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IELTS Writing: Boost your score by reading

‘Reading and writing cannot be separated from each other: the more in-depth reading you do, the more in-depth writing you will eventually do.’ The University of Washington points to a clear link between reading and writing. Reading exposes you to different styles; it shows you how grammar is used correctly; and it helps you to build vocabulary and use it accurately. But to get the maximum benefit for your IELTS Writing test, you need to use reading as a source for focused writing activities. Read on for an example of how you can do this.

Task

In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you will describe a chart or a process. Where do you find the language to do this? Let’s start by reading this article from the UK’s Independent newspaper on the topic of the global middle class. Here’s your task:

  1. Print out the article and read it.
  2. Take a pen and underline every mention of quantities or proportions, or how they change (for example, 88% of…, just over a tenth, … rose significantly)
  3. Now copy down each sentence that includes one of these examples, and write a parallel sentence on a different topic underneath it. In this exercise we are focusing on language, rather than the interpretation of the graph. So it doesn’t matter whether your sentences are true or not; what’s important is that you practise using the words.

Example

Original sentence:
The middle-income population nearly doubled between 2001 and 2011.

Parallel sentences:
The population of rhinos in Kenya nearly doubled between 2005 and 2015.
Over the same period, the population of elephants more than doubled.

Here are three more original sentences to get you started.

  1. The middle classes amount to just over a tenth of the global population.
  2. By 2011, over half of the world’s population lived on a low income.
  3. In Africa and Central America, middle class populations barely rose.

How does this help?

In this exercise first you read, then you write. Why this two-step approach? It’s because to get the greatest benefit from reading, you need to use the text as a source for a writing activity.

16 comments

  1. najib says:

    i would like to get ready fro this course but i do not know from where i should start,therefore want to request you to guide me .
    sincerely yours

  2. Mariam says:

    Hello,
    I did a general training ielts and got 5.5 . but in writing i got 6.5 .
    I am planing to regist for academic one but am not sure if i could get the same score band in writing.

    • Hi Mariam, most people feel that the Academic module is harder General Training — maybe this is something you should consider. Generally speaking, Academic Writing require a different set of vocabulary knowledge as you will need to write a concise and accurate description of a table or chart in Task 1. Hope this help!

      • Mariam says:

        Oh thank you too much.. Yeah i have begun practicing for task1 and i felt quite confortable.
        How about reading? I felt more engage in reading acadamic module while preparing for it more than general training. Is that right? Or i must pay attention deeper than before?

    • Hi Durga, For listening, yes, of course you can (you can refer to this). But make sure you are writing capital letters consistently but not randomly writing small and capital letters in the answer paper.

      For Reading the rule is a little bit more blurry but most people report that you can indeed write all caps if you have to. This is from IELTS.org:
      ‘Completion’ question types (e.g. note completion):
      – The same rules apply to ‘completion’ question types
      as in Listening (see above).

      Good luck!

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