Last Updated: February 11, 2021

IELTS Writing Section - Things to Know

Are you looking to score well in the IELTS exam? There might be tons of reasons why you are trying to take an IELTS exam. This might range from the need to get a good score to attain admission in that university of your 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 about the same, read on:

The IELTS Academic Writing Test:

It is a 60 minutes 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 your 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 it should contain a minimum of 150 words and a maximum of as many words can be written under the stipulated time.

You may be penalized if your 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 you in this section. Here the examiner will gauge your choice of words and ideas in response to the given graph or pictorial information. You have to summarize the given information that will test your ability and aptitude for reporting the main features, 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 in nature 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.

You may write more than 250 words since you 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 your answer and correct linguistic inaccuracies.

They can penalize you 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, you will have to write on the given topic that will test your ability to respond to a given opinion and how you justify your opinion. You will have to support your argument with relevant and suitable examples, reasons, points, and justifications. You can share your experiences, knowledge, and ideas for a better understanding.

This task weighs twice as much when compared to the first task and requires an equally increased care will attending the question. They try to assess your ability to provide a well-organized argument that is presented clearly and concisely. It is expected of you 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, the grammatical range and accuracy, and the sense of task achievement displayed. These focal points will help you 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 of 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 you may be of formal or informal relevance and demands 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 you are writing for.

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

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

You 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, you will be asked to write a letter about a given situation or topic which will judge your writing skills to express your needs, likes, desires, and thoughts about the topic. You can engage in personal correspondence, and provide general factual information and also express your 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 you 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 your own opinions and perspectives about the same. While stating your opinion/ perspective it is expected that you 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 you in this endeavor. You 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 your ability to write paragraphs based on discursive writing conventions along with your ability to connect information coherently through the appropriate use of language.

Essential Tips for IELTS writing section:

  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, keep a flow in your writings and work.
  4. Don't use jargon and heavy words if not required.
  5. Read the question carefully and then plan what you want to write.
  6. Write clearly.
  7. Organize your content.
  8. Spend more time on Task 2 because you 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 your points.
  11. Revise and restructure if needed.

Career prospects

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


IELTS Resources


IELTS Writing

IELTS Listening

IELTS Speaking


IELTS Practice Tests/Reading


Word of the day

morbid : diseased; unhealthy (e.g.. about ideas)

IELTS vs TOEFL