What happens in IELTS Writing?

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There are two tasks in Writing.

Task 1 (Academic) – A graph, chart, tabulated information or some diagram will be given. The student has to explanation the information, summarize or describe in at least 150 words.

Task 1 (General) – A situation will be given for which a letter should be written requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be formal, semi- formal or personal with the number of words being at least 150.

Task 2 (Same for Academic and General) – An essay needs to be written in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay needs to be written in at least 250 words.

Marking Scheme for Writing

There are 4 evaluation parameters for Writing –

  • Task Achievement and Task Response: Task Response means fulfilling what is asked and Task Achievement means elaborating a fully developed position with examples etc.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: Logical organization of ideas, use of cohesive devices (linking words), paragraphing
  • Lexical Resource: Less common Vocabulary with precise application
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: Error free usage with good range of grammatical structures

Each of the 4 criteria is weighted equally (25%) and the score on the task is the average of the 4 criteria.

IELTS Writing Question Types

Question types in Writing are as below –

IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic)

In Academic Task-1, a report needs to be written based on a chart which can be of various forms – map, process, graph, pie chart, table, diagram etc. The task has to be for atleast 150 words. There is no upper limit but writing too much will result in loss of time.

For example, there might be a graph for number of tigers in India against time. The graph would be declining in nature. The candidate has to express the graph in words. Analysis is not required. The candidate does not have to get into the reasons as to why something happened.

IELTS Writing Task 1 (General)

In General Task-1, a letter needs to be written as per the question prompt. The task has to be for at least 150 words. There is no upper limit but writing too much will result in loss of time. These letters can be of different type, that is letter of –

a) Instruction

b) Gratitude

c) Complaint

d) Request

e) Resignation

f) Acceptance

g) Advice etc

For example, a letter of instruction would be –

You and your friend went on a trip to Spain. However, you kept your camera in her bag. Write a letter to your friend asking him or her to send the camera back to you. You should –

  • Recollect some memories of the trip together
  • Inform that you have kept your camera in his/her bag
  • Give instructions on how he/she should return it

IELTS Writing Task 2 (Common for General and Academic)

Task-2 is about writing an essay. The task has to be for atleast 250 words. There is no upper limit but writing too much will result in loss of time. These essays can be of the following types –

a) Opinion Essay

b) Advantage / Disadvantage Essay c) Cause-Effect Essay

d) Cause-Solution Essay

e) Discussion Essay etc

The candidate has to strictly adhere to what is being asked in the question. For example, an advantage/disadvantage essay might look as below –

E-books are becoming more popular than printed copies. While some believe this to be good, others believe it is not. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

In this question, it is very clear that we have to talk about the advantages and disadvantages. Do not talk about your opinion and say that you believe it is a good trend. You can share examples and experiences but they should be linked to an advantage or disadvantage.

Useful Tips for The IELTS Writing Test

  1. Whether it is the Academic module or the General module, you will have two Tasks. Task 1 being the shorter task of atleast 150 words while Task 2 is the longer task of atleast 250 words.
  2. You can exceed the word limit and write as much as you like. However, you should write a minimum of 150 and 250 words for Task-1 and Task-2 respectively. Going under the word count will affect your score. At the same time, writing too much will result in loss of time.
  3. Task-2 has roughly two-thirds weightage on your score while Task-1 has roughly one-thirds weightage. Thus, you should dedicate one-thirds of your time to Task-1 (not more than 20 minutes) and two-thirds of your time to Task- 2 (40 minutes).
  4. Do not waste time in physically counting the number of words. You can simply count the words in the first sentence and multiply it with the number of sentences to get an average. In the Computer Based Test, the word count will be mentioned real-time as you type / edit.
  5. Pay close attention to what is asked in the question and address that. This is vital for achieving Task Response / Task Achievement. For example, if the question is – Do you agree with this statement? State clearly in your response whether you agree or don’t agree.
  6. Don’t be in the middle ground or analyse the statement but not give your opinion at all. Even if your analysis is top notch, you will not be rewarded marks as you did not address what was asked in the question.
  7. Take time initially for planning. You can plan the structure and ideas in the question paper. This will ensure that the rest of the time, you are focusing on the responses you write and not on ideas. Those who do not plan properly, end up contradicting their ideas or are unable to write a fully developed essay with supporting examples / experiences.
  8. Spelling and Punctuation also affects your scores and thus, you should ensure that you do not commit errors in these areas as well.
  9. Paragraph your essay appropriately. A new paragraph is written while you move onto a new idea. Do not forcefully change paragraphs.
  10. Do not miss out in writing your conclusion for Task – 2

Hope these insights helped. Watch our exclusive IELTS Writing MasterClass recording to get detailed insights on paragraphing and structures:

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