Producing a good writing piece to pass an exam can be challenging. That’s why today we are going to explain a few very important aspects to consider before taking your exam that will also help you throughout your learning process.
IELTS WRITING EXAM
1. FORMAT AND DESCRIPTION
First, let’s review some of the general information about the exam. IELTS is designed to test your English ability in the areas of Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Your score will be an average of these four skills that will be presented as a band score.
You get to choose between the Academic or the General Training exams, the main difference being the content. You should choose one or the other depending on what you need the certificate for. Today we will be explaining some of the basics of the Academic writing portion.
2. TEST FORMAT: ACADEMIC WRITING
Writing test format: IELTS ACADEMIC
There are two parts, responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in an academic, semi-formal or neutral style.
You are presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram and are asked to summarise and report the information in your own words. You may be asked to select and compare data, describe the stages of a process or describe an object or how something works.
You are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score. The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for, and easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
In Writing Task 1, you may be asked to describe facts or figures presented in one or more graphs, charts, or tables on a related topic; or you may be given a diagram of a machine, a device, or a process. You will then be asked to explain how it works while including the most important and most relevant points in the diagram.
This task might seem challenging, it assesses your ability to identify the key and most relevant pieces of information from the images and to give a well-organized summary while using an accurate language style.
Tips: we recommend that you:
- Understand the difference between pie charts, bar charts, maps, graphs, and tables.
- Learn the appropriate vocabulary that will allow you to describe facts.
- Always follow a set structure.
Common task examples:
- Pie Chart
- Bar Chart
- Line Graph
- Process Diagram
- Some tasks include more than one figure and may combine a pie chart and a line graph, a line, and a bar chart, and/or include 2, 3, or 4 pie charts. In these exercises, you will have to most give detail about the relevant points in both figures.
- It is very important that you DO NOT JUST COPY FROM THE SOURCE! You have to rephrase what is on the figure.
- Time management is essential, you must write at least 150 words, so try not to spend more than 20 minutes on this task.
In Writing Task 2, you are given a topic to write about
Your answers should be a discursive essay on the relevant issues.
You should make sure that you read the task carefully and provide a complete and appropriate response.
It is recommended that candidates spend 40 minutes on this task, and they are to write at least 250 words. Same as Task 1, there will be a point deduction if there are less than 250 words.
Task 2 contributes twice as much to the final Writing score as Task 1. Therefore, you should be extra careful with your response in this part. Once again, same as Task 1, your response should be complete and connected to the question while using your own words, NO COPYING.
- Paraphrase the question
- Explain what the essay is about
BODY (PARAGRAPH 1)
- First idea: Explain and give reasons
- Give an example
BODY (PARAGRAPH 2)
- Second idea: Explain and give reasons
- Give an example
- Summarize your ideas
- State your opinion
IELTS WRITING EXAM
3. HOW IT'S MARKED
Responses are assessed by certified IELTS examiners and marked by the following criteria:
- Task Achievement (The requirements of the task fulfilled)
- Coherence and Cohesion (Overall clarity and fluency of the message)
- Lexical Resource (Vocabulary)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (Range of Grammar Knowledge and Use)
- Task Response (The correct style of response to the prompt)
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
BAND SCORE CONVERSION
A Band Score conversion table is produced for each version of the Academic Writing test, which translates scores into the IELTS 9-band scale (1 to 9). Scores are reported in whole bands and half bands. Click HERE to see the score table.
4. FINAL TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE
Understand and plan the writing – First, read the task and understand what the task requires, and then spend 2-4 minutes making a plan for your writing.
Learn the structure of the writings – Learn what structure is needed, how many paragraphs, etc.
Study linking words – Linking words are a great way to connect all of your ideas together.
Use some expressions or phrases (not idioms – they are considered informal) – This will help you sound like a native.
Practice using synonyms – You do not want to repeat the same words.
Learn the differences between formal and informal writings – Making sure you understand the differences between the two is vital to your success.
Time management – Pay attention to how much time is spent on each task. Before the exam, practice writing a certain amount of words while timing how long it takes.
Following these tips will help ensure that you improve your writing and achieve the best possible marks while expanding your knowledge and ability to communicate through your response.
The preview of your results will be available from a few days to a few weeks after you take the exam, the exact time will depend on the format of exam you have chosen:
– paper-based test: 13 days from the exam date.
– computer-delivered test: 3 to 5 days from the exam date.
Finally, your Test Report Form (TRF), will be sent to you via mail:
- 13 days after the paper-based
- 3 to 5 days after the computer-based
The delivery might take up to 7 working days.
6. RECOMMENDED MATERIALS
These are some of the materials we recommend:
Remember, practice makes perfect! If you need any help you can always contact us for more information.