How to Score High in IELTS Writing
A major issue with the IELTS Writing Test is that we don’t realize where we go wrong. By the time the results come out, it’s too late.
There are many aspects to take into consideration while writing.
Therefore, to learn how to tackle this section, keep reading this blog!
The IELTS Writing Test
The IELTS Writing Test is divided into 2 parts - Task 1 and Task 2. Task 1 in the Academic IELTS requires you to elaborate on provided graphical data, which can be a data table, a pie chart, a bar graph, a line graph, a process diagram, or a combination of 2 of them. The word limit here is 170-180 words.
However, Task 1 in the IELTS General Test will ask you to write a letter. We all have tried letter writing back in our school days. Here, there is a slight difference in the format, but the types stay similar i.e Formal, Semi-formal and Informal Letters. The word limit here is also around 170-180 words.
Finally, Task 2 of the IELTS Writing test is Essay writing where you will be asked to share your knowledge & opinions on a given topic. Some types of essays that you will need to write are – agree or disagree, state advantages & disadvantages, dual questions, etc.
In type 1 you can either agree or disagree with a particular statement, but in type 2 you’ll have to share both sides - the pros and cons, advantages or disadvantages, and provide reasoning for the same. Dual Question essays involve 2 questions and you need to answer both (check the example below). The word limit should be between 250-280 words.
To score high on the IELTS writing test, it is mandatory to understand the 4 marking parameters:
Coherence & Cohesion
Grammatical Range & Accuracy
It is critical to improve your performance on all these 4 aspects to get an overall high band score. But the question here is, how to do that? I’ll elaborate through the example of an essay (dual question type)
Q – Plastic bags, plastic bottles, and plastic packaging are bad for the environment.
What damage does plastic do to the environment?
What can be done by individuals & governments to solve this problem?
Here, it is imperative to read & understand each word and then decide what exactly is the question asking for.
Once that is clear, we can proceed to form our ideas/context and draft some pointers on how we can fulfill the requirements of the question.
Task achievement refers to the relationship between the demands of the question statements and our answers. If the demands are partially met, we can expect a mediocre score. To score well, focus on idea generation.
How to generate ideas?
Look for What the question is about.
Answer the Why of the question.
Answer How can the problem be resolved?
Here, the 1st question has asked about the harm caused to the environment through the usage of plastic.
Specifically, the question has asked us to state the problem.
Some related pointers can be:
Choking oceans and marine life
Obstructing the flow of water and nutrients into the soil
Non-biodegradable nature of plastic resulting in large-scale accumulation
These points can be elaborated further to convert them into a paragraph of 70-80 words.
If we’re able to utilize these points well, the 1st body paragraph is taken care of.
Moving on, the 2nd question asks:
What can individuals & governments do to solve this problem?
Some ideas to state the possible solutions can be:
Be mindful while buying groceries
Promote usage of cloth bags and recycle plastics
Impose a blanket ban on the sale & usage of plastics
Penalize manufacturers/help them transition to alternate businesses
Together, these ideas will help you craft the 2nd body paragraph (again 70-80 words).
However, you should use only 2-3 ideas as using all of them will result in exceeding the word count.
The format (Essay):
Paragraph 1 – Introduction
State the question in your own words
Establish a context
Share your opinion briefly
Paragraph 2 – Idea no. 1 + example
How plastic harms the environment
The irreversible damages caused to land, water, and air
Example – How marine animals & wildlife suffer due to plastic waste
Paragraph 3 – Idea no. 2 + example
Solutions by individuals
Solutions by governments
Example of your local area
Paragraph 4 - Conclusion
Based on my experience of dealing with 120+ students, the usual errors happen in the below-mentioned areas:
Tenses – Changing tenses often in your write-up or not paying attention to words like have, had, did, does, will, would, etc.
Irrelevant ideas (not thought through)
Irrelevant answers (question misunderstood)
Handwriting issues – illegible handwriting
Word repetitions – repeating a word more than twice in the same paragraph.
Task -2 carries 66% weightage of the entire writing test. Therefore, it gets extremely necessary to pay due attention to its minute details and show off your best English usage abilities here.
Do not worry if it takes you longer to complete your practice and if you commit some errors – that is a part of the learning process. Instead, ensure that the same errors are not repeated again and again, and you spend at least 5 minutes proofreading the entire write-up to check for frequent errors.
Keep hustling (smartly)!
Author Bio – Shiva Verma has been training students for IELTS Preparation for 2 years now and has helped 50+ aspirants get their dream scores. He also runs a YouTube Channel named – Trainer Shiva.
Channel link: Trainer Shiva - YouTube