Problems with the IELTS Essay Topics

by Chris


Will my grade get lowered in IELTS writing for going off topic?



Hello.

I took the IELTS Academic today and I have some questions regarding the Writing test.

I think I have made a mistake because at part II, I think I went a little off topic.

I mean I wrote something related to the given subject, but I panicked because I was running out of time and I just wrote down what popped into my mind (somehow related to the subject).

Do you think this will lower my grade too much?

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Sep 25, 2014
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IELTS writing going off topic
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Chris,

It's really difficult for anyone to tell you if your specific essay was off topic without seeing it.

But yes, a persons score will be lower if they do go off topic. If you take a look at the IELTS Task 2 band descriptors (available online or from your local IELTS centre) you can see that you are graded on this for 'Task Response'.

There are things like 'the answer is tangential' or 'addresses the task only partially'.

If you go badly off topic your vocabulary could also be wrong i.e. not related to the task.

So you could get penalised with these if you do go off topic, but it really depends how off topic you go so it is not possible to generalise. Someone would need to look at the essay you did to be able to tell you.

If what you wrote was related then you may not have gone off topic.

Thanks

Feb 20, 2016
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Off topic
by: Anonymous

Hi there

I did my test today, I was writing very fluently, and when I re-read the assignment in the last few minutes, I noticed that I didn't fully answer the question.

The topic was something like this:

Wild animals should be protected. But some people believe that some wild animals should be protected more than others.

Write about these two views.


I wrote an introduction to this by talking about how I think it is true that some animals should be kept safe.

Then I wrote two paragraphs on why some animals are in danger and in need of protection (human interference - climate change)

I wrote one paragraph on how to keep them safe.

I was able to fix my conclusion to match the task more and wrote that some people might consider it unfair to only focus the protection on the endangered animals but due to what I have written in the paragraphs above, that is not my opinion.

Do you think I will be marked poorly because of this mistake?

Feb 21, 2016
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Protecting animals question
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

It's difficult to tell you if you answered correctly as the essay question you posted did not really make sense. You must have remembered it incorrectly. I'd really need to see the proper question to assess your answer.

May 21, 2016
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Need an answer
by: Anonymous

Hello,

I made a big mistake in my ielts writing task2. The question was about if it's better or not for you countries to spent their money on children sport. I understood the question, but the problem is that instead of writing about countries I wrote about companies.. how much will the examiner going to deduct marks from it??

May 23, 2016
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Need an answer
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

If you look at what I wrote below, you will see that if you write about the wrong topic it can bring the score down quite a bit for 'task response', maybe to a 4 or 5, but it is difficult to say for sure without seeing what you actually wrote.

Aug 13, 2016
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Social Skills and Good Education
by: Navi

Hello,

Today I was asked to write on social skills and good education:

Why do employers hire people with good social skills along with education.

I have written a decent essay, but I got confused in the middle, I was going good with communication and interaction skills, but suddenly i went of the topic and I also included about computer skills too........... I mentioned along with good communication skills an employee should also possess good computer skills too.

Please let me know your opinion.

Aug 14, 2016
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Social Skills and Good Education
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Navi,

It really is too difficult to comment on a point like you make without actually seeing your essay.

You can get knocked down to a band 5 for task response for providing 'irrelevant detail' but I don't know if what you did would cause it to come down to a 5.

It could also affect coherency.

But it depends on the context and how it fits in with the overall essay.

So you really just have to wait for your result and hope it is ok.

Oct 10, 2016
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Writing task 2
by: Anonymous

Hi,

I did my IELTS exam last day. I got writing task 2 about successful life can be achieved by university education only and some thing that it has changed nowadays.

But what I wrote as response was going to community college can also make an individual successful if he has true desire. And then the teaching quality has also increased to a good level in community college now than earlier times.

I compared university education with community college education.

But I have a doubt whether I misinterpreted the question. Whether the question was about higher education.

Will my score get affected by this?? Please reply.

Oct 10, 2016
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Writing task 2
by: IELTS buddy

Unfortunately it's really too difficult to answer your question without seeing what the actual question you had to answer was.

You explained the question, but knowing EXACTLY how it was worded is important to know if you answered it or not.

Really you will just have to wait for your result.

