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How to Get a Band 8 for IELTS Essays in Writing Task 2.

The IELTS Writing Task 2 is an essay question. You will be asked to read a passage and answer a question about it, giving reasons and/or examples to support your claim.

You normally have 40 minutes to complete your essay. Time will soon go so it is important to be prepared in order to use the time effectively.

The key to getting a Band 8 for IELTS Essays is to understand the task and what the examiners are looking for in a good answer.

The following tips will help you to do that.

  1. First of all it is helpful to know the criteria that the examiners use.

They use four criteria for marking the IELTS task 2 writing test. Each criteria is worth 25% of the total marks for task 2. Before criteria are:

    • Coherence and cohesion
    • Grammatical range and accuracy
    • Task Response
    • Lexical Resource

Coherence and cohesion

This includes how well your essay is organised, the number of paragraphs and how well you link them together.

You will get a good score if you do the following:

  • have a total of five paragraphs as follows:
      • opening paragraph
      • three body paragraphs
      • concluding paragraph.
  • use one topic for each paragraph,
  • organise your thoughts in a logical manner,
  • link them together using different linking words
  • avoid mistakes in your linking words.

Grammatical range and accuracy

This is about sentence structure, avoiding mistakes and the correct use of Grammar and tenses.

To get a high band score do the following:

    • use a variety of sentence structures.
    • Avoid mistakes in your punctuation and grammar,
    • use the correct word order in sentences.

Common mistakes to avoid in this section are word order, articles and plural nouns.

Task Response

This is about how you develop your ideas to answer the question. To get a high band score do the following:

    • use main points and supporting points to structure your answer,
    • answer all the issues raised in the question,
    • stay on topic,
    • right more than 250 words.

Lexical resource

This is about your vocabulary, paraphrasing, spelling and the number of mistakes you make.

To get a high band score do the following:

    • spell words correctly,
    • use a variety of words that are relevant to the topic,
    • when using collocations ensure that you use the correct noun with the verb,
    • avoid errors (they can lower your score),
    • do not use informal language.

Your essay will be marked on each of these four criteria and then the average of the four is calculated for your final band score.

2.   Write The Essay First

You have one hour to complete Tasks 1 and 2 of the writing section. Task 2 carries the most marks so it is good organisation of your time to complete the essay first to ensure that you finish it on time. Allocate 40 minutes or less to Task 2 and 20 minutes to Task 1.


  1. Write in a Natural Manner.

It is better to keep your language simple with few mistakes than try to impress the examiner with complicated vocabulary. Use language that is natural to you and you will make less mistakes.

  1. Read it After You’ve Written it.

Read it to check that it does sound natural and to spot mistakes. Also, check for repetitions. For example, if you have used “very” several times then change it to “extremely.” “Nice” and “good” are also words that are used a lot. Look for alternatives.

Follow those four guidelines and you will achieve a Band 8 for IELTS Essays in Writing Task 2.    If you would like to have more coaching for the IELTS exam then check out  our one-to-one online lessons.





Paul Andreas

Paul Andreas is a Certified Speaking Coach and qualified TEFL Teacher Online English Lessons delivered by Skype for IELTS exam preparation and conversational English. Get a free trial lesson.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Ethan James

    When it comes to Task Response, one of the suggestions for a high band score is to stay on topic. Well, I see this contradicting one of the opening paragraph, which states that you have to back your answers with examples. So, does it mean that citing an example that is outside the topic but still relevant to the question is punishable?

    1. Paul Andreas

      Ethan, it’s important to stay on topic. Each of your paragraphs should form a structure which flows smoothly.

  2. Samuel Akuma

    The third part of the Essay writing got my attention since I always thought that one of the ways to impress the examiners for a high band score is through the use of high vocabularies, at least to show how proficient you are in the use of English language.

  3. Kennethy Slale

    Hi, I think that it’s pretty hard to get a Band 8 for the IELTS writing task. I want a Band 8 nest time and I hink that this article will help. Thanks.

  4. Salvatore

    Hi, I found the tips in this article very useful. In fact all your articles are interesting and useful. I hope that they will help me to get a Band 8!

  5. Bryan

    I like your site. This article about getting a Band 8 for IELTS essays was very helpful. Thank you.

  6. Ken

    Thanks for the tips about getting a Band 8 in the IELTS exam. I found it very useful. I hope to take the test soon.

  7. Ronald Hernandez

    I found this article about how to get a Band 8 for IELTS Essays in writing task 2 very useful. I got a band 6 at my last attempt. I hope to get a band 8 next time with your help. Thanks.

  8. Aviva Hansen

    How to get a Band 8 in the IELTS exam! I would love to do that. Your article will help me!

  9. Soren Korhonen

    I would like to get a Band 8 in the IELTS. I think that this post will help me.

  10. Rosalind

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes which will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Charles

    Thanks for these tips. I would love to get a Band 8 in the IELTS.

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