Learn Essential Tips for Task 2 Writing (Academic & G.T.) 

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Learning Test Tips from Video Lessons.

The task 2 writing tips listed below cover both the academic and the general training writing tests. As with task 1, remembering test tips will provide you with a deeper understanding of the test. However, it is definitely better to learn test tips in context, so you are advised to watch the video lessons that highlight important tips while the different techniques for writing task 2 answers are being explained. Note: These tips refer to the Official IELTS Marking Criteria used by examiners when they mark your test. Remember, the better you learn test tips, the more prepared you will be for your writing test.

Essential Tips for Task 2 Writing (Academic & G.T.) 

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Tips for Task Achievement & Coherence and Cohesion

Fifty percent of your marks are awarded according to a) how well the examiner thinks you have completed the task, and b) how coherent (understandable) and cohesive (how well connected together by linking devices) it is. Therefore, careful attention must be given to these two aspects of your writing. Follow the tips below to write better IELTS essays.

  1. Study the IELTS Public Band Score Descriptors so that you know the marking criteria that examiners use when they mark your writing test.
  2. Learn how to write IELTS essays from an IELTS writing teacher, who is experienced in teaching students how to increase their IELTS writing band scores.
  3. You cannot learn how to write IELTS essays in a general English class. 
  4. If you want to improve faster, get yours IELTS practice tests checked by an IELTS teacher, who will be able to advise you how to improve. If you do not have an IELTS teacher, you can get your essays corrected by going to the essay correction and feedback service here. 
  5. Write your IELTS practice tests with a pencil and paper if you are going to sit a paper-based test. However, if you will sit a computer-based IELTS test, you should type your practice tests. Check with your nearest IELTS test centre to see if they offer a computer-based test option.
  6. Write a minimum of 250 words, or your band score will go down (task achievement).
  7. Complete the task in 40 minutes. Try to finish planning and writing the task in 35 minutes so that you have about 5 minutes left to check and correct your answer.
  8. Read and analyse the question carefully before you plan your answer
  9. Make sure you identify what kind of task 2 essay it asks you to write about.
    1. Agree / Disagree.
    2. Advantage /Disadvantage.
    3. Problem / Solution.
    4. Direct Questions.
    5. Consider Both Sides & Give Your Opinion.
  10. Paraphrase the question in your introduction using synonyms (different words). Paraphrasing is featured in my free IELTS videos for writing task 2 introductions.
  11. Do not copy the question (or large parts of it) 'word for word' in your essay. If you do, you will lose marks. Also, these words will be subtracted from your word count
  12. Be careful with synonyms. If you use them incorrectly, it will lower your band score, so do not try to use words if you are unsure of the meaning.
  13. After you paraphrase the essay question, write a sentence that links to your body paragraphs. This is called a thesis statement, which tells the reader what you will write about in the rest of the essay.
  14. Practice writing introductions for different essay types so that you are prepared for ANY type of question that comes on the test.
  15. Always write at least 2 body paragraphs, or you will get a lower band score.
  16. Try to avoid writing 3 body paragraphs because this takes more time and is more difficult than writing 2 body paragraphs.
  17. Make sure you answer ALL of the question or your band score will go down.
  18. Write clear and concise topic sentences that make it clear what the body paragraphs are about. Avoid writing long complicated topic sentences that could be confusing.
  19. Use effective transition signals to connect new sentences and paragraphs.
  20. Remember to give examples in order to address "all parts of the task". If you do not, you could be marked down for task achievement.
  21. To avoid wasting time, do not give unnecessary details after giving an example.
  22. Do not go "off topic". Stay focussed writing ONLY about relevant points you planned.
  23. Summary sentences are optional and not really necessary to get a high band score. Try to save summary ideas for the summary conclusion.
  24. A summary conclusion of 30 to 50 words is absolutely necessary. If you do not write a summary conclusion, you will lose marks. Also, do not forget to clearly express your opinion if it is required by the question. In my video course, I show you how to write summary conclusions at band 9 in about 3 or 4 minutes.

Tips for Lexical Resource (Vocabulary) & Grammar.

Fifty percent of the marks are awarded for vocabulary (lexical resource) and grammar (grammatical range and accuracy). Therefore careful attention must be given to these two aspects of your writing. Following the tips below will help you to write better IELTS essays.

  1. Write a balance of simple, compound and complex sentence structures using a mixture of linking devices, especially subordinating conjunctions and relative pronouns.
  2. Write conditional complex sentences (use: if / unless / provided / as long as).
  3. Write contrasting complex sentences (use: although / whereas / while / despite).
  4. Write complex sentences of time (when / after / as soon as / while).
  5. Obviously, you must practice these types of sentences, or you will not improve.
  6. Write complex sentences of reason (because / since / as). 
  7. Write complex sentences of purpose (in order to / to / so that). When writing uses "so that" or "in order to", it expresses a purpose. Again, these are also key conjunctions for making complex sentences. 
  8. Describe ideas with relative clauses to make more complex sentences by using relative pronouns (which, who, where, that).
  9. In my video lessons, I show you how to write band 9 model answers with the maximum degree of complex structures. In each set of videos, I also review every paragraph of writing to explain the structure I write.
  10. In addition, you should have your IELTS practice writing tests checked by an IELTS teacher so that you can find out exactly where you are and what progress you need to make. If you do not have an IELTS teacher to check and correct your essays, you can send them to the essay correction and feedback service on this website.
  11. Write in a formal style with academic vocabulary. Avoid SLANG, IDIOMS and any other informal expressions.
  12. Do NOT Use Text English, Shortened Words or Abbreviations.
  13. Avoid Idioms (formal English will get you more marks)
  14. Do not contract words - won't (will not), don't (do not) , she'll (she will).
  15. Use the first person ONLY when it is necessary for a) giving an example from your experience ("When I was at school..."), or b) when you give your opinion ("I think...").
  16. Avoid repeating vocabulary, transition signals and connectors because this shows a lack of vocabulary range.
  17. Referencing is important for avoiding repetition of nouns, especially subjects and objects that are continually referred to throughout the writing.
  18. Use the correct part of speech and spelling, or your score for vocabulary will go down.
  19. Practice writing body paragraphs for different essay types so that you are fully prepared for ANY question that appears on the test.
  20. Do not memorise pre-planned answers. This is NOT allowed in IELTS writing. If the examiner thinks your answer is "a totally memorised response", you will get a zero band score. 
  21. Be careful with punctuation and capital letters. If you show the examiner that you have poor punctuation, grammar and capitalisation, you will be marked down to band 6 or below for grammatical accuracy. 
  22. Be careful with grammar tenses. When you practice, try to get yourself into the habit of quickly reviewing sentences immediately after you have written them.
  23. Save some time to check your answer and correct any careless little mistakes.

The slideshow (below), is an overview of correct writing styles for all types of letters.  Essential reading if you want to write high band scoring letters. Click to expand.

Click on the links (below) for other writing test tips.

Academic Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

Writing Task 2 Tips (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

General Training Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)  (Extended Version)  

Test Day Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)