Nov 19, 2016
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Ielts general writing 2
by: Anonymous

Writing task 2 was:

Some people say that during vacation in other countries visitors should not stay in hotels as they will not meet the local people.

Discuss your opinion.


Unfortunately my response was about advantages of hotel stay versus in the tent. I added some discription about cultural effect and economical effect.

What would you say regarding my essay?

Thanks

Nov 20, 2016
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Problems with the IELTS Essay Topics
by: IELTS buddy

To be honest you must have remembered the essay question wrong because what you wrote does not really make sense.

You said 'hotels will not meet the local people', but hotels can't meet people. Only people can meet people.

I'm not quite sure what you mean.

So with not being able to understand the essay question it's a bit difficult to be sure if you went off topic.

However, if staying in a tent was a main part of your essay and it was nothing to do with the question, then your score could be reduced for Task Response i.e. answering the question properly.

For example, someone would get a band 5 for TR if they only answered the question 'partially', band 4 if it was answered in a 'minimal' way, and 3 if the whole essay was absolutely nothing to do with the question (you can see all that in the IELTS public band descriptors).

Without seeing your answer and the proper question it is really too difficult to know, so you will just have to wait for your score.

Good luck

Dec 10, 2016
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Was I off topic?
by: Anonymous

Hi

Thank you for the great help I got from this website and the IELTS made easy writing books, they are the best and have improved my writing significantly.

I had this question in my test:
Many people believe that the world’s most urgent problems can only be solved by international collaboration.

Do you agree or disagree?

I had a health problem which compelled me to leave the test room for 10 minutes, so I was extremely nervous because I was running out of time thus I couldn't think of any relevant ideas.

- My thesis sentence was:

I strongly agree with this idea and I therefore suggest solutions.

- 1st paragraph:

I mentioned that people are responsible for most of the world's problems such as global warming, and I expanded on its causes and I suggested solutions.

- 2nd paragraph:

Was horrible!

I started it with:

Another example is the widespread of health problems like obesity and how it becomes an alarming issue worldwide.

I expanded on its consequences and how to prevent it. For instance, I said all the world should be avoiding fast food and ban its adverts because they are manipulating our thinking and forcing us to buy it.

In addition, I said we should encourage exercise.

- Conclusion:

I paraphrased the introduction.

Was I off topic, and approximately what band should I get?

Thank you

Dec 11, 2016
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Was I off topic?
by: IELTS buddy

Firstly it's completely impossible to tell you what band you could get without seeing your essay.

As regards to being on topic, again, it's always difficult to tell when someone explains briefly what they wrote instead of actually seeing the essay.

They key thing to write about is why countries should work together (international collaboration) if you agree, or why they should not (if you disagree), or both as of course you can discuss both sides of the argument.

As an example, you could in your first paragraph explain why some problems are international. Like you say, obesity as a world wide problem for instance, but other things that come to my mind more readily as clearly international problems are things like global warming (you mention this) and terrorism - they clearly affect everyone.

Then in the next paragraph you could explain how international collaboration helps to solve these problems (as opposed to countries working alone.

For example in the case of terrorism there is the need to share information between intelligence agencies or in the case of global warming for scientists to share their research or for countries to agree levels of CO2 reduction.

From what you said about your essay, you may have answered the question as you discussed those kinds of things, but my concern is that it's not clear in what you said whether you focused on the aspect of international collaboration and why it's necessary.

For example you said you suggested solutions to global warming but you didn't explain whether you related this to international collaboration.

As I said I'd really need to see your answer to be sure.

Good luck anyway.

Jan 12, 2017
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off-topic answer
by: Anonymous

Hi my essay task 2 was:

Some people think that governments should act to change the individuals way of living to make a more healthy lifestyle whereas others think that individuals can decide their own way of life.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.


But I understood the question in the wrong way and answered it, will I be receiving scores.

Jan 13, 2017
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off-topic answer
by: IELTS buddy

Without seeing your essay answers it's impossible to predict how your score may (or may not) have been affected.

But generally speaking, yes your score will be reduced for Task Response Criteria if you go off topic.

But it could be reduced to 3, 4 or 5, depending on to what extent it was off topic so it's difficult to say.

