The IELTS Writing Exam is feared by many students because they feel it is hard to adequately prepare. However, with effort it is possible to boost your IELTS Writing score. Just follow these tips to see some improvement:
1. Write Neatly
If the examiner can’t understand what you’ve written, they can’t mark your paper. Handwriting may sound trivial, but if your writing is too difficult to read, it might just earn you a zero! Practice good penmanship and increase your chances of impressing the examiner.
2. Don’t Write Too Much
It is better to write 260 words (in Task 2) and spend the extra time editing your work than to write 300 or more words trying to include more ideas. Remember that you are penalized for mistakes – that’s why they give you an eraser. If you write an extra 50 words, there might be an extra mistake in your additional writing that will drop your grade.
3. Don’t Write Too Little
Writing fewer than the required words will result in major penalties against your grade. Writing only 200 words in Task 2 will result in your essay dropping one whole band. Writing only 150 words will drop you two whole bands. Write quickly and plan your essay effectively to avoid this problem.
4. Stay On Topic
Task Achievement is worth 25% of your Writing grade, so it is obviously important to answer the question and stay on topic. However, did you know that the examiner is not required to mark any part of your writing that strays off topic?! It’s true. If you write a whole paragraph that is unrelated to the question, it will not be marked – meaning you’ve fallen below the word count.
5. Don’t Get Over-Complicated
There’s a saying in English – KISS. It means, “Keep it simple, stupid,” and it’s good advice in all aspects of life. The IELTS is not a place to use fancy vocabulary and difficult grammatical structures unless you’re very confident in their use. Stick to what you know how to do.
6. Don’t Copy the Question
You aren’t marked for words that aren’t your own, so don’t copy any part of the question. Paraphrasing is an important skill – learn it and use it in the IELTS exam.
7. Avoid Formulas and Memorization
Formulaic writing is easy to spot, and examiners will give you no more than a Band 4 if you use memorized phrases. Avoid clichés such as, “With the rapid development of technology…” because these are often used incorrectly. Always use your own words and ideas.
8. Do Task 2 First
This is a trick many IELTS tutors teach their students. Due to the points weighting and time constraints of the IELTS Writing Exam, you should do Task 2 first and Task 1 second. This way you can give more attention to Task 2, which is the more valuable of the two writing sections.
9. Keep it Formal
Don’t use slang, don’t use abbreviations (I’m, it’s, you’ll, etc), and avoid personal pronouns, except when stating a position in Task 2. Although there is no research required, this is an academic essay in Western style, and these should still be very formal.
The IELTS Writing Exam is a major stumbling block for many students who easily get Band 6, 7, or 8 on the other sections – Listening, Speaking, and Reading. However, with practice anyone can get their IELTS Writing up to par. Practice often and get expert feedback on your work.