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Comparing GMAT essay band 6.5 and band 8 for writing task 2

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In this article we will be looking at a few writing task 2 sample essays that got Band 8, and others that got Band 6.5 in GMAT academic writing Task 2 in the GMAT exam.

We will look at the criteria, analyze their structures, and compare their differences to see why one was graded higher than the other.

What are the differences between the essays?

Let’s begin by looking at the examples of two separate essays - one that scored Band 6.5, and one that scored Band 8.

We will first analyze both introductions, and then look at their first paragraphs.

GMAT writing task 2 sample one: essay’s introduction that scored band 6.5

Topic:

More students are travelling abroad for further education. Do you believe the advantages of this experience are greater than the drawbacks associated with it?

Introduction:

Since the last ten years, there are many more students who travel abroad to study to international universities. I will investigate the advantages and disadvantages on this pattern in this essay.

Analysis:

In this example, the writer develops the idea of the title that more students travel abroad to study.

There are four grammatical errors in the use of preposition and tense.

Moreover, the introduction is short, and the range of language is appropriate but basic. This paragraph deserves a score of 6.5.

GMAT writing task 2 sample two: essay’s introduction that scored band 8

Topic:

More students are travelling abroad for further education. Do you believe the advantages of this experience are greater than the drawbacks associated with it?

Introduction:

There have been an increasing number of students travelling internationally for further education in recent years. Whereas some people argue that studying abroad is a very positive experience, others suggest that there are several problems associated for it. I believe that the advantages of a study-abroad experience outweigh the drawbacks.

Analysis:

In this example, the candidate writes a more developed introduction and offers a reference to the pros and cons of studying abroad.

Apart from one preposition error, the use of complex grammar and tense are accurate.

The writer uses a linking word of contrast (Whereas) to introduce an adverbial clause appropriately.

Moreover, the paragraph is coherent and there is a wide variety of language. This type of writing merits a score of 8.

GMAT writing task 2 sample three: essay’s first paragraph that scored band 6.5

First paragraph:

First of all, studying abroad is exciting and you can meet a lot of persons from other countries. You can find opportunities to study new subjects you are not finding at your home town university. Yet, you can be feeling lonely and feeling homesickness from time to time. As example, I have had this experience when I visited Japan for my study experience three years ago.

Analysis:

In this extract, the candidate attempts to present a topic sentence with examples. However, there are significant grammar and tense issues.

The writer uses Yet instead of the linking word of contrast However.

An example of studying abroad is provided, but it is not clear why this example is given, or what is shows in relation to the topic sentence.

Although this paragraph is understandable, the redundancy (use of feeling twice in line 3), lack of a conclusive example and inaccurate structure will limit the score to a 6.5.

GMAT writing task 2 sample four: essay’s first paragraph that scored band 8

First paragraph:

First of all, a study-abroad trip offers the opportunity to experience education in a new culture. For example, the Erasmus program allows Spanish students to attend university in The United Kingdom. These students can develop English language skills of the country they are visiting. Furthermore, they can learn in a system that is different to that of their home country. This is a truly invaluable experience for any person wishing to enrich their education.

Analysis:

This paragraph offers a topic sentence. The writer then elaborates the topic further by giving a very specific example.

An appropriate linking word (Furthermore) develops the main idea. The employment of connectors is precise; the use of vocabulary is varied and appropriate.

To summarize, the essay that achieved the higher score had a cohesive structure, developed the answer with very specific examples, used connectors and maintained clear, complex grammar and use of language.

Conclusion of why one essay scored higher than the other

As you can see, using a more advanced vocabulary and more developed sentences will get you a higher score. Making sure to use the right linking words, and have a varied vocabulary will also increase your Band.

Overall, a candidate of a score of Band 8 or higher will address all parts of the writing task sufficiently, and in at least 250 words. The writer will create a well-developed response to the questions, followed by specific examples to support their ideas.

The candidate will use appropriate connectors to sequence points in a logical manner, and create paragraphs in a cohesive format.

When the structure is right, the use of the language is a little more advanced, and the thought process is thorough, getting a Band 8 or higher for an essay should not be a problem.

Tutorials and Tips to Prepare for Task 2

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