionally, then, moreover, etc, can all be used and
should be, but I also mean using key words or
synonyms/paraphrase to show a clear progression and a logical
sequence to your writing. In any case, what you should be doing
while writing your essay is to follow the simple rules
1. tell em what you are going to say
2. say it
3. tell em what you said
In other words, your introduction should outline the topic, your
opinion, and your main ideas (whatever they might be again
depending on the question type). Then in your body paragraphs,
you need to expand on this by having a topic sentence, an
explanatory sentence, and an example, and possibly a
summary/conclusion sentence. Finally, in your conclusion you
need to restate the topic again, mention your main ideas, and
your opinion, all in paraphrase. In essence, throughout the essay
you say the same things three times but in other words.
So. lets consider the complete essay below, I will use different
colours to represent
1. topic keywords = red (see last weeks post for an
explanation of keywords vs microwords)
2. view number one (art for children is a waste) = blue
3. view number two (art for children is essential) = green
It has been argued that the teaching of art to school children is
a waste of time and effort, whereas other would argue that art is
a vital lesson to be taught at school. This essay will discuss the
lack of employment opportunities for artists, and also how art
stimulates a childs creativity.
Firstly, although art may well be useful for a childs creativity,
later in life it may be difficult to find an art related job. If a child
wants to continue with art as a profession, it has to be noted that
only a minority of artists are a success. For example, a recent
survey by the University of Hanoi in 2016 showed that 90% of
arts graduates from Vietnamese universities were unemployed
for some years after graduation. This fact may well explain
many peoples attitude to the teaching of art in schools.
Despite the fact that art may not be immediately useful in
finding a job, it is still a vital subject for children. By learning to
paint, draw, etc, a childs mind will be stimulated and lead to a
more creative outlook on life. According to the Hanoi Child
Psychology Institute children who have early exposure to art
display higher IQ s and are more likely to go into higher
education. This study reinforces the importance of art, not only
as a source of employment, but also as tool for developing a
childs mental abilities.
In conclusion, although the teaching of art in school has been
considered both vital, and pointless, depending on your view, I
believe that despite art not being potentially useful for
employment purposes, the effect it has on a childs psychology is
of inestimable value. For this reason, I believe that art should
remain on the school curricula.
As you can hopefully see from the illustration, the main ideas are
interconnected and linked throughout the essay, thus improving
the cohesion and coherence of the writing. You will also note that
having a summary/conclusion at the end of the paragraph links
nicely to the following paragraph, and the topic sentence of that
paragraph makes reference to the previous one.
I hope that gives you some ideas then about how to make that
move to a band 9.0 essay, to recap, all things being equal in terms
of grammar and vocabulary, what you need to focus on is Task
Achievement (more specific examples, outline sentence) and
Cohesion and Coherence (linking and connecting your ideas
throughout the essay).