IELTS Exam- Develop Knowledge Of Coherence And Cohesion

In IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the English language's four modules are taken as tests, that is, listening, reading, writing, and speaking. All the modules are judged on a scale of 0 to 9. Writing and speaking modules are marked on the basis of four parameters, that is, coherence and cohesion, lexical resources, grammatical range and accuracy, task achievement for writing, pronunciation, and fluency for speaking. Both the modules are marked proportionately for each of the parameters.

The rest of the modules, that is, listening and reading are marked on the basis of the marks obtained out of 40.

In this article, the focus will be on the parameter of coherence and cohesion. Also, the ways to develop coherence and cohesion will be discussed for writing and speaking part.

What is Coherence & Cohesion?

▶️ Cohesion

In layman’s language, cohesion means linkage. In general terms, cohesion is the linkage between the grammatical and the lexical resources of the topic. The usage of accurate words in the accurate line with the correct grammatical sentences will be marked more by the examiner.

It also means there should be linkage between all the sentences in order.

▶️ Coherence

In general words, coherence means relevance and to be able to develop an understanding of the topic. The way by which the student is explaining the question given. It is important as a student is expected to right around the topic only. An off-topic writing or speaking will be judged accordingly and bands will be deducted.

I. Ways to Achieve Cohesion

The way to achieve cohesion is by the usage of cohesive devices which are as follows:

▶️ Using pronouns or reference words to avoid repetition

The main cohesive device is using reference words at the place of repeated words. Do not repeat the same words in all the sentences. Use pronouns instead.

For example- Technology is being widely used these days. Technology plays an important role in everyone’s life.

So, instead of using technology again, write “it". It plays an important role....

▶️ Using Synonyms

In the previous articles, many essential synonyms have been discussed about. Take help of that as using synonyms is an important cohesive device. It makes your writing and speaking attractive and less mundane. It can catch you more bands too.

▶️ Using transition words-

Transition words are basically that words or phrases which are used to link one idea to another. Sometimes, students ask that how to start a new paragraph or how to change a line while connection stays. So here is a list of some of the transitional resources used in some situations.

1. For causes-

  • Due to this,
  • Because of this,
  • For this reason,

2. For effects

  • as a result,
  • Hence, thence,
  • Consequently

3. For comparisons-

  • Similarly
  • In contrast,
  • Contrastingly
  • However,
  • On the opposite side

4. Chronological order

  • Firstly, secondly, at the last
  • Additionally

II. Ways to Achieve Coherence-

As earlier mentioned, coherence is linked with organizational and hierarchical pattern of your writing and speaking. It means

  • Order and progression of ideas so to see one text as a whole and
  • How clear and simple the ideas are and whether these are easily understandable or not.

How coherence can be improved?

▶️ Ensure the ideas are well organized


Ideas should be in an organized manner. It should not be the criteria that your one idea is supporting the statement and other is just opposite of it. Ideas should be in line and in sync with the topic.

Question- to what extent do you agree or disagree?

Ideas can be as

1. Personality development like verbal skills or convincing attitude.

2. True values like tolerance or team spirit or cooperation.

3. Self confidence and patriotic behaviour will be boosted.

Drawbacks of social work

1. Pressure of peers or teachers or parents.

2. Competitive era

3. More expenses

▶️ Create a plan before writing or speaking

It is the best practice which you can do to improve your writing’s coherence. Do make a plan of what you are going to write or speak.

In writing test, a total of 1 hour is given for two tasks. For task -1 a two minute planning is needed whereas it is of 5 minutes for task 2.

In speaking test, Round 1 and Round 3 are spontaneous but Round 2 (cue card round) is available with a one minute planning time.

▶️ Topic sentences and clear thesis statement

Sentences written in writing should correlate the topic question. It will make your essay look related to topic only. Use the words of the question in your writing repeatedly. Here, repeatedly does not mean the same word but synonyms.

Here, thesis statement can be

I believe that there are more benefits than drawbacks.

I totally disagree and as I believe that students should go for their careers and do paid jobs.

I totally agree with the notion and I believe, at learning stage, teenagers and youngsters should opt unpaid work.

▶️ Contextual fitness of ideas

Yes, coherence is all about idea linkage. All the ideas should talk about the topic only. It is not necessary that how many points you write but how strong and qualitative you write. The effective usage of lexical resources and a strong idea usage will fetch more bands.

▶️ Proper closure is necessary

Closure means conclusion. Whether its writing or speaking, it should end in a proper and opinionated way. Take care of the audience and reader and make him/her well settled with what you have written or speak. At the end, conclusion should not leave the reader in vague and the topic should be clear.

▶️ Intra connectivity of ideas through paragraphing

One of the coherence device is organization of ideas in proper paragraphs. For task1, one or two body paragraphs are enough and for task 2, two or three body paragraphs should be written.

Band Descriptors


Coherence & Cohesion


· Skillful cohesion and coherence that it attracts no attention.

· Manages good paragraphing


· Logical organization

· Sequence of ideas

· Sufficient paragraphs


· Clear progression

· Range if cohesive devices used


· Arranges information and ideas coherently.

· May not always use referencing clearly.

· Not much logical paragraphing


· Presents information but lack of progression

· Some inaccurate use of cohesive devices

· May not write in paragraphs


· No coherence and clear progression.

· Confusion in paragraphs


· No logical ideas.

· Limited range of cohesive devices


Has very little control over organization.


Fails to communicate any message.


Does not appear in test.

Fetching more bands require each and every parameter to be addressed. Cohesion and coherence is one of the main parameter and it is highly essential to take care of this while writing and speaking. Do more of the practice for enough number of topics. Go through the new vocabulary daily and boost your confidence.

Best of luck!

Dr. Roma

Content Writer