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IELTS Writing Task 2: ✍️ Everything You Need to Know

When helping students prepare for the IELTS test, one of the biggest fears is how to do well in IELTS Writing Task 2. 

IELTS Writing Task 2 is the second part of the writing test, where you are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to write an essay in response. Your essay should be in a formal style, at least 250 words in length and you should aim to complete it in under 40 minutes. 

IELTS Writing Task 2: Everything You Need to Know

writing strategies for ielts

In this video, I’ll outline exactly what you must do to create an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay that could score a Band 7, 8 or 9.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to IELTS or if you’ve failed the exam before – I’ve broken everything down into a simple 3-step process that anyone can use to improve their scores! Watch the video above to find out what they are.

5 Steps to a Band 7 in IELTS Writing Task 2

1. Understand the question.

You must understand the question before you attempt to answer it. This way, you’ll know exactly what the examiner is looking for. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not answering the question fully, which stops them from getting a score higher than a Band 5.

To analyse the question , you must first identify the question type, then identify the keywords in the question and finally identify the instructions words. This will help you understand exactly what the examiner wants you to do with the question.

2. Plan your answer.

The students who get the highest marks in Writing Task 2 always plan their answers for up to 10 minutes. Planning helps you organise your ideas and structure your essay before you write it, saving you time and helping you produce a clear and coherent essay.

3. Write an introduction.

The introduction should answer the question directly. This tells the examiner that you know what you are doing straight away and helps you write your main body paragraphs.

4. Write the main body paragraphs.

This is where you give the examiner more detail . You do this by stating your main points and supporting these with explanations and relevant examples.

5. Write a conclusion.

In your conclusion , you should provide a summary of what you already said in the rest of your essay.

writing strategies for ielts

4 Ways to Improve your Score in IELTS Writing Task 2

Many people know they need to improve their writing skills but don’t know how to do it. Here are 4 ways you can boost your score in Writing Task 2:

1. Understand the exam.

You must first understand what IELTS Writing Task 2 is, what you are expected to do and how to give the examiners what they want. This is the first stage and one that is often overlooked.

There are many online resources, often with conflicting and poor-quality information, so finding a reliable source of information is key.

2. Identify your weak areas.

If your car breaks down, you would try and identify which part caused the problem. If you get sick, your doctor will run tests to determine the exact cause of your symptoms.

IELTS Writing Task 2 is the same. We must first identify WHY you are not getting the score you need before we can help you improve.

However, be very careful! You wouldn’t ask the average man on the street for medical advice, so make sure you find someone who knows what they are doing and has the expertise to help you with this.

3. Fix the problems.

Now that we know what the problems are, we must fix them.

If your grammar needs work, fix those issues. If your vocabulary is lacking, work on fixing this issue.

Just as a good doctor can help you fix a medical problem, a good IELTS teacher can help you fix your specific issues.

4. Practice and get feedback.

Practice alone will not help you. It is an essential part of your preparation, but you must also get feedback on your work if you are really going to improve.

You wouldn’t try to teach yourself how to drive without an instructor, would you?

Find someone who will give you accurate and helpful feedback on your work. Otherwise, you will not be able to move to the last stage.

Now that you have understood what you need to do, identified the exact areas you need to work on, improved those areas, and received feedback on your work, you are now ready to get the IELTS Writing Task 2 score you deserve.

writing strategies for ielts

Writing Task 2 Structures 

I want to warn you about structures because they are not a magic wand that will help you automatically get a higher score. They WILL help you, but please realise that they are just a small part of your overall score.

These structures provide a sentence-by-sentence template for all the main Task 2 question types, making your job much easier on exam day.

  • Task 2 Essay Structures

Essential Writing Task 2 Skills 

writing strategies for ielts

No matter how good your English is, you must still learn IELTS writing skills before taking the Writing Task 2 test. These helpful guides will take you through each of these skills step-by-step:

  • How to Plan an Essay

Making a good plan actually saves you time when you write your essay. This guide will show you how to plan and write a clear essay every time.

  • How to Think of Relevant Ideas

This guide provides 5 different methods to help you quickly think of relevant ideas that are directly linked to the question.

  • How to Write a Complex Sentence

Complex sentences help you boost your score for grammar. They are actually very simple to write and are not complex at all.

  • How to Paraphrase

Paraphrasing is one of the essential IELTS skills for all parts of the IELTS test. You should paraphrase the question in the very first sentence of your essay to help boost your vocabulary score in Writing Task 2.

  • How to Write a Supporting Paragraph

Supporting paragraphs are the main body paragraphs and are the meat in the sandwich. This is where you provide the detail the examiner is looking for in the form of explanations and examples.

  • How to Write a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement tells the examiner your opinion. Many IELTS Writing Task 2 questions specifically ask for your opinion, and if you don’t write it clearly, you have not answered the question properly. This article shows you how, where and when to give your opinion.

How many words should I write?

Around 250 words? Exactly 250 words or over 250 words? How many words over? How do I know how many words I have? Will I lose marks if I write too many words? This article answers all those questions.

  • How to Understand and Analyse Any Question

A critical part of answering any question. This article shows you how to break down any Task 2 question and identify the keywords, micro-keywords and instruction words to help you answer the question effectively.

  • How to Write a Great Introduction

The introduction is the first thing the examiner reads; therefore, we must give them a good first impression. I share a very specific sentence-by-sentence structure in this article to help you write introductions quickly and effectively.

  • Task 2 Marking Criteria 

Do you know how Task 2 is marked? What is the difference between a Band 5 and a Band 8 answer? This article breaks down the marking criteria and explains it in simple language so you can give the IELTS examiners exactly what they want.

  • How to Write a Conclusion

A good conclusion should be a summary of your main points. The conclusion is the last thing the examiner reads, and if you can write a good one, you will leave them with a very good impression.

  • Using Examples

Each of your supporting paragraphs should have a specific example that supports and illustrates your main point. This is an essential skill to learn if you want to get one of the higher band scores.

  • Cohesive Devices

Cohesive devices (sometimes called linking words) are one of the most misunderstood and misused elements of writing. Therefore, you must learn how to use them and when to use them.

  • The Danger of Synonyms

While synonyms are very important, they can also really reduce your mark if used incorrectly.

  • Paragraphing and Editing

This article will show you how to make your writing as clear and as easy to read as possible. It will also advise you on whether to use a pen or pencil.

  • IELTS Writing Task 2: 8 Steps to Success

Read this blog now to access our 61-page Task 2 strategy.

  • IELTS Writing Tips

I have compiled these tips after years of teaching IELTS, and all of them have been approved by IELTS examiners.

  • Coherence and Cohesion

This is a video lesson that shows you in practical terms how to improve your coherence and cohesion score.

writing strategies for ielts

Writing Task 2 Common Topics 

writing strategies for ielts

Knowing the common topics can help you prepare for the test more efficiently. Here are the 10 most common topics over the last few years. Studying hard is great, but don’t forget to study smart.

The article below will show you the top 10 most common IELTS topics.

  • Most Common Task 2 Topics 

Full IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Lessons 

writing strategies for ielts

Here are some lessons that I have used when teaching students about IELTS Writing Task 2. I have changed them so that you can easily learn from home. They are very long but contain all the necessary information combined with the skills above.

  • Agree or Disagree (Opinion) Lesson

In this lesson, we look at how to tackle an ‘agree or disagree’ question. Many people worry about whether to take one side of the other or discuss both sides. Additionally, people also worry about how to deal with ‘To what extent’ question types. We allay all of these fears in this lesson.

  • Discussion Essay Lesson

‘Discuss both views’ questions often confuse people because you are asked to do many things in one essay. As such, it is very important to remember that the question asks you to discuss BOTH views AND give YOUR opinion.

  • Problem and Solution Essay Lesson

These questions are much easier than you think. You probably discuss problems and solutions in your day-to-day life all the time. Keep it simple.

  • Advantages and Disadvantages Lesson 

There are a couple of different types of advantages and disadvantages questions. This lesson will show you how to answer them.

  • Writing Task 2 Exercise with Video

Writing is a skill, and just like any other skill, it is important to practice to improve.

  • From Band 6.5 to 8 Demo Lesson

This is my most comprehensive free lesson on IELTS Writing Task 2. We show you how we took one VIP student from Band 6.5 to an amazing 8.

Sample Answers

You must have some good examples to compare your writing and see if you are on the right track. Click the link below for lots of sample answers and over 100 questions.

Task 2 Sample Answers

  • Agree or Disagree Sample Essays
  • Task 2 Band 9 Sample Essay
  • Latest Real Task 2 Questions
  • Official Sample Test Questions
  • Cambridge Sample Questions
  • Free Practice Test
  • How To Use Task 2 Samples
  • Recent Confusing Questions
  • IELTS Writing Practice Guide

IELTS Writing Task 2 Essential Information

  • You must write an essay in response to a question.
  • You must write 250 words or more.
  • Task 2 is worth 2/3 of your total mark on the Writing test.
  • You should spend around 40 minutes on this part of the test.
  • General Training and Academic are essentially the same for Task 2. However, they are different for Task 1.
  • There are certain types of questions that you will be asked, for example, opinion, discussion etc. See below for more detail on these.
  • Task Achievement (25%)
  • Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
  • Lexical Resource (25%)
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy (25%)

Grammar and Vocabulary

writing strategies for ielts

Grammar is one of the four things you will be marked on in the Writing Task 2 test. Finding out what your common grammar mistakes are and then fixing them is a very powerful way to boost your score in this area. Here are some common grammar mistakes I have found after making hundreds of tests.

  • Top 10 Grammar Mistakes

For most IELTS students, the problem is not grammar in general. In fact, it is usually just 1-2 problem areas. Therefore, when you fix these main weaknesses, you’ll be able to improve your grammar and your writing score dramatically.

  • Using Personal Pronouns

Hint- They aren’t as big of a deal as you think.

See the interactive tool below for the answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive about IELTS Writing Task 2: 

IELTS Writing Task 2 FAQs

How can i improve my writing.

You will find all the resources you need on our Writing Task 2 page. Click the link below:

Writing Task 2

We also have two Task 2 courses for those that need to improve their Task 2 skills and strategy. They are both based online and completely free of charge. Learn more about them below:

Task 2 5 Day Challenge

Task 2 Essay Builder

If you need serious help or personalised feedback, you should check out our VIP Course. There is a waiting list, but you can add your name here:

How can I get a Band 7, 8 or 9?

The answer to this question is different for every individual IELTS student, as it depends on a number of factors, including your work ethic, English skills and exam strategy. You'll find a guide to answering this question in this article

If you need serious help with improving your IELTS scores, you should check out our online writing course. There is a waiting list, but you can add your name by clicking the link below:

Can you correct my writing?

Please click the link below and it will give you all the information you need about our writing correction service:

Writing Correction Service

Do you have any sample answers?

Yes, you will find them at the link below:

Will using 'high level' or 'academic' words help me improve my score?

Probably not.

Read my recent article about IELTS vocabulary here:

5 Things You Need to Know about IELTS Vocabulary

Can I use idioms?

No, you should not write idioms for Task 2.

Can I use personal pronouns?

You should avoid using personal pronouns, but it is fine to use them when giving your personal opinion.

Do you write a conclusion for Task 2?

Yes, it is very difficult to get a good score in Task 2 if you haven't finished your essay with a conclusion. You will find an in-depth lesson on conclusions here:

How to Write an Effective Task 2 Conclusion

How many paragraphs should I write?

Most IELTS task 2 essays follow the same basic four paragraph structure:

  • Introduction
  • Supporting Paragraph 1
  • Supporting Paragraph 2

However, you can find more comprehensive help with structuring your Task 2 essays here:

5 Day Challenge

Do I need to plan my essay?

I would highly recommend planning your essay. A good plan acts like a map that guides you through the essay, ensuring that you give the examiner exactly what they need to award you the score you need. You can find help with planning your essays here: How to Plan an IELTS Essay

You must write at least 250 words in Writing Task 2.

I would suggest that you aim to write around 270-280 words in total. Aiming for 20-30 words more than the required amount makes you more likely to reach the word limit without setting an unrealistic goal.

Will I lose marks if I don't write enough words?

Yes, if you don't write the required number of words, you will lose marks in 'Task Achievement' for not answering the question fully. Read more here .

Can I use contractions?

No, should not use contractions when you are writing an academic essay.

writing strategies for ielts


As one of the four sections of the IELTS test, the Writing Exam assesses your ability to write responses effectively in English to specific tasks. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information, tips, and strategies to excel in the IELTS Writing Exam.

Summary for fast navigation

Overview of the ielts writing exam, understanding task 1 of the ielts writing exam: a deep dive, understanding task 2 of the ielts writing exam: a deep dive, common mistakes and how to avoid them, an overview of ielts writing scoring criteria, practical tips and strategies for ielts writing exam success, bonus tip: the power of practice and feedback.

The IELTS Writing Exam is a crucial component of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) – a universally accepted English proficiency test. This exam evaluates your ability to write effectively in English in an academic or non-academic context, depending on whether you are taking the IELTS Academic or the IELTS General Training test .

The Writing exam is divided into two sections: Task 1 and Task 2 , both of which need to be completed within a total of 60 minutes.

IELTS Writing Task 1

In Task 1 of the IELTS Academic test, you are presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram, and are asked to describe, summarise, or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, or describe an object or event.

Task 1 of the IELTS Academic test example

For the IELTS General Training test, Task 1 involves writing a letter in response to a given situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal, or formal in style, depending on the context provided. Check our "Letter Writing" blog post for more

Task 1 of the IELTS General Training test example

IELTS Writing Task 2

Task 2, common to both the Academic and General Training tests, requires you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The topics are of general interest, and while the content required for this task depends on whether you're taking the Academic or General Training version, the assessment of your writing will be conducted in the same way.

