Academic Writing

The Writing Exam


The Writing exam consists of two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2 and candidates are given 1 hour to complete it.  Each exam is done on a group basis, that is, you will be with other candidates in a room all doing the exam together.

Task 1

Minimum of 150 words

In Task 1, you are presented with a graph, table, chart or
diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain
the information in your own words. You may be asked to
describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process,
how something works or describe an object or event.

Task 2

Minimum of 250 words

In Task 2, you are asked to write an essay in response
to a point of view, argument or problem.
The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for
and easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate
or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.


You are assessed in four categories; Task Achieve/Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource (Vocabulary), and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.  Each of these categories are marked between 0 and 9, with 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest.

Task Achievement/Response

In Task 1 it is called Task Achievement, whereas in Task 2 it’s called Task Response.  Fundamentally, they both as measuring how well you answered the question and whether your writing is correct and directly answering the question.

Cohesion and Coherence

This element measures whether your response/answer is both logical, understandable and easy to follow.  The easiest example of coherence is something in chronological order(time order).  If you write about 2010, then 2016, then 2000 and lastly 2014, this is not in a logical/coherent order.  It also measures the flow of the text not only between paragraphs, but also between sentences and how many different cohesive words you use.

Lexical Resource

This measures the range of vocabulary you have and whether you can use less common words and idioms.  If you use the same kinds of words for all your answers you won’t get a high score in this element.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

In this part you are measured on the range of grammar you use.  So, what this means is; do you use different types of sentence? Are they simple or complex? Are the tenses correct? etc.  The more complex sentences you can use (and that are correct) the higher you score will be.  That not to say you shouldn’t use some simple sentences too!

For more details on what examiners are looking for, please download the Writing Band Descriptors Public – Task 1 and Writing Band Descriptors Public – Task 2 or email us at and we’ll send one over to you.