‘The Effects of Time Constraints on the Unity and Coherence of IELTS Candidates’ Writing Skills’ by Mohammad Zare, Sanaz Mohazabieh & Zahra Kamali

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of time constraints on writing ability of IELTS candidates in terms of two writing features of unity and coherence. To do this, a total number of 30 Iranian EFL learners attending IELTS preparation classes were chosen from both genders of male and female. Two standard IELTS writing task2topicswere selected by the researchers for both pre and post-tests. The candidates were categorized into two groups of control and experimental. The control one took the post-test under ordinary conditions, without limitation, allocating 40 minutes of time whereas the experimental group, were asked to achieve a task 2 essay under timed condition of 30 minutes.  Both pre and post-test writings were corrected by three IELTS writing assessors in order to increase the validity of scoring and decrease the subjectivity of the issue. With regard to first research question addressing the difference in writing performance of both genders under time stress, the findings indicated they both performed the same and less time allocation affected both genders’ performance to the same extent. The second research question that investigated the general effect of time stress on coherence and unity of the writings revealed the application of an increasing number of irrelevant sentences and reducing the unity of the writing task. However, the number of appropriate transitions that increase the coherence of the task was observed to be more in post-test which is due to the treatment during the course. Moreover, during a one to one interview, most students objected to the time limitation and its effect on their anxiety which made them seek resort to apply more irrelevant sentences. In the end of the study, it was concluded that time constraints affect the unity of the writing task, but not the coherence.

Index Terms: Coherence, Time Constraints, Transitions, Unit.

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