Task 2 of the IELTS test example

Remember, Task 2 carries more weight in your final band score than Task 1. Therefore, allocating your time wisely between the two tasks is crucial - it's typically recommended to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.

The IELTS Writing Exam is divided into two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2. Task 1 varies depending on whether you're taking the Academic or General Training version of the IELTS. Let's explore each of these in detail.

Academic Task 1

In the Academic IELTS Writing Task 1, you'll be presented with a graphical representation of data - this could be a line graph, bar chart, pie chart, table, map, or a process diagram. You're required to describe and interpret the information in your own words, summarizing and comparing the data, describing stages of a process, or explaining how something works. Your response should be objective, accurate, and concise, with a minimum of 150 words.

Understanding the Prompt

Every prompt for the Academic Task 1 has two main parts: a visual representation of data and a task description. The task description usually instructs you to "summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant." This means you need to identify the most important aspects of the graph or diagram and present them in a clear, coherent manner.

Example Prompt

The bar chart shows the percentages of the Canadian workforce in five major industries in 1850 and 2020. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Task 1 of the IELTS Academic test example

For this task, you would start by describing the bar chart in general terms: what it shows (the percentages of the Canadian workforce in five major industries), and when (in 1850 and 2020). Then, you would identify and describe the main trends: perhaps there is an industry that has grown significantly over time, or maybe some industries have a smaller share of the workforce in 2020 compared to 1850. Remember to highlight key differences and make comparisons where relevant.

Structure of the Response

A well-structured response to the Academic Task 1 usually contains four main parts:

  • Introduction: This should be a paraphrased version of the prompt, giving a general overview of the data or diagram you are required to describe.
  • Overview: This part involves identifying two or three significant trends or features in the graph or diagram and summarizing them. It does not need to contain specific data at this point.
  • Details: In this part, you will describe the main features in detail, comparing and contrasting data as necessary. Aim to group data logically.
  • Conclusion: Although not always necessary, a conclusion can sum up the main trends shown in the chart or diagram.

In addition to this, you must ensure that you are using a variety of sentence structures, a wide range of vocabulary, and making sure your response is cohesive with clear paragraphing and linking words.

General Training Task 1

In the General Training IELTS Writing Task 1, you're required to write a letter in response to a given situation. The letter could be formal, semi-formal, or informal, depending on the situation described in the task.

The prompt for the General Training Task 1 includes a situation and three bullet points detailing what you should include in your letter. It's crucial to address all these points in your letter.

Example Prompt for General Training Task 1

You recently bought a piece of equipment for your kitchen but it did not work. You phoned the shop but no action was taken. Write a letter to the shop manager. In your letter:

  • describe the problem with the equipment
  • explain what happened when you phoned the shop
  • say what you would like the manager to do.

For this task, you would start by stating the purpose of your letter: you're writing because you bought a piece of kitchen equipment that did not work. Then, you would describe the problem with the equipment in detail, explaining what's wrong with it and how it's affecting you. You'd also describe your previous attempt to resolve the issue (the phone call) and how it was not successful. Finally, you'd explain what you want the manager to do: perhaps you want a replacement, a repair, or a refund.

Structure of the Response for General Training Task 1

A well-structured letter for the General Training Task 1 would include:

  • Opening: The way you open your letter depends on what you need to write about and who you are writing to. You could open formally with "Dear Sir/Madam" if you do not know the person or "Dear Mr/Mrs [Surname]" if you know their name. Alternatively, for friends or family, you can use their first name.
  • Purpose: After the opening, you should clearly state the purpose of the letter.
  • Body: This is where you write in detail about the purpose of the letter. For the General Training Task 1, you would expand on the three bullet points in the question. You should organize your letter into paragraphs to make it clear and easy to understand.
  • Closing: Here, you should conclude your letter with an appropriate phrase, and sign off in a suitable way.

Remember to adapt your language and style for each letter type. A formal letter will have a different tone and style compared to an informal one.

Understanding the unique requirements of IELTS Writing Task 1, whether for the Academic or General Training version, is key to performing effectively in the IELTS Writing Exam.

The IELTS Writing Task 2 is a common section for both the Academic and General Training modules. The test takers are required to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The essay should be formal in nature and consist of at least 250 words.

Types of Task 2 Essays

There are various types of essays that you might be asked to write for Task 2:

a) Opinion Essay: This type of essay asks you to express your viewpoint on a given topic. You are expected to support your opinion with relevant examples and reasoning.

b) Discussion Essay: Here, you will be given a particular issue or topic to discuss. You might be asked to discuss both sides of an argument and then give your own viewpoint.

c) Problem and Solution Essay: You will be presented with a problem and you need to suggest suitable solutions. You should also provide explanations as to why these solutions might work.

d) Two-part Question: This type of essay has two different questions that you need to answer.

e) Advantages and Disadvantages Essay: You need to discuss the pros and cons of a particular issue or situation.

Knowing the different types of essays and how to approach each one will help you effectively respond to any Task 2 prompt.

Understanding the prompt is vital in IELTS Writing Task 2. Each prompt will pose a question or situation that you need to respond to in your essay. It's essential to clearly address all parts of the prompt in your response. Let's delve deeper into this process:

  • Read Carefully: Your first task when given the prompt is to read it carefully. This might sound obvious, but in the stress of the test situation, candidates sometimes rush and miss key details.
  • Identify the Essay Type: As stated earlier, Task 2 can come in several formats, including opinion, discussion, problem-solution, two-part question, and advantages-disadvantages essays. By identifying the type, you will know how to structure your essay and what kind of information to include.
  • Note All Parts of the Prompt: Every IELTS Writing Task 2 prompt has two or more parts. It's crucial to answer all parts fully to achieve a high Task Response score.
  • Plan Your Response: Once you understand the prompt, spend a couple of minutes planning your response. Identify the main ideas you want to discuss and think about examples or points to support them.
  • Keep the Prompt in Mind: While writing your essay, constantly refer back to the prompt to ensure you're staying on topic and fully addressing it. It's easy to stray off topic, especially when you're trying to meet the word count. But irrelevant information can lower your score.

Examples of Prompts (Essay Types)

Here are examples of prompts for each type of essay:

a) Opinion Essay

  • Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programs (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighborhood, or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • Many individuals believe that we are too dependent on technology and that it is making us lazier. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • Some argue that children should be given homework every day, while others believe it should be abolished completely. Discuss your viewpoint.

b) Discussion Essay

  • Some people think that the government is wasting money on the arts and this money could be better spent elsewhere. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • In many societies, it is becoming more common for people to have jobs that are not related to their degree. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.
  • Some argue that traditional teaching methods are still the most effective, while others believe that digital learning methods are superior. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

c) Problem and Solution Essay

  • In many developing countries, there is a problem with declining quality of air and water from both industry and construction. What measures could be taken to prevent this?
  • Traffic congestion is a major issue in many cities worldwide. What are some potential solutions to address this problem?
  • Cyberbullying has increased significantly with the rise of social media. How can this problem be addressed?

d) Two-part Question

  • In some parts of the world, it is becoming increasingly popular to try to find out about the history of one's family. Why might people want to do this? Is it a positive or negative development?
  • An increasing number of people are choosing to live alone these days. Why do you think this is happening? Is it a positive or negative trend?
  • In recent years, many jobs that were once done by humans are now being done by robots. What are the reasons for this shift? Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

e) Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • Many students now have the opportunity to study abroad. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?
  • Online shopping is becoming more popular than in-store shopping. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?
  • The internet allows us to stay connected with others no matter where they are. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this trend?

The IELTS Writing Task 2 requires strategic preparation and practice to score well. You need to understand the different types of essays, comprehend the prompt effectively, and write a well-structured and well-reasoned response.

Acquiring the skills to write effectively for the IELTS exam is a process that involves understanding not only what to do correctly but also what to avoid. Familiarity with common mistakes made by test-takers in IELTS Writing can provide you with crucial insights into how to improve your writing and boost your score.

In this section, we will five of the most common pitfalls encountered by candidates and provide practical tips on how to avoid them. By being aware of these issues and consciously working to prevent them, you can greatly enhance the quality of your responses and move closer to achieving your IELTS goals.

Misunderstanding the Question

One of the most frequent mistakes candidates make is misinterpreting the question. Misunderstanding can result in an off-target response, which could significantly impact your score.

How to Avoid It

Spend enough time to read and understand the question before you start writing. Identify the type of essay you're required to write and the key elements you need to address in your response. If the question asks for your opinion, ensure to provide it clearly. If it asks for a discussion, be sure to consider all perspectives.

Off-Topic Responses

Straying from the topic at hand is another common error. The examiner wants to see your ability to respond to the question effectively. Providing unrelated content can result in a loss of marks.

Create a brief outline before you begin writing. This can help you stay focused on the topic. As you write, continually refer back to the question and your outline to ensure you're not drifting off-topic.

Poor Time Management

The IELTS writing test requires you to complete two tasks within 60 minutes. Candidates often spend too much time on Task 1, which contributes less to the overall score, leaving insufficient time for Task 2.

Practice managing your time effectively. A suggested timing would be 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. Practice this timing during your preparation to get used to it.

Overuse of Complex Sentences and Vocabulary

Candidates often believe that using complex sentences and big words will impress the examiner and earn them higher scores. However, this can lead to awkward sentences and misuse of words, reducing the clarity of the essay.

Clarity is paramount. It's better to use simpler sentences and words correctly than to misuse complex ones. Use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary, but ensure you fully understand them before using them.

Grammatical Errors and Spelling Mistakes

Even minor errors can impact your score. Common mistakes include incorrect verb tenses, subject-verb agreement errors, and spelling mistakes.

Proofread your essay. Reserve the last few minutes of your test for checking your work. Look for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, and ensure your essay answers the question.

Remember, our AI-driven IELTS practice is designed to identify these common mistakes in your essays and provide personalized, corrective feedback. This allows you to learn from your mistakes and continually improve. Regular practice is the key to success!

The IELTS Writing Test is evaluated based on specific, detailed criteria. By understanding these criteria and aligning your preparation accordingly, you can better meet the examiners' expectations and enhance your score. Let's delve deeper into each of the four primary criteria used to evaluate IELTS Writing: Task Achievement/Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

  • Task Achievement/Response

This criterion assesses how effectively you've addressed the requirements of the task. For Task 1, this involves presenting a clear overview of the graph, chart, or diagram and including sufficient details. For Task 2, you'll need to provide a clear, detailed, and relevant response to the question.

The key to excelling in Task Achievement/Response is carefully reading and understanding the task prompt. Spend a few minutes analyzing the task, identifying key features, or brainstorming relevant ideas. Avoid going off-topic, and ensure that your response directly answers the question. Remember, quantity does not replace quality. Your answer should be concise, clear, and to the point, fully addressing the task's requirements.

  • Coherence and Cohesion

Coherence relates to the overall understandability of your writing, while cohesion refers to how well your ideas are linked. Together, they assess the organization and flow of your ideas and arguments.

To excel in coherence, ensure your essay has a clear, logical progression. Each paragraph should have a central idea, expressed in a topic sentence, with supporting sentences that expand on this idea. For cohesion, use linking words and phrases, but do it judiciously. Excessive or incorrect use of linking words can make your writing seem forced and may actually decrease your score.

  • Lexical Resource

This criterion evaluates the range and accuracy of your vocabulary. A wider vocabulary demonstrates your ability to express a variety of concepts and ideas.

To improve your Lexical Resource score, aim to learn new words daily. Incorporate these words into your practice essays and use them in context, rather than memorizing word lists. However, it's equally important to use vocabulary correctly. Misused words can lead to misunderstandings and will affect your score. Avoid using complex words or phrases if you're not certain about their meaning or appropriate usage.

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Grammatical Range and Accuracy assesses your ability to use a variety of grammatical structures accurately. It isn't about using complex sentences; it's about showcasing a mix of sentence types and grammatical forms.

To improve this aspect, review English grammar rules, and practice using them in your writing. Be aware of common grammatical errors and work on those areas. Regularly reviewing your work to identify and correct errors will also help improve your grammatical accuracy.

Understanding the IELTS Writing scoring criteria is essential to guide your preparation and perform effectively on the exam. By targeting your practice towards these criteria, you can improve your performance and maximize your IELTS Writing score.

Preparing for the IELTS Writing Exam requires strategic planning, consistent practice, and a keen understanding of common mistakes and how to avoid them. Here are some practical tips:

Understand the exam format: Familiarize yourself with the type of tasks you'll need to complete.

Practice regularly: Consistency is key. Practice writing tasks under timed conditions.

Review your work: Always review your essays and learn from your mistakes.

Expand your vocabulary: A wider vocabulary can help you express your thoughts more effectively.

Time management: Practice managing your time effectively. Aim to complete Task 2 in 40 minutes and Task 1 in 20 minutes.

Let's look at each tip in detail.

1. Understanding the Exam Format

The first step towards conquering the IELTS Writing Exam is understanding its structure. The test is divided into two tasks, each with different requirements and expectations. Task 1 varies between the Academic and General Training modules. In the Academic version, you'll need to describe a chart, graph, or diagram, while in the General Training version, you're asked to write a letter in response to a situation.

Task 2 is the same for both versions: it requires you to write an essay in response to an argument, opinion, or problem. Knowing the expectations for each task and the criteria used to evaluate your answers is crucial. You can find this information on official IELTS websites or by using resources like our IELTS preparation app.

2. Regular Practice

Consistent practice is key to success. It allows you to become comfortable with the time constraints and the types of questions you'll encounter in the actual exam. Try to practice writing every day, even if it's just for a short period. Time yourself to ensure you can complete Task 1 in 20 minutes and Task 2 in 40 minutes, as this is the timeframe you'll have in the real exam.

