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Chunking

Chunking falls under the Lexical Resource (LR) assessment criterion, in IELTS Writing Task 1 & 2, for both AC & GT tests.

Vocabulary is traditionally thought of as consisting of individual words. However, more recently it has become apparent that much communication consists of standard groupings of two or more words, generally referred to as Lexical chunks or phrases.

It is common for IELTS candidates to use a lot of standard set phrases, including idioms and collocation. This is especially the case with those who have attended certain IELTS training organisations, where much of the writing training focuses on remembering set answers to specific questions. When the test taker hears a question, they will often identify key or trigger words and or phrases, which they will then reach into their memory database, for suitable phrases to use.

Sometimes, these may be appropriate, but with many lower level candidates, they are frequently used inappropriately. The problem is that most text chunks and phrases are usually very specific to the context, in which they are used, and cannot be just dropped in anywhere.

Where the phrase is correctly used, it may be one that is heavily overused by all test takers, and although not directly resulting in a reduced score, it will not help to increase it. Furthermore, it may make the examiner more cautious, and look more carefully for other issues.

Another situation can be where the candidate uses lexical chunks correctly, but this is the only part of the test which displays such accuracy of word use. Where the examiner believes this is the case, or where the lexical chunk, although accurate, is not appropriate in the context, will result in a lower level LR assessment.

While it is perfectly normal to use lexical chunks and is, in fact, one of the ways, we learn a language. Learning lists of phrases without fully understanding when and where to use them is not an appropriate approach. In both IELTS Writing and Speaking, incorrect or inappropriate use is very easily identified by an IELTS examiner.

Some Useful Sites

lexical chunks

chunks in the classroom

lexical approach

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Study Materials List
  • Pronunciation
    IELTS Speaking
  • Fluency
    IELTS Speaking
  • Vocabulary
    IELTS Speaking
  • Grammatical Range
    IELTS Speaking
  • Grammatical Accuracy
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  • Task 1 Question Types
    IELTS Writing
  • Key Features
    IELTS Writing
  • Idioms
    IELTS Speaking
  • Collocation
    IELTS Writing
  • Format
    IELTS Writing
  • Paraphrasing
    IELTS Speaking
  • Introduction to the IELTS Speaking Test
    IELTS Speaking
  • Referencing & Substitution
    IELTS Writing
  • Spelling and Word Selection
    IELTS Writing
  • Key Features / Bullet Points
    IELTS Writing
  • Tone
    IELTS Writing
  • Chunking
    IELTS Writing
  • Format & Data
    IELTS Writing
  • Overview
    IELTS Writing
  • Sentence Forms
    IELTS Writing
  • Coherence
    IELTS Speaking
  • Cohesion
    IELTS Speaking
  • Answer Script Overview
    IELTS Writing
  • Factually Correct
    IELTS Writing
  • IELTS Essay Introduction
    IELTS Writing
  • Introductory Markers
    IELTS Writing
  • Task Purpose / Requirements
    IELTS Writing
  • Question Response
    IELTS Writing
  • Sequencers
    IELTS Writing
  • Errors
    IELTS Writing
  • Linking Words and Phrases
    IELTS Writing
  • Task 1 Requirements
    IELTS Writing
  • Idiom
    IELTS Writing
  • 5 Paragraph Essay
    IELTS Writing
  • Coherence
    IELTS Writing
  • Paragraphing
    IELTS Writing
  • Transition Sentences
    IELTS Writing
  • Collocation
    IELTS Speaking
  • Chunking
    IELTS Speaking
  • Introductory Frame
    IELTS Speaking
  • Demo Study Material
    IELTS
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