Welcome to our Writing Tips page.
Here we will discuss some simple little tips which will help you perform better on the day of the exam so you get your desired score! Some of the advice is general and some is specific to the writing section.
So, shall we get stuck in?
Regardless of whether you have minimal English writing experience, or you are a confident native speaker who needs to pass the IELTS for emigration purposes, NEVER underestimate the exam. There are plenty of English speakers who fail the test repeatedly because they didn’t prepare or thought they did not need to practice. Don’t be one of those people.
If you are unfamiliar with the specifics of the exam, you are likely to make mistakes.
For example, if you write in a formal language but a task requires you to write informally, you will fail miserably.
If a task 2 question requires you to give your own opinion and you fail to give it, you will be heavily penalised (there are several different types of task 2 question, some require you to give an opinion, others don’t).
Remember: Even a confident native speaker should prepare for at least 2-3 weeks, just to get familiar with the test format, so a non-native speaker will need much more preparation time than this to achieve a good overall IELTS score.
You wouldn’t take a driving test without having some practice lessons first. It should be no different for the IELTS test. When you take practice tests, you are helping yourself in many ways. Firstly, you are familiarising yourself with the structure of the test. This is invaluable so you know exactly what to expect. Secondly, you are putting your skills to the test to see where you need to improve, such as grammar, spelling, fluency etc.
It would be extremely worthwhile to get your practice tests from a reputable source. The official IELTS websites provide a few practice questions, so these are a good start, although there aren’t that many of them. Consider investing in some other practice questions with model answers elsewhere. We have some free questions and also paid questions with band 7+ model answers in our Premium Ebooks.
You will be in a much better position to score Band 7 or above in the real test and this will work out much cheaper than having to resit the test several times.
Do you want some free writing practice questions to get you started? You can find some here…
So, you have got some good practice questions. So what? Well, you should put everything you have learnt into practice. If you haven’t covered a certain topic (such as analysing all types of task 1 & 2 question), make sure you study them fully and then retry the practice tests. There is little point taking a practice test without learning the correct methods to answer them first.
Knowing all the techniques used by band 7+ students will help you perform better and faster. It will also help you to familiarise yourself with the format of the writing section. The more you practice, the better you will become and the less daunting it will be on the day!
Think about the driving analogy again. You have to learn the correct way to drive first, then practice more and more if you want to ace the driving test. You get to the point where you don’t even have to think about driving, you just do it. You should aim to be like that in the real IELTS exam.
Imagine walking into an exam not knowing ANYTHING about it. You will stress more and perform poorly. Great scores are earned. You have to put hard work in. There is no secret or shortcut. You just have to be dedicated and willing to PRACTICE!
This is the KEY to achieving a great score. Give the examiner what he/she wants and you are guaranteed at least a Band 7 score. But that’s easier said than done. The challenge is understanding what they want and being competent at giving it to them. Make sure you READ THE QUESTION carefully. This is how you give them what they want. If you don’t answer the question properly, you can’t give them what they want!
For example, if a question says ‘Discuss the advantages and disadvantages…..’, make sure you discuss BOTH the ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES! This may seem obvious to you, but we guarantee this is one of the main reasons students score poorly.
Let me repeat that…
READ THE QUESTION AND ANSWER IT EXACTLY HOW THE EXAMINER WANTS!
We go into detail about how to structure the writing questions properly in the other free resources sections and our eBooks. But the main thing is reading the questions properly!
Facing a question for the first time in the real exam can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have no idea how to start answering it.
Take the uncertainty out of answering any question by following proven strategies. There are strategies for Writing Task 1 & 2 for both the general and academic versions of the IELTS. These have been used successfully by thousands of Band 7+ students.
Click below to see a basic Task 2 essay framework:
What we mean by ‘KISS’ is practice keeping your vocabulary SIMPLE. You do not need to write a masterpiece to score highly. In fact, most of the time, the more simple you can keep your writing (whilst still answering the question), the better you will score.
Because firstly, the examiner KNOWS you only have limited time to complete the writing section and does not expect you to write very comprehensive sentences. Secondly, (and more importantly), you will fail miserably if you use complex language incorrectly. This is something non-native speakers often do.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it, you don’t know it well enough”. In other words, if you don’t know how to use certain words DON’T INCLUDE THEM.
Take the sentence below, for example. It is something we may often see written by IELTS students, who think that by using fancy words they will impress the examiner:
‘Undoubtedly, the magnificent nature of humankind does allow us exclusive ability to fly extensively to the opposite side of the globe via airplane’
This sentence will not impress the examiner and you will have points deducted because it simply does not make sense. Even though it includes ‘fancy’ words, they are not used correctly! So DO NOT try to use complex words if you do not know how to use them!!
This sentence, although more simple, will get you a much higher score:
‘Humans have developed the ability to safely fly across the world on an airplane.’
This is REALLY important and it follows on from Tip 1.
No matter how good you are at writing or how great your grammar is, you still need to know exactly what is expected of you in the exam. For this reason, make sure you ONLY get your advice and information from reputable sources. It is a bit of a mine-field out there with so many websites and books giving inaccurate or false information. So be diligent! This is even more important for non-native speakers who need help with their English writing skills. Choose a reputable tutor and make sure you get correct information!
What will happen if you get information from a bad source? You will be given false information and you will score less than Band 7 (likely less than Band 5) and you will completely waste your time and money.
Start preparing early, understand everything about the exam and use a respectable source for your information (whether that’s us, or someone else).
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However, deep down, we just want you to succeed in your journey – just like us.
If you prefer expensive courses or Skype learning, that’s cool – we understand and we hope you find the right person! If you prefer to learn in a classroom full of other people? Go for it – we will be cheering you on!
But if you think we can help, then please reach out! We would love to have you onboard just like thousands of other students who are part of our network. We have free resources such as our Instagram or Facebook profiles (which put out daily content), our free email subscription service, free Ebooks or our free courses. We also have our Premium resources which are developed alongside real IELTS examiners and cover everything you need to know to smash the writing section.
I hope you find these tips useful. Make sure you learn them well. They will really help you get that Band 7+ score.
Best of luck!
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