Writing Task 2 – Tips

In your Writing test, there are no right or wrong answers, nor right or wrong opinions. You are only assessed on how well you can articulate yourself in English.

Know how the IELTS writing test is structured: Understanding the 2 tasks and timings will assist you on the test day.

Task 1 is worth 1/3 of your total mark and Task 2 is worth 2/3s.

The tasks will be about common topics that most people in the world should be aware of.

Analysing the questions is an important step. Carefully make sure you understand the question and your answer addresses all the points covered by the question.

Note the minimum word count. If you write less than 150 words for Task 1 or less than 250 for Task 2, you will lose marks.

Text copied from the question is not counted in the word count. So, ensure you use your own words.(Paraphrase)

You will be assessed in four areas, so these are the areas you should be concentrating on:

  1. Task achievement (Task 1) Task response (Task 2) (25%)
  2. Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
  3. Lexical Resource (25%)
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (25%)

Memorising a model answer won’t help. At least 25% of you mark relates to how well you answer the question and memorising a model answer will not match the topic of the essay.

 Write your answers in full, do not use note form or bullet points.

Ideas must arrange in paragraphs, this will show that you can organise your ideas into main and supporting points.

Paragraphs should have a mixture of Simple, Compound and Complex sentences.  Extra-long sentences often become less coherent and also make it harder for you to control the grammar, and therefore are not advised.

Grammar: Many native teachers will say that Grammar is not important, after all, they learnt English without knowing grammar, but grammar makes up at least 25% of your overall mark, so make sure you understand grammar.

  • Subject-Verb Agreement: Understand subject-verb agreements,
  • Articles Indefinite and Definite: “A”, “an” and “the”, these things are like mosquitos, small things which cause many people irritations.
  • Adverbs Vs Adjectives: Adjectives describe a noun or pronoun, whereas an adverb describes a verb, adjective or another adverb
  • “ing” – “ed” adjectives: These forms of adjectives which actually come from verbs. “ing” adjectives describe how something causes a feeling, whilst “ed” adjective describe how something is affected by the feeling. These are often confused by many people.
  • Gerunds These forms of nouns which actually the “ing” form of a verb which acts as a noun.
  • Prepositions: Prepositions are used to locate something in time or place, and are often confusing for many speakers of English.
  • Subject – Verb – Object word order: The basic word order in English is the SVO which is very common in languages, however, if your native language uses a different order, then this can become confusing.
  • Capitalisation: It’s easy to remember to start every sentence with a capital, some of the other rules are more difficult to remember.
  • Pronouns: Words that can substitute other nouns, but should be used sparingly.
  • 3rd Person “s”: Even though the third person may be in singular form, there is still the added “s” or “es” onto the following verb. The exception may be in modal verbs and irregular verbs.
  • Singular and plural nouns: Often students forget the plural form for many nouns which includes an ‘s’ – students, books, computers, animals.
  • Countable Vs Uncountable Nouns: Knowing whether a noun is countable or uncountable can make a big difference in grammar. For example, Much Vs Many
  • Mass Nouns; Some uncountable nouns can become countable in certain situations, such as coffee – coffees, bread – breads, knowledge – knowledges, money – moneys

Take care to spell words correctly. Standard American, Australian and British spellings are acceptable in IELTS.

The most important thing is that you can demonstrate that you can clearly communicate in English, not your knowledge of subjects.

General Training and Academic are essentially the same for Task 2, but different for Task 1.

Academic Writing Task 2 is an essay.

  • Don’t forget to plan your essay structure before you start writing. Your essay should have an Introduction, Body and Conclusion.
  • Your introduction should include a paraphrasing of the question, and your position, argument or opinion.
  • Your body should include ideas to support your argument or opinion, real-life examples to illustrate your points
  • The conclusion should be based on the information you have provided, and not produce any new information,
  • You have 40 minutes to write your essay. Take up to five minutes to plan your essay before you start writing. Also try to give yourself five minutes at the end to review your answer and check for mistakes.
  • Make your position or point of view as clear as possible


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