While taking the IELTS academic exam, you need a different approach for each of the four sections. For the writing section, in particular, you need to know the rules of writing and the structure of writing. Your writing reflects how you process your thoughts. To develop your writing style you need to stick to the rules and practice writing. Here we explain the IELTS Writing section tips in detail.
Learn About the IELTS Writing Section in Detail
Writing section of the IELTS test is the most challenging amongst all the sections. It has two tasks (IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2). Before we get into the finer details, you should know that the essays asked in the academic and the general training tests are more or less similar. The difference could be in the complexity, but it is negligible. The difference is in the Writing Task 1. IELTS Academic writing test includes topics that are suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
These IELTS Writing tips and tricks will help you in solving this section better.
Total Duration: 60 Minutes
The Writing section of the IELTS Academic exam includes two tasks. Topics are general in nature and can span across various themes. The topics are suitable for candidates entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies, or seeking a PR or a job in an English-speaking country.
Time Allotted: 20 minutes
Word Limit: 150 words
Students are presented with a graph, table, chart, diagram, or a process, and are asked to describe, summarize, or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. The main purpose of this task is to see how well a student assimilates information and is able to put that understanding in his own words.
In the General Training module, a candidate is supposed to write an informal/semi-formal/formal letter.
Note that, a candidate has to write minimum 150 words. In case if a candidate writes less than 150 words, he/she will be penalized. However, writing more than 150 words will not attract a penalty.
Make sure that your answer has a proper structure. Do not deviate from the question. The examiner will look for coherence and appropriateness in your answers.
Also Read: IELTS Task 1 Process Diagram
Time Allotted: 40 minutes
Word Limit: 250 words
A candidate is supposed to write a ‘Discursive Essay’. This means that the essay revolves around a particular topic and you are asked to give your opinion on it, provide solutions, argue for/against, etc. The standpoint of the student should ideally be neutral, as this is an exercise where there are no correct or wrong answers, rather the focus is on the correct style of writing and presentation of coherent thoughts. Make sure that you answer what has been asked, rather than writing off-topic. The examiner must not find any difficulty in understanding your essay.
A candidate has to write minimum 250 words. Anything less than 250 words will attract a penalty.
Make sure that your essay answers the question. Whatever stand you take, should be clear and there should be coherence and flow in your content.
IELTS Writing Exam Tips
- The total time allotted to the entire writing section (IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2) is 60 minutes. The Writing Task 2 or the Essay constitutes about 2/3 of your score on the writing test. This means that you should spend around 40 minutes on your Essay. Do not spend more than 20 minutes on Task 1
- Write more than 150 words for Task 1 and more than 250 words for Task 2. If you write less than the prescribed word limit, you will be penalized
- Do not count the number of words instead count the lines and get an estimate of the word count
- You can make notes about the essay on the question paper. No extra paper will be given to make notes
- Write a clear overview for Task 1 and write a conclusion for task 2. You can use the last few minutes for writing a conclusion
- Divide writing tasks into paragraphs, and check spellings while you write
- Make sure to use either British or American English and follow it in the complete section
- Make sure what you are writing is relevant, lengthy does not make it better. Your thoughts should have coherence and there should be a proper structure in your written work. The examiner should not get confused
Remember one thing, there is no right or wrong answer, you will be judged on your expression, coherence, structure, grammar, and vocabulary
Learn to Write an Essay
It is not just about writing, it is about expressing your thoughts in a coherent and logical manner. The complete section is devoted to writing, so, you should be well versed with the rules of the language. Here, some of the points to help you tackle the IELTS Speaking section better.
- Introduction: Start with the introduction directly and move ahead with the other paragraphs. Learn the art of paraphrasing
- Paragraphs: Concisely break your ideas. Describe your ideas with relevant examples. Try to explain one idea in one paragraph, make sure it should be relevant. When you change your paragraph, the change should have a continuity and a flow. The individual paragraphs should be connected
- Conclusion: A strong conclusion is a must! It is important to give points and back them with relevant examples
Ask yourself these questions:
- How well you have answered the question?
- Have you proven your point strongly enough?
- How well is your essay structured?
- Have you linked your paragraphs and thoughts well enough so that there is a seamless flow in the language?
- Is your vocabulary precise?
- How accurate is your grammar?
- Have you used punctuations correctly?
- Are there any spelling mistakes?
Also Read: IELTS Essay Sample Topics
Things to Keep in Mind:
- The first and foremost task is to understand the question and identify its type. Identify whether you have to give an opinion or a solution. Learn whether you have to criticize the argument or have to write in its favour. If you identify this accurately then a major task is complete
- Before writing an essay, you must know its basic structure. A book about essay writing will help you understand the structure and format of essays better
- Don’t waste a lot of time on Task 1. Learn all the specific writing structure for each type of Task 1. In the real test, you just have to apply that structure with new data and suitable verb tenses. Read sample answers and take note of the ones with good structure to have a wide range of academic structures for task 1 in your arsenal. Some structures might be used in task 2 as well
- Writing requires good vocabulary. However, you must make sure that the words you use should fit the context. Do not try to fit high-level words forcefully. You can click on the link to learn more about IELTS vocabulary
- Avoid informal writing. There are some rules of writing you should follow.
- Each body paragraph has to include: the topic sentence, supporting sentences (2-3 sentences), and development sentences (including example, experience, and data)
- It is always good to add relevant examples with your opinions. The examiner is going to assess the essay based on a lot of factors and if you elaborate your ideas along with the examples (if the prompt allows) shows that you have understood what has been asked and you are explaining it in a structured manner
- Practice Sample Questions. Do both the tasks in one hour. You can focus only on task 1 or task 2, but before the test, you should practice writing both tasks to get familiar with time limit.
Following are the resources that will help you prepare for the IELTS Writing Section:
- Official IELTS website: https://www.ielts.org/.
- The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS
- Writing for IELTS (Collins)
- Writing for the IELTS (Barron's Test Prep)
- Grammarly App: https://www.grammarly.com/. You can practice the essays from the books mentioned above and check them on the website. You will receive a score and suggestions on how to make your essay better
- Mock Tests: The more you practice, the better you will get. During the entire course of your preparation, you must give mock tests.