If you’ve read the IELTS writing band descriptors, you have probably noticed that both grammatical accuracy and range are taken into account by the scorer.
As an IELTS student, you should focus most of your efforts on accuracy. In fact, researchers have found that grammatical accuracy is closely related to Band Score.
Specifically, an IELTS.org research paper found grammatical accuracy to be a better predictor of band score than complexity (range).
Let’s look at some more examples…
- Essays with more complex sentence structures are sometimes marked lower because of more mistakes (Mayor et al 2000)
- From band 5 and up, sentence complexity is not strongly linked with band score (Banerjee et al 2004)
- Accuracy with Subject-Verb Agreement (e.g. Economic health is good for a country) and Passives (Next, the pencil is passed to a machine…) is tightly linked with proficiency and higher band scores (Banerjee et al 2004)
To summarize, the more accurate your grammar is, the better your chance of getting a high band score.
Take a moment to read that sentence again. It’s a critically important idea and I hope you consider it when you’re devising your study plans.
Accuracy is more important than range.
Grammatical Accuracy Action Steps
- Review one of your pieces of writing
- Can you find any grammar mistakes?
- Can you find sentences that are difficult to understand because they are too long?
- Fix your mistakes and note what kind of problems you have
If this is difficult for you to do on your own, consider a writing correction from an IELTS expert.