How To Prepare for IELTS - Writing Section

    Updated on: 22 May 2022


    The writing section of the IELTS tests how you write a response in an appropriate manner and how you organize the ideas and use the grammar and vocabulary accurately. The writing component encompasses two tasks- IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2. Let's know in detail about the IELTS writing section and how you can ace this component like a pro!

    What is the IELTS Writing Exam Pattern?

    The IELTS Writing part comprises of two parts, and it has to be completed within one hour. In the first part i.e. IELTS writing task 1,  you will be given a task based on some graphic or pictorial information. It could be in the form of a bar chart, pie chart, table, graph, map, or diagram. You will have to write a report in 150 words describing accurately what the information in the graph or picture represents. You will have to strive to complete this part within 20 minutes because the second part, IELTS writing task 2, is more difficult, and you will need at least 40 minutes to complete it.

    The second task is more demanding. You are expected to produce a written argument in approximately 250 words on a given topic and to organize your answer clearly, giving some examples to support your points.

    IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2 scores are calculated on the basis of the following criteria:
    Task Achievement, Task Response, Coherence, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Lexical Resource.

    For further explanation on each criterion, check out the British Council’s website for details for Task 1 IELTS Writing and Task 2 IELTS Writing, respectively.
    The Writing Task 2 score is given double weightage as compared to the Writing Task 1. For example, if you get a band score of 8 for Writing task 1 and a band score of 6 for Writing task 2, the overall score will be calculated by taking the two scores of Task 2 and one score for Task 1. So, the score is 8+6+6= 20/3 = 6.66. The IELTS will round up the score to 6.5, which will be your total score.

    Preparation Tips for IELTS Writing Section

    • If you are taking the IELTS exam, it is never too early to start preparing. Many students have the opinion that since they can speak English reasonably well, not much preparation is required. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, the difficulty level of the test may seem to be high even to those whose native tongue is English. Therefore, candidates should prepare for this section in a rigorous and systematic manner. 
    • Start off with the preparations at least 6 months before your intended test date. Keep some time every day to prepare for this section. There are lots of material available online as indicated above to kickstart your preparations with. Check out this British Council site to get a host of practice material.
    • Take up writing topics for both the tasks and try to write on them each day. Time yourself – remember you will need to complete both the tasks in one hour.
    • Remember that grammar and vocabulary are the main ingredients in writing. After that is structured thinking so that your ideas can be conveyed in a logical manner. Invest a considerable amount of time in learning new vocabulary and brushing up your grammatical skills. While practicing writing, pay special attention to lucidity, logic, and clarity.  
    • The best way is to read a lot; go through the examples provided in the IELTS learning websites. Learn whole phrases instead of single words. That will come in pretty useful when you write an essay. It is important to remember that you need not write in colorful English using difficult phrases. The chances of getting them wrong are huge, and the examiners will not be impressed. Write in precise, simple English.
    • Attempt multiple complete and sectional mock tests. While practicing these tests, not only will you be able to practice a diverse range of questions with varying levels of difficulty but you will also habituate yourself to the general test pattern and trends of this section and as a result increase your attempting speed.  

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    Resources You Can Use to Prepare for the IELTS Exam

    Offline Resources/Books

    Do check out these books which are excellent resources for your IELTS preparation.

    • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS.
    • Barron's IELTS Superpack.
    • Target Band 7: IELTS Academic.
    • Cambridge IELTS 11 Self-Study Pack.

    Online Resources

    You can also get tons of study material from the following online resources: 

    • The British Council
    • IELTS.org - www.IELTS.org
    • IELTS Liz YouTube channel- www.youtube.com/user/ieltsliz
    • British Council Apps
    • Official Cambridge Guide IELTS 4+- Cambridge University Press
    • Additionally, podcasts are an excellent resource for preparing for the IELTS exam.

    IELTS Writing Sample Questions For Reference

    Task 1

    For IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you are required to write a summary of a minimum of 150 words in response to a given graph (bar, line, or pie graph), table, chart, or process (how something works, how something is done). This task seeks to test your ability to select and report the main features, to describe and compare data, identify significance and trends in factual information, or describe a process.  Examples for IELTS Task 1 Academic and general are given in the links below:

    1. Writing Task 1 
    2. Writing Task 1

    Task 2 

    Essay

    Writing Task 2 of the IELTS exam requires you to write a minimum of 250 words. You will be given a topic and will be tested on your ability to respond by presenting and justifying an opinion, discussing the topic, summarizing details, outlining problems, identifying possible solutions, and supporting what you write with reasons, arguments, and relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Examples -

    1. Writing Sample Task 2
    2. Writing Sample Task 2

    Candidates can also refer to a writing sample given here to understand how an answer needs to be written. 

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    Preparation Tips For One Week Before Your Test

    The preparation strategy you take one week before the exam plays a crucial role in making or breaking your game. Below are some tips and tricks specific to the IELTS Writing section which you should follow one week before the exam. 

    • Don’t study any new English! Your English won’t improve in one week. Review what you have already learned. Review the IELTS test strategies, writing methods, and your existing vocabulary.
    • Read a lot of English. Read the papers. Listen to BBC news. Watch English serials. This will help you to register words, different kinds of sentence structures commonly used phrases, and so on. That being said, as mentioned above, refrain from learning anything new or difficult. 
    • Take 3-4 model tests. Try to understand how long the test is. Understand how long you should take in each section.
    • Stay healthy. If you are tired, you will not do your best. Sleep well, eat safely.

    IELTS Writing Tips You Should Follow in the Exam

    • While attempting the writing section, do not spend more than 20 minutes in writing IELTS task 1. You will need 40 minutes to write the essay in writing IELTS Task 2.
    • Write a bit more than 150 words for Task 1 and more than 250 words for task 2. Don’t overdo it though.
    • Split your essay into paragraphs. It is easier to read. And you can organize your points better.
    • Do not continue writing after you have been told to stop. If you do so, there is a good chance that you will be disqualified.

    Things to Keep in Mind of The Day of IELTS

    • Leave home early to arrive well in time at the exam center.
    • Make sure that you have had a comfortable night’s sleep.
    • Make sure that you have your ID and/or passport. (check exactly what ID is necessary for the IELTS exam).
    • Do not cheat. You will be disqualified instantly and never will be able to take the test again. Do not carry any notes etc. 

    Although IELTS is a tough nut to crack, with systematic and consistent preparation, one could achieve a reasonable score on the test. As the writing section is one of the most difficult sections of IELTS, rigorous and regular practice is necessary to acquire a firm grip over it. Apart from that, if you follow the aforementioned tips given by us, you are sure to tackle this section comfortably. For more such tips on the other sections of the test, you can read here.  

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