During practice, vary the topics you write about. This not only helps you prepare for a wide range of potential exam topics but also aids in broadening your vocabulary and familiarity with different subject matters. Our app provides a vast array of topics to practice and offers immediate feedback, making your practice more effective and efficient.

3. Self-Review and Feedback

An essential part of your practice should be reviewing your own work. This helps you identify repeated mistakes, areas of improvement, and track your progress over time. Pay attention to coherence and cohesion, vocabulary range and accuracy, grammatical range and accuracy, and task response - the key parameters of IELTS Writing marking criteria.

The instant AI feedback provided by our app gives you an objective analysis of your writing and offers you valuable insights into your performance. It pinpoints areas where you can improve and gives you a realistic idea of your current band score.

4. Vocabulary Enhancement

Expanding your vocabulary is integral for the IELTS Writing Exam. The wider your vocabulary, the better equipped you are to express a variety of ideas effectively. Regular reading, using vocabulary flashcards, and learning synonyms for common words can be beneficial.

5. Effective Time Management

Effective time management is paramount. During the exam, you'll need to manage your time to understand the question, plan your response, write it, and then review your work. Practicing under these time constraints will help you develop your speed and writing efficiency.

With these strategies, you'll be well-equipped to succeed in the IELTS Writing Exam.

You might have heard the saying, "Practice makes perfect." This phrase is particularly true for the IELTS Writing Exam. Regular practice is one of the most effective ways to improve your writing skills, as it helps you become familiar with the test format and improve your timing.

However, practice becomes even more powerful when paired with feedback. While practicing, you may be unaware of some of the mistakes you're making or the areas where you could improve. That's where feedback comes in.

To aid your IELTS preparation, we have developed an AI-powered IELTS Writing App. Our app allows you to practice IELTS Writing Tasks 1 and 2 and receive instant feedback on your essays. The AI identifies mistakes, offers corrections, and provides advice on how to improve your writing, allowing you to learn from your mistakes and improve faster.

By incorporating this tool into your study plan, you can elevate your practice sessions to a new level, transforming them into powerful learning experiences. This way, you are not just practicing, but are engaging in informed, targeted practice, accelerating your progress towards your IELTS goals.

Remember, your path to IELTS success is a journey, and each step you take in preparing for the exam brings you closer to achieving your desired score. Good luck!

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IELTS Writing: Everything You Need to Know

Person writing in notebook to represent ielts writing

IELTS Writing has two tasks. The first, Task 1, involves writing a summary of a visual or process (for the Academic test) or writing a letter (for the General test). In Task 2, you’ll write a complete essay. You’ll be tested on how well your ideas flow together, your vocabulary and grammar, and if you fulfilled all the requirements. Read on to learn more about this task, and more about how to practice IELTS Writing at home!

What is IELTS Writing?

The IELTS Writing section is the third section of the main IELTS exam, right after the Reading Section. Here are some basic stats for the test:

IELTS Writing Section Basics

  • Time limit: 60 minutes
  • Number of tasks: 2
  • Handwritten (IELTS Paper-Based Test)
  • Typed (IELTS Computer-Delivered Test and IELTS Indicator Test)
  • This section has a band score of 1-9, based on a rubric (this is the same band score range as rest of the exam).

Comparison of the Different IELTS Writing Tasks

Academic writing task 1.

On the Academic version of the IELTS, the first Writing task requires you to describe an infographic in at least 150 words, with a recommended 20 minute time limit. Common types of infographics include pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, maps, and process diagrams. Sometimes you will describe combinations of more than one kind of infographic.

Magoosh offers a complete guide to Writing Task 1 (IELTS Academic) , including sample questions and answers. We also offer a quick 15 minute video guide for this first task, seen below (click here for instructions on how to use the Writing Task 1 video guide) .

Get a higher IELTS score? Start your online IELTS prep today with Magoosh.

General Training Writing Task 1

Like IELTS Academic, Writing for General Training Task 1 requires a minimum of 150 words, with a recommedned 20 minute time limit. But the similarities end there. In IELTS GT, this first task requires you to write a letter; the instructions will tell you the context of the letter and the specific points you should include.

Letters for IELTS GT can vary in how formal they are. To help you with this, I’ve written a guide to formal vs. semi-formal language for this task , and Kuangyan has put together a great guide to formal and informal language in IELTS letter writing .

And of course, you should also check out Magoosh’s full guide for this task: “ IELTS General Training Letter Writing Tips and Examples ,” as well as our shorter video guide:

Task 2 for IELTS Writing

The second Writing task is the same on both versions of the test, and requires you to give and defend your opinion on a social issue. Common IELTS Writing topics for this task may be broadly public (such as the issue of government funding for the arts) or more personal (such as one’s preferences on where to live, how to study, etc.).

Magoosh breaks this second essay down for you in detail, with example questions and sample responses. Check out our complete guide to Academic Writing Task 2 . You can also check out the video below for some quick tips on this second question:

How Is IELTS Writing marked?

The Writing section is scored in IELTS bands. For a summary of these scoring levels, take a look at the official IELTS band descriptors for Task 1 , and Task 2 .

And for a more in-depth look at how Writing scores are calculated and what they mean, check out the following Magoosh guides:

  • IELTS Band Descriptors: How to Improve Your Score in IELTS Writing
  • Lexical Resource for Writing Task 1 (Academic)
  • What is Coherence and Cohesion in the First IELTS Academic Writing Task?
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy in IELTS Academic Writing
  • Do You Lose Points for Bad Handwriting on the IELTS?

How to Improve Your Score in IELTS Writing

The guides below really focus on boosting your band score in the Writing Section. Learn the best way to improve your score in IELTS Writing, task-by-task.

Better Scores for Task 1 (Academic)

  • Useful Words for the IELTS Graph Essay
  • IELTS Paragraph Structure (Academic Writing Task 1)
  • Getting a Band 9 in Writing for IELTS Academic Task 1
  • Paraphrasing for IELTS Academic Task 1
  • Describing an IELTS Academic Chart

Better IELTS Scores for Task 1 (General Training Writing)

  • IELTS Letter Writing Tips and Examples
  • Example Letters for IELTS General Training Writing Task 1

Better IELTS Writing Scores for Task 2

  • Sentence Structure for Task 2
  • Agree/Disagree Questions in the Second Writing Writing Task
  • Paraphrasing for Academic Writing Task 2
  • How to Write Faster on IELTS Writing Task 2

General Articles to Improve Your IELTS Writing Score

  • IELTS: Linking Words in the Writing Section
  • IELTS: Common Grammar Mistakes in Writing
  • The Best IELTS Writing Resources

Examples of IELTS Essays

Perhaps the very best way to improve your score in IELTS Writing is to look at sample essays. Read these examples carefully to learn how to practice IELTS Writing for the various tasks.

Examples of Writing for Task 1 (Academic)

  • Pie Chart Model Answer
  • Bar Chart Model Answer
  • Process Diagram Model Answer
  • Map Model Answer
  • Two Graphics Model Answer
  • IELTS Writing Sample Questions and Practice Resources (Task 1, Academic)

IELTS Writing Models for General Training Task 1

  • General Training Model Formal Letter
  • General Training Model Personal Letter
  • Example Letters for the General Training Test

Samples of IELTS Writing for the Second Task

  • The Best Template for Writing Task 2 on the IELTS
  • Common IELTS Writing Topics for Task 2

IELTS Writing is multifaceted, testing your English writing skills in a variety of ways. While you may want to hire an IELTS Writing tutor or take a class, with Magoosh that isn’t always necessary. We offer essay feedback to our students. Check out Magoosh IELTS to learn more about how to improve your writing with Magoosh.

David Recine

David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles , his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube , Facebook , and Instagram , or connect with him via LinkedIn !

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IELTS Writing Tips

So you want to score a band 8 on IELTS Writing ?

Many IELTS test-takers spend a lot of time training to write top-notch essays. To achieve a desired score, they stuff their essays with uncommon vocabulary, overuse complicated grammar or write too many words. But are these means really necessary? The answer is NO.

There are a lot of much simpler writings that score 8.0 and higher! This is because you don’t need any special knowledge: the examiner will assess your writing, not your thoughts. Even simple but accurately expressed ideas score better than too complicated ones. To succeed in IELTS Writing , you need to

  • be accurate
  • write simple things well

Ridiculously, even well trained candidates often lose points on IELTS Writing because of making simple mistakes: from going off topic to writing too many words.

On this page we’ve gathered top 10 IELTS Writing tips that will help you score band 8+ on IELTS Writing:

Read the question

The government should pay to the parents of very young children, so that one of them can stay at home and look after their children.

What do you think are the pros and cons of this policy? Justify your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

  • Write pros & cons
  • Give examples

Read what you have written

Go back and read the paragraph you have just written before you start the next one. You may think that this is a waste of time. If so, you’d be wrong. It’s important to link your paragraphs together – what easier way to do that than just read what you have written?

The practical advice here is to select your best idea and write about that. That means not writing everything you know – leave some ideas out. Don’t worry if it is not your best explanation, worry about whether it is your clearest explanation.

writing strategies for ielts

Write about what you know

You are being tested on the quality of your English, not on the quality of your ideas. So you shouldn’t worry about finding the “right answer”. You need a simple idea that you can clearly describe and justify.

Follow the standard structure

  • Introduction : briefly describe what your graph shows.
  • Overview : state main trends.
  • Specific details : describe specific changes, providing data.

IELTS Writing task 2 answer should have such backbone:

  • Introduction : rephrase the topic + give your opinion.
  • Body paragraphs : each should have its central idea, which is generally stated in the first sentence.
  • Conclusion : just rephrase your opinion from the introduction.

Don’t write too many words

It’s a bad idea to write more than 300 words in task 2 and more than 200 words in task 1. Firstly, it’s difficult for the examiner to read long essays and he/she will check your writing less carefully. Secondly, you are likely to make more mistakes and have less time to check what you wrote.

Choose your writing style

Never use informal language in academic writing or in essay. Only in general module task 1 you may be asked to write an informal letter.

Don't learn model answers by heart

Do not memorize model answers - you will receive less points for such essay. The chance of getting exactly the same essay as you've learnt is very small. And going off topic will result in achieving a low score. So instead, spend some time learning to adopt advanced vocabulary to make it fit into your answer. This way you'll be able to use various words phrases in different writings and show your broad range of vocabulary.

Don't branch off!

Write only according to the theme. Do not include irrelevant information. If you wander from the subject, you'll get a much lower score even for a well-styled answer.

writing strategies for ielts

Write clearly and coherently

Do not repeat yourself with different words, avoid being redundant. Also, make sure that each paragraph in Writing task 2 has a central idea. It's very important for IELTS Writing that every paragraph in you essay is clearly separated and has its main thought. This simple thing makes your essay neat and coherent.

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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Tips, Strategies and Criteria


Updated On Apr 04, 2023

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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Tips, Strategies and Criteria

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The IELTS writing section assesses your ability to create an appropriate response, organise your thoughts, and use language and vocabulary correctly.

Those who are still stuck at figuring out IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 , know that everything in it is quite simple, once you are trained adequately. Under this task, you will be asked to write a comprehensive summary of up to 150 words and you will be given the time of 20 minutes.

The summary could be for a bar chart , line graph , or table chart . You may be asked to compare the data as well. In simple words, you would have to create a succinct report of the given data.

Apart from this, some of the other pointers that you will have to keep in mind include writing up to 3-4 paragraphs and a report that has 150 words , paraphrasing of sentences in the first paragraph, and writing an overview in the second paragraph.

Tips To Ace Academic Writing Task 1

To help you ace this section of the IELTS exam , here are some tips to be kept in mind:

1. Reading Instructions Carefully

It may seem like an obvious tip, however, it is most commonly overlooked by most of the students. Regardless of how excited or nervous you are about the exam, you must take a minute to read through the instructions and familiarize yourself with the questions.

2. Adequate Language

The first thing to be kept in mind is that you must use adequate language when it comes to describing the information or comparing graphs. There could be times when you may have to write the same thing in a different way. Here, make sure you are being innovative and not repeating anything.

3. Paraphrasing Is a Must

In case you were thinking about merely copying the answer, know that the examiner will have an eagle’s eye and such a strategy can lead to losing marks. Paraphrasing is extremely important. To do so, you must use synonyms and related words.

4. Keep The Tenses In Mind

A lot of IELTS candidates get stuck in the web of tenses. They either end up using the wrong tenses or mixing up two of them. To avoid such a blunder, you must ensure that you are certain about the tense to use. For instance, if the data given is in the past tense, you must write your answer in the past tense and vice versa.

5. Never Stop Practising

Out there, you can find plenty of books where you can practise academic writing task 1 . You can refer to such books and information to practise better. There are also samples of topics, especially for this task.

6. Make Use of Adequate Vocabulary

In terms of vocabulary, you must make a complete list that will help you paraphrase while describing. Your examiner will primarily check for adequate use of words and not your knowledge. Also, make sure you are using adequate connectors to link sentences .

Strategies For Preparing For IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

Let’s move on to the IELTS academic writing task 1 strategy to bag a higher score and avert losing marks.

Comprehend the Question Type

To begin any task, you must ensure that you fully understand the question type. This way, you can seamlessly get rid of confusion, if any. The easiest way to comprehend the question type is by looking at the given information, be it a table, a chart or a diagram. On the basis of the understanding, you can effortlessly create answers.

Copying or Memorising Won’t Help

No matter how much you practise beforehand when you are in the examination hall, know that you cannot write a memorised answer. You must look into the question, understand it well and then write the answer in your own words, which should be different from other tests.

Clear and On-Point Overview

Keep in mind that the overview that you will be writing should be based on how you are going to describe the given information. The key features should be mentioned. Also, make sure your overview is giving an exact idea about your answer.

