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The Importance of Thinking Critically in IELTS Task Two Writing

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By Thomas Javanaud  | Kaplan IELTS Trainer

The primary assessment criterion of the four criteria used to judge the quality of task two writing is task response. This criterion serves as a limiting factor for the other three criteria – namely, coherence & cohesion, lexical resource and grammatical range & accuracy. In order to score highly (above a band 7) in terms of this criterion, it is essential for you, the student, to think critically when planning and writing your task two argumentative essay response.

Critical thinking involves rationally assessing alternative sides of an argument by generating relevant supporting evidence and, having taken into account their relative strengths, choosing the side (or position as it’s called in the assessment criteria) that you support. Thinking critically therefore makes it much more likely that your task two response will obtain a higher task response score. How can students learn to think critically then?

The starting point for critical thinking is a clear understanding of a question, problem or topic. Without understanding the topic which is being considered, it isn’t possible to conduct a critical investigation based on evidence. It is therefore advisable to take at least a couple of minutes to understand the question, rather than jumping into a response that may not be completely sound. Equally importantly, make sure that you avoid displaying bias. Be prepared to consider the strongest and weakest points on both sides of the argument in order to arrive a position which will seem defensible and compelling to your reader.  This may be more difficult than it appears, as we all have hidden biases, yet by practising more regularly you will become aware of how to avoid reaching conclusions without having provided sufficient supporting evidence and arguments. Finally, it is essential to ensure that you don’t agree with both sides equally in your conclusion, as the IELTS task response criterion clearly states that a clear ‘final position’ must be demonstrated to achieve a minimum of a band 7 score. As a result, make sure that you have the confidence to say which side of the argument you truly support, based on the outcome of your unbiased argumentative essay.

Mr. Thomas Javanaud 

Kaplan IELTS Trainer

BSc in Philosophy (LSE)

TESOL

  • Strong in delivering test-taking skills and test tips to students
  • Understand the needs of every type of students and eager to help them achieve their potentials
  • Focus on teaching, academic management and course development
  • Has experience in teaching IELTS, General English, Business English and TOEFL for more than 7 years
  • Specialized in IELTS teaching in his TESOL
  • Graduated from a prestigious university

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