Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

We had a great question about your ‘position‘ in the essay. This is your opinion on the topic.

Even if you look at the public descriptors for the band score requirements for your ‘position’, it’s not immediately obvious what those definitions mean.

This was the question from a Facebook Live attendee:

Can you differentiate between a clear position and a relevant position?

Clear means, more or less, obvious. It is easy to understand.

However, this position may be not directly related to the topic, or what the question is asking you about.

That is relevance. Your opinion must be related to the question and its topic.

The description for a band score 9, for Task Achievement, says:

Presents a fully developed position in answer to the question with relevant, fully extended and well-supported ideas. 

For band score 7, in contrast, the IELTS rubric says:

Presents a clear position throughout the response.

A clear position, which is also required for an 8 or 9, is one which is direct, such as, “I believe…”


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Fully extended and developed describes a main idea which is supported by clear, specific examples and details.

This shows you that including lots of main ideas does not fulfill the requirements for higher scores. If you’re just listing ideas, without supporting them, this will get you a 6.

Here is what the description is for a 6:

Presents relevant main ideas but some may be inadequately developed or unclear.

In examining the IELTS rubric for Writing Task 2, you can see that it is better to support opinions with one clear, strong idea, which is supported by an example and details.

Example IELTS Task 2 question: Parents make the best teachers. Do you agree or disagree?

A 6 paragraph would include: parents know their children, around them more often, talk to them, feed them

A 9 paragraph would feature only one of these ideas: parents have known their child from birth; by the time the child is 10, teachers have spend 10% of the time with pupils; parents are the other percentage of time; through extracurricular activities like sports and clubs, parents help kids learn life lessons that teachers cannot handle

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your ideas in the comments section below!

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