Probably the most obvious reason is that when students practise the IELTS writing task ones and task twos outside of the academic environment, they are not as strict with themselves about the time limits, which under exam conditions are strenuously controlled, so that you have exactly one hour in which to write the two tasks.
Prepare wisely and develop your English – but time your writing and stick to it rigidly
If you give yourself more than the allotted times when you prepare, you will have more time to think about your ideas and write them. You will also be able to write a well formatted essay with the necessary introduction, main body of your opinions and a nicely rounded conclusion. Your preparation will score well.
If you are using your preparation time properly, this is where you spend time researching natural English expressions to include vocabulary related to the topic and the ability to use what is known as complex grammar.
When you use this time wisely, you can then apply all the new knowledge to your tasks under exam conditions and get a better band.
But this must be done so you can produce your answers in the allotted IELTS writing time or you will lose marks.
Take risks to improve your band scores
However, if you are not using this time to ensure that your grammar is more accurate and you are only using what you already know, then you will not improve your writing band under exam conditions.
If you are only using the grammar and language you know, with nothing outstanding, even if it is accurate, you will not get higher than a band 6. The good news in that you can be adventurous with your English expressions and grammar and make mistakes but still get a band higher than 6.
Be adventurous when listing your points. Expressions such as “firstly” and “secondly” won´t get you much higher than a 6. Practise other listing phrases and expressions.
Try to use as many expressions as you can, especially in Task One, rather than repeating the same ones. Repetition also prevents your marks being much higher than 6. Include more complex grammar. Try some passives/conditionals/split sentences/ participle clauses. These all help you to get Band Score 7 and higher.
Always check the IELTS test standard for which you are being assessed
Check your practice writings against the public band descriptors, so that you can try to include items mentioned from the band descriptor that you are hoping to achieve. Remember you do not need many of these “tricks” just a few of each to raise your marks to the level you need or want.
Know the worth of each IELTS writing task
A very important point to remember is, that even if you are writing a really good example of an IELTS writing task one, when the invigilator tells you that 20 minutes have gone, you must stop writing the task one, even if you haven’t finished it.
IELTS Task One is only worth a third of the total writing marks and no matter how good your task one is, you will not gain an equivalent improvement in your band from this task by spending more time on it – compared with how much you would earn from IELTS Task Two.
It is much better to hand in a fully rounded and completed task two in the forty minutes you are given to write it, as this gives you two thirds of your final writing mark. Keep to the timings. 20 minutes for task one and 40 minutes for task two. Always spend a few minutes planning what you are going to include in the task. This makes your writing logical and easy to follow (thus increasing your marks)
Go to the IELTS Writing Task battlefield with weapons – pre-prepare your writing structures
Take as many weapons into the IELTS Test as you can for the IELTS writing tasks. Apart from good grammar and vocabulary, you need to develop your own style of writing and an essay structure to follow. Both of these can only be developed during your intensive preparation with advice from an expert. You need to know what exactly to do first, next and so on.
Will you write four or five paragraphs? Whichever you choose, make sure, you know what you are going to write in each. Just remember that every essay should have an introduction, body and conclusion.
It is important in both the writing tasks to use a good format. Try this one for IELTS Task One:
- an overview (introduction) describing the basic “picture” of the information the graph, table, process or map comparison given.
- Then write one sentence describing the general trend of the information given.
- In the main body of Task One you highlight the main points (the most/the least/ what is the same) and compare them.
- Then, you can give a conclusion of what you have detailed.
Finally, try this structure for IELTS Task Two:
- an introduction discussing the question and explaining to the examiner what you feel about the question
- then develop your opinions in the main body (two or three paragraphs) making sure you expand your ideas with support and examples in each paragraph
- summarise what you have discussed in the conclusion.
Take advantage of spare minutes to review, edit, and revise
We know that 60 minutes may not be long enough to finish the two IELTS writing tasks. However, running out of time shouldn’t be an excuse for not checking your work. You need to go over your essay to see if you can spot grammatical and other kinds of error. Being able to correct those you see (if not all) will minimise penalties.
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