Concentration on Grammar

If your aim is to gain a band score that is more than 6, it is essential that you make use of complex grammar and structured sentences when describing. Thus, practising daily with adequate grammar can help you to a great extent.

Criteria for Marking IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

Below-mentioned marking criterion will help you comprehend what should be your sole focus:

You can improve your writing by learning synonyms to make sure you use a varied vocabulary and attain a high IELTS band score . Let’s take a look at how you can learn IELTS synonyms:


Frequently Asked Questions

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Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through ieltsmaterial.com. With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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IELTS Writing Task 2: 8 steps towards a band 8

In IELTS Writing Task 2, you will need to write an essay. Let our IELTS Experts walk you through 8 steps that can help you get a band 8. Take a closer look at the assessment criteria, how to structure your essay and common mistakes to avoid.

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To achieve a band 8 in IELTS  Writing Task 2 , you will need to produce an essay that contains all the positive features contained in the band 8 writing assessment criteria. Let's take a look at these in the table below.  

Using the band descriptors as a guide we are going to go through the 8 steps to get you on your way to a band 8 in Writing Task 2.  

We will start with the task response before moving through all the criteria to show you what an examiner will be looking for in your response.

Step 1: Answer is relevant to the question

Answer what you have been asked in the question. Don’t produce an essay that is close to a topic you have previously prepared. Make sure your examples and ideas are relevant. If you generalise too much and are not specific enough this will affect how your ideas are presented to the examiner.  

Make sure your ideas are directly related to the question  

Use ideas and examples that you are familiar with, and that relate directly to the topic 

Extend your answer to include a number of ideas that will support the question.  


Include irrelevant information  


Produce a memorised essay  

Present ‘recent’ research or statistics related to the topic “At least 41% of all men…”

Step 2: Answer all parts of the question

You must read the question carefully and decide how many parts are in it. You must answer all parts of the question to reach a band 6 or higher.  

Let’s look at some example IELTS question prompts and see how many parts are in each, if you need to present your opinion. Remember, it is very important to present a clear position when answering the statement to show that you understand the question being asked and to keep that position clear throughout the essay.

Read the question carefully and decide how many parts are in it 

Present your opinion and support it throughout the whole essay 

If asked to present both views, make sure each view is presented equally (similar paragraph length) 

Watch for plurals. If you are asked to give ‘advantages’, you must present a minimum of 2  

Watch for ‘and’. You may need to comment on more than one element  

Write more than 250 words.  


Ignore parts of the question  

Assume that your opinion is clear, use the first person to ensure the examiner knows it’s your opinion ‘I think’  

Tell the examiner what you are going to say and what you have said  

Produce a short essay. 

Step 3: Organise your essay logically, with clear progression using linking phrases

Ideas must be expressed and ordered clearly - starting with an introduction and moving through to a conclusion. 

If you are asked to present both views and your opinion, state your opinion at the beginning of the essay and then move on to present both views. You can then come back to your own opinion and then conclude the essay. This is a logical way to present these ideas.  

Use a range of linking words and phrases, but don’t overuse them 

Use adverbial phrases, rather than single basic linkers 

Use referencing and substitution to avoid repetition (this/them/the issue/the problem)  

Use punctuation to make your writing coherent  

Make sure your ideas are sequenced correctly  

Make sure your ideas are logical and easy to follow  

Use a separate paragraph for the introduction and the conclusion   

Use one paragraph for each idea or topic area. 

Overuse basic linking words like firstly (instead, try using ‘The first reason for/ The primary reason for this’)  

Start every sentence with a linker (Try to put it in the middle of a sentence. E.g. “Some people believe, however, that individuals must also take responsibility for the environment” or “I believe, on the other hand, that individuals do have a responsibility to…”)  

Use numbers, symbols or abbreviations (1, 2, etc, &, +)  

Use headings or subheadings  

Underline words or phrases 

Use one-sentence paragraphs  

Start every sentence with a linking device. 

Step 4: Organise your essays into paragraphs

Use paragraphs to organise your essay into clear parts. Make sure each paragraph contains a clear and developed topic with a minimum of two sentences.  

You can use the acronym “PEEL” when writing your essay:  

Point – introduce your topic or topic sentence 

Example – an example that supports your point 

Explain – why this evidence supports your point 

Link – transition to the next topic or paragraph 

You must use enough paragraphs to clearly show a structured response. This will show that you can organise and present your thoughts and ideas logically.  

Here are some ideas on how many paragraphs you could include in an essay: 

Use paragraphs 

Use linkers between and within your paragraphs 

Leave a space between each paragraph (a line)  

Use a paragraph for each topic  

Use an introduction and a conclusion. 


Use single-sentence paragraphs 

Use very long paragraphs that cover a whole page (IELTS on paper)

Step 5: Use less common vocabulary and spell it correctly

You will see in the band descriptors that a band 8 writer skillfully uses uncommon lexical items. When we learn a language, we use common and uncommon terms.  Common terms  are words and phrases we use every day to refer to personal experience and daily habits.  Uncommon terms  are used when we discuss specific topics or when we use idiomatic language (phrasal verbs).  

Words that are old-fashioned and not used in everyday speech should not be used. If you choose a synonym, the meaning must be the same and must not alter the idea being presented. For example, adolescent/teenager have close meaning and can be used interchangeably, however, toddler/baby have quite different meanings. 

Collocation is also mentioned in band 8, and it is assumed that you know which words go together, and which words are suitable to use for different topics.  

If you are discussing child crime, you could use the term ‘minor’ as this is a legal term used to describe children under the age of 18.  

If you use phrasal verbs, make sure that you are using the correct preposition as it can change the meaning:  

throw  out/away = discard  

throw up  = vomit/get sick  

Idioms (cultural language) should only be used if you understand them completely and if they fit the topic you are discussing.  

Use precise word choices  

Use language that we use in everyday speech  

Use words that you understand  

Use words and phrases that are related to the topic  

Use collocation and phrasal verbs (words that go together naturally – environmental pollution | major issue | promising future) 

Make spelling mistakes  

Make typos  

Mix up American and British spelling (You should use one or the other)  

Use a word if you don’t understand it or cannot spell it.  

Use imprecise words like ‘stuff/thing’  

Use slang like ‘gonna’  

Use old-fashioned language [the masses| denizens | myopic view | Hitherto]  

Overuse synonyms, one is enough 

Use idioms/clichés  

Use contractions (can’t, doesn’t)

Step 6: Don’t use memorised language, phrases or examples

Don’t use any memorised language, phrases or examples throughout your essay. They are easy for examiners to spot and don’t demonstrate your ability to write fluently.  

Overused phrases, idioms, proverbs and clichés should also be avoided, again, they are often used when speaking. These include phrases like:  

The grass is always greener on the other side  

Love is blind  

Off the top of my head  

Old is gold  

A friend in need is a friend indeed  

Additionally, the following terms should not be used when writing as they are vague and do not address a task appropriately. You should always be using clear language and make appropriate word choices that will express your ideas clearly. 

Step 7: Use a variety of complex sentence structures

At band 8 it is expected that you can use a wide range of structures accurately to present your ideas and opinion. Show the examiner that you can use a wide range of structures and make sure your sentences are error-free. 

It is important to use a mix of complex and simple sentences. But remember, your complex sentences should not be long and complicated.  

Your punctuation needs to be accurate, using capitalisation, commas and full stops correctly.  

The most common errors made can be found below:

Step 8: Checklist

Use the following checklist to make sure that your writing contains all the positive features at a band 8

If you follow these 8 steps, you will be well on your way to a band 8 in Writing Task 2. 

Is IELTS writing hard?

IELTS writing is not so hard if you have a thorough understanding of the test format and are able to organise your thoughts into grammatically-correct, well-structured sentences. Obviously it requires a fair amount of practice. To make it easy, IDP has launched IELTS Prepare where you can access a range of preparation materials: from practice tests, sample answers, videos and articles, all the way to expert assessments, online courses, webinars and more.

IELTS writing for beginners

Join our free IDP IELTS webinars that are designed to give you a sense of what to expect during the IELTS Writing test and guide you towards reaching a high band score:

Improve your understanding of the writing test format and questions

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Make your answers relevant

Organize your answers in a more coherent manner

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IELTS Writing Task 1: How to write a job application letter

IELTS Writing Task 2: Why can't I get a band 8

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  • IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons & Tips

These  IELTS writing task 2  lessons, strategies and tips will show you how to write an IELTS essay. They go through all the various types of essay that you may get and instructions on how to best answer them.

For the Task 2, general or academic modules, you have to write an essay that must be a minimum of 250 words. You have 40 minutes. 

These lessons are free and teach you all the key things you need to know about the IELTS writing task 2, such as writing an introduction, analysing essay questions, writing for a band 7, developing coherency and understanding opinion essays.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons:

How to write an ielts essay:  .

IELTS Essay This starter lessons tells you in simple steps how to structure and write a basic IELTS essay. 

Getting Ready to Write:

Identifying the Topic Learn how to identify the topic of an essay question in order to help you answer it correctly. 

Identifying the Task This IELTS practice will help you identify the task of an essay question. The most important thing to make sure you answer the question. 

Brainstorming and Planning In this IELTS lesson, learn how brainstorm ideas for your essay and how to extend those ideas and create a plan.

IELTS Task Response In this lesson we look at the dangers of not properly answering an IELTS writing task 2 essay question.

Ideas for IELTS Candidates often worry about not having any ideas for IELTS essay topics. This gives you some advise on how to generate ideas. 

Parts of an Essay:

IELTS Essay Introduction This lesson explains how you should approach writing an introduction for an IELTS Task 2 essay. 

Writing a Thesis Statement The thesis statement is an important part of your essay, so this lesson explains how to write thesis statements for different essay types. 

Paragraph Writing Writing clear and well-organized paragraphs is essential for your essay, so here you will learn about the basic elements that make up a good paragraph . 

IELTS Essay Conclusion Learn how to write a quick conclusion for an IELTS essay.

Coherency and Cohesion:

Writing Coherence One way to improve coherency in your writing is to use transition words. This lesson teaches you how. 

Pronouns Your writing must be coherent, and this IELTS practice lesson shows you how pronouns can help you to do this

Substitution Learn how to use substitution in IELTS to improve your cohesion and quality of writing.

Getting a High Band:

How to get an IELTS Writing band 7 There is no quick way to achieve this, but this lesson provides some general guidance on what is required to get an IELTS band 7 in the writing module. 

Band 7 Transitional Phrases for Essays Learn about useful phrases that can be used to improve the sophistication of your writing in argumentative essays.

How to Score IELTS Band 8 This lesson tell you more about how the scoring works for band 8 writing and how long it can take you to get a band 8.

Essay Types:

Problem Solution Essays Learn how to write a problem solution essay for the IELTS test - a quick method that will produce a well-organized answer.

IELTS Opinion Essays Get an overview of the various types of essay that ask for your opinion in the test.

Advantage Disadvantage Essay This lesson shows you how to write an IELTS advantage disadvantage essay that requires you to give an opinion. 

A Complex Essay Question This lesson shows you how to answer a more complex IELTS essay question that does not have a straightforward 'task' given to guide you.

Style and Tone:

Personal Pronouns in Essays Can you use personal pronouns such as 'I', 'our' and 'we' in IELTS essays? Find out more in this lesson.

More IELTS Writing Task 2 Resources

Ielts essay questions.

writing strategies for ielts

Here you can check out recent IELTS test essay questions from 2018 and earlier that candidates have posted, and also common essay questions and topics that have come up in the IELTS writing task 2:

Latest IELTS Writing Topics

Common Essay Questions and Topics

IELTS Writing Task 2 eBook

writing strategies for ielts

Best Selling Writing eBook

Do you need more help to write a great essay for IELTS?

If so, check out our best-selling Step-by-step Guide to Writing a Task 2 Essay  

IELTS Writing Task 2 Forums

You can also get more great tips from the questions people have asked in the IELTS Forums about the IELTS writing task 2.

There are two relevant forums:

  • IELTS Writing Task 2 Forum (topics & questions about the essay)
  • IELTS Writing Band 7 Forum (dedicated to those needing a 7)

These are some of the most popular questions that have been asked about the IELTS essay in the Writing Forums:

  • How do I answer agree / disagree type IELTS essay questions?
  • What if I know nothing about the IELTS essay topic?
  • How do I manage my time in the IELTS Writing Test?
  • How do I format the essay on the test day?
  • Can you explain these confusing essay questions?
  • Why is it difficult to get an IELTS writing band 7?
  • What are some strategies to get an IELTS band 8?

And remember you can ask your own questions so please visit the forum if you have any questions about the IELTS Writing Task 2. 

  • IELTS Writing Tips

These are some of the top tips for IELTS writing:

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IELTS Exam Preparation: Free IELTS Tips, 2024

  • ielts preparation tips

IELTS Writing strategies

Spend 20 minutes on Task 1 (150 words) and 40 minutes on Task 2 (250 words). Task 2 is longer than Task 1 and is worth twice as many marks.

Before you write

  • Read the task and make a mental summary of the key points and overall trends/stages.
  • Why? Because if you misinterpret the data or diagram, you will lose a lot of marks for content.

As you write

  • Introduce the information, in a sentence or two, using your own words.
  • Why? Because if you copy the question, the examiner will not count these words.
  • Summarise the key points and use data to illustrate these.
  • Why? Because you will lose marks if you miss key points or fail to illustrate them.
  • Include an overview of the information - either in your introduction or conclusion.
  • Why? Because you will lose marks if your answer does not contain an overview.

How you write

  • Try to show that you can use your own words (wherever possible) and a range of grammatical structures.
  • Why? Because you will get more marks for vocabulary and grammar if you can do this.
  • Divide your answer into paragraphs and use linkers to connect your ideas.
  • Why? Because you will get more marks if you can organise your answer well and use a range of linking and reference words.

