Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll learn how going off-topic affects IELTS Writing scores, so you’ll not make this mistake on your next exam.

Recently, a subscriber to this YouTube channel asked about going off-topic in Writing Task 2, and how this might hurt his scores.

Good question!

Of course, you know that sticking to the topic is vital, but what band score will you get if you don’t stick to the question?

Firstly, it won’t affect your Grammar Score at all.

The category that it mainly makes a difference in is Task Response.



Here is what it looks like:

Band score 7– addresses all parts of the writing question in a balanced, detailed way

Band score 6– addresses all parts of the writing question, but some are more detailed than others


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Band score 5– addresses only part of the question, and completely ignores another part

Band score 4very indirectly addresses the main topic of the question, but doesn’t directly talk about any specific part of it (this is usually due to a misunderstanding of the question on the part of the candidate)

However, if you go completely off-topic, then you will also lose considerable points in your Vocabulary score, as none of your vocabulary is about the task.

So, take an extra minute to read the question and underline key words in it.

Then, as you brainstorm, check back to the question to make sure all of your ideas are directly related.

What IELTS Writing questions do you have?

Share them in the comments section below!


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