Band 9 Student Answer With Examiner’s Report

My essay correction service has been running for just over a month now and I was delighted to mark my first Band 9 essay yesterday.

This is truly a remarkable achievement from the student in question. I spoke to an IELTS examiner recently who said he has only awarded a Band 9 three times in an 8 year career.

It also demonstrates that if you can pinpoint your weaknesses and work hard to fix them, then very high IELTS scores are possible.

Below is his essay with my comments in red, then my report and finally a sample essay. Please note that this report is much shorter than normal because there were no recommendations for improvement. To see what a report for a lower level essay looks like please click here.

Question- Many museums charge for admission while others are free.

Do you think the advantages of charging people for admission to museums outweigh the disadvantages?

Some museums have an admission charge while some do not. In my opinion, the drawbacks of an entrance fee are eclipsed by its benefits in the sense that the income will be ploughed back into operation and development of the museums.

Excellent. You have outlined what you are going to talk about and at the same time made your opinion very clear. This is exactly what you need to do to make it clear to the examiner what you think about the question and also helps them to follow the rest of your essay.

A major disadvantage of an admission fee is the possibility of reducing the number of visitors. Museums house exhibitions and artifacts of great educational and historical value. If the chief aim of a museum is to introduce the local community, admission should be free to the public and visitors. Take some folk museums in Hong Kong, which preserve historic relics and display folk customs, for example. Admission to these folk museums, which are often monuments, is free of charge. If they had charged an entrance fee, many might have turned to other activities.

Excellent. Clear and relevant main reasons and fully developed idea. It was great to see how you took one central idea and developed it fully with explanations and a specific example.

Granted, an entrance fee might have a negative effect on the admission figures, but an income is favorable to museums in terms of operation. Museums feature educational exhibitions at times, and this could not have been done without a sum of money expended on hiring professionals and buying equipment. The Hong Kong Space Museum, for instance, has monthly exhibitions on different issues and professional docents are employed to take visitors on a guided tour around the museum. This example speaks volumes about how a reasonable admission charge is advantageous to the operation of a museum.

As above. I particularly like the way you linked both main ideas in the first sentence.

In conclusion, the disadvantages of an admission fee are overshadowed by the benefits accruing from a stable source of income. Therefore, having weighed up the pros and cons, I am convinced that museums should charge an entrance fee for the sake of operation and development.

Very elegant conclusion. You have summarised your main points and reiterated your opinion. Well done.

Task Response- Band 9

Your answer fully addresses all parts of the task.

Your answer presents a fully developed position in answer to the question with relevant, fully extended and well supported ideas.

It is very clear that you think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and the whole of your essay supports this.

Coherence and Cohesion- Band 9

This was the most impressive part of your essay. I really liked your introduction and conclusion in particular. They really helped to bring everything together and hammer your point across.

I also really liked the way you linked your ideas together. The whole essay felt like a really tight, cohesive piece of writing.

You have used cohesion in a way that attracts no attention.

Your paragraphing is excellent.

Very rarely do I have to read an IELTS essay only once to understand everything. That is the sign of a truly great essay.

Vocabulary- Band 9

You naturally use less-common words to convey very precise meaning and there are no mistakes at all.

Grammar- Band 9

You use a wide range of appropriate structures and there are no mistakes.

Overall- Band 9

This is the first time a student has submitted a Band 9 essay to my service and I am thrilled that you have reached this level. I am very happy I was able to help you reach this goal and I hope you can continue at this level in the future.

Below is a sample answer. I have taken a different approach just to show you a different way of answering the same question.

Sample Answer

Lots of museums charge a fee while others do not. This essay thinks that the benefits of charging do not outweigh the drawbacks because open access to relics and art is more important than generating money that the government should supply in any event.

The main disadvantage is that high fees exclude a large proportion of the population, especially in less developed countries. Many people in poorer countries have just enough money for food and shelter. Exhibits are one of the few cultural activities they can enjoy free of charge. For example, Egypt has millions of people living in poverty, but also a rich and ancient culture and it is therefore important that everyone gets to experience these artefacts. Another big negative is that students and children who are learning about the world may not be able to visit. It would be a huge shame if art students could not see their favourite painters or sculptor’s work in real life because their finances could not cover the cost.

Despite this, there are some who say that museums are unsustainable without the money they might get from ticket sales. They say that this allows the building to remain open and it is better that some people get to experience it, rather than none at all. To this I would say that the government should step in and cover the cost because culture is as important as anything else it spends money on. For instance, in the UK there have been huge government spending cuts over the last few years, but the museums have not had their funding reduced because of their importance to the country’s cultural heritage.

In conclusion, although some might say that places of culture should be run like a business, the cost to the education and heritage of the country is too great and they should remain free to all.

For more sample essays and Task 2 lessons, visit out Task 2 page.

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  1. Mae says

    It’s so hard to get a band 9 in writing here in the Philippines. Even 8 is hard.

  2. kolitha says

    I appreciate his work but what about the number of words. it is around 180 . is it enough?

    1. Christopher Pell says

      Of course! You only need to write over the word limit. There are no extra marks for extra words.

    2. Long Le says

      274 words, according to my Pages app.
      You’re welcome.

  3. Harry Sra says

    Hi Christopher,

    First, I must commend you on the great work you are doing for IELTS students.

    I am an IELTS trainer myself and something about this essay really caught my attention. The structure I recommend to my students is pretty similar except that I instruct them to write two advantages/disadvantages in each of the paragraph as the question involves the plural forms of advantage and disadvantage. From this essay, and the subsequent assessment, it seems that it is perfectly OK to include just one argument per paragraph, which means outlining a single advantage and a disadvantage.

    I hope you can clear my confusion here..

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