When you have finished

  • Count your words to make sure you have written enough.
  • Why? Because short answers lose marks. (There are no extra marks for long answers.)
  • Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Why? Because mistakes in these areas can reduce your marks.
  • Read the task carefully to decide how many parts it has and what your position is.
  • Why? Because you will lose marks if you do not address all the parts of the question relevantly.
  • Make a quick plan either mentally or on rough paper. Decide on your main ideas.
  • Why? Because the examiner will be looking for a number of clear main ideas.
  • Introduce your answer in your own words and make your position clear. You may state your position here as well.
  • Why? Because the examiner will not count copied material as part of your total word count.
  • Present your main ideas clearly and use examples to support them.
  • Why? Because you will get more marks if your ideas are clear and well supported.
  • Write a conclusion and re-state your position.
  • Why? Because your examiner will expect to find a logical conclusion and a consistent position.
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Strategies for writing task 1, academic test.

Rather than trying to give reasons for the elements shown in the diagram or describing every detail, concentrate only on significant features.

  • Your Description should start with a brief overview of the object(s) and its purpose.
  • Then focus on how the object works or significant similarities and differences between the objects.
  • Vary your language where possible, and use a range of vocabulary and structures.
  • Your description should end with a summarising statement.

General Training Test

  • Read the question carefully to make sure that you fully understood the function of the letter—the reason for writing it.
  • Underline the key words to help you decide on the appropriate style and tone of the letter.
  • Study the bullet points given in the instructions and plan what to say about each point.
  • Write the letter in full sentences; bullet points and notes are not acceptable in a letter.


To answer the question(s) in Task 2 of both the Academic and General Training tests, you need to decide on how to approach the task. There are two options to choose from: an argument-led approach and a thesis-led approach.

For example, compare the following two rubrics:

  • Nowadays we are producing more and more garbage. Why do you think this is happening? What can governments do to help reduce the amount of garbage produced? (two questions)
  • Nowadays we are producing more and more garbage. What can governments do to help reduce the amount of garbage produced? (one question)

In the first task you are required to give several reasons for ‘producing more and more garbage’ and to give several solutions, linking these to the reasons you have mentioned before. Therefore, you will probably use the argument-led approach.

In the second task you are asked only one question. The thesis-led approach would be the most suitable for this task.

Argument-Led Approach

The argument-led approach is useful when discussing different views, comparing advantages and disadvantages, or analysing problems and suggesting solutions. You must show that you can summarise and evaluate the argument logically, supporting both opinions with clear supporting evidence.

Step 1 : Underline key words in the exam question.

This will help you focus your answer on the key points, then brainstorm ideas for both sides of the argument, that is, both for and against the issue.

Here is a sample task rubric with the words underlined:

Celebrities such as actors, athletes and musicians earn large salaries compared to other professionals . Some people consider this unfair ,while others think that celebrities deserve to be paid a lot for the work they do. Discuss both points o[view and give your opinion on the subject.

Step 2: Show clear links between the main argument and the supporting arguments.

In your introduction, re-word the question showing the topic clearly and state the opinion(s) that you will go on to discuss.

Here’s a sample introduction statement:

Famous movies stars, popular musicians and athletes often get paid a paid a lot more than other professionals. While this may not seem fair to many it is a mast:er of debate oil:h several strong arguments for and against celebrities earning a lot more than people in other professions.

Remember that each paragraph should have one main argument—start a new paragraph when you start a new main idea. Develop contrasting views, problems and solutions, advantages and disadvantages. Maine sure you justify each point with clear supporting material. Do not forget to provide a logical argument wherever you refute the opposing opinion.

Here is a sample of two body paragraphs:

On the one hand, celebrities who work in multi-billion-dollar industries such as cinema or sport help to generate a lot of jobs, For example, such events as rock concerts create employment opportunities for people working in catering, logistics and publishing. Some of the money famous people receive is put to a good cause. ID is not uncommon for celebrities to give generous donations to charity organisations and to participate in charity fund-raising events. On the other hand, those who think that paying huge amounts to celebrities is unfair may argue that famous people do not have much to offer except I:heir image. Their success and popularity do nod result from many years of academic study or experience, but are created by the media and celebrity crazed culture.

Step 3:Provide a strong conclusion.

Conclude your essay by summarising the main points and stating your own personal view.

Here is a sample conclusion:

In conclusion, It is debatable whether many celebrities’  large salaries justified, and both critics and advocates seem No have plenty of arguments in support of their views. I personally think that famous people’s salaries should be proportional to the amount of money their talent helps to generate.

Thesis-Led Approach

The thesis-led approach is more effective when you are asked only one question or when you have a very clear opinion on the subject.

Step 2:Show clear links bet:ween the main argument and the supporting arguments.

State your opinion clearly in the introduction and use the subsequent paragraphs to justify and support your point of view. Your introduction should consist of the following elements:

  • the opinion or problem you are asked to discuss
  • your thesis

Here is a sample introduction statement:

Athlete, actors, and musicians all over she world earn large sums of money, while professionals in other very important areas receive one) a Traction of such Incomes. home peoplsbeisvethisisnotfainwhiteothsrsargucthatitisqufelogicalandacceptabsltis my belief that most professionals in sports and the entertainment industry receive salaries that reflect the value of Their work, and if is therefore justifiable.

Body paragraphs should contain a main or topic statement with supporting points. The topic statement is usually, but not always, in the first sentence of the paragraph.

Here is a sample body paragraph. The number 1 indicates a main idea and/or topic, while the number 2 indicates supporting points:

some people think these celebrities should earn more because they pay more in taxes , and Their work helps generate more jobs for other people. That is why entertainment is often called an industry. It involves thousands of people working on organising concerts, producing audio and video recordings, and doing other related work,

The objective of the conclusion is usually to (re)state your final opinion. Your conclusion must logically follow the arguments you have presented in the body paragraphs. It should not contain any points or explanations, or add any new information. It should never lead to another discussion.

On balance, having considered the points employed by both sides of the argument,I feel that the income that these stars receive is proportional to the economic benefits they create.
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IELTS Prep Courses & Tutoring

Strategies for IELTS Preparation and Test-Taking

General approaches to studying for the ielts.

The most effective practice for the IELTS is to spend as much time as possible engaged with the English language. This engagement should take many forms and can easily cover the four areas evaluated on the IELTS. The popular culture of English-speaking countries, including films, music, newspapers, and literature, offers a number of opportunities to improve language skills. Furthermore, consumption of popular culture promotes synthesis of language abilities by requiring test-takers to draw on visual, auditory, and text-based learning strategies. The best approach to learning any large body of knowledge is to make small amounts of progress on a daily basis. IELTS test-takers can greatly enhance their skills by devoting minimal but consistent amounts of time to watching films, reading newspapers or magazines, and practicing everyday communications in both written and spoken forms.

Important General Test-Taking Skills

Test scores are greatly affected by how well a student manages his or her time while taking the test. Content knowledge alone isn't enough for optimal performance; students must train themselves to reproduce this knowledge quickly and within the time constraints of the IELTS. The process of taking the test should proceed at an orderly and efficient pace, which can easily be calculated from the number of questions and the allotted amount of time for each IELTS section. Spending too much time on a single question will do more damage than getting that question wrong. Test-takers must also ensure that they are feeling their absolute best on test day and are not distracted by physical ailments. Sufficient rest, proper exercise, and adequate nutrition have been shown to improve mental performance of many different types.

IELTS Reading Strategies

The core skills for the IELTS reading module are reading comprehension, use of vocabulary and conventions of the English language, and understanding the structure of written texts. The best preparation is to read a number of different literary and informational texts in a wide variety of academic and general subjects. Test-takers must be able to quickly find information in written texts and understand the difference between fact and opinion. The IELTS asks students to choose paragraphs in test exercises that include certain facts, and this skill can be developed on all outside readings. For each of your study readings, number the paragraphs, choose some facts, and write them down. You can later go back to these readings and try to locate the facts you have notated. With practice, your speed at finding the information will improve. With daily reading, your intuitive understanding of English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary will become gradually stronger.

IELTS Writing Strategies

The IELTS writing module will include two of three writing tasks, depending on whether you take the academic or general training tests. Both versions include a discursive essay. The academic test also features a descriptive essay, while the general training test's second writing exercise is a letter. Discursive essays are responses to given issues or problems. For this exercise, practice articulating your opinions about politics, culture, or society in written form. Pay special attention to structure. Coherent discursive essays begin by articulating main points, proceed to provide supporting evidence, and summarize all of the evidence in a conclusion. For the descriptive essay, practice writing about your physical surroundings or favorite places. This will help you prepare for describing maps, graphs, or charts, which is what you will be asked to do on the IELTS. Online book repositories are great resources for these types of visual representations of information. Try writing about a graph, and then compare the result to what is written in the book from which the graph is taken. Sufficient practice with discursive essays will be eminently helpful to the general training test's letter-writing exercise, but the latter skill should nonetheless be practiced separately. Professional situations are the best topics for this practice.

IELTS Listening Strategies

A great deal of academic lectures are available in video format online. Viewing these lectures will help you prepare for the monologue exercise on the IELTS listening module. Listen for cues such as word emphasis, speaker intonation, and tone of voice, which will help you understand the relative importance of the various statements. For the conversation exercise, listening to everyday exchanges between people, either in person or on video, will help you understand the interaction and exchange of information. Focusing on body language, in addition to the other cues noted above, can help you infer a great deal about conversations.

IELTS Speaking Strategies

Pronunciation is often one of the greatest challenges for IELTS students. Test-takers can improve their pronunciation of the English language simply by speaking along with or repeating lines from a film or radio program. Also, practice your skills with fluent English speakers. You'll be able to tell from their reactions how well they understood what you said. Strong practice on the IELTS listening module will help you better understand the spoken questions you'll be asked on the IELTS.

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Topics: Exam Format, Common Topics and Preparation Tips

Gaining skills in IELTS Writing Task 2 is essential for both showing your ability to articulate ideas and arguments clearly and for getting the desired score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Writing Task 2, one of the hardest exam components, requires a thorough comprehension of its structure, knowledge of frequent subjects, and skillful preparation techniques.

In this article, we will explain the exam style, explore typical issues candidates face, and provide important preparation recommendations.

Table of Content

IELTS Writing Task 2 Format

1. structure, 2. word count and timing, 3. question types, common ielts writing task 2 topics, ielts writing task 2 preparation tips, strategies for ielts writing task 2, ielts writing task 2 topics- faqs, what is the word count requirement for ielts writing task 2, how much time should i allocate for writing task 2, what are the common topics in ielts writing task 2, how can i prepare for writing task 2, what are the types of essays in writing task 2, what are the assessment criteria for writing task 2, how can i improve my performance in writing task 2.

IELTS Writing Task 2 presents test-takers with a platform to showcase their ability to articulate arguments, express opinions, and present ideas coherently and logically. Understanding the structure of this task, along with its timing and question types, is fundamental to performing well on the exam.

  • Introduction: Introduce the topic and provide an overview of the main points or arguments that will be discussed in the essay.
  • Body Paragraphs: Develop the main points or arguments introduced in the introduction. Each paragraph should focus on a single idea and provide supporting evidence or examples.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points discussed in the essay and restate the thesis statement or main argument.
  • Test-takers are required to write an essay with a minimum word count of 250 words.
  • The recommended time allocation for Writing Task 2 is 40 minutes.
  • Opinion/Argumentative Essays : Candidates may be asked to express their opinion on a given topic, present arguments, and support their viewpoint with examples or evidence.
  • Problem-Solution Essays: Test-takers are required to identify a problem, propose solutions, and justify their recommendations.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages Essays : This type of essay requires candidates to discuss the pros and cons of a given issue or situation.

The following are just a few examples of the common topics that candidates may encounter in IELTS Writing Task 2. It’s important for test-takers to familiarize themselves with these topics and practice writing essays on them to improve their performance on the exam:

Preparation for the IELTS Writing Task 2 is essential to ensure success on the exam. Here are some effective strategies and tips to help you prepare:

  • Understand the Task: Familiarize yourself with the format and requirements of Writing Task 2. Understand the types of essays you may encounter, such as opinion essays, discussion essays, problem-solution essays, etc.
  • Practice Regularly: Practice writing essays regularly to improve your writing skills and familiarize yourself with various topics and question types. Allocate time to write essays under timed conditions to simulate the exam environment.
  • Expand Your Vocabulary: Enhance your vocabulary by learning new words and phrases related to common IELTS topics. Practice using these words in your writing to demonstrate lexical resource.
  • Develop Ideas: Practice brainstorming and generating ideas for essay topics. Learn how to develop coherent arguments and support them with examples, evidence, and relevant details.
  • Structure Your Essays: Learn how to structure your essays effectively, including writing clear introductions, developing coherent body paragraphs, and crafting concise conclusions. Use paragraphing to organize your ideas logically.
  • Practice Time Management: Allocate time wisely during the exam to ensure that you complete both Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 within the specified time frame. Practice managing your time effectively during practice essays to improve your efficiency.
  • Review and Revise: Take time to review and revise your essays after writing them. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, and make revisions to improve clarity, coherence, and cohesion.
  • Seek Feedback: Receive feedback on your essays from teachers, tutors, or peers. Identify areas for improvement and work on addressing them in subsequent practice sessions.
  • Use Sample Essays : Analyze sample essays to understand what constitutes a high-scoring essay. Pay attention to the language, structure, and argumentation used in these essays and incorporate similar techniques into your own writing.
  • Stay Updated: Stay informed about current events and global issues as they often form the basis of essay topics in the IELTS exam. Read newspapers, magazines, and online articles to broaden your knowledge and understanding of various topics.

