An introduction to IELTS Writing Module

What is IELTS Writing ?

The IELTS Writing modules test your ability to produce two quite different pieces of writing in a fairly short period of time. Before applying to sit in the test, you need to decide whether you want to take the Academic or the General Training module.

Each module is divided into two parts (Academic and General) and you have only one hour to complete both pieces of writing.

In General Writing Module
– Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
– Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

In Academic Writing Module
– Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
– Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.

Criteria for Part 1 IELTS Writing Module

Criteria for Part 2 IELTS Writing Module

Band Score 5Band Score 6 Band Score 7 Band Score 8 Band Score 9
Addresses the task only partially; the format may be inappropriate in places. Addresses all parts of the task although some parts may be more fully covered than others. Addresses all part of the taskSufficiently addresses all parts of the task presents a well developed Sufficiently addresses all parts of the task presents a well developed
Expresses a position but the development is not always clear and there may be no conclusions drawn. Presents a relevant position although the conclusions may become unclear or repetitive Presents a clear position throughout the response presents, extends and support main ideas, but there may be a tendency to over generalise and/or supporting ideas may lack focus Response to the question with relevant, extended and supported ideas. Response to the question with relevant, extended and supported ideas.
Presents some main ideas but these are limited and not sufficiently developed; there may be irrelevant detail Presents relevant main idea but some may be inadequately developed/unclear The sentences are well formed. The sentences are well formed. The sentences are well formed.
The sentences are not formed well The sentences are not formed well There are very few grammatical mistakes.There are very few grammatical mistakes. There are no grammatical mistakes.
There are spelling mistakes that occurs frequently. There are spelling mistakes that occurs frequently. There are very few spelling mistakes.There are very few spelling mistakes. There are no spelling mistakes.

Tips for your writing module

Tips to remember before writing

  • Analyse each task property and spend some time making notes.
  • Highlight or underline key words in the tasks to make sure that you focus on what you have to do.
  • Plan your answers.
  • Use paragraphs clearly; put one idea in each paragraph.
  • Do not repeat ideas using different words.
  • Do not copy whole sentence from the question, you will receive no marks for this.
  • Keep to the topic; do not write about unrelated topic or go off the topic in your sentences.
  • Manage your time; remember, Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1.
  • Spend approximately 20 minutes on Task 1 and approximately 40 minutes on Task 2.
  • Pay attention to the number of words required for each task; you will lose marks if you do not write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.
  • Learn to recognize how long 150 and 250 words look in your handwriting; you will not have time to count during the test.
  • You must write your answers in full; answers written in note form on in bullet points will lose marks.
  • Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation; you will lose marks for mistakes.
  • Avoid informal language and use academic language.
  • Do not memorize model answers; examiners are trained to recognize them and your test will be invalid.
  • Spend several minutes re-reading and correcting your answers.

Tips to remember while writing

  • Do remember that you are going to be tested for your academic writing not for the writing which you do on a daily basis.
  • Focus on sentence formation and grammar. If your grammar and sentence creation is good you will get good band score.
  • Do not lose focus from the topic question, every sentence you form must be related to the context of the topic question.
  • Avoid spelling mistakes, if you do more than 2-3 spelling mistakes you will not be able to get good band score like 7 band or above.
  • Learn new academic words and use them in your sentences while practicing. Make sure you know the meaning of these words and where to use them.
  • Use combination if simple, compound and complex sentence structure. You must demonstrate that you know all forms of these sentences.
  • Use the magic formula WUBAI (While, until, because, although and if) for complex sentences. You will learn about these in later sessions/posts.

Marking and assessment

Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1. Responses are assessed by certificated IELTS examiners. All IELTS examiners hold relevant teaching qualifications and are recruited as examiners by the test centres and approved by the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Detailed performance descriptors have been developed which describe written performance at the nine IELTS bands. These are available on the How IELTS is scored page. They apply to both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions and are based on the following criteria.

Task 1 responses are assessed on:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Task 2 responses are assessed on:

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Performance descriptors

Task 1

Task achievement
This assesses how appropriately, accurately and relevantly the response fulfils the requirements set out in the task, using the minimum of 150 words. Academic Writing Task 1 is a writing task which has a defined input and a largely predictable output. It is basically an information-transfer task that relates narrowly to the factual content of an input diagram and not to speculative explanations that lie outside the given data.

Coherence and cohesion
This concerns overall clarity and fluency: how the response organises and links information, ideas and language. Coherence refers to the linking of ideas through logical sequencing. Cohesion refers to the varied and appropriate use of cohesive devices (for example, logical connectors, pronouns and conjunctions) to assist in making the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences clear.

Lexical resource
This refers to the range of vocabulary used and its accuracy and appropriacy in terms of the specific task.

Grammatical range and accuracy
This refers to the range and accurate use of grammar as manifested in their sentence writing.

Task 2

Task response
In both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions, Task 2 requires test takers to formulate and develop a position in relation to a given prompt in the form of a question or statement. Ideas should be supported by evidence, and examples may be drawn from the test takers’ own experience. Responses must be at least 250 words in length. Scripts under the required minimum word limit will be penalized.

Coherence and cohesion
This assesses the overall clarity and fluency of the message: how the response organises and links information, ideas and language. Coherence refers to the linking of ideas through logical sequencing. Cohesion refers to the varied and appropriate use of cohesive devices (for example, logical connectors, pronouns and conjunctions) to assist in making the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences clear.

Lexical resource
This criterion refers to the range of vocabulary used and its accuracy and appropriacy in terms of the specific task.

Grammatical range and accuracy
This assesses the range and accurate use of grammar, as manifested in their test takers’ writing at sentence level.

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