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A Test Taker's Journey:IELTS Writing Task 2: All the requirements for ''Task Achievement''

【明報專訊】In my last article I introduced a new question and wrote about the many pitfalls it presents:

Some educators believe that streaming would benefit all the students. Do the advantages of streaming outweigh the disadvantages?

In this article, we will do two things. First, we will answer some questions raised in the last article. We will then come up with a summary of all the requirements for satisfying the ''Task achievement'' criterion of this Task 2 question.

First the questions we had in the last article. One, should we address the statement ''Many teachers believe streaming benefits all students'' in our answer? I would say ''yes''. As we already know, it is necessary to ''address all parts of the question'' in order to score the highest marks possible for ''task achievement''.

The next question is: Should we say whether we agree with that statement? I would argue so as well, for the same ''address all parts'' reason.

Our different answers to whether we agree that ''streaming benefits all students'' and whether ''the advantages of streaming outweigh the disadvantages'' can result in different combinations of arguments illustrated as follows:

(1) Streaming benefits all students, so/and its advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

(2) Although streaming benefits all students, its advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages.

(3) Streaming does not benefit all students, so/and the advantages do not outweigh the disadvantages.

(4) Although streaming does not benefit all students, its advantages still outweigh the disadvantages.

Notice the use of ''so/and'' because there is not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship between the first and second arguments.

We now have a full set of boxes that out answer should tick. They are as follows:

(1) Name at least two advantages of streaming and at least two disadvantages.

(2) Suggest at least one criterion for weighing up these advantages and disadvantages.

(3) Argue whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, or vice versa.

(4) Argue whether you agree with the assertion that ''streaming benefits all students'' and how your position chimes in with 3.

If we can put all these in our answer, we should be confident about getting a respectable score for ''Task Achievement''. But bear in mind that there are three other criteria that determine your success in IELTS writing task 2. In the next article, we will address them.

■Writer's Profile

Terence Yip (葉凱楓) is passionate about English more than anything else. Never has he studied or worked in an English-speaking country, but he scored 8.5 in IELTS nevertheless, and is ceaselessly honing his skills as a test taker with the aspiration to score 9 someday.

(Email: terenceyipmingpao@outlook.com)

(For previous issues, visit: link.mingpao.com/61866.htm)

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