Let’s look at a typical task 2 question and see where people make mistakes.
Task 2 Question:
“More and more people are using private cars for inner city transport these days. Why is this? Is it a positive development?”
Many candidates look at this type of question and think it is an advantages/disadvantages type question. It is not.
If the candidate writes about the advantages and disadvantages of using private cars for inner city transport they will not completely answer the question and get no higher than Band 5 for “Task Response” according to the Public Band Descriptors.
The candidate needs to write a 2 body paragraph essay:
Answer the question WHY people are using private cars for inner city transport.
Describe if you think it is EITHER a good OR bad development (it is NOT necessary to write about both but not wrong if you do).
Easy! Yet, many candidates get these types of questions wrong.
Read the question. Answer the question.
Paragraphs in Task 2
So what is the structure of a Task 2 essay?
If you write just one paragraph, which many candidates do, you will automatically be limited to Band 5 for “Coherence and Cohesion”.
Look at the Public Band Descriptors, at Band 5 it says: “may not write in paragraphs, or paragraphing may be inadequate”. So we learn from this that the essay MUST have paragraphs if you want Band 6 or higher.
A Task 2 essay will need a minimum of 4 paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: Introduction where you introduce the topic and tell the reader your position (Two sentences or about 40 words is enough but there is no rule)
Paragraph 2: This is the first “Body Paragraph” and starts to answer one part of the question. (It should be about 90 words in a two body paragraph essay or 60 words if you are writing three body paragraphs)
Paragraph 3: This is the second “Body Paragraph” and answers the remainder of the question. (It should be about 90 words in a two body paragraph essay or 60 words if you are writing three body paragraphs)
Paragraph 4: Conclusion where you sum up the topic and give a very clear opinion of your position if you were asked for an opinion in the essay question. (Two sentences or about 40 words is enough but there is no rule)
I will have more to say next time about how body paragraphs must be written to achieve Band 7.
This is one of the most important aspects of speaking skill.
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