Top Tips for IELTS

An introduction to coherence

Coherence is an organisational skill that works at 2 levels.It is the skill of writing paragraphs that develop an idea in a way that the reader understands what the main point is and why it is important.  It is also the skill of organising your essay so that the paragraphs link together so that the reader understands the connections between the paragraphs and the flow of the essay.

coherence in IELTS

What is it?

Put briefly, it’s linking your ideas together so that people understand what you want to say. The concept of understanding is very important. It’s a combination of


selecting clear main ideas 

developing those ideas with reasons and examples

using linking words/phrases to show how everything links together

To get it right you need all of this.

3 reasons why coherence matters?

  1. It is 25% of your IELTS writing score. Enough said.
  2. It matters because it can make your writing subjectively much more appealing to the examiner. If your essay is coherent, the examiner will understand what you are trying to say after one reading of the essay when they first decide how to grade the essay.
  3. It also matters from another point of view as well – it makes the essay writing process easier. As you learn to write coherently, you will find that one sentence naturally follows on from the previous sentence.

Paragraph coherence – a very brief explanation

One form of coherence is  within a paragraph. To achieve this you need to learn how to structure a paragraph with a topic sentence and to develop that sentence through the appropriate use of explanations and examples.

The easy way to think about this is that a paragraph is a series of sentences all related to the same idea.

For more on paragraph coherence, go here


Essay coherence – a very brief explanation

Another form of coherence is on a larger scale in the essay itself: this is coherence between paragraphs so that the argument of the essay develops in a logical and ordered manner. To achieve this you need to learn how to structure an essay so that the different paragraphs connect to each other.

The easy way to think about this is that an essay is a series of paragraphs/ideas that link together to form one coherent point of view. This means that you need to adopt a clear point of view in your introduction and then develop it through your whole essay. Each content paragraph should develop the point of view in the introduction and then the conclusion should summarise it in different language.

Essay coherence (1)

Coherence and cohesion

In the test coherence is graded with cohesion. The 2 ideas are very similar but to understand more about cohesion which is banded with coherence in IELTS writing, I suggest you visit this page:

An introduction to cohesion.

To see how avoid some common mistakes in the test and see how examiners grade coherence and cohesion, I suggest you visit this page:

Coherence and cohesion explained


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10 Responses to An introduction to coherence

  1. koko September 22, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    For more on paragraph coherence, go here

    this link is not working sir,

  2. Dominic Cole September 22, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Thanks for that. The link should be fixed now. Please let me know if you find more broken links. I’m busy updating the site at the mo and I suspect there are a few things that no longer work.

  3. Muntasir January 26, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Hi dominic,
    thanks a lot for such an wonderful website. You are doing an amazing job for the students who are struggling with their IELTS score. With just 10days preparation ( just read the materials on your website) i managed to improve my band score dramatically. I was very bad at writing section. But today, my result has come out. I got 8 in writing. Overall, i got 8.5 …credit goes to you mate…Keep up the good works..My score is

    Listening 9
    Reading 8.5
    Speaking 8
    Writing 8.
    Band 8.5


  4. Zahid Masum August 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    essay coherence” link doesn’t work please make it workable owing to the fact that your site is very popular and those who study based on your site they do not wait much more for lucrative readings

  5. Zahid Masum August 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    essay coherence 2″ link doesn’t work please make it workable owing to the fact that your site is very popular and those who study based on your site they do not wait much more for lucrative readings

  6. Zohre February 5, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Dear Dominic


    I am thankful of you becouse of creation of this web site which help us to go through our IELTS exam. I registered the IELTS exam on 23th February. As a matther of fact, my writing is the main problem which I faced it. I would really appreciated if you could give me some advice on it (as i have only a limited amount of time ,considering the fact that I am working as a full-time employee).
    I submitted my email to get more daily excersice but I have not received any excercises yet. ( I opened the conformation email too)

    I am really worried about my emam :(.


    • Dominic Cole February 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm #


      I am now back in production as and when my internet connection works.

  7. Harish May 13, 2015 at 8:17 am #

    Thanks Dominic,

    Today, I got my results, achieved 7 band in all sections 🙂 Writing has always been my weakness . I improved a lot from the tips and practice lessons on your website. I appreciate your efforts to share the knowledge selflessly. Keep up the good work.

    L – 7.0
    R – 9.0
    W – 7.0
    S – 8.5

    Overall – 8.0

  8. Zubs October 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi Dominic,

    Is it possible for you to check and give feedback for below agree and disagree essay ?

    Many high-level positions in companies are filled by men even though the workforce in many developed countries is more than 50 per cent female. Companies should be required to allocate a certain percentage of these positions to women.

    To what extent do you agree?

    In many advanced and well economically established nations, Number of female job seekers has been increased by more than half of the current total workforce. Therefore, it is believed by some that no. of seats should be reserved only for ladies workers. In my opinion, I disagree with this statement due to the fact that it would be inappropriate to do so as there must be equal opportunities for all the workers regardless of their gender.
    Firstly, I believe that companies should have their own right to choose a gender as they want based on merit, and due to the fact that employees are the strength of running a successful business. Forcing or compelling companies to occupy some jobs only for women can affect a business in negative way in short term and even in long term.
    Secondly, what more I feel is that to overcome these problem women should have come in front line competition with men. For instance, they should come out from common subjects which are studied over the years and start taking new and innovative courses which are more in demand with the market and economic condition so that equal balance and quality of workers can be maintained notwithstanding of sex.
    In conclusion, it is very clear from above explanation that it will not be fair to reserve the jobs based on the quantity of women work seekers available in the country as it may lead to more problems and disappointments amongst male workers and even to business in terms of profitability as well as interest.

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