IELTS Writing: Understanding Coherence And Cohesion - IELTS University (Singapore)

IELTS Writing: Understanding Coherence And Cohesion

The IELTS writing test assesses a test taker’s score based on 4 main areas i.e. Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Most people/candidates are relatively familiar with lexical resources and grammatical range and accuracy requirements, but coherence and cohesion is one of the criteria the candidates know the least about. In this article, we will take a closer look at the IELTS writing coherence and cohesion criteria, and have exactly you can go about maximizing your score in this area

What Is Coherence?

Coherence refers to how well the examiner can understand what you write. There are several things that can affect this, such as grammar mistakes, the use of inappropriate words and phrases or the illogical ordering of sentences and idea.In short, to well in this area, a test taker must produce an essay that is logically ordered and clear, so that it can be easily understood by the reader. In order to score well in terms of coherence you must be able:

  • Use separate paragraphs, each with its own main idea.
  • Make sure that your essay follows a logical sequence.
  • Use linking words to connect different paragraphs.

For example, a common essay structure for a typical advantage/disadvantage type of essay would be:

  • Intro paragraph 1- paraphrase the question
  • Main body paragraph 2 – discuss 1/2 advantages along with supporting ideas and examples
  • Main body paragraph 3 – discuss 1/2 disadvantages along with supporting ideas and examples
  • Conclusion – provide a summary of the main ideas plus a relevant suggestion

What Is Cohesion?

Cohesion refers to your ability to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs using various methods You should be able to link ideas, sentences and paragraphs and this helps to progress clearly from one idea to another.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to use linking words and discourse markers. If you do not include discourse markers and linking words in your IELTS writing, your answer will appear illogical and be more difficult to understand. A few examples are, Nevertheless, Particularly, Thus, Naturally, etc.

There are also additional ways to improve the cohesion in your works, such as:

  • Make sure you only use 1 main idea in each paragraph, and that you support your arguments sufficiently by providing sufficient explanations and examples.
  • Use complex sentence structures to link ideas. However, you also have to make sure that these types of sentences are correctly punctuated.
  • You can also use pronouns and synonyms to sound less repetitive.

The above-mentioned methods are useful because if you overuse linking words while trying to make your essay more cohesive, you will only end up sounding unnatural.

If you feel that your writing skills are lacking in any way, then you should probably consider enrolling in an IELTS prep course. This is because it is very difficult for second language learners to objectively point out their own weak areas when it comes to productive skills like writing. This is why the best approach would be to work on your writing skills with a trusted IELTS professional, who can guide on all the best methods and tips to improve your IELTS writing responses.