IELTS Writing (Academic)
IELTS tests candidates’ ability to produce two quite different pieces of writing in a fairly short period of time. The test is divided into two parts and candidates are allowed 60 minutes to complete both parts.
In the first part, candidates will be given a task based on some information, presented in graphic and diagrammatic form. Candidates are expected to write a descriptive report of at least 150 words on the information provided.
In the second task, candidates are assessed on their ability to produce a clear and logical argument on a given topic. Most of the topics are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by students at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Candidates will have to write at least 250 words and, as Task 2 is longer than Task 1, it is suggested that about 40 minutes is spent on this task and 20 minutes on the first task.
IELTS Writing (General)
The IELTS General Training Writing test takes 60 minutes. Candidates have to complete two tasks, of 150 and 250 words, as in the Academic module. However, Task 1 is always a letter, while Task 2 is an essay based on a given topic. The topics of the questions will be of general interest, and no specialist knowledge is required. For example, topics can include travel, accommodation, current affairs, shops and services, health and welfare, health and safety, recreation, social and physical environment.
In Task 1, candidates are asked to write a letter which may need to be semi-formal or formal in tone in response to a given problem or situation. Candidates will be asked to include information relating to three bullet points in the question. Candidate answers should be at least 150 words in length for this task.
In Task 2, candidates are asked to discuss a topic in response to a statement which presents a particular point of view, argument or issue. The task requires candidates to write a discursive piece of writing in which the question will typically ask them to discuss factual information, discuss a problem and present solutions, evaluate ideas or justify opinions. Candidate answers for Task 2 should be at least 250 words in length.
It is important that the examiner can see how good you are at different types of writing. You have to show how well you can summarise factual information. You also have to demonstrate your ability to write a clear, well-structured argument. The writing test is marked using a 9-band scale, like all other parts of the test. The examiner will be looking at four features of your written language: content, organisation, vocabulary and grammar.
As there are two tasks in the writing test, timing is very important. You must make sure you leave enough time to complete Task 2 because it is worth more marks than Task 1.
You must answer the questions you are asked. For Academic Writing Task 1, don’t give opinions on the diagram, just summarise the information following the guidelines given. For Task 2, read the question carefully and then write your answer on the topic, making sure you support all your points. Leave time at the end of the test to read through your answers and check for mistakes.