Here are some specific strategies that will be beneficial for IELTS Writing Task 2:

  • Plan Your Essay: Take a few minutes to plan your essay before you start writing. Outline your main points and supporting details for each paragraph. A well-structured plan will help you organize your ideas and maintain coherence throughout your essay.
  • Introduction: Start with a clear and concise introduction that introduces the topic and presents your main thesis or argument.
  • Body Paragraphs : Develop your main points in separate paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on a single idea or argument. Provide supporting evidence, examples, or explanations to back up your points.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and restate your thesis or argument in the conclusion. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.
  • Use Formal Language : Maintain a formal tone and use appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Avoid slang, contractions, and overly informal language. Demonstrate a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures to showcase your language proficiency.
  • Address All Parts of the Question: Make sure you address all parts of the task prompt in your essay. If there are multiple questions or instructions, ensure that your essay covers each one adequately.
  • Provide Examples and Evidence: Support your arguments with relevant examples, evidence, or personal experiences. Use specific details to illustrate your points and make your arguments more persuasive.
  • Check for Grammar and Spelling: Leave some time at the end to review and edit your essay for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Ensure that your sentences are clear, concise, and free of mistakes.
  • Practice Writing Essays: Practice writing essays on a variety of topics under timed conditions. Analyze sample essays and seek feedback from teachers, tutors, or peers to identify areas for improvement and refine your writing skills.

In conclusion, one of the most important steps in passing the IELTS exam is to become proficient in Writing Task 2. To achieve a good grade, you must understand the exam format, become familiar with prevalent themes, and use efficient study techniques. Through a thorough analysis of the exam structure, covering everything from word count to question kinds, applicants can more effectively manage the requirements of their task. Also, exploring prevalent subjects like technology, education, and the environment gives test-takers the knowledge they need to address a variety of essay themes. Moreover, optimizing performance requires careful preparation, which includes consistent practice, vocabulary expansion, and time management techniques. Ultimately, candidates can face IELTS Writing Task 2 with confidence and raise their chances of passing by putting these techniques into practice and putting effort into their preparation.

Also Check: How to prepare for IELTS? IELTS Exam Pattern 2024: Section-wise IELTS Exam Paper Pattern, Question Types How to Apply for IELTS 2024| Step-By-Step Guide TOEFL 2024 Preparation Time: Check Month-wise Plan and Week-wise Plan
The minimum word count for Writing Task 2 is 250 words.
It is recommended to spend 40 minutes on Task 2.
Common topics include education, environment, technology, health, and social issues.
Effective preparation involves regular practice, vocabulary enhancement, and time management skills.
Essays may include opinion essays, discussion essays, problem-solution essays, and more.
Task response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy are the key criteria.
Practice under timed conditions, analyze sample essays, and seek feedback to refine your skills.

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Tips for managing stress during IELTS test preparation

By ielts expert, 14 may 2024 - 13:00.

An IELTS test taker looking relaxed on her test day

It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re taking an important test even if you’re prepared. A few nerves can even motivate you to study harder. The problem is that some people struggle to concentrate and become paralysed when they’re too stressed.

Feeling supported and well-prepared can significantly reduce stress on test day. That’s why we provide a comprehensive suite of preparation resources to ensure that your test experience is both smooth and relaxing.

Learn more about the benefits of taking IELTS with the British Council

To help you stay focused and perform your best, here are our top five tips for managing stress during your IELTS test preparation. 

Tips for managing stress in IELTS test preparation

Language tests like the IELTS are often key to achieving professional, academic, or personal goals. That’s why test preparation can cause a lot of stress. Different strategies can help you feel confident and remain relaxed. Here are some ideas: 

1. Learn the best IELTS strategies

Even if you’re fluent in English, you still need to prepare yourself for the specific tasks in IELTS. Learning the test format and task types is key to getting the score you need.

Here are some good IELTS test preparation strategies:

  • Decide how much time you need for each IELTS test section so you know what pace you need to take.
  • Start with the easier questions first. That way you can finish them and save your remaining time for the most challenging parts of the test.
  • Don’t experiment with new or unusual structures in the Speaking or Writing sections on the day. You may confuse your ideas - and communication is key to a good IELTS score.
  • Make the most of different tools and resources to improve your skills. For example, you can listen to a podcast, read a book, and take an online course to ensure you get enough varied practice. 

2. Create a study schedule and try different techniques

You’ll feel more stressed if you leave all your test preparation to the last minute and overload yourself with information. Create a study schedule in advance. Finding methods that best suit your needs helps you stay efficient when you have other demands on your time.

Here are some different studying techniques you can try:

  • Create flashcards for quick practice sessions with language you want to learn.
  • Get practice in real life scenarios and don’t just stick to theory. That means reading English newspapers and having conversations with others.
  • Create rhymes or catchy sayings to help you remember rules. For example, you could try, “I before e except after c” to help you with spelling.
  • Think of associations with challenging words. Perhaps you could picture the word ‘humongous’ as being a very big person so you remember it means ‘very big’. 

3. Keep yourself rested and refreshed

 Did you know that getting enough rest can help you reduce stress? You can also improve your ability to concentrate and retain information so you can get better results on the IELTS test.

Make sure you take regular study breaks and avoid late-night revision sessions as you’ll overload yourself with information and make yourself more stressed.

It’s a good idea to study in a separate room from where you normally relax. That way you won’t associate the space with stress and find it harder to unwind.

Try adapting the place where you relax to encourage rest. You can keep your laptop and study materials out of your bedroom and living room, or pack them away immediately in a box or drawer once you’ve finished your test preparation for the day.

4. Learn techniques to stay calm in the IELTS test

Stress is a natural reaction to situations that make us feel uncomfortable or scared. Many get nervous about tests because they’re worried about their results. 

People have lots of different responses to stress. For example, some people freeze and find their mind goes blank. Others may have a physical reaction like sweating or shaking. In very stressful situations, we might begin to feel sick.

When you feel agitated or upset, you don’t perform as well. So, an important part of test preparation is learning ways to keep yourself calm during your test. Mindfulness techniques can make a huge difference to your stress levels. There are thousands of quick ideas you can try to help you relax and concentrate on the questions again.

  • Accept that you will make mistakes, but remind yourself of all the effort you’ve made.
  • Count from one to ten in your head as you breathe in and out.
  • Imagine all the positive experiences you’ll have because you’ve worked hard and deserve them.
  • Focus on different areas of your body, in turn, starting at your feet and going upwards. 

Feel prepared for your IELTS test

Studying isn’t everything. Managing stress and ensuring you’re well prepared for the test can be just as important for good performance in IELTS. If you get too overwhelmed, you may not achieve the results you deserve.

Make sure you have all the support you need to feel confident about IELTS. The British Council offers a wide range of resources to help you prepare and be as ready as you can be on test day.

IELTS Ready is the British Council’s comprehensive IELTS preparation platform that has all you need to get well prepared for your test. IELTS Ready Member includes six practice tests, tips and videos to help you improve your score, recorded webinars and tips from previous test takers. All these resources are free for anyone. 

When you book IELTS with the British Council you get access to IELTS Ready Premium which has much more resources including more practice tests, personalised study plan, preparation webinars and more, all free for British Council IELTS test takers. 


IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 tips & strategies

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 tips

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 tips and strategies

Ielts gt task 1 writing strategies.

When you are answering the task 1 GT writing questions, you should work through the following steps.

  • Analyze the question
  • Make notes of ideas which could be useful
  • Make a plan
  • Write the letter
  • Check for mistakes

In this post, the five-step strategy will be used to guide you through various sample writing tasks for Task 1 general training.

IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 tips from examiners!

When IELTS examiners look at a Task 1 piece of writing, they have 3 basic questions in mind:

  • Does the letter do what the question asks? Or, is the content (the ideas and information) appropriate to the task?
  • Is the letter written in a well-organized and logical way?
  • Are the language and the tone of the letter accurate and correct?

Many candidates get lower band scores in the test because the content and the organization of their writing are not good enough. 

It is important that you follow these steps when answering a Task 1 question. The following steps have been demonstrated for you to write your first letters with more confidence.

Sample Question:

The course director of your previous college has invited you to attend a party for new students, and he has also asked you to give a talk about studying overseas. You have an important examination on the same day so you cannot attend the party.

Write a letter to the director to apologize and to explain why you cannot attend the event. Suggest another date when you could give your talk.

How to Answer IELTS General Training task 1?

1- step 1, analyzing the question, – what is the topic.

Find it out by underlining the key words in the question.

You have been invited to go to a party and give a talk, but you cannot go to the party.

To whom am I writing?

The letter is to the course director of your old college. Although you know him, it is unlikely that you know him very well. The style of the letter should in this instance be formal.

What is your purpose in writing the letter?

You can see that you are given three things to do:

  • Apologize (for not being able to attend)
  • Explain (why you cannot attend)
  • Suggest (another date)

2- Step 2, Make Notes of Ideas

Make a brief note of and ideas which you may like to use in your answer. Look at the questions or the bullet points which you need to answer and budget your time accordingly. In the following box, a student has written some notes.

On the right side, you will find an explanation of what these notes mean.

IELTS GT task 1 writing strategy

IELTS GT task 1 writing strategy

3- Step 3, Make a Plan

Decide which of these ideas you will definitely use in your letter. Then organize them. Do you remember our notes in Step 2? Now, in the box below, you can see a sample plan which is based on our ideas and our notes. Each black bullet point represents a separate paragraph. Notice that not all of the ideas have been used.

  • Thanks, sorry
  • Imp. Exam, Date fixed
  • Can come, My tel.
  • All well there? Hope success

4- Step 4, Write the letter

When you have a map of what you are going to write, stick to it. Don’t go off the track. Don’t add new ideas even if they seem better choices to you. 

By following your map, you will reduce the risk of making new mistakes. 

Just concentrate on what you mean and try to choose the best grammatical structures as well as careful choices of vocabulary items to best express your ideas and prove your language ability.

Now look at the sample answer below:

Sample Answer

Dear Mr. Loyds,

Thank you for your kind invitation to attend the party for new students on the 29th of January. Thank you also for thinking of me to give a talk. However, unfortunately I am unable to attend the party.

I am afraid that on the following day, I have my first semester economics exam. This is a complicated subject and a good mark is essential for me, so I have to spend the day before studying. I asked my lecturer if it would be possible to take the examination on another date, but this is not permitted.

However, I would be very happy to give the talk on another day. I am available on the 5th and the 6th of February. If one of those dates is convenient for you, please let me know. I can be contacted at the address above or fax or telephone.

I hope that everyone at the college is well, and I hope that your party is a great success. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Amy Sanilar

(178 words)

5- Step 5, Check your Mistakes

It is best to make sure you leave a couple of minutes to check your work. Try to set between three to five minutes aside looking for and checking your own personal common mistakes.

Many students get lower marks specially when the topics seems easy to them, which is mainly because since they do not worry about to say, they do not pay enough attention to correct grammar and they repeat their fossilized mistakes or errors.

All information about IELTS General Training Writing Task 1

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IELTS Preparation with Liz: Free IELTS Tips and Lessons, 2024

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  • Test Information FAQ
  • Band Scores
  • IELTS Candidate Success Tips
  • Computer IELTS: Pros & Cons
  • How to Prepare
  • Useful Links & Resources
  • Recommended Books
  • Writing Task 1
  • Writing Task 2
  • Speaking Part 1 Topics
  • Speaking Part 2 Topics
  • Speaking Part 3 Topics
  • 100 Essay Questions
  • On The Day Tips
  • Top Results
  • Advanced IELTS

IELTS Reading Tips: Strategies & Comprehension

Let me explain about IELTS reading with regards to comprehending the passage and how to deal with long passages that are difficult to understand. The advice below is for the academic reading passages and also passage 3 of the GT paper, which is also a long passage.

How do I remember everything I have read?

The answer is – you don’t. IELTS reading is not about remembering what you have read or what each paragraph contains.


How can I understand everything if the passage is long and difficult?

The answer is – you don’t. IELTS reading is not about understanding everything. It is about locating answers.

IELTS Reading Tips

When you first get your reading passage, you should skim read it. This means you cast your eyes over the passage to get to know the general topic and content as well as to see the general layout of the passage. This should take about 2 minutes. You are not aiming to understand it, you just want to see what the passage is about before you tackle the questions.

After you skim read the passage, you go straight to the questions. Pay attention to what type of question type it is and remember your techniques and tips for that particular question type. Find a key word or information in the question to help you locate the answer. You scan the passage by casting your eyes over the words to locate the key information from the question. This should be done with speed to spot a word or piece of information rather than understand each sentence. Once you locate the place in the passage that contains the answer, you read the sentences before and after to find your answer. This means you only need to understand those few sentences.  Then you move to the next question and do the same. You don’t need to understand the whole passage at all.

Reading Techniques & Strategies

  • skim the passage (read quickly to get general content and layout)
  • read the questions
  • identify the type of question
  • remember your techniques and tips for that question type
  • find a key word or information in the question to help you locate the answer in the passage
  • scan the passage by passing your eyes over the paragraphs to find the key word or information from the question
  • when you find the location, read the sentences before and after
  • always read around the answer to check other information
  • try to understand the few sentences around the location of the answer
  • when you find the answer, move to the next question
  • don’t spend too long trying to find one answer
  • remember that each answer is only worth one point


IELTS Reading Question Types: Tips and Information

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It was very informative for me. I wish you the best. Thank you.

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Glad you found it useful 🙂

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I have a better visibility about the IELTS after seeing all your tips and strategies. Now, I feel have enough confident to face the IELTS exam….

Thanks Rajkumar

I’m glad your confidence is growing. Make sure to also prepare from the IELTS Cambridge test books because they contain real tests published by IELTS.

