IELTS Coherence and Cohesion Practice Activity

IELTS Writing Coherence and Cohesion Practice

In order to get a band score of 8 or above for Coherence and Cohesion, you need to sequence your ideas and information logically.

This means 2 things:

Firstly, your writing should flow from one idea to another idea, in a way that gradually unpacks your thinking. Usually this means moving from general statements to specific examples of what you mean. This makes it easy for your reader to understand your arguments.

Secondly, this flow of ideas should be helped by carefully selecting cohesive devices, such as connectives, relative pronouns and the “verb + ing” form. Cohesive devices are like ‘engine oil‘: in an engine, the oil helps all the parts of the engine move smoothly; in writing, cohesive devices help your writing to flow smoothly.

In a good piece of writing, cohesive devices also help the reader predict what might be coming next. For example if you saw the words “If I won the lottery…” you might expect the next chunk of writing to be about the result of winning the lottery: e.g. “…I would buy a new house for my parents.” If you saw the words “The government should close all coal-fired power stations…”, you would expect the next chunk of text to give you a reason: e.g. “…they contibute to global warming.”


So here is an activity for you. This activity will test your ability to create a paragraph that is both coherent and cohesive. (This is especially useful if you are aiming for a Band 8 for IELTS Writing Task 2).

In the column on the right are some chunks of text from a paragraph of writing about the importance of health care to a nation’s economy. The paragraph contains lots of ideas: for example, one idea is that some countries don’t spend enough on health care.

Try to put the chunks of text into the correct order.


  • Look carefully at the ideas in the paragraph: the writer tends to move from general statements to more specific examples.
  • Look at the cohesive devices to help you predict what might be coming next.
  • To help you start, here is the first chunk of text: “It is often said that the wealth”

It’s a difficult task, so don’t worry if you make mistakes first time. Good luck!

Tell me how you did in the comments section. And if you think other people will find this activity useful, please share it.

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

13 thoughts on “IELTS Coherence and Cohesion Practice Activity”

  1. Third time finally all correct.

  2. I tried it the first time and got lucky! Cohesive devices do helps a lot as clues in this activity.

  3. I tried about 5 times.. very hard before you get some in the right place!

  4. it took me 30 minutes and 3 tries what do you think guys is it is a good record or average record or bad record.

  5. We tried 3 times until getting it right. It is not so hard if you say it out loud. Also, a nice puzzle to solve in group.

  6. It was pretty damn hard, I gotta admit! Took me forever to put the parts together.

  7. I tried this four 4 times before getting it correct.

  8. “…they contibute to global warming.” The letter “r” is missed in the word contribute.

  9. I used the process of elimination to figure out the first sentence – if the sentence / phrase sounded like an explaination, I put it in later. If a phrase sounded like an advertisement (minimal information, raising questions, more than providing answers), then I put it in later. Finally, the conjuction between singular conjucations and plural nouns was a helpful tool to build full sentences from sentence segments.

  10. I scored 14/14. Though challenging, a focused analysis will make one decipher the pattern and arrange the sentences adequately. Anyway, thank you for the exercise.

  11. I tried this for 5 to 6 times before getting it totally correct.

  12. Provide one or more puzzling sentence, it may be more interesting.


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