#EngTips: Academic IELTS writing tips

In this post, we will specifically talk about the academic writing test in IELTS.

As you know there are 2 versions of IELTS, the Academic version & the General Training version. However since most of our readers are students, we will focus more on the Academic version of IELTS.

The writing module in the academic version consists of 2 tasks. You will have 1 hour to complete both tasks.


2 tasks in 1 hour

In task 1, candidates are to describe a given graphic such as diagram, bar chart, line graph, pie chart or table. You will have to identify important information, compare and contrast different figures or maybe describe a process. You will be expected to write a passage with minimum of 150 words.

Whereas in task 2 of the writing module in the academic version will ask candidates to respond to an argument. Candidates are asked to present their opinion on a statement about a fairly open topic such as: “Smoking should be banned.” Task 2 requires a minimum of 250 words. The essay would be on a general academic topic and in formal style.


Scoring system

Your score is based on 3 criteria:

  • Content: How well do you present your arguments, ideas and evidence? The writing test expects you to give both pro and contra arguments about the topic with examples.
  • Quality: How effectively are you able to communicate your ideas and thoughts?
  • Technical aspects: How correct is your grammar? How rich is your vocab? How varied are your sentences?

This is important! Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1. So, manage your time carefully. It is advisable that you spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and approximately 40 minutes on Task 2.


Managing your time

Time is short! So plan your moves.

  • Spend 2 to 5 minutes to plan.
  • Analyze each task and spend some time making notes.
  • Plan your answers.
  • And once you have arranged your thoughts, put them in writing.

Consider what position you will adopt, how you’re going to expand on the topic and in what order you will present your ideas. Make sure you focus on what you have to do and use paragraphs clearly; put one idea in each paragraph.


Important tips:

1. Write in full sentences. Do not write in note form or in bullet points, otherwise you will lose marks. And do not repeat ideas using different words. Always keep to the topic; do not write about unrelated subjects.

2. Count the number of words in your passage. You’ll lose marks if you write less than 150 words for Task 1 or less than 250 words for Task 2.

3. Grammar and vocabulary will also be assessed. Make sure you check your writing for verb tense agreement. Also check for prepositions, word order, sentence patterns, structure, and range of vocabulary.

4. Avoid informal language. Do not use slang at all. In the academic section of the IELTS, avoid contractions, a clear symbol of informal writing.

5. And if you have some spare time, spend several minutes re-reading and correcting your answers.

The best of luck for you who are planning to take IELTS test!


Compiled and written by @miss_qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, February 2, 2013


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