An IELTS candidate we’ve been tutoring asked us to explain what coherence and cohesion is and how it will affect her IELTS band score in writing; she was interested in what she needed to do to get an IELTS band score 7.0.
As I’m guessing a lot of you also need this band score, here’s what we told her.
In short, coherence is the organisation of information and ideas in a text. When the examiner reads your writing, he or she will check whether or not the information and ideas are clearly organised. For your IELTS Writing task 2 essay, one organisational feature the examiner will look at is whether there’s a clear introduction, body and conclusion.
Cohesion is how the information and ideas are linked together. The examiner will check whether you’ve used a range of ‘cohesive devices‘ such as linking words/phrases (e.g. ‘as a result‘ and ‘consequently’) and referencing (e.g. ‘her’, ‘she’ and ‘this’).
This is what it says in the public version of the official IELTS descriptors for coherence and cohesion for writing tasks 1 and 2:
- IELTS band score 7: “[Candidate] logically organises information and ideas…[and] uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately.”
For IELTS Writing task 2, the descriptors also say…
- IELTS band score 7: “[Candidate] presents a clear central topic within each paragraph.”
To check your coherence and cohesion, you could have a look back at a piece of writing that you’ve recently done and think about whether you organised the information logically and used a range of cohesive devices.
If you’d like some feedback on the coherence and cohesion in your writing, check out our IELTS tutoring options for writing.
See our IELTS tutoring options to find out more about how we can help you improve your English for the IELTS test.
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