7 top tips to score high in the IELTS Writing Section - Parth Edvisors
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7 top tips to score high in the IELTS Writing Section

To get an excellent score in IELTS, candidates must perform well in all four sections. The writing section, considered challenging by most IELTS takers, could be your key to obtaining your goals. 

Before getting into the how-to, let us dissect the writing section. You will be required to write two essay-type questions

Writing Task 1:

IELTS – General Training: Write a letter on the assigned topic.

IELTS – Academic: Write about the data or describe the shown diagram/chart/graph.

Writing Task 2:

Write an essay on a topic assigned by the examiner for both tests. It is the same for both IELTS- Academic and General Training however, for the General Training test, the question will be more general, while the Academic one will be a little more complex. 

You will have 60 minutes to complete both the tasks of the writing section in both – General Training and Academic. 

The first step is to find the test your institution requires, and the second one is to make your pick of the exam pattern you want to take. You can opt for a pen and paper-based test or a computer-delivered one.

TIPS on HOW TO DO WELL in IELTS WRITING

1. Acquaint yourself with the test format:

Make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting on your selected exam and prepare accordingly.

IELTS General Training
IELTS Academic
TASK 1 (150+ WORD LIMIT)
Write a letter in one of the given formats: • Formal • Semi-formal (to someone you know formally) • Informal (to friends or family)
Describe and write about the data displayed in a Bar graph/Line graph/Pie chart/Table/Diagram. Information-transfer task.
TASK 2 (250+ WORD LIMIT)
Formal Essay on a GENERAL TOPIC (semi-formal/neutral discursive essay)
Formal Essay on an ACADEMIC TOPIC (semi-formal/neutral discursive essay)

2. Understand the evaluation criteria

Scoring is on the band scale of 0-9 per section. The average is taken out for all the parts to produce the final score. The criteria according to the official site are:  

  • Task achievement: How relevant your answer is to the question
  • Coherence and cohesion: Fluency of your writing and overall organisation.
  • Lexical resource: Range of your vocabulary, figures of speech etc and its appropriate use.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: Assesses the grammatical accuracy with which you write.

All the four assessment areas above carry equal weightage ie 25% of the total marks allotted to each section of the Writing part. Therefore, it is important to be mindful and do well in all these four areas.

3. Read and understand the topic and question very carefully.

Many a time the topic is misunderstood by the test-takers because of which they digress from the topic losing valuable points. For example, the topic ‘Crime rate amongst teenagers has increased dramatically in many countries.’ Discuss possible reasons and suggest solutions. In this topic, you have to focus on teenage crime and mention its causes and remedies, but several test-takers may unconsciously write points on ‘Increase in crime rate’ which will be quite different than ‘Increase in teenage crime rate’.

4. Divide your time wisely

You will have 60 minutes to complete both tasks. Since Task 2 weighs TWICE as Task 1, one must spend more time on it than Task 1, which is relatively objective and short. It is suggested to spend 40 minutes on Task 2 and no more than 20 minutes on Task 1. 

You can start with any of the tasks, depending on how you are comfortable. During practice tests, try to work out both ways and see which works for you better, attempting the essay first or the Task1. The one with which you are more comfortable and can manage time well should be your approach.

5. Check your word count

You must write at least 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2, anything less WILL cost you marks. In the computer-based test, you will be able to check the number of words regularly, as it is denoted on the screen itself.

6. Use Formal/Academic Language

  • Step up your vocabulary and utilise accurate synonyms for informal phrases. Don’t memorise new words but try framing them in sentences to know their meaning and correct usage. 
  • You should not use ambiguous language such as “really,” “very”, and “so”. 
  • Try not to include big words excessively; work with what you are comfortable with and ensure the sentences are cohesive. 
  • Avoid using multiple synonyms. Also remember: not all synonyms will have the same meaning and cannot be used interchangeably. 
  • It is advised against using contractions such as “don’t”, “haven’t”, and “can’t” in formal writing. 
  • Brush up on basic grammar and sentence structures to ensure your essay is accurate. 

7. How to Answer TASK 1 and TASK 2

Task 1 answers: 

IELTS GENERAL TRAINING: In General Training Task 1, you have to write a letter on a topic given by the evaluator. The letter is about an everyday situation and can be addressed to anyone, like a friend, family member or an authority figure. You must adhere to the letter writing format and formal/informal language depending on to whom the letter is addressed. 

IELTS ACADEMIC: In the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, a diagram or data will be given and students have to describe it based on what they understand. The data may be in a table, chart or graph. You must read the diagram carefully, writing what you understand from it and not your opinion of the given data. You should write all that can be inferred from the diagram accurately with correct grammar.  

Frame your Task 2 answers: 

  • Ensure your answer is relevant to the question and not general. Repurposing an old essay is not the safe way to go, don’t copy-paste what you memorised. Regurgitating the same generic content will not help the authenticity of your essay. Write ideas and examples directly related to the question, and do not generalise your answer. 
  • Answer all components of the question. Sometimes the questions are straightforward, and some may include 2-3 parts. A TWO part question can be: “What are the disadvantages and advantages of this?” And an example of a THREE part question may be: “Discuss both points of view and share your opinion.”  
  • Paraphrase it, do not copy: Make sure you do not copy any statement from the question directly into your answer to elaborate on it, instead write it in your own words. 
  • Organise your answer into paragraphs, don’t make it hard to read. A clear distinction between the Introduction, Body paragraphs and Conclusion will help you and your examiner both. Use enough paragraphs to present a structured response. This will show your ability to logically organise and display your ideas and thoughts. Example: If you are asked to present both views and your opinion, state your opinion at the start of the essay and then move on to the two views. You may then come back to your own opinion and then conclude the essay by weighing the content. This is a logical way to present such an answer. 
  • Make your essay coherent and logical. Use linking words and adverbial phrases to make it easy to transition. The true linking verbs are the different forms of “to Be”, “to Become” and “to Seem”. Regular verbs are also used as linking verbs such as “appear”, “feel”, “grow”, etc. We must also keep in mind to not overuse them, it is suggested to use them in the middle of the sentences instead of beginning a sentence with one. 
  • Avoid long sentences and word repetition. 
  • Do not use headings or subheadings or underline any points.
  • Use proper punctuation.  
  • Sequence your ideas in a way that they are easy to follow. 
  • Divide your ideas into sections, i.e., one idea in one paragraph. This will make your essay more cohesive. 
  • Write more than 250 words for the 2nd Task, do not try to squeeze it in the minimum word limit. Up to 350 is acceptable. 

Few other tips

  • Always reread your work to catch any mistakes. This may seem futile, but you should always spare 2-3 minutes to read through and edit your work towards the end. You will thank yourself later for catching that one small article you missed! 
  • Practice- A LOT: Though practice doesn’t make perfect, it familiarises students with their abilities and diverse questions. Consider taking up practice tests and answering sample questions to prepare you for test day. You can even take the official sample tests on the IELTS website to check your level.
  • You may reach out to Parth Edvisors at parthedvisors.com for your IELTS preparation where you will get the most personalised guidance and support to achieve your dream band in IELTS.

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