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7 tips to prepare and write the IELTS essays

The IELTS ACADEMIC module tests candidates on their ability to write two forms of essays in the writing section of the test. The Writing section is divided into two parts and both the parts would have to be completed in 60 minutes. In the first part called WRITING TASK 1 the candidate is given a task based on some information presented in a graphic and diagrammatic form and is expected to write a report of not more than 150 words on the information provided. In the second part, called WRITING TASK 2, candidates are assessed on their ability to produce a clear and logical argument on a given topic in a neatly written essay of not more than 250 words.

The IELTS GENERAL TRAINING module also has 2 parts to the writing section but the tasks vary from the academic module. The GENERAL TRAINING WRITING TASK 1 requires candidates to write a letter based on a situation described in the task. WRITING TASK 2 is an essay based on a given topic. The word count is the same as it is for the academic writing tasks 1 and 2.

The assessment criteria for marking both the ACADEMIC and the GENERAL are by and large the same.  IELTS examiners would be largely interested in the Content, Organization, Vocabulary and Grammar-the four main areas of assessment.

Here are 7 points to keep in mind while attempting the writing tasks of the ACADEMIC and GENERAL TRAINING modules.

  1. To prepare for the ACADEMIC WRITING TASK 2   you need to analyze and brainstorm different essay topics so that you have a range of ideas on IELTS –type questions. You could procure the essay question types from the internet. Reading up sample essays would also help in building a good pool of examples that can be used when required.
  2. After brainstorming for ideas, you would have to plan the writing of the essay. Always good to start by introducing the topic and establishing your point of view on the subject. The introductory paragraph can also contain the examples you plan to use in the rest of the essay. The subsequent paragraphs will contain an elaboration of the examples mentioned in the introductory paragraph, while the concluding paragraph will tie the examples back to the main point of view.
  3. To spruce, up the essay, it is good to use an argumentative style of writing. To be able to write argumentatively it is important to use certain words and phrases such as, While/ although; despite the fact, It could be argued etc.
  4. The ACADEMIC TASK 1 is about understanding graphics information. A good tip would be to work on pie charts or bar diagrams or tables of information presented in newspapers or business articles.  Alternatively, you can draw a pie chart to show what percentage of time you spend on the following activities in an average week: watching TV, working, studying, sleeping, using the internet, doing sport, doing other activities. The next step would be to write a summary of the information you have provided in the chart. Simple, isn’t it?
  5. The WRITING TASK 1of the GENERAL TRAINING module requires that the candidate write a formal or informal letter depending on the purpose of the letter. The instructions in the task will describe a situation and tell you exactly who to write to. This is followed by 3 bulleted points which help you to organize the content of your letter.  The trick is to adhere to the bulleted points all the time. If the bulleted points are not dealt with either directly or remotely, you will not secure more than Band 4 for content.
  6. Letter writing is always formal, even in informal letters. The tone has to be polite and the language should be grammatically and logically complete. Slang and senseless rhetoric should be avoided.
  7. Keep to the word count.  Short answers lose marks, but there are no extra marks for long answers. Do count your words to make sure you have written enough.

Follow the tips presented above and hope to see your band score improve!!!


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