In this tutorial, ex-IELTS examiner Robert reviews a Band 7 Task 2 Essay.
We look at:
- Why an examiner would give this essay a Band 7 instead of Band 9
- A paragraph-by-paragraph ex-examiner review of the Band 7 essay
- Tips to improve your Band 7 essay to Band 9 level
Read the Task 2 Question below
Some people believe that professionals such as doctors and engineers should be required to work in the country where they did their training. Others believe they should be free to work in another country if they wish. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Let’s read through the essay paragraph by paragraph, stopping after each one to look at some key elements.
Sample Band 7 Task 2 Essay: Introduction
There are two points of view about if professional workers must live and work in the country they come from or can go and work in another country. In this essay, I will write about these two points of view. In my view, professionals like doctors and engineers need to stay and help their countries for a few years.
- The paraphrase of the task question is pretty good, quite “safe” if you like, although the use of “points of view about” is uncomfortable. We would probably use …”concerning / on the subject of instead”
- The use of modal verbs in this first paragraph – must live, can go – makes sense but neither is used completely accurately in that “should” conveys the idea of some kind of moral responsibility or duty compared to “must” meaning no choice, obligation. Similarly, “can” is tricky. It is open to many interpretations. How could we rewrite that first sentence? Try it yourselves. How about “ought to” as a synonym for “should” and perhaps “are free to” for “can”?
- The vocabulary is a little repetitive as well with “two points of view” used twice.
Sample Band 7 Task 2 Essay: Body Paragraph 1
Many people think that young doctors and engineers must continue to live and work in their countries because usually governments have paid for their studies. As a result, these people should pay that back by working to help their countries in the future. Also, developing countries need as many people as possible to work, especially in hospitals and schools and so on. So, a country should not lose talented graduates to other countries, for example doctors and nurses going to work in the UK.
- The paragraph looks fine with good sentence structures, and cohesive devices like “because, also so”.
- Two related central ideas – studies paid by the government and so there is the obligation to repay that through work – and therefore not so complex thematically as the Band 9 essay.
Sample Band 7 Task 2 Essay: Body Paragraph 2
On the other hand, others think that anyone can decide where to work or live, then after many years studying to become a professional, he or she will have a choice to go to another place to live, it is a good idea. Maybe the doctor or engineer will obtain more salary or study more in another country. Also, many people like office workers, construction workers and even football players can go anywhere they want, so why not doctors, engineers and other professions?
- The first sentence can be improved. The use of the comma followed by “then” is typical. A connector is needed: “and then” or we begin a new sentence with “after”. The sentence loses absolute clarity, drifting on with another comma and the “it is a good idea” clause. Perhaps add a “so” before that?
- Sentence 2 contains a poor collocation “will obtain more salary” and “more” is repeated. What would be better here? We “obtain a better salary” or just “earn more money”/”earn a higher salary” could be better.
- One central idea …”we should have a choice after years of study” and it is justified simply by the fact that others can do it. That works though again the use of modals is not bad but an overreliance on “can”. How could we vary that? That same applies to “will”. A possible alternative is “Perhaps the doctor or engineer could earn a higher salary abroad…”
IMPORTANT: Notice here “abroad”. Our Band 7 writer does not go beyond the familiar “in another country”. Remember the use of more precise words matters a lot in IELTS.
Sample Band 7 Task 2 Essay: Conclusion
There are two points of view, one in favour, one against. In my opinion, professions such as medicine and engineering and education too, have the obligation to help their societies and one way to make that is to work for the state after they graduate. One idea is to fix a limit of, for example, three years´ work in a national hospital before a person can work in another place.
- More overuse of “can” but the point is made. There is an error in collocation, make for do, in “one way to make that”. Also “have the obligation” is not the best choice. We would say “are under the obligation to“.
- I’m being intentionally negative with this Band 7, picking on the faults. I should also recognise its strong points. Apart from the first sentence of Paragraph 3, the sentences are structurally fine with just errors in word choice, modal verb choice and collocation. Cohesive devices are used well. In all, it’s a good IELTS essay.
Why an examiner would give this essay a Band 7 instead of Band 9
- Grammar: A few grammatical errors.
- Sentence Structure: A good mix of complex and simple error-free sentences.
- Vocabulary: A relatively wide range of vocabulary despite some poor word choices.
- Spelling: The very occasional spelling mistake.
- Cohesion: Some over or under-use of cohesive devices either within sentences or between them.
- Paragraphing: Four paragraph style (Introduction, Body paragraph 1, Body Paragraph 2 and Conclusion)
- Task Response: Task response is more than adequate although there may be a tendency to over-generalise.
- Examples: Examples or supporting points are a little unconvincing, they may lack precise focus.
Read the full Band 7 essay here
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