The IELTS test is divided into 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Writing section of the IELTS exam lasts one hour and it consists of two parts:
Task 1, in which you must write a minimum of 150 words
Task 2, in which you must write at least 250 words.
You should allow yourself 20 minutes to complete Task 1 and 40 minutes to complete Task 2.
The texts that you need to write will be different, depending on the version of the test you take.
What Skills Are Being Assessed in the Writing Section of the IELTS Exam?
In this section you’ll be assessed on your capacity of writing good English IELTS essays.
Your score on this test will be the average of your scores on each writing exercise, out of 9.
The criteria on which you’ll me marked are:
Your compliance with the instructions: whether you’re asked to describe visual information, write a letter in the proper format, give your point of view…
The coherence and cohesion: if you have a good use of linking words, logical connectors and your fluency of speech
Your lexical resource and the richness of your speech
Your grammar and your correct syntax
IELTS Academic Writing Section Task 1: Presentation and Instructions
On IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you will be presented with one or two graphs and you will be asked to summarise the information presented in them using formal language.
You are asked to select the main or most important features of the graph and describe them in appropriate detail. You are also invited to make comparisons where relevant.
You only need to report on the factual information contained in the graph. You do not need to interpret the data, make speculations or explain possible reasons for the trends in the data.
Here is an example of a graph:
IELTS General Training Writing Section Task 1: Presentation and Instructions
You will be directed to write to a specific person, who could be a friend, a colleague, or someone in an official position. You will need to choose an appropriate tone when writing to the person, so your letter might be informal, semi-formal or formal.
You should open your letter with a suitable greeting, such as “Dear…” and sign off correctly , for example, “Kind regards”.
IELTS General Training and Academic Writing Section Task 2
For the Task 2 of IELTS Academic Writing, you will need to write an essay in response to the topic introduced in the question. The task is the same for both the Academic and General training. However, a wider range of IELTS essay topics are tested in the Academic test, and the wording used in the question might be more difficult.
In both cases, you will need to explain your position in relation to the question and support your answer with reasons and examples. You are also encouraged to make use of your own knowledge or experience.
How Does the Scoring Work for Task 1 And Task 2 of the IELTS Writing Section?
The examiner will mark your writing with reference to very strict criteria which are divided into four categories. For IELTS Academic Task 1 and Task 2, three of the criteria are the same: Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy.
1. Coherence and cohesion
This criterion is about how your text is organised.
Is there a logical progression from the beginning to the end? Do you use paragraphs correctly ? Are your sentences well connected and can you link ideas? Do you use a lot of repetition?
2. Lexical Resource
This criterion is about the variety of words you use. Do you only use common words or do you use words that are related to specific topics or situations?
Do you use words in the appropriate context? Are you aware of how certain words are used together, for example “make a suggestion” rather than “do a suggestion”? Do you spell words correctly?
3. Grammatical Range and Accuracy
This criterion is measured by the variety of grammatical structures you use. Can you use complex structures such as conditionals, modal verbs, past tenses and the passive? Or do you use simple structures such as present tenses? Do you make many grammatical errors?
4. Specific Criteria for Task 1 and Task 2
a. Task 1 Criterion: Task Achievement
For Task 1 you will also be graded on Task Achievement. For General Training this means making sure that the purpose of the letter is clear, addressing all the points and writing in an appropriate tone. For the IELTS Academic Writing Training, this means how successfully you present a clear overview. It shows how you select and explain relevant information from the graph.
b. Task 2 Criterion: Task Response
In Task 2 you will receive a score for Task Response, this is an evaluation of how well you respond to the question or statement presented to you. You need to give a developed response to all the parts of the question, offer a clear opinion and a range of ideas that are supported by relevant examples.
For both Task Achievement and Task Response, word count is also an important factor. If your text is too short, this will reduce your band score.
How Is Your Band Score Calculated?
You are given a band score for each criteria, the maximum band score you can achieve is 9. The criteria are all equally important. If you score 5 for both Grammatical Range and Lexical Resource, and band 6 for both Task Achievement and Cohesion and Coherence, your final band for Task 1 will be an average of the four scores, Band 5.5.
Writing task 1
In the table below, IELTS Academic Training is referred to as AT and the General as G.
Grammatical range and accuracy
fully satisfies all the requirements of the task and clearly presents a fully developed response
uses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention
uses a wide range of words with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features
uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy
covers all requirements of the task sufficiently and presents, highlights and illustrates key features/ bullet points clearly
sequences information and ideas logically
uses a wide range of words fluently and flexibly to convey precise meanings but produces rare errors in spelling and/or word formation
uses a wide range of structures and makes only very occasional errors
covers the requirements of the task but could be more fully extended
(A) presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages
(GT) presents a clear purpose, with the tone consistent and appropriate
uses a range of cohesive devices correctly although there may be some under-/over-use
uses a sufficient range of words to allow some flexibility and precision but may produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling and/or word formation
produces frequent error-free sentences and has good control of grammar and punctuation but may make a few errors
presents and adequately highlights key features/ bullet points but details may be irrelevant, not appropriate or inaccurate
(A) presents an overview with the correct information selected
(GT) presents a purpose that is generally clear; there may be inconsistent in tone
uses cohesive devices effectively, but cohesion within and/or between sentences may be faulty or mechanical and may not always use referencing clearly
attempts to use less common terms and makes some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication
uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms but makes some errors in grammar and punctuation which rarely reduce communication
presents, but not coverd, key features/ bullet points; there may be a tendency to focus on details
(A) recounts detail mechanically with no clear overview; there may