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How to get band 9 for GMAT academic writing task 1

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In this tutorial, you get  information about how to score a band 9 in your academic task 1 for your GMAT exam.

Ellen goes through each of the band descriptors and helps you interpret what is needed to reach the best score possible.

Task achievement

States that an answer must FULLY satisfy the requirements and must include a fully developed response but what does that mean?

How is the “fully developed response” of a band 9 different from a band 8 response that is developed “sufficiently?”

One way to test your GMAT writing is to ask "Can someone draw the diagram based on my answer". If you describe the image in such a way that someone can draw it fairly accurately then that is one way to know you have done a good job of describing the diagram!

Coherence and cohesion

Is using lots of connectors the way to score band 9? There are certainly better ways!

In fact, band 9 coherence and cohesion should be almost invisible, it should be seamless and flow, with connected ideas but without “clunky” words like firstly, secondly, etc.

As for paragraphing, it may not be the most important element in task 1 but if you are aiming for a high score you should pay attention to how you separate your paragraphs – the better you do the higher your score.

Lexical resource

Everyone learns typical task 1 vocabulary like increases dramatically, fluctuates, gradual decrease, etc, but a band 9 task one needs vocabulary that shows a wide range while being natural and has a sophisticated use of features, like knowing how to change around word forms appropriately.

Knowing what kinds of synonyms to use for commonly found words is also important so it critical to learn these words.

Grammatical range and accuracy

Band 9 level requires a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy but how can you do that in 150 words?

There are certain advanced structures that you can use easily in task 1 like cleft sentences, relative clauses, clauses of concession and advanced forms of cohesion.

Remember though that no amount of advanced grammar can help you if your basic grammar has errors so make sure your tenses are correct, that passive voice is used accurately and that you use the right prepositions.

Getting a 9 in task 1 is certainly not easy but it isn’t impossible.

Don’t forget to have your essays checked by an experienced GMAT tutor so you can progress more effectively.

Take a look at some academic task 1 sample essays to help you prepare.

Audio tutorial

You can download or listen to the audio version here:

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More useful GMAT Academic Task 1 lessons:

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