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Last Updated: December 03, 2023

IELTS Writing Section - Things to Know

There might be tons of reasons why someone is trying to take an IELTS exam. This might range from the need to get a good score to attain admission to that university of their choice or to pass it to get a residence in another country. IELTS and TOEFL are two exams that are extensively used all over the world today.

While the IELTS exam has different parts to it, one of the most important criteria is the IELTS Writing Section.

The IELTS writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. To get a better understanding of the same, read on:

The IELTS Academic Writing Test

It is a 60-minute test where the candidate is required to complete two writing tasks, each of a different text and writing style.

Task 1: In this part, the candidate has to write a descriptive report of 150 words about the graphic or pictorial information like tables, charts, and diagrams provided. This task has to be completed in around 20 minutes. The information provided will mostly be a visual representation of an event and requires to be summarized in full. It is mandatory that the information be given in their own words and as a paragraph without any notes or bullet points.

The task ought to be written in an academic or semi/formal style focusing on the major details in the image. The minor details may be skipped out, but they should contain a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of as many words as can be written under the stipulated time.

Candidates may be penalized if their answer strays away from the topic or is not completed.

How to Prepare for it?
It's important to understand what exactly is expected from candidates in this section. Here the examiner will gauge the candidate's choice of words and ideas in response to the given graph or pictorial information. Candidates have to summarize the given information that will test their ability and aptitude for reporting the main features and describing and comparing the data in the given graph. It's a description of the complete information provided.

Task 2: In this part, the candidate has to write an argument on a given topic that has to be 250 words and the argument has to be supported with relevant examples and points. This task is expected to take around 40 minutes. This task should also be attempted in an academic or semi-formal style. The answers should be discursive and about relevant issues.

Questions will generally be focused on an aspect of something. The aspect should be focused on rather than the thing in general. For example, if the question is about a certain feature of mobile phones, do NOT write a note on mobile phones in general but focus on the particular feature mentioned in the question.

Candidates may write more than 250 words since they will be given around 40 minutes for this task. But understand that a perfect 250-word answer weighs more than a grammatically incorrect 400-word answer. So always keep enough time to recheck answers and correct linguistic inaccuracies.

They can penalize candidates for going off-topic and for using bullet points or notes in the answer. The answer should be written as a paragraph and as nothing else.

How to Prepare for it?
In this section, candidates will have to write on the given topic that will test their ability to respond to a given opinion and how they justify their opinion. Candidates will have to support their argument with relevant and suitable examples, reasons, points, and justifications. Candidates can share their experiences, knowledge, and ideas for a better understanding.

This task weighs twice as much when compared to the first task and requires equally increased care while attending to the question. They try to assess the candidate's ability to provide a well-organized argument that is presented clearly and concisely. It is expected of candidates to also provide examples to support ideas and use perfect language.

Preparation for both these tasks should be focused on the assessment criteria. The responses are assessed based on coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range, accuracy, and the sense of task achievement displayed. These focal points will help candidates prepare accordingly for the writing test.

The IELTS General Writing Test

In the GT module, the writing test is different; The candidate is given one hour to complete two tasks that are 150 and 250 words each.

Task 1:This task is about writing a letter either requesting information or conveying a situation to a third party. The situation presented to candidates may be of formal or informal relevance and demand a reply in a similar fashion. This implies that the answer can be written in a formal, semi-formal, or informal style depending upon the audience the candidate is writing for.

The situation will be taken from a common life experience and may pertain to complaining about their accommodation in a college setting or to informing a local authority about specific plans that have been made.

Candidates will be given bullet points with information that has to be included in the response. Their response may include expressing needs, likes, dislikes, opinions, complaints, etc., or even providing factual information.

One should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task and should be at least 150 words.

How to Prepare for it?
In the first task, candidates will be asked to write a letter about a given situation or topic which will judge their writing skills to express their needs, likes, desires, and thoughts about the topic. Candidates can engage in personal correspondence provide general factual information and also express their opinions about the topic.

The answer should not go off-topic and should be written in full without any bullet points. Avoid plagiarism at all costs since candidates may be penalized for the same.

Task 2:This task is usually about writing a response essay to a particular argument or perspective. Considering the nature of the question, the answer can be personal in style expressing the candidate's own opinions and perspectives about the same. While stating an opinion/ perspective it is expected that candidates justify the same using evidence and ideas.

The topics that are generally asked pertain to general activities regarding life or the environment. The justification and examples given can be academic, of a general viewpoint, or even from personal experience.

How to Prepare for it?
Preparing for this task is about learning to craft a relevant response to general issues. Reading through the editorial columns in newspapers can aid candidates in this endeavor. Candidates should be able to discuss abstract ideas using a wide range of vocabulary suitable for the context.

Focus on the vocabulary should not result in a thesaurus-aided version of a simpler answer. Stick to words that are apt for the context and always write the answer in full.

Do NOT include bullet points or notes and do NOT plagiarize content. They focus on the candidate's ability to write paragraphs based on discursive writing conventions along with their ability to connect information coherently through the appropriate use of language.

How to Ace IELTS Writing Test?

  1. Don't write too little or too much of the required number of words. Stick to the word limit.
  2. Don't be repetitive.
  3. Follow an organic and natural way, and keep a flow in writing and work.
  4. Don't use jargon and heavy words if not required.
  5. Read the question carefully and then plan what the candidate wants to write.
  6. Write clearly.
  7. Organize content.
  8. Spend more time on Task 2 because candidates will have to support it with points and examples as it is for 250 words.
  9. Don't copy the same words as in the question.
  10. Summarize points.
  11. Revise and restructure if needed.

Career prospects

Acing the IELTS exam by itself will not fetch candidates a great job. However, the exam is essential for most degrees in any European nation or Britain, Australia, or Canada and is widely accepted in the US, where Universities and job offices need IELTS to know one's English proficiency. A good score will mean that candidates understand English better which can help them in everything from Visas to job letters.

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