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Thank you so much ma’am 🙏🙏 I was to confused about my passage practice but now I feel cool thank you ma’am

Glad you are feeling more confident.

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Liz, what a mentor you are! I consumed almost every material on your site back in 2017 and got an overall 8.0 in my first attempt (Listening 8.5, Reading 7.5, Writing 7.0, Speaking 8.0). Since then, I have been teaching IELTS within my local area using your tips and the results have been awesome. Your site is indeed a perfect resource for students and tutors alike. Well done boss!

So glad to hear you’ve not only done well yourself but that you are also helping others!! Brilliant!!

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Totally True , I had the same experience back in 2019 , I prepared with the youtube hannel of Mrs Liz and the gret tips in the articles here , I bought a book containing mock tests , Mrs Liz insights really helped me a lot , I got 7.5 band score in my first attempt , I’m always grateful and thanks for making all these ressources available for free , I’m now preparing now to pass a German language exam and all these tips can be applied also in the reading part also !!

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liz you are the best. I never got this much information before.

So glad you are enjoy my lessons 🙂

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thank you for free lessons

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I just got to know this site. Am excited about it. Is awesome. Thank you for this great teaching. I am hoping to take my first test when am fully prepared with this great lessons. Thank you. I appreciate you.

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You are gem Liz I really admire u.

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Thank you Liz! You’re extremely helpful!

You’re welcome 🙂

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Hi Liz. Your lessons are very valuable, however I can’t give true answers to paragraph matching (ABCD,, ). I need advice

All you need to do is find the paraphrase of the information in one of the paragraphs. Paraphrasing is the key.

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My lovely teacher i am learning a lot from you now.So God Bless you ❤️

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you are helpful

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I usually struggle with long passages especially the third passage in GT due to time. Thanks for the tips I will apply them.

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Liz, You are absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

Sincere Thanks. Subha

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Hello benevolent Liz Tnx to your sympathy for English students. I’m an English instructor and using your tips to further both mine and my student’s skills.You are one in a million

Glad my website is useful 🙂

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actually it is.. by reading your articals .. a lot of things has been clear to me .. for this thankx a lot mama.. its really great help to find those tips ..

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yes it is, Mam !

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Mam you are angle for us. God Bless you

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thanks liz for the enormous support :}

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Hello your channel on you tube is very helpful for allthe students please give me reding skills

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hi liz, first thanks for all your help, i have one question .. in case of TFNG , HEADING MATCHING types of question what would be better ? 1. read one que. then find answer or 2. read all que then look for ans? plz reply my exam in few days after

Both question types have different techniques. For matching headings, you skim read the headings and then focus on one to find the answer. You don’t need to start with the first one. Just start with the one you think will be easiest to find. With matching headings, you do not need to skim read the passage first. For TFNG, you should skim read the passage first, and then read the first question only and try to find the answer. The answers will come in order for TFNG.

That was really helpful 🙂

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Since we may have more headings than the paragraphs for Matching Headings, is it really advisable to focus on one heading and find its answer? Considering that the heading we’re trying to match may not even be in the passage resulting in time being wasted.

It’s certainly possible to choose a heading and see if you can find it. The aim isn’t to spend lots of time looking. The aim is to scan the article for similar information and then decide if it matches. Also, before you do that, you would check if any other headings might be a match too. Sometimes there are similarities between headings so looking out for that helps. This way would also depend on how many headings you’ve been given and how many extra you have. If you only have one extra, this option might work. But it’s also possible to just read a paragraph and try to find the heading. This way you go through the passage paragraph by paragraph. There are no right or wrong ways to approach a passage. This is about what you feel most comfortable with.

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I would like to thank,s you in order to attain several information regarding ielts

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Hi Liz, Your reading suggestions are not just helping improve English but also someone’s married life. You know why ? We must not try to understand everything : – )

Plz excuse for informal writing. I just wanted to share a small joke in return of your service.

Brilliant !!! You made me laugh 🙂 I hadn’t thought of applying these tips to everyday life, including relationships – but you are absolutely right 🙂 🙂 I shall endeavour to do the same 🙂

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Dear Liz, Heartful thanks for your great efforts and service. A teacher consumes a lot of their energy to transform their knowledge into teaching just like a candle which melts to lighten up the world.

your words are so useful for a student like me who lives in a very remote area. Thank you so much. Shashi

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Dear Liz , I want to know how to answer all the questions in reading tests in time. I just can’t finish them in time 🙁

The page above has explained this.

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Ma’am,still I feel problem with solving TFNG and yes no not given questions

See the main reading page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-reading-lessons-information-and-tips/

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Hi Liz! Could you give some tips in answering multple choice and matching headings. I’m having a hard time on that part thanks 😊


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Hi Liz , I would to know if IELTS Academic is considered for immigration to Australia Thanks in advance

You need to check the requirements for immigration directly with them. I am not familiar with Australian immigration rules.

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I really appreciate you for your free help for getting good band scores . All of your content is very helpful and easy to understand. God bless you

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Hi Liz . I just want to thank …. your website is really too helpfull.

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Hi Liz, Unfortunately I get 4.5 in reading, and 5.0 in listening (GT). I need 6.0 at least, please can you help me to get this score. thanks a lot

You need to improve your level of English to increase your score.

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I appreciate your help. Best regards

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Hey liz, I want to take your guidance for ielts . Can you please tell what is your fees structure and how i can pay?

My website is free. Visit the main pages and you will find over 300 pages of free tips and practice lessons.

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May i understand what do you mean by techniques for each question type. can u brief with an example plz??

Watch the video on this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-reading-lessons-information-and-tips/ and you will see techniques for the TFNG questions. Each type of question has techniques.

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Hi Liz! My name Komron, and I am from Uzbekistan. Let me ask you one crucial question to you. As you know people either learn American or British English. Is it alright to write on the answer sheet with American spelling words rather than British. For instance: color – colour or programme -program King regards

For reading, always cope the words exactly as written in the passage. For listening or writing, you can use either US or UK spelling.

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Can you let me know if the time to transfer answers to the answer sheet is inclusive in the 1 hour given for Reading section?

There is no extra time for transferring answers in IELTS Reading. You have one hour to do everything in reading. Only in listening is there one extra hour. Please see this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-help-faq/

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Mam do we need to write all of the answers in capital letters ?

You can choose – capitals or lower case in listening and reading.

For example answer is ‘a car’ , can I write ‘A CAR’ ?

Of course, it’s fine. You can use all capital letters as you want in reading.

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Mam kindly clear it

What is the difference between of GT & Academic test in Reading?

As i am confused regarding your passages are for GT or AT or both are same in the exams?

Please see this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-general-training-reading-information/ . All information and tips are found on the main pages of this site accessed through the red bar.

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hello Elizabeth ,, thanks for this is useful blog i want ask you about different between scanning and skimming in IELTS reading .

best regards ,,,

You can find some information about skimming and scanning on this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-reading-tips-how-can-i-improve-my-score/

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I had gotten L: 5.5, R: 5.5, S: 6.5 and W: 5 three years ago. Nowadays, due to my practice in Reading and Listening I think my score is around 5.5 yet. when I am doing sample tests I usually find the location of answer correctly but sometime select wrong answer and I think one of my fault is because of not concentrate in reading. Another problem about my practice is refer to my speed in reading texts. Do you have any solution for my these problems. In addition, how much should I training to achieve 6.5 score? Is It very difficult for me to get this score as I describe my condition. Thank you for Your help and suitable site and English subjects that share with others.

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heloo.. please tell me the tips to solve the multiple choice questions in reading..

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I’d advice you to read more book which you are interested .

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I have a problem with speaking and listening, how can i resolve my problem, can you give me some advice

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i m still confused in false or notgiven .can u please help me to solve this problems

See this lesson: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-true-false-not-given-essential-tips/

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Thanks for ur suggestion liz. Can you please give me some tips for matching headings for paragraphs? I always make mistake.


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How many questions should I correct to score 8 in reading?


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what does paraphasing means?

It means writing the same meaning using different language.

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My Score in Other sections is high and i need a high score also in Reading but only i got low score how i can increase it. Thank you.


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i am worrying about reading i got 4.5 in reading while practicing what should i do mam?

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I practice at home even than my score is not improving

You also need to improve your English in order to get a higher score.

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Hi mam, I want to know that when we have to answer in ” TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER” what does it exactly mean?? Does it mean 2words + 1 number or it means 1word+1number.. Please clear my doubt. Thank you Liz mam

Watch this video: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-listening-25-essential-top-tips/

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How to score good in all modules even after good practice ..

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Hi, Liz, Hope you are well. your tips help me a lot. well, I have a question, which type of question I have to answer first in a passage? and is there any hierarchy of difficulty in passage order?

Thanks Shamim

For the academic test, the passages are the same difficulty level. For the GT reading test, the first one is the easiest and they get more difficult in turn.

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Unfortunately, IELTS Test usually begins with speaking, and you realize well, dear, that speaking is much more difficult than reading. Why do not the examiners start by the easiest skills in English, namely; reading and writing? Since the initial performance will have deep effect on the spirit.

The speaking test is given sometimes before listening, reading and writing, or it is given after. It depends which date you are given. Liz

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Thanks a lot…. Your tips is excellent. Hats off to you and hundred times thanks to you for this lessons….:)

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When the instructions says “no more than 3 words”, should mu answer always be in 3 words? Would less than 3 words be wrong?


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Hi Liz,please help me to improve my band score in reading from 6.5-7.5.i am just stuck at 6.5.For me matching headings and T/F/NG are the most difficult tasks.i alwasy make mistakes in this type of questions.Also i can’t finish it on time,how to manage time in IELTS reading?please help.

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There is an art to reading. I’ve also had some trouble with T/F/NG and Y/N/NG and have arrived at the following. True/False is factual statements made in the passage. Yes/No is that from the author/writer of the article/passage. I hope this helps. I would also hate it when the first T/F or Y/N is really a NG.

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Hello, Liz. My question is that can I get a point despite I have given wrong answer in both listening and reading in addition to correct one?For instance, correct answer is frame. I wrote frame and wheeles. Thanks for your answer in advance.

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Mam people say that we get same papar on the sane date…even if we are general student or acedemic student….. Papar is same for both on same date…. Is it true….if it is true acedemic students get band according to general marking or not

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Hlo mam! British council has sent me a preparation book but i have difficulty in solving reading passage 2 that is ‘complete each sentence with the correct ending’. I want to send u the pic of that questions so that u can help me. Plz help me my exam date is 14th jan’16. Plz help me mam. I feel reading is most difficult in all modules. This is my first tym for ielts exam. Plz help me…. 🙁

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Dear Liz, Hi. As we know IELTS reading test has three sections and in each section there are two or three or even four types of question. I want to ask how we should answer questions for each passage? Do we have to answer questions one by one, or it is better to handle first or even first two questions of each types of question in each passage together? Thank you.

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what i want to say i love you and i love your smile as you look so friendly …and i enjoy to learn fromyou. you are special teacher that i have never seen ….ur lessons are very helpful ….keep smile all the time you are the best .

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Hey liz, I am very weak in reading section for maching headings and main ideas,so please give me some tips regarding this.

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Thanks Liz,for your invaluable informations,I am on your website daily practicing for my IELTS exam this Coming December.Please keep up the good work.

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i love u liz

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I quite appreciate you for your time in analyzing the various tips to a successful IELTS test. I’ve actually sat for the exam once and ended up with a band 6 though I wasn’t privileged to view your site for proper preparation. My major problem was in Listening and Reading especially the last 20 questions. For the Listening, I got confused with the sound of the various speakers and for the Reading, I was dazed with a long passage and difficulty in identifying the answers in the passage even when I tried to read the entire passage. Need your counsel.

Kind Regards.

For reading, you should not be reading the entire passage in order to understand it for any question other than matching headings. Skim reading takes no more than 2 mins and is not aimed at understanding. Your goal is to analyse the questions as much as you can and then locate answers using key words. For listening, you need to get the IELTS Cambridge test books and other practice test books to improve section 3. You will get more comfortable with it as you practice more. Make sure your practice is aimed at specific sections and you are not just doing full test after full test. All the best Liz

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Which type of question I should answer first.

You answer question 1 first and then question 2. See a full reading practice test to learn how to tackle the test: https://ieltsliz.com/useful-websites-and-resources-for-ielts/ All the best Liz

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Just tell me the reason that why GT candidates are not achieving their desired bands or they have their own examiners who mark them strictly. I want to tell you that I know about GT marking in reading that it is different from AC but that’s another issue my problem is that they correct 34 to 37 in approximately 10 to 15 our institute practice tests but in real council exam they can’t even achieve 6 bands in reading the same is the case for all modules in GT.

You would need to review the type of test you gave your students as their practice test in your school. Was the practice test from one of the IELTS Cambridge books from 1 to 10? Which book?

I am actually unclear which skill you are referring to. All students take the same speaking test that has the same scoring and the same examiners. The examiners don’t even know who is doing GT and who is doing academic because it is irrelevant for speaking. For writing, scoring might be different with practice tests done at your school unless they are marked by an ex-examiner. Only ex-examiners can mark accurately.

Take time to think about where the problems lie. All the best Liz

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Please I wanna find a native speaker to practice simulate ielts speaking test and raise my English speaking level I try to add some on Facebook but no one accept my friendship request Please if you can suggest someone to me I’ll be grateful to U. If not please tell me how to find someone and how to make friendship with English people

I wish I could give you advice but I don’t generally deal with English language, just IELTS skills. Facebook groups for English are useful – don’t aim for facebook friends, find the groups instead. Just type in English chat or something like that and join a group. Liz

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Namaste!! I am very much grateful to you. I found a lot of tips regaring every tests. i want to ask you a sample answer for writing 1 and 2 so that i can use the same vocabulary in every answers. Thankyou!!

