Format of IELTS Writing Section

IELTS Writing Format: Academic and General

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IELTS Writing section is the last section after Listening and Reading sections respectively. There are two Writing tasks and both must be attempted to get the final score in the writing section. The Writing format for task 1 may vary based on the module of the IELTS: Academic or General Training

IELTS Writing Format: Task 1 (Academic)

You must describe some visual information (a graph, table, chart or diagram) in your own words. You need to write minimum 150 words in about 20 minutes. Depending on the task type, you will be assessed on your ability to:

  • organise, present and possibly compare data
  • describe stages of a process or procedure
  • describe an object, event or sequence of events
  • explain how something works.

IELTS Writing Format: Task 1 (General Training)

You should respond to a situation by writing a letter, for example, asking for information or explaining a situation. You need to write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes. You might need to ask for or give information and/or explain a situation. The situations you need to write about are common, everyday situations such as:

  • writing to a hostel rector about problems with your accommodation
  • writing to a new employer about problems you are having with managing your time
  • writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport
  • writing to a renting agency to sort out problems with the heating system in your house.

IELTS Writing Format: Task 2 (Both Academic and General Training)

You are given a point of view, argument or problem which you need to debate. You need to write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.

In Writing Task 2, you are given a topic to write about. Your answer should discuss the most appropriate issues. You must read the task carefully so that you can write a full answer that is relevant. For example, if the topic is an aspect of the wider topic of internet, you should focus on this aspect only in your answer. You should not simply write about internet in general.

You should write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style. You will need to organise your ideas clearly and make sure you use relevant examples (which can be from your own experience, if relevant) or evidence.

Depending on the task type, you will be evaluated on your skill to:

  • present a solution to a problem
  • present and justify an opinion
  • compare opinions
  • evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.

How am I allotted bands?

Certificated IELTS examiners evaluate your performance on each Writing task. There are four evaluation criteria that examiner uses to allot credits to your attempt:

  1. Task achievement/response
  2. Coherence and cohesion
  3. Lexical resource
  4. Grammatical range and accuracy.

Task achievement (in Task 1) and Task response (in Task 2)

It assesses how precisely, appropriately and relevantly your response covers the task requirements, using the minimum of 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2.

In Task 1, all the information you require is given in the diagram.

In Task 2, Task response includes how well you develop your argument in response to the task, presenting examples which may be from your own experience.

Coherence and cohesion

It measures how clear and fluent your writing is, and how you organise ideas and information. It includes giving your ideas in a logical orderĀ and using a range of cohesive devices (for example, linking words, pronouns and conjunctions, etc.) appropriately.

Lexical resource

It weighs the range of vocabulary you have used, and how accurately and appropriately you use it.

Grammatical range and accuracy

It judges the range of grammar you have used and how accurately and appropriately you have used it.

You must remember that you will be penalised if

  • you write irrelevant.
  • your answer is not written as a whole piece of connected text (i.e. you must not use notes or bullet points).
  • your writing is copied.
  • your answer is too short.

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