Writing is one of the four essential elements of English.
IELTS Test candidates’ competencies are tested in all of the four elements:
A lot of IELTS Candidates find it difficult to get their required IELTS band scores in writing.
We all learn best by doing – and writing is no exception.
Prior to taking the test, IELTS candidates need to develop skills to improve their writing. Practice is most important but include in this, a collection of appropriate topic-specific lexis, synonymous expressions and collocations which can be used either in any task one or in any task two, as this will show the examiner a wide range of English vocabulary.
This collection should include unusual (for higher bands) sequencing linkers to connect your paragraphs and a variety of expressions to connect your ideas inside your paragraphs.
During the IELTS preparation period, writing in English should become a habit for every candidate.
This because in the actual IELTS exam the examiner is seeking assurance that applicants have established a good foundation in the English language. Your foundation can be accomplished by using the following ideas for preparation.
8 Steps to better IELTS Writing
This short tutorial is designed to get you up and running with the basics of writing for the IELTS Test in eight easy lessons. Afterward, you’ll get recommendations for professional training, plus links to tutorials on IELTS Writing and IELTS Writing Test preparation.
- What is in the IELTS Writing Test?
- What IELTS Writing Skills do you need?
- Learn and Follow an Essay Structure
- Understanding the Question is the First Big Step
- Paraphrasing is the key to success in the IELTS Writing Test
- Context clues help you understand unfamiliar words
- Synonyms increase your comprehension
- How to prepare for the IELTS Writing Test
What IELTS Writing Skills do you need?
In the IELTS Writing courses, nine essential skills (for task 1) and nine essential skills (for task 2) are extensively covered. Short lectures, demonstrations, activities, and model answers are found in each lesson. They are as follows:
- Understanding the question
- Being able to paraphrase these words/expressions in the answer
In the Introduction/Overview
- Describe the general information in the diagram
- Comment on the general trend
In the body
- Decide on the necessary information
- The most/the least/similar
- Decide how to write about the information
- A paragraph each or compare all three ideas at a time
- How to link the paragraphs
- How to link the ideas inside the paragraph
- Know a variety of verbs to describe the 3 points
- Know expressions to compare and contrast
- Know useful collocations
- Know examples of complex grammar
The conclusion (not necessary if you have mentioned the general trend already)
- A review of what has been described
IELTS Writing Task 2
- Reading and analysing the question
- Essay format: planning and outlining
- Brainstorming for good ideas and opinions
- The introductory paragraph: thesis statement
- The Body: topic sentence; major and minor details
- Time Management
- Linking Devices and Expressions/collocations
- Complex grammar
- The Conclusion: restatement or summary
- Common mistakes: syntax and lexis
Learn and Follow an Essay Structure
Taking into account the three major parts: introduction, body, and conclusion, your essay (for both task 1 and task 2) will be comprised of four paragraphs, or five if you decide to write three paragraphs for the body.
Now you need the content in each paragraph.
How is each paragraph structured? What are the kinds of sentences or ideas expected of each?
Understanding the Question is the First Big Step
If you haven’t discovered them already, take a look at the Public Band Descriptors for IELTS Writing.
These form your real exam question.
Your writing needs to be structured to take account of the descriptors for the band-score you need (and higher). The descriptors are your friend as they tell you the complexity of the English needed to achieve your score.
Often, IELTS candidates will write their answer as soon as they see the question, without planning it properly.
It is not surprising then that many test-takers regret what they have written the moment they step out of the actual exam venue. They may have missed a part of the whole set of questions, or they may have misunderstood some aspect of the question.
It is essential that candidates take time to read and fully understand the given question and outline an answer, before the actual writing starts.
Paraphrasing: An Important IELTS Writing Skill
Paraphrasing is one staple skill in the IELTS menu.
In fact, this is a direct requirement in the two Writing tasks. In Task 1, the given question must be paraphrased into becoming the introductory paragraph of the essay. In Task 2, the question is paraphrased into becoming the relevant sentence/s that would introduce the thesis statement, which is also known as the soul of the essay or the one-sentence response to the question.
Meanwhile, every candidate must learn the art of paraphrasing that is beyond the restructuring or rearranging of words or phrases.
Writing with Competence
In your preparation, you may have come across excellent books or modules discussing the Writing tasks. You may have also seen model answers or sample essays that have been assessed.
However, it is not enough to know what and what not to write, or even how to write.
Writing a whole essay, timed or untimed, is requisite for completing your writing tasks successfully. After being assessed and given feedback, you should learn the assessor’s corrections and try to recycle these in each following piece of practice writing until a “standard” quality is achieved.
Enriching Vocabulary through Synonyms
Use of varied and more complex language is important for higher band scores.
Many words and ideas are similar – just expressed in different ways. Literary writers though, do not just use pick the right word just for the heck of achieving variety in the text. They pick the right word that would vividly capture the essence of what they are trying to express.
For IELTS students, although synonyms are not 100% alike, they can still aid at building vocabulary through one of the most effective ways – association.
How to Prepare for the IELTS Writing Test
To narrow down the task candidates face as they prepare for IELTS, the focus needs to be on writing within the premise of IELTS.
The good news: there are only certain skills to pay attention to in order to be well-prepared for the actual exam.
Covering both tasks, we have a total of 18 skills for you in our online IELTS Writing Preparation Course.
Remember that each goes with a short tutorial, a set of demonstrations, a set of activities, and some model answers. Once, you have acquired the necessary skills, you may then write your own essays for Professional Writing Assessment.
If you would like more detailed advice on techniques to be used for the IELTS Listening Test then please feel free to browse around our website. You’ll find a lot of free information to help you.
If you would like access to our dedicated online courses, please join our Pass IELTS Higher Community Membership where you will get access to all our online learning material.
Finally, if you feel that you would like your writing assessed by one of our professionals, please visit this page to see what we offer.
It isn’t as expensive as you might think and will set you on the right path to IELTS Writing success.