“In Academic Writing Task 1, it is very important to start by providing an overview of the data. If you don’t do this, you will lose points.”
Simon Cockell, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
In this post we will look at what this means, and how you can use your data overview to get your IELTS Writing test off to a flying start.
First, try to answer these questions:
- What is the minimum number of words you need to write for Writing Task 1?
- What are the five points the examiner is looking for in IELTS Writing?
- How should you divide your time between Task 1 and Task 2?
If you can’t answer these three questions confidently, you are not ready to take IELTS. The easiest way to fail to get the band score you need is to go into the test without fully understanding what is required of you.
Your band score in IELTS Writing will depend in part on the range of vocabulary you use. Specifically:
- Band 6: an “adequate range of vocabulary”
- Band 7: a “sufficient range of vocabulary”
- Bands 8-9: a “wide range of vocabulary”
You only have 150 words in Part 1 and 250 words in Part 2 to do this, so it’s really important that you don’t waste words and make every word counts.
One reason the IELTS Writing test is challenging is because of the time constraints. You only have one hour to do two tasks. This means that using your time efficiently is vital.
It is very important to plan what you will write before you start writing. This might seem an obvious idea but many candidates, perhaps consumed with test-day nerves, see the test question and immediately start on their answer.
Whether you are taking IELTS Academic or General Training, you will need to write a 250 word essay in the Writing Part 2. You will perform much better if you understand what the examiner is looking for — and then deliver it.
First, let’s look at the IELTS assessment criteria:
- Task achievement. This means you should answer all parts of the question, your answer must be relevant, and you should provide supporting ideas for the points you are making.
- Coherence and cohesion. Your writing should be structured so it is easy to read and understand. This means you need to organise your ideas into paragraphs. You also need to link your ideas with words like however, therefore and despite.
- Lexical resource. To get a good score, you need to use a wide range of vocabulary. Not everything has to be 100% correct, but any errors you do make should be few in number and should not affect understanding.
- Grammatical range and accuracy. As with vocab, you should use a variety of grammatical structures, and any grammatical errors should be few in number and should not affect understanding.
Now, let’s see how we can apply them to a candidate’s essay. Read more