May 25, 2017
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go wrong NEW
by: baljinder

my topic was in some socities father live in home to look childern while mother go out to work.. why and is this is possitive development... but i wrote about parents. like if one is going out another one stay in house for care. how much marks can i get

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How can I have knowledge on all the possible IELTS Writing Task 2 topics?

by stuti goyal

Essay may come on any of the various topics such as crime, education, food.

how can i have knowledge about each so as to write precisely about any kind of topic that may come

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Nov 07, 2015
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Knowledge on IELTS essays
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Stuti,

To have knowledge on anything you need to read and learn.

So you need to firstly make sure you know about the kind of topics that come up in IELTS (for example you won't get questions on things like politics or religion).

You have already shown you have an idea of the types of topics that can come up - crime, education, food etc.

So you then need to find some sources, such as on the internet, and then read about those topics.

However, they are very broad topics so you want to narrow them down to make sure you don't have too much to read.

So the next thing is to make sure you know what kind of questions will come up that refer to the topics, look at IELTS writing questions.

Also look at model essays.

These again will give you an idea of what you will need to write about and study.

Ideally you should also make notes as you read on the key points otherwise you will forget what you have read.

You are often asked to discuss opinions on the topics, problems, solutions, causes etc. (you will see this if you look at essay questions).

So make notes to answer these types of questions.

This will also help with your speaking as the speaking is around similar topics.

Good luck

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What do we do if we don't know anything about the IELTS essay topic?

by jugojyoti kar
(INDIA)

Hello Everybody,

Wish You all a very warm Afternoon.

I do not have prior experience in appearing IELTS exam. So I am not fully aware of the way to write essays.

How to proceed specially in that cases where a topic is given in the exam for which we have to write at least 250 words including all valid points inside that and more over if we have minimal or no idea about that topic then what should be our approach?

I am asking this question as in IELTS We can expect any types of subjects to be a part of our assignment. Please do me a favor on that.

Thanks
Jyoti

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Feb 06, 2015
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IELTS Task 2 Topics
by: IELTS buddy

Hi,

The essays are based around current topics that you are expected to have some knowledge of given that you are intending to study at a university.

For example, this is what it states on the official IELTS site:

"Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for candidates entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration".

So you do need to be reading as much as you can about the kinds of topics that appear in IELTS, and you can find out about these topics on sites such as this or other IELTS sites.

Look at past IELTS writing questions for example, then do some reading around those kinds of topics.

Of course a topic may come up that you do not know much about. If that happens then you really do just have to do your best to brainstorm some ideas that are relevant to the question.

Remember it is not necessarily the quality of your ideas that will let you down. Even if the idea is not great, if it is relevant to the question and you support it with evidence and/or examples and present it coherently then it will still likely be a good answer.

In order to learn more about writing IELTS essays, check out Task 2 section in the IELTS Lessons and also take a look at IELTS Essay model answers.

The model answers will also give you an idea of which type of topics arise in the test.

Oct 29, 2016
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hi guidance needed
by: Anonymous

Hello,

Today my topic was that people should get a job in multinational companies in order to learn the culture, and I answered unfortunately different type of cultures employees have to interact and have to manage, and if they manage well companies appreciate that and even employees get an appraisal, and spoke about few cultural aspects with examples.

Oct 30, 2016
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hi guidance needed
by: IELTS buddy

To be honest it's too difficult to really understand from what you have said how you answered the question. You'll really just have to wait for your result.

Feb 11, 2017
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Gone off topic task 2 - writing
by: Anonymous

In task 2 - writing, the question asked to write cause and effect essay (which I misunderstood and ended up writing a problem solution essay). To what extent will it affect my scoring??

Feb 14, 2017
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Gone off topic task 2 - writing
by: IELTS buddy

I'd really need to see they essay to be sure, but if you look at the IELTS public band descriptors for Task Response in Task 2 you'll see for a band 5 it says:

"addresses the task only partially".

If you only addressed half the question it may be a partial answer which could limit your score for this criteria to 5 (there are three other criteria of course and you get an average across them) so it doesn't mean you would get a 5, you could get higher if you did well in the other criteria.

But as I say it's impossible to know for sure without seeing your answer so really you just have to wait for your result.

Good luck

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