The writing section of IELTS assesses your vocabulary and ability to construct complex sentences with moderation without repetition. It also checks your grammar skills through its tasks. This module consists of two tasks of varying types, which checks your comprehension skills and ability to construct meaningful arguments.
The first task usually requires you to write 150 words in 20 minutes, while the second task requires around 250 words in 40 minutes. Since the second task is tougher than task 1, experts recommend finishing the first part within the allotted time and ideally utilise any time saved on the second assessment.
Types of Questions in the Writing Section
The writing module includes Task 1 and 2, as mentioned earlier, with a time limit of one hour in total. It is mandatory to complete both the tasks.
For the first task, you will get a graph or picture or diagram which you need to describe in your own words. You may also get the diagram of a machine or a process, where you will require explaining how it works. It is essential to add only relevant information to ensure you complete the task within the allotted time. Maintaining an academic or neutral, or semi-formal style of writing is of the utmost importance.
Test-takers can leave minor or less-relevant information if there are time constraints. Task 1 aims to assess a candidate’s ability to identify the most relevant trends and information in diagrams, charts or graphs.
In this task, candidates are required to provide a response to a problem or a view or an argument. You are required to write 250 words within 40 minutes. Answering carefully with a curated response is essential for this task. Exceeding the word limit may leave you with little or no time to re-read or check your answers for relevance. Thus, failing to complete this task will reduce the chances to achieve a good band score.
Like the Academic format, the General Training exam also comprises two tasks. The time limit to complete the two tasks is 60 minutes. Topics usually revolve around general interest and the assessments are geared more towards general life circumstances.
In this assessment, candidates need to respond to a situation by writing a letter such as explaining a situation or requesting certain information. Test-takers can maintain an informal, formal or semi-formal way of writing. The response needs to be at least 150 words.
There is a penalty for including irrelevant information or missing out on key points provided by IELTS. Further, incomplete answers or writing in bullets can also result in negative marking. Plagiarism is also penalised severely by the administrators of IELTS.
This task intends to ascertain a candidate’s ability to comprehend and execute an English letter-writing convention. It also assesses the ability to use the English language aptly to organise information cohesively and coherently.
This section requires students to write a semi-neutral/neutral toned essay in around 40 minutes. It needs a minimum of 250 words and is written in the provided answer book. The task details convey a point of view or a problem, and candidates need to provide factual information, provide a solution, justify an opinion or evaluate an idea or evidence.
Topics are usually of general interest, such as why families are not so close anymore as before and how they can become closer, possible solutions to environmental issues, if smoking should be banned in public places, etc. Deviating from the topic and providing irrelevant information can lead to negative marking.
This task assesses a candidate’s writing ability in terms of what style to use, how to paragraph and link relevant information coherently and cohesively.
Practise Questions of IELTS Academic Writing (Task 1 and 2)
Here is a list of practice questions for both academic as well as general training writing assessments.
Practise Question (Task 1)
The chart given below represents the number of men and women pursuing higher education in Britain in three different periods and whether they were studying part-time or full-time.
Give a summary of the information by selecting and reporting the main aspects and making relevant comparisons. Write at least 150 words.
Practise Question (Task 1)
The chart given below provides information about growth in population in three major Australian cities between 1992 and 2016.
Summarise the given information and report the main features and make relevant comparisons.
Practise Question (Task 1)
The diagram described below provides information about the recycling of plastic and glass containers.
Give a summary of the information by selecting and reporting the main information and presenting relevant comparisons.
Practise Questions (Task 2)
1. A portion of the human population believes that criminal behaviour has its roots in genes. Others think that circumstances lead people to commit crimes. Discuss your take on both views and put forward your opinions.
2. Many believe that new houses in an area should be built in the same style as the older houses in the region. Others opine that local authorities should allow people to choose their own style of housing. Discuss both views and put forward your opinion in your words.
3. Several researches show that overeating can have several adverse effects on the human body. Therefore, many people believe that advertising of certain foods should be banned similarly as several countries banned cigarette advertisements. Do you agree or disagree?
Practise Questions of IELTS General Training Writing (Task 1 and 2)
Practise Questions (Task 1)
1. You are migrating to another country for higher studies and looking to do a part-time job while you are studying. Thus, you are asking your friend who lives there for some help. Write a letter to that friend. Include the following information:
- Provide details of your study plans
- Explain why you are looking to do a part-time job
- Suggestion of how he/she can help you with the job
2. Write a letter to the movie theatre manager regarding a jacket you left behind after watching a film. In your letter:
- Provide an accurate description of your jacket
- Describe the location of your seat
- Explain what you want the manager to do
3. You own an old antique and are looking to sell the same. Write a letter to the owner of an antique shop. Include the following information:
- Inform how you found about the shop
- Accurately describe the item you want to sell
- Provide an estimated price you are looking to get from the transaction
Practise Questions (Task 2)
1. Film stars and celebrities often share opinions on public matters that do not concern their profession. According to you, is this a positive or negative development?
2. Several people say that it is possible to gauge a person’s character and culture from their choice of clothing. Do you agree or disagree?
3. Governments should make people responsible for taking care of their local environment. Do you agree or disagree?
Tips for Scoring Well in the Writing Section
Some top tips to score well in your IELTS writing section are given below.
- It is recommended that you do not spend more than 20 minutes on task 1 as you will require 40 minutes at least for task 2. Keep a tab on time to ensure the same.
- Do not count the number of words. Instead, count the lines and get an estimated word count.
- Plan and strategize your essay before you start writing.
- Never miss out on writing a conclusion for task 2.
- Check your spellings and follow either British or American style.
- Keep all information relevant and do not exceed the word limit to ensure you have enough time to re-read your answers.
- Use a range of grammar tenses and showcase your vocabulary.
- Do not use repetition or attempt plagiarising.
- Make sure that you cover all the bullet points mentioned in General writing Task 2.
- Practice writing answers sourced from the official websites and other online platforms to ensure optimum time management.
Students can also take the aid of IELTS practice tests to prepare for the writing exam. Further, they can also take the assistance of experts at Leap Scholar for providing them with the necessary tips and study materials and guidance to write appropriate answers to crack IELTS successfully.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a negative marking for the IELTS writing section?
Yes, there is negative marking if you write less than the prescribed word limit. Additionally, the test-takers can also be penalised for not using full, connected sentences. Therefore, one must always strictly adhere to the given word limit as well as be mindful of the time mandates of each section.
2. What are the main criteria that the examiners consider to evaluate the writing tasks?
Examiners use a variety of criteria such as the task achievement, cohesion and coherence of the writing sample, usage as well as knowledge of grammatical structures and syntax. Thus, it is important to practise the questions beforehand which will help prepare the candidates to attempt this section confidently.
3. What do I need to bring on the test day?
Candidates should bring a pen, pencil and an eraser along with the identification document used during IELTS registration. No food items are allowed inside the exam centre. However, one can carry a transparent water bottle. No electronic devices are allowed inside the exam room.
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