In the Writing component of the IELTS Academic Module, test takers attempt two tasks, namely TASK 1 and TASK 2. The time allocated for these tasks is 60 minutes but, ideally, you should spend 40 minutes on Task 2 and 20 minutes on Task 1. Here are some reasons:
- You need to write a formal essay of at least five paragraphs in Task 2.
- It takes 2/3 of the total score in the Writing component.
- The minimum number of words is 250 (Task 1 is 150)
- The question you will provide an answer to is usually open-ended. That is, it can have different interpretations. Therefore, you may have to do some brainstorming.
What can you deduce from all these? The IELTS Writing Task 2 module demands extra efforts. But with the following tips, you can walk into the Test Room like a professional writer, improve your scores and increase your overall IELTS band.
Practise using handwriting
IELTS only accepts write-ups that are handwritten in pencil. So, when attempting your practice questions, write with your hand, using a pencil. This will assist you in monitoring, assessing, and improving your writing speed before your Test Day.
Also, you should keep it in mind that when your article is not up to 250 words, some marks will be deducted from your original score. So, while preparing for your test, you should also practice with sample Task 2 answer sheets and count the average number of words you write on every page. Doing this every time you practice will help you determine how many words you must have written on one, two, or three pages. You may not have enough time to count in the Test Room.
You may not know how fast or slow you are in writing until you time yourself. During your practices, set durations for all the writing processes you pan to observe. Remember you have forty minutes to plan, write, and edit your article. So, allocate timelines for these three processes.
Ideally, your planning time should be between 5 to 8 minutes, writing should take about 25 minutes, then you can have up to seven minutes to edit what you have written.
Planning for up 8 minutes may, however, be tricky, especially if you are not a very fast writer. The best way out of this is to practise with as many sample questions as you can. Once you are familiar with the pattern of questions that are asked in the Task 2 part of the Writing Test, planning for your question on the Test Day will become easier and may only take two minutes.
Putting down your argument, explanation or opinion may be the most important activity but editing your write-up is just as important. Create ample time to read through your article, erase errors, add missing articles, letters, and punctuation marks.
You may also learn How to Score a High Band in IELTS Reading
Adopt Formal Writing Only
For your responses in the IELTS Academic Writing, use words that are acceptable in school essays. Slang words such as “geek”, “savage” “throw shade”, “on point”, “lit”, “slay”, among others, are not acceptable. Examiners will score you low when they come across such words in your write-ups.
Equally, do not use short forms of English words. That is, use “cannot” in place of “can’t”, use “do not” in place of “don’t”, use “It is” in place of “It’s”, use “They are” in place of “thye’re”, and so on.
- Make use of conjunctions such as “and”, “but”, “or” to connect sentences when necessary.
- Ensure your sentences are complete and add punctuation marks where they are needed.
Consider these examples:
- Although the weather was hot, john was cold. (wrong)
- Although the weather was hot, John was cold. (correct)
The correct sentence does not have a comma after “although” and the letter “J” in “John” is capitalized.
Discuss new ideas in new paragraphs
For every point that you intend to explain during your IELTS Writing Test, start a new paragraph. Examiners do not award high scores for ideas that are not well laid out in paragraphs. In the five paragraphs you are expected to develop, the first one must be for your introduction. Paragraph two to four is where you discuss your points and supporting ideas. Then, round off your write-up with a conclusion in the 5th paragraph.
When you explain a point which will ordinarily take five lines in 15 lines, you may end up having a write-up that is full of tautology. Examiners frown at this and may score you low. A good approach is writing your points concisely and sating them as clearly as you can. Discussing similar ideas repeatedly in the bid to increase the number of your words will not earn you a good score.
Keep a Neutral tone
As you write down your thoughts, express them in a tone that shows that you have taken some time to think about them. However, avoid expressions that show you are being overconfident, angry, or too excited. Your arguments should be valid but make sure your submissions are neutral in your concluding paragraph.
Consider these examples:
- Everyone is guilty of the same crime. (generalization) Instead, use: Many individuals are guilty of the crime.
- I detest that philosophy ( Angry tone) Instead, use: That philosophy has some glaring problems.
When you apply all these tips, socring a high band in IELTS Writing Task 2 should be achievable.