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Written Apr. 7, 2020

 

The "Get Band 9" PDF Books For IELTS Writing

There is a series of pdf books called, "Get Band 9" in IELTS Writing (or a similar name). I think these books are excellent so I am putting them here on my website for you to download. See the bottom of this page.

However, I do have a small disagreement with the author of those books concerning how to answer the following words that appear in ALL Task 2 questions, “Give reasons for your answer and include relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.” See my notes, below.

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Some Notes on the book, “Get IELTS Band 9 Academic Task 2 - 15 Model Essays” 

·        This book contains advice on how to write Task 2 essays, advice on some common errors that people make plus 15 example essays. 

·        I think this book is very high-standard in terms of the advice given and the quality of the 15 essays here, all of which are Band 9 (possibly with the exception of  Essay 9, which might be 8.5.) 

·        However, as I explained in the EVERYONE group of IELTS-Chris, I disagree with the authors on their advice about not telling stories about your personal history, friends or family. The authors write: “The Task tells you to use ‘examples from your own experience,’ but this does not mean describing stories from your life or people you know! It means describing examples of things in the world that you know about, have studied or have learned about in the media.  

In my opinion, the authors seem to be confusing “from your own knowledge” with, “from your own experience.” I think if you quickly introduce an example from your personal experience with words such as, “My friend at school”, “My neighbour”, “My colleague at work”, “My uncle” etc then you should not lose any points. Yes, don’t make it a “story” but a relevant example from your personal life does fit the description, “Give reasons for your answer and include relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.” 

Nevertheless, it might be “safer” to give an example or two from your knowledge rather than from your experience, if you have the choice of both experience or knowledge. 

This is a relatively minor point, a contentious or confusing issue that the IELTS organization should address by rewording their task words. 

·        As I also wrote in the EVERYONE group, I think the way the authors wrote the following advice about not using informal words could be better written: Using informal words (for example ‘a nice idea’ or ‘a silly thing to do’) instead of academic words (for example ‘a positive idea’ or ‘a regrettable thing to do.’) Remember that academic vocabulary is different from the language you would use in English when talking to friends. 

Below is a copy of what I wrote in the EVERYONE GROUP –  

@EVERYONE   Another thing the author says is don't use informal words. (See above.) I agree but I would like to make a few comments on what they wrote. First of all, "nice" and "silly" are not classified in dictionaries as "informal words".. It is true that those words are mainly used in informal, everyday conversation and are not good choices to use in IELTS essays although they are quite acceptable in the speaking test.

When I was at school, we were told not to use, "nice" in essays simply because it is a rather "weak" version of "good" – it has a kind of general meaning similar to "good", and conveys the feelings or emotions of the speaker. The word, "silly" is similar. Both are valid words, defined in dictionaries as having quite specific meanings. In contrast to some other words that are listed in dictionaries as "informal", both of those words are NOT classified as informal.

The words, "positive" and "regrettable" are not "academic words".  I don't think there is a classification, "academic word" but an "academic word" could be considered to be a word that is usually written or spoken in academia (universities) such as papers written by professors or PH.D students. Those two words are simply "more educated" or "more advanced" than "nice" and "silly" and have more exact, more detailed meanings.

The author also says those words are different to the words that you would use when talking to a friend. Wrong again, in my opinion. Educated people DO use those words in general conversation.

In other words, I agree in general with what the author says but his usage of "Informal" and "academic" might give you the wrong idea. The IELTS essays should be written in rather educated English, certainly not written in colloquial English such as slang, but you should not get the idea that you need to use the most advanced vocabulary all the time, such as some of the words tested in the GRE test, which are words that are mainly seen in VERY formal or academic literature. 

·        One important point about the example essays is that they do not attempt in any way to repeat the question that you are asked to do. Doing that is a common error of IELTS candidates, even if you change the exact words somewhat. 

The essays do refer back to the question without repeating the question but they do so in a skilful way. That is, if you read the question wording and the beginning of an essay, you see that they naturally fit together. But, even if a person had never seen the question wording, the essays would stand alone as natural essays because the author does refer the reader to the central idea of the question in a way that does not confuse the reader about what the essay is all about. 

The first sentence is always an intelligent, relevant statement connected to the topic of the question, and a statement that is a new piece of information. 

The authors do not begin with the weak statement, “Different people have different views on this question”! Why is that weak? Because everyone knows that! All Task 2 topics are about issues about which there are different views. Furthermore, writing that statement would appear to be a template statement, which examiners don’t really like to see in essay – they want your original ideas and words. 

It is easy for these authors to write good beginning sentences because they appear to be well-educated middle age or older British people who are familiar with Western society, for example, familiar with the news. This shows that Task 2 IELTS essays are not just testing your English or essay-writing skills; they are also testing your thinking skills and general knowledge to some extent. For an 18-year-old IELTS candidate from China, for example, this can be a challenge. 

