Why Complex Sentences Are Important For The IELTS Writing Test - IELTS University (Singapore)

Why Complex Sentences Are Important For The IELTS Writing Test

If you are preparing for the IELTS exam then you might already be aware that one of the major areas assessed during the writing test is Grammatical Range and Accuracy. In this article, we will take a detailed look at one of the most components of GRA and that is complex sentences.


What Is Grammatical Range and Accuracy?


Grammatical Range and Accuracy refers to a candidate’s ability to use a wide range of grammatical structures, comfortably and with great accuracy (i.e. very few errors/mistakes)


What Are Complex Sentences?


A complex sentence is a sentence that contains more than one clause. It includes more than one piece of information. For example, Mary is on her way to book her IELTS exam, and she wants to take the computer-based test, but she is not sure if it is available in her country.

This sentence contains three clauses, each giving a different piece of information and these need to be separated correctly by using the correct conjunctions and punctuation.

Mary is on her way to book her IELTS exam, and she wants to take the computer-based test, but she is not sure if it is available in her country.


Why Are Complex Sentences Important?


According to the publicly available IELTS Band descriptors to achieve at least a band 6 for this particular skill, candidates must be able to use a range of complex structures with some flexibility. Meaning that without complex sentences you will probably never score beyond a band 5.


Complex Does Not Mean Complicated!


As we have learnt from the above, complex sentences communicate to us multiple pieces of information and can be divided into a number of clauses. They don’t always have to be overcomplicated. As in the above example, simple conjunctions like ‘but’, ‘so’, and ‘and’ are sufficient to convey information accordingly. Unfortunately, many test takers don’t realise this and use overcomplicated and unnecessarily  long sentences to get their message across. This can end up not only confusing the examiner, but it also increases the chances of errors, which can negatively affect your score. Always remember that using complex sentences should make your writing more effective and engaging, instead of perplexing.

Remember accuracy is just as important, so never overcomplicate things unnecessarily, just to impress the examiner. You might make many mistakes and end up doing just the opposite!

If you feel that your grammatical skills are in any way lacking or you would like to get a clearer understanding of which grammar topics are important for the IELTS exam, I recommend enrolling in an IELTS prep course. It would be far easier to understand your grammar weak areas and improve upon them by taking the assistance of a trusted IELTS professional, who has a better understanding of the grammar rules and structures needed to impress the examiner.