You can find model answers on the main pages for writing task 1 and writing task 2. All the best Liz

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Hi Liz,I am Sumedh and I am from India.I gone through your articles and videos and found it really helpful.Can you please post the videos specially for Reading as my reading is poor.

Thanks, Sumedh.

I’ll post more videos over time. All the best Liz

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Hi Liz, After see your website looks like very helpful, Actually i am based in DILI Timor Leste, i have take Several times of IELTS but i always Failed in Listening, is there any technique that may help me . need your Advise NOE

The main techniques involve getting to know each type of question in listening so that you have a clear strategy. Being able to hear paraphrases and listening out for the answer being altered – so always keep listening even if you think you heard the answer. Also being good a spotting key words in questions and options for multiple choice. Did you take a look at the listening section on this blog? Watch the 25 tips video and then look through the MCQ video as well. I’ll put up more tips over time. All the best Liz

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Dear Liz, My name’s Duc from Vietnam. I have always visited your website. Your skill video lessons and tips are extremely useful and helpful. Thank you very much, Liz!

I’m glad you’re finding my blog useful 🙂

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Dear Liz, Thanks for everything ! I am your regular follower and I would like to ask you for the tips regarding the sentence filling type. I am really weak and depressed with sentence filling because, while practicing, I always get less than 50 %. Could you please help me ? I have my exam on 1st August. Thanks !

The key is identifying different types of key words. Make a note of which words in the sentence you are likely to hear – these are words that can’t be paraphrased. Make a note of key words that show the types of answer – a noun, verb, adjective etc. Then look at words which can be paraphrased – common verbs, common nouns. It sounds like a lot to do in a short time but with practice these things become second nature. Sentence completion questions come in order so notice the order of information when you are preparing and move quickly to the next question. Also be realistic, you are more likely to get 8 out of 10 in section 2 than in section 4. I hope that helps Liz

Thank you liz ! One more question- is this tip applicable for both reading and listening section?Actually, I was talking about the reading test. And thank you so very much for your fast response. You are the best IELTS teacher among those I have found in web. Love you and your every lesson. Thank you again.

Yes, it’s the same techniques for both reading and listening. Words that can’t be paraphrased easily or you know you will hear, can help you identify the sentence(s) which contains the answer. Paraphrasing skills help you understand the answer. Knowing if you need a noun, verb or adj or name will help you find the correct answer. So, you need all three skills. All the best Liz

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your site is much usefull for the Exam…Thanks lot for it..

I have poor reading skill..How do i develop it..

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Thanks very much for your invaluable, interesting and free tips and explanations regarding IELTS. However, I believe that if you could posts videos or short courses on reading tips, especially the ” which paragraph contains information”, it would be grateful, as this might be the most challenging exercise I’ve ever seen. Please continue your very informative style of teaching which I think makes your blog the most successful ones among all the other IELTS sites, and this opinion has come after a thorough comparison of a couple of other web pages dealing with IELTS.

Kind regards,

I plan to make a range of videos but it takes a lot of time to make just one. Over time more videos will come and certainly more reading videos. All the best Liz

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Hi Liz, Do you run IELTS preparation classes? I live in London and my main problem is the reading. I’m looking for Reading classes.

Kind regards, Hamed

Unfortunately, I don’t have private lessons. I have just opened my store: http://subscriptions.viddler.com/IELTSLizStore but the only lesson available so far is on writing task 2. All the best Liz

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Are there any practice test which delas with diagram labeling, maps, etc? I find it difficult for these type of questions.

You can get practice using the IELTS Cambridge books or other practice test books. All the best Liz

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How to improve your IELTS Score?

writing strategies for ielts

In this article, we will discover what awaits you on your test day.

From section breakdown to timing, get insights to excel and achieve your desired score confidently.

Securing an impressive result on the IELTS test is crucial for individuals aiming to settle permanently in Canada. With its reputation as a leading English proficiency exam globally recognised by academic institutions and governments for immigration processes, an excellent IELTS score can significantly enhance your prospects .

We will delve into each aspect of the IELTS Test , equipping you with the knowledge and strategies needed to achieve your best score and unlock exciting opportunities . By understanding what to expect on test day and employing effective test-taking strategies, you can approach the exam with confidence.

Click here to receive free IELTS preparation material!

Recommended preparation materials to enhance your IELTS score

Preparation is key to achieving your target IELTS score. Utilizing a diverse range of high-quality study materials can significantly enhance your English language skills and boost your confidence on test day.

Here are some recommended resources to aid your IELTS preparation:


This is a tailored platform for you to explore a wide range of study resources including mock tests, IELTS tips, and practice exercises. You have two options:

- IELTS Ready Premium : this is a free and unlimited resource which you can access after booking your exam with us . You will find a practice zone, tutorials, question and answer models, advice from experts, and more.

- IELTS Ready Member : this is the perfect tool if you are still wondering when to book your exam , since it is available at any moment. You will find information about the test format and scoring, preparation videos, and simulation tests.

IELTS personal counselling

Prepare with test experts through IELTS personal counselling . Benefit from fully personalized attention , a level assessment, and customized study plans and materials. You will also get regular calls to check your progress, access webinars with advice to obtain the expected score, and work on your improvement areas.

IELTS preparation courses

Consider enrolling in IELTS preparation courses offered by the British Council. They provide structured instruction, personalized feedback, and expert guidance to help you refresh your English knowledge and excel in the exam.

Practice tests

Take advantage of simulated IELTS practice tests . These resources allow you to assess your progress, identify strengths and weaknesses, and become accustomed to the timing and format of the exam. 

Advice to make the most of your time

• Maintain a positive mindset and stay calm under pressure . Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization to manage any anxiety or nervousness. Approach each section of the exam with confidence in your preparation and abilities.

• Pay close attention to task requirements and instructions in the writing and speaking sections of the exam . Practice responding directly to the prompts and addressing all aspects of the tasks. Avoid going off-topic or providing irrelevant information, as this can negatively impact your score.

• Expand your vocabulary by learning new words and phrases regularly. Make use of flashcards, lists, and online resources to study and memorize words in context.

• Train your listening skills by actively engaging with spoken English. Practice listening to different accents and varying speaking speeds to prepare for the diversity of voices you may encounter on the exam. Take notes while listening to recordings to improve your ability to capture important information.

• Surround yourself with the English language as much as possible . Watch movies and TV shows, listen to music and podcasts, and read books, newspapers, and magazines. Immersing yourself in the language will help improve your listening, reading, and vocabulary skills.

• Establish specific, achievable goals for your IELTS preparation . Determine your target score for each section of the exam and create a study plan that outlines how you will work towards achieving those scores. Having clear goals will keep you focused and motivated throughout your preparation.

What to expect on your IELTS test?

As you prepare to take the IELTS exam, knowing what to expect can help relieve anxiety and ensure you're fully prepared for the experience.

IELTS consists of four sections : listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each one assesses different language skills, including listening and reading comprehension, writing proficiency, and oral communication.

The total test duration is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes . Listening, reading, and writing sections are conducted consecutively without breaks, while the speaking part may be scheduled on the same day or within a week of the other sections.

By familiarizing yourself with the test format, timing, and expectations for each section, you can approach the IELTS exam with confidence and maximize your chances of achieving your desired score.

IELTS score: streamlining your registration process

Registering for the IELTS exam is the initial step towards demonstrating your English proficiency . To navigate the registration process smoothly and secure your desired test date, follow these essential steps:

  • Determine which IELTS test you need to take . The Academic module is typically for those applying to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, while General Training is suitable for immigration purposes or professional registration.
  • Locate an IELTS test centre . Visit the official British Council IELTS Canada website ielts.ca .
  • You can choose between IELTS on Computer or paper . Next, you can select the test date and time. After submitting your registration form, you will be prompted to pay the fee online. Confirm the payment to finalize your registration.
  • Upon successful registration and payment, you will receive a confirmation email containing important details such as your test date, time, and venue . Keep this confirmation safe as you will need it on test day.
  • With your registration complete, dedicate enough time to prepare for the exam using relevant study materials and resources . Familiarize yourself with the test format, practice sample questions, and develop your English language skills.

By following these steps meticulously, you can efficiently navigate the IELTS registration process and embark on your journey towards achieving your desired score.

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  • UPSC Prep /

IAS Toppers from Kerala: Strategies and Ranks

writing strategies for ielts

  • Updated on  
  • May 17, 2024

In the UPSC Civil Services 2023 exam, Keralites once again demonstrated exceptional expertise; the results were released on Tuesday. Kochi native P.K. Sidharth Ramkumar topped the list of Keralites who took home the medals, earning the fourth position.

Although Sidharth had been selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS) twice, in 2021 and 2022, this was his fifth attempt at one of the most competitive exams in the nation. He had decided to retake the exam in the hopes of getting into the Indian Administrative Service. He is currently a trainee IPS officer in Hyderabad.

The final list includes 1,016 individuals who have been recommended for various central government services.

Table of Contents

  • 1 IAS Toppers from Kerala: Ranks
  • 2.1 Advice to the UPSC Aspirants
  • 3 Strategy to Prepare for IAS Exams

IAS Toppers from Kerala: Ranks

Some of the Keralites who made it to the top 300:

14,624 of the 5,92,141 candidates who took part in the Civil Services Prelims exam 2023 in May of last year qualified for the written Mains exam, which was held in September of the same year.

Also Read: How Many UPSC Aspirants Selected Every Year?

Out of them, 2,855 applicants advanced to the final round of the demanding examination, which consisted of either the personality test or the interview.

The achievement of Parvathy Gopakumar from Alappuzha is remarkable as she is among the top 300 rank holders. Despite facing an accident in her seventh grade that led to the amputation of her arm at the elbow, Parvathy’s determination and willpower shaped her destiny as she had to learn how to write with her left hand.

Although writing with her left hand had slowed her substantially, she had written all of her exams. This was her second attempt at the Civil Services exam.

Annie George, a Kannur native from Alakode, accomplished a noteworthy feat by placing 93rd on her first try. “Despite my optimism, I never imagined how I would do in the rankings, especially since it was my first time. She exclaimed, I feel excited and on top of the world.”

Meera K IAS: AIR 6 2020-2021 – Success Story

In 2016, Meera obtained her Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from Government Engineering College, Thrissur.

She was hired through campus selection in Bengaluru. She did, however, tend public service. Without much preparation, she took the UPSC Civil Services Examination for the first time in 2017. The outcome was predicted: it was ineligible.

She became increasingly focused and considered taking her UPSC CSE preparation much more seriously. She left her lucrative career.

She did not, however, board a plane for Delhi. Rather, she returned to Kerala to begin her UPSC career. She had taken up coaching, but she didn’t rely solely on it.

She always had confidence in herself and attempted to develop a plan taking into account both her advantages and disadvantages. She qualified for both the Prelims and Mains on her second try. However, fortune was not entirely in her favour. She was just 12 marks away from making the final cut. Her bad luck persisted throughout her third effort as well. She only failed prelims by one mark this time. Meera became even more driven as a result of her setbacks.

“Apart from good training in Thiruvananthapuram, I never actually spend hours and hours of my time preparing. I just kept studying whenever I could find some spare time,” said Meera.

Advice to the UPSC Aspirants

She advises UPSC candidates to create their own winning strategy. You can learn from toppers, mentors, or coaching facilities. However, don’t just copy or mindlessly follow any tactic. Know your advantages and disadvantages and create a customised study schedule.

Also Read: Who Takes UPSC Interview: Get Panel Info, Significance and Location

Strategy to Prepare for IAS Exams

Here is a list of tips and suggestions for candidates looking to enhance their UPSC exam preparation.

  • Learn more about the format of the examination and the requirements and standards of the UPSC Exam at three distinct levels. Level-by-level variations exist in the UPSC Exam preparation methods. For example, the exam’s preliminary level assesses candidates’ knowledge and critical thinking abilities. While detailed information about every topic covered in the curriculum is required at the mains level, it may not be necessary at the preliminary level. 
  • You would have an advantage over applicants who don’t consistently monitor the news developments in the UPSC when they read the newspaper every day.
  • Build up the foundational knowledge first. The NCERT books are the sources for the fundamentals.
  • Determine your subject’s strengths and weaknesses by answering a large number of multiple-choice questions (MCQs). Strengthening your areas of strength and continuing to improve on your weaknesses is one of the key preparation tactics for the IAS. 
  • Because of the extensive syllabus, creating notes for the UPSC is an art. The immense number of notes generated causes the notes to become exceedingly disorganised and confused in the end. Additionally, applicants shouldn’t waste a lot of time taking notes on everything. If the notes are well-organized, it is a superior UPSC technique; if not, the review process will take a long time.
  • Last piece of advice to strengthen your UPSC strategy: The secret to success is consistency – Approach each day with the same mindset and prepare with the same zeal and intensity. 

Related Posts

One of the most difficult exams is considered to be the UPSC. To clear this exam, candidates should have a focused mindset and dedication.

There are nearly 24 posts in the UPSC exam. Some of them are mentioned below: Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS), Indian Communication Finance Services (ICFS), Indian Postal Service (IPoS), Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Railway Protection Force (RPF), Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS).

Making notes is one of the essential things to clear the exam. Make notes so that it gets easier to revise for you.

This was all about the “ IAS Toppers from Kerala ”.  For more such informative blogs, check out our UPSC Exams Section , or you can learn more about us by visiting our   Indian exams page.

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Agrima Didwania

Passion turned profession perfectly defines me. With an affection for writing, I've transformed my zeal into a fulfilling career where each word I craft, amazes me. Writing isn't just a skill; it's my lifeline, allowing me to heal and forge deeper connections with others. The journey of words is something that keeps me alive.

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  28. IAS Toppers from Kerala: Strategies and Ranks

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