·        Below are a few of my comments on some of the 15 essays. 

·        Essay 9

Part of the task you are asked to do is, “Give reasons for your answer, and provide ideas and examples from your own experience.”  

This seems to be unusual wording because, from my experience, the wording is usually, “from your own knowledge or experience”. Nevertheless, such wording is possible. 

However, as far as I can see, none of the examples in the essay distinguish themselves as from personal experience. Instead, the examples seem to be examples from the writer’s own knowledge only. 

Therefore, an examiner could assess the Task Response as slightly imperfect i.e., an 8 rather than a 9. On the other hand, since the other aspects of the Task Response are so strong, most examiners would be reluctant to reduce the score to 8. The other three sub-scores are 9 for this essay. 

·        Essay 10 

The essay correctly uses the word, “youngsters” to refer to “young children”, the wording that the question uses. However, I have seen many people use the word, “youngster” unsuitably, as I’ll explain. 

The online Cambridge dictionary defines “youngster” with two slightly different definitions – “a young person, usually an older child” and, “a young person”.  An “older child” could be considered to be between, say, 9 and 12 years old. But how old are “young people”? Most people consider “young people” to be aged 13 to somewhere in their twenties, even 13 to 30. 

However, although dictionaries tell you the meaning of words and phrases, they don’t usually tell you the usage of these words except by showing some examples of common usage. The fact is that the word “youngster” is most often used by quite old people, at least middle-aged people (say, 40 to 60) and is most commonly used by old people, (over 60)! This is a cultural fact. The word is used when referring to someone who is a lot younger than the speaker or writer. It should not simply be considered to be a synonym of “young people” – you should be aware of the cultural usage of the word. 

Most of you preparing for IELTS are young people. In my opinion, if you use that word to refer to children (i.e., people 3 to 12 years old) then possibly it will feel suitable to examiners. On the other hand, if the topic of the question in the writing or speaking test is “young people” (like you), then I suggest not using the word “youngster”.  

·        Essay 11 

This question is an IDEAS > PROBLEM/SOLUTION type of question. Notice that the writer wrote, Perhaps the largest problem is the issue of obesity,  . . .”  You should be careful of stating facts dogmatically, i.e., as undisputed facts as if you are an expert who has researched the issue. Using “perhaps”, “possibly” and similar language is very suitable.  

I even think it would not be unsuitable to sometimes write, “I think” or “I believe” or similar statements when writing what you believe or think are facts. After all, “Perhaps the largest problem is the issue of obesity,  . . .” really means, “I think that perhaps the largest problem is the issue of obesity,  . . .” But writing “I think” here is unnecessary, or redundant. 

There might be times when you want to state a fact as an undisputed fact. Those are the times when you must back up your statement with some evidence, such as some research finding. 

This essay contains a rather minor vocabulary error, in my opinion. Thr author wrote, “ . . . people who are short of time eating junk food rather than proper nutrients.” We don’t “eat nutrients”. We eat food that contains nutrients or that provides nutrients. A better sentence would be, “ . . . people who are short of time eating junk food rather than nutritious food.” Although the word, “food” is repeated in that sentence, it is natural. Even semi-formal writing allows for some repetition when a suitable alternative word does not exist. 

The conclusion of this essay strikes me as particularly good because it concisely summarizes the writer’s view in somewhat different words to what he or she wrote in the essay. 

·        Essay 13 

Similar to my comment about Essay 11, the writer wrote, “The main cause is probably the lack of employment available to rural people.”  

In this essay we see the words, “Furthermore, the growth of employment opportunities in the cities means that people, especially youngsters, are tempted to move there by higher wages and the prospect of reliable work.” This is an example of what I wrote in the notes for Essay 10. Personally, I would think that this is unsuitable in an IELTS essay written by someone who is about 25 years old. The middle aged (or older) authors of this book are possibly forgetting this!  

·        Essay 14 

This is another question where the task includes the words, “Give reasons for your answer, and provide ideas and examples from your own experience.” And, just as in Essay 9, I don’t see anything that is clearly from the writer’s own experience rather than from the writer’s knowledge. 

Again in this essay we see how the writer wrote,I think there are two main causes, and a number of damaging effects” followed by, “The major cause is probably the almost universal use of digital technology to store financial data and undertake financial transactions.” Later in the essay, there are also the words, “The second key cause is, I believe, the increasing probability of ‘traditional’ crimes (such as armed robbery, mugging or burglary) being detected.”

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For Downloading

Get IELTS Band 9 Academic Task 1.pdf

Get IELTS Band 9 Academic Task 2 - 15 Model Essays.pdf

Get IELTS Band 9 Academic Task 2 Book 2.pdf

IELTS Band 9 Vocab Secrets.pdf