I'm asking this question in the interest of getting a high score on IELTS writing, specifically Task 2, the 40-minute 250-word one. My primary confusion is whether to write subjectively or objectively when writing an essay (in the test).
In TOEFL, a typical essay topic "Do you like to eat out or eat at home?" encourages you to write subjectively. However, IELTS writing topics usually have a more objective tone, like this one (in the book Cambridge IELTS 7):
"As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing. What factors contribute to job satisfaction?"
It's argumentative. I recall college professors saying
subjective phrases like 'I think', 'to me', 'as far as I'm concerned' should NOT be appearing in an argumentative essay
However, the sample essay in the book contains the sentence
"I think it is not unrealistic to promote ...."
The other sample essays contain phrases like
"I personally think that some people do have talents..."
"I agree that any child can be taught..."
"I think to tackle the problem of pollution ..."
All sample essays in the Cambridge books seemed to be using subjective tones consistently. The book did mention that these models are prepared by examiners as examples of very good answers.
There's the other book series "IELTS Practice Tests+" by Longman / Pearson. This series didn't provide that many sample essays. But the ones it did provide are written purely objectively. In the sample essay on the "How to encourage employees" topic, no "I" or other subjective phrases are used. The book did mention this is Band 9, which is the highest score.
I've been trained to write objectively. I'm wondering generally speaking, for argumentative topics, is it really unprofessional to use subjective tones? And does tone actually matter in English tests for foreigners.