If you’ve taken IELTS before, you probably noticed a secret language at the bottom of the IELTS Writing answer sheet. What do those mysterious acronyms TA/TR, CC, LR, & GRA mean?
As you might have guessed, they refer to the assessment criteria which decide your IELTS Writing score. This is where the examiner writes in a number for each of the four assessment criteria, which is then divided by four to give your overall score for that task.
So it makes sense to match your writing style to the assessment criteria if you want to improve your IELTS Writing score. Better still, take my IELTS Writing practice test with feedback to find out your score for each of the four criteria (hint: the exam certificate won’t tell you.)
Let’s take a look at the four criteria and how they should influence your writing.
TA/TR = Task Achievement/Task Response
Task Achievement is measured in Task 1, while Task Response is measured in Task 2. In both cases, they refer to how well you answer the question, including:
- Do you write enough words?
- Do you stick to the topic in the question?
- Do you cover all parts of the question?
CC = Coherence and Cohesion
This refers to how well your essay is organised, including:
- Do you write in paragraphs?
- Do you connect sentences and paragraphs with logical links?
- Do you use reference links (‘they’) to connect ideas and avoid repetition?
LR = Lexical Resource
This refers to your use of vocabulary, including:
- Do you use appropriate academic words and collocations? (Academic Writing module only)
- Do you paraphrase to avoid repetition?
- Do you spell words correctly?
GRA = Grammatical Range and Accuracy
This refers to your use of grammar, including:
- Do you use a variety of grammatical forms?
- Do you write in a mixture of short and complex sentences?
- Do you avoid too many grammatical mistakes?
The fastest way to improve your IELTS Writing score is to learn techniques for paragraphing, paraphrasing, and linking, as these skills are less likely to be taught in regular English lessons.
How IELTS Writing scores are calculated
The four individual scores are added together and then divided by four to give an average, which is your overall score for that task. For example: (6+6+7+7) ÷ 4 = 6.5. Numbers are rounded up, which means that (6+7+7+7) ÷ 4 = 6.75, which is rounded up to 7.0.
As there are two tasks of unequal length, your final score in IELTS Writing is not an average of both tasks but is weighted towards Task 2. For example: Task 1: 6.5 + Task 2: 7.0 = Overall 7.0. This is why you should always spend more time writing Task 2.
How to find out your IELTS Writing score
Obviously you can take the IELTS test, but your results will take 13 days to arrive and will only show your overall score for each module. You will not be told your scores for each writing task and for each of the assessment criteria.
To get a more detailed breakdown of your IELTS Writing score, take my practice test with feedback. It only takes two days to get results, and it will give you a much better idea of where you need to target your efforts. Is it your vocabulary? Is your paragraphing a mess? Or is your grammar letting you down? Get the answers now»
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