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IELTS Writing: The most difficult paper?

It’s difficult to go seriously wrong with the Reading and Listening tests in IELTS. Even if you have trouble understanding the text or the audio, the question paper gives you a pretty clear idea of what you need to write. And if you’re not sure, you can always guess. With the Speaking test, you’ll be asked a series of questions, so even if you make a mistake with one of them, you’ll get another chance with the next question. Writing Task 2 is different — If you fail to understand the question, and go off on the wrong track, you could score no marks at all. And that could mean … Read more

Andrew Stokes, IELTS specialist, ClarityEnglish

IELTS Writing: How important is spelling?

In this post I will focus on two areas where it is easy to lose marks in both General Training and Academic Writing. The first is the word count, and the second is spelling and punctuation.

Peter Hare, Manager, British Council Ethiopia

IELTS Writing: Writing overview sentences

“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.

Bryan Dowie, IELTS teacher, Hong Kong

IELTS Writing: The easiest way to fail

The challenge 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.

Andrew Stokes, IELTS specialist, ClarityEnglish

IELTS Writing: Make every word count

The challenge 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.

Bryan Dowie, IELTS teacher, Hong Kong

IELTS Writing: Failing to plan is planning to fail!

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.

Kishore Roy, Exams Manager, British Council Egypt