IELTS Writing Task 1 & Task 2 Tips: How to Write Good IELTS Essay

IELTS

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Rahul
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jan 16, 2023 13:06 IST

While taking the IELTS academic exam, you need a different approach for each of the four sections. For the writing section, in particular, you need to know the rules of writing and the structure of writing. Your writing reflects how you process your thoughts. To develop your writing style you need to stick to the rules and practice writing. Here we explain the IELTS Writing section tips in detail.

IELTS Writing Prep Tips

Learn About the IELTS Writing Section in Detail

The writing section of the IELTS test is the most challenging among all the sections. It has two tasks (IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2). Before we get into the finer details, you should know that the essays asked in the academic and general training tests are more or less similar. The difference could be in the complexity, but it is negligible. The difference is in the IELTS Writing Task 1. IELTS Academic writing task 1 and IELTS Academic writing task 2 include topics that are suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

These IELTS Writing tips and tricks will help you in solving this section better.

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Total Duration: 60 Minutes

The IELTS writing exam includes two tasks (IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2). Topics are general in nature and can span across various themes. The topics are suitable for candidates entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies, or seeking a PR or a job in an English-speaking country.

IELTS Writing Task 1

Time Allotted: 20 minutes

Word Limit: 150 words

On the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, students are presented with a graph, table, chart, diagram, or process, and are asked to describe, summarize, or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. The main purpose of this task is to see how well a student assimilates information and is able to put that understanding in his own words.

In the IELTS General Writing Task 1 module, a candidate is supposed to write an informal/semi-formal/formal letter.

Note that, a candidate has to write a minimum of 150 words. In case a candidate writes less than 150 words, he/she will be penalized. However, writing more than 150 words will not attract a penalty.

Make sure that your answer has a proper structure. Do not deviate from the question. The examiner will look for coherence and appropriateness in your answers.

Also Read: IELTS Task 1 Process Diagram

IELTS Writing Task 2

Time Allotted: 40 minutes

Word Limit: 250 words

IELTS Writing Task 2 involves a ‘Discursive Essay’. This means that the essay revolves around a particular topic and you are asked to give your opinion on it, provide solutions, argue for/against, etc. The standpoint of the student should ideally be neutral, as this is an exercise where there are no correct or wrong answers, rather the focus is on the correct style of writing and presentation of coherent thoughts. Make sure that you answer what has been asked, rather than writing off-topic. The examiner must not find any difficulty in understanding your essay.

A candidate has to write a minimum of 250 words. Anything less than 250 words will attract a penalty.

Make sure that your essay answers the question. Whatever stand you take, should be clear and there should be coherence and flow in your content. Try to take a stand in the introduction itself. The remaining paragraphs must revolve around answering the question and supporting your stand. You can include examples and facts to support your point of view.

IELTS Writing Tips

  • The total time allotted to the entire writing section (IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2) is 60 minutes. The IELTS Writing Task 2 or the Essay constitutes about 2/3 of your score on the writing test. This means that you should spend around 40 minutes on your Essay. Do not spend more than 20 minutes on IELTS Writing Task 1
  • Write more than 150 words for IELTS Writing Task 1 and more than 250 words for IELTS Writing Task 2. If you write less than the prescribed word limit, you will be penalized
  • Do not count the number of words instead count the lines and get an estimate of the word count
  • You can make notes about the essay on the question paper. No extra paper will be given to make notes
  • Write a clear overview for IELTS Writing Task 1 and write a conclusion for IELTS Writing Task 2. You can use the last few minutes for writing a conclusion
  • Divide writing tasks into paragraphs, and check spellings while you write
  • Make sure to use either British or American English and follow it in the complete section
  • Make sure what you are writing is relevant, lengthy does not make it better. Your thoughts should have coherence and there should be a proper structure in your written work. The examiner should not get confused

Remember one thing, there is no right or wrong answer, you will be judged on your expression, coherence, structure, grammar, and vocabulary

IELTS Writing Task 2 (Learn to Write an Essay)

It is not just about writing, it is about expressing your thoughts in a coherent and logical manner. The complete section is devoted to writing, so, you should be well-versed in the rules of the language. Here, are some of the points to help you tackle the IELTS Speaking section better.

  • Introduction: Start with the introduction directly and move ahead with the other paragraphs. Learn the art of paraphrasing
  • Paragraphs: Concisely break your ideas. Describe your ideas with relevant examples. Try to explain one idea in one paragraph, and make sure it should be relevant. When you change your paragraph, the change should have continuity and flow. The individual paragraphs should be connected
  • Conclusion: A strong conclusion is a must! It is important to give points and back them with relevant examples

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How well you have answered the question?
  • Have you proven your point strongly enough?
  • How well is your essay structured?
  • Have you linked your paragraphs and thoughts well enough so that there is a seamless flow in the language?
  • Is your vocabulary precise?
  • How accurate is your grammar?
  • Have you used punctuation correctly?
  • Are there any spelling mistakes?

Also Read: IELTS Essay Sample Topics

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The first and foremost task is to understand the question and identify its type. Identify whether you have to give an opinion or a solution. Learn whether you have to criticize the argument or have to write in its favour. If you identify this accurately then a major task is complete
  • Before writing an essay, you must know its basic structure. A book about essay writing will help you understand the structure and format of essays better
  • Don’t waste a lot of time on Task 1. Learn all the specific writing structures for each type of Task 1. In the real test, you just have to apply that structure with new data and suitable verb tenses. Read sample answers and take note of the ones with good structure to have a wide range of academic structures for task 1 in your arsenal. Some structures might be used in task 2 as well
  • Writing requires a good vocabulary. However, you must make sure that the words you use should fit the context. Do not try to fit high-level words forcefully. You can click on the link to learn more about IELTS vocabulary
  • Avoid informal writing. There are some rules of writing you should follow. 
    • Each body paragraph has to include: the topic sentence, supporting sentences (2-3 sentences), and development sentences (including example, experience, and data)
    • It is always good to add relevant examples with your opinions. The examiner is going to assess the essay based on a lot of factors and if you elaborate your ideas along with the examples (if the prompt allows) shows that you have understood what has been asked and you are explaining it in a structured manner
  • Practice Sample Questions. Do both tasks in one hour. You can focus only on task 1 or task 2, but before the test, you should practice writing both tasks to get familiar with a time limit.

Resources

Following are the resources that will help you prepare for the IELTS Writing Section:

  • Official IELTS website: https://www.ielts.org/
  • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS: This book must form the base of your preparation. Students must begin their preparation with the official study material.
  • Writing for IELTS (Collins)
  • Writing for the IELTS (Barron's Test Prep)
  • Grammarly App: https://www.grammarly.com/. You can practice the essays from the books mentioned above and check them on the website. You will receive a score and suggestions on how to make your essay better.
  • Mock Tests: The more you practice, the better you will get. During the entire course of your preparation, you must give mock tests.

IELTS Writing FAQs

Q. How many parts does IELTS Writing Task have?

A. IELTS Writing Task consists of 2 parts: IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2.

Q. What is the difference between IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2?

A. IELTS Writing Task 1 is different for Academic and General Training modules, though both involve a written work of minimum 150 words. IELTS Writing Task 2 is an essay of at least 250 words.

Q. What is the difference between IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 and IELTS General Writing Task 1?

A. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 involves summarizing a graph, table, chart, diagram, or a process in at least 150 words. IELTS General Writing Task 1 involves a informal/semi-formal/formal letter of at least 150 words.

Q. Is it necessary to use tough words in IELTS Writing section?

A. Having a good vocabulary is definitely an add-on. However, words should not be forcefully put in sentences. Your sentences should be organic and must fit the meaning and the context.

Q. What is the total time allotted to IELTS Writing section?

A. IELTS Writing section is for a total of 60 minutes wherein you need to complete 2 writing tasks.

Q. Can you provide some writing tips for IELTS?

A. Whether you are answering the IELTS Writing Task 1 question or IELTS Essay question, make sure that you know the scoring criteria. IELTS Writing scoring criteria include task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource (vocabulary), and grammar. Make sure that your written piece fits all these criteria. Do not lose sight of the question and do not right vague sentences. Make sure that your response caters to the need of the questions and that there is a flow in your language.

Q. Do I need to have a very strong vocabulary for IELTS Writing Task 2?

A. A strong vocabulary does help in scoring well; however, it is not the only criteria. The role of vocabulary is to help you convey your meaning to the examiner in a coherent and straightforward manner. If you memorize a few difficult or “top 10 words”, and use them incorrectly, the examiner will easily spot that you have memorized. Improvement in vocabulary is an organic process that happens over a period of time. It still does not mean that you will not work on your vocabulary. However, do not fall into the trap of “top 10 words” or “top 20 words”. Strike a balance between all the scoring criteria.

Q. Is there a difference between IELTS General Writing Task 2 and IELTS Academic Writing Task 2?

A. IELTS General Writing Task 2 and IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 are more or less similar. There might be a slight difference in the difficulty level; however, both of them have the same scoring criteria, the same lower threshold of words, etc. Moreover, the topics asked are also similar. In both cases, you must stick to the scoring criteria and familiarize yourself with the types of questions asked in the IELTS essay. Do not underestimate the importance of mock tests. Without appearing for mock tests, you will not have any idea about your weak areas.

Q. What points should I keep in mind while writing IELTS essay?

A. Following are the points that you must keep in your mind while writing IELTS essay:
  • Understand the pattern: Make sure that you are aware of the various types of IELTS essay questions. In addition, you must be aware of the appropriate structures that are related to each question type.
  • Know the scoring criteria: You must be aware of the scoring criteria so that you do not lose sight of your goal. Do not commit the mistake of going off-topic. You need to stick to the question and answer it. Remember, IELTS is not a test of your subject knowledge; it is a test of your ability to communicate.
  • Logic, Coherence, and Cohesion: Make sure that the sentences in your essay have a flow and are properly connected. The transition from one idea to another should be proper and must not be abrupt.

Q. How do I start preparing for IELTS Writing section?

A. You must start with the official IELTS website and the official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. Go through these resources before you pick up any other resource. When you have completed both of them thoroughly, then you can move over to other resources that include Writing for IELTS (Collins) and Writing for the IELTS (Barron’s Test Prep). You can take the help of online resources and apps. Moreover, build a habit of reading a good newspaper or a magazine such as the Economist. It will help you build a strong vocabulary as well.
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Rahul Singha
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Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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