One of the keys to succeed in IELTS Exam is knowing how the test is scored and utilizing that knowledge to increase your Band Score. Understanding the scoring pattern of the test enables you to recognize what the examiners exactly want. You can then focus on doing those things and fetch a good score.

In this post, we will talk about one of the most important out of the four criteria on which the IELTS Writing Test Task 2 is scored. That is, Coherence & Cohesion.

Coherence & Cohesion holds the highest weightage in IELTS Writing – Academic and General Tests. But, aspirants overlook this criterion most of the times and this is exactly why they score a Low Band.

So, let’s get familiar with these important tools that play a crucial role in fetching a high score in Task 2 (Essay Writing) of IELTS Writing exam.

What is Coherence?

Coherence refers to the flow of your writing. It relates to how well your essay is organised and how logically your ideas are sequenced.

When you write an essay, your main motive is to express your ideas precisely whereas the motto of the examiner is how easily he can understand your ideas while reading it. This is why, Coherence is essential for your Essay Writing task.

Quick Tips to Follow that marks your Coherence Skill in your Essay

  • Separate your Essay with different paragraphs
  • Use Linking Phrases to connect paragraphs
  • Follow a Logical Sequence with paragraphs

Let’s say you are given the following topic to write your essay:

It is becoming increasingly popular to have a year off between completing school and beginning to go to university. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

The following essay structure shows your Coherence skills - 

  • Introduction: Here, you will paraphrase the essay question provided and then present your point of view
  • Body Paragraph 1: You can start by discussing one of the advantages
  • Body Paragraph 2: Provide another advantage if you want (optional)
  • Body Paragraph 3: Discuss one of the disadvantages
  • Body Paragraph 4: You can include another disadvantage (optional)
  • Conclusion: At this point, you have to summarise all your arguments and restate your point of view

Now that you know what Coherence is, it is essential that you paraphrase the essay question and maintain a connection between body paragraphs. For that, you can make use of Linking Phrases. That is, to start with another advantage you can use phrases like ‘in addition to’ or ‘furthermore’. To bridge a logical sequence between advantages and disadvantages, you can begin writing disadvantages using some of the phrases like ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’ or ‘let’s not forget the fact that’.

Keep these points into consideration while you write your essay for IELTS Writing Test – whether Academic  or General.

What is Cohesion?

Cohesion means linking words that help you connect ideas. It also relates to how sentences are linked together to form a paragraph and how paragraphs are linked together to form an essay.

Quick Tips to Follow that shows your Cohesive Skill in your Essay

  • Focus only on 1 point in each paragraph
  • Write Complex Sentences with appropriate use of Punctuations
  • Link your ideas with Syntax instead of making excessive use of Linking phrases

For your essay to be cohesive, you must ensure that you don’t mix up more than one idea in a single paragraph. Instead, you should analyse one particular point, elaborate it, and provide suitable example to prove that point.

Though writing complex sentences is advisable for IELTS Essay Writing task, you must use them wisely. That is, you need to present your thoughts with a check on the subject and verbs you use. Furthermore, proper Punctuations can also help you in framing complex sentences.

Cohesive Devices are used to signify the relationship between different clauses, sentences and paragraphs.

What are Cohesive Devices?

Connectors, linking words/phrases and transitional words are the Cohesive Devices that you can use in your Essay.

Here are some examples of Cohesive Devices that you can use in your IELTS Essay Writing Task

  • Adding Ideas: ‘furthermore’, ‘in addition to’
  • Contrasting Ideas: ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘let’s not forget the fact that’
  • Stating Examples: ‘for instance’, ‘for example’, ‘to illustrate this’
  • Explaining Results: ‘consequently’, ‘as a result’
  • Maintaining the Sequence: ‘firstly’, ‘next’, ‘to begin with’
  • Providing Explanations: ‘because of’, ‘due to’
  • Concluding Ideas: ‘in conclusion’, ‘to sum up’
  • Introducing your Point: ‘another point that I would like to add’, ‘in my opinion’

Never overdo with Cohesive Devices.

You must avoid use of excessive connectors in a single paragraph. With too many linking words, your writing will not sound natural and fluent. It may also distract the examiner while reading your essay. So, think carefully whether the connectors you are writing match the idea you are trying to express or not. An alternative to prevent unnecessary connectors is to use pronouns and dependent clauses to fulfil your purpose.

Use Cohesive Devices Correctly and in Right Quantity.

Here’s a Quick Summary to ensure that your Essay Writing Task has these characteristics!

  • Start each paragraph with a clear and concise sentence
  • Focus only on one main point in each paragraph
  • Develop your main idea with proper explanation, evidence, example or experience
  • Use variety of linking words and phrases
  • Make sure that the Cohesive Devices used are appropriate
  • Use pronouns and synonyms to avoid repetition
  • End your paragraph with a summary sentence that either concludes it or links it to the other paragraph

You can visit the Blog section of IELTS Tutorials to stay updated with the important aspects of IELTS Test. You can start preparing with free online IELTS practice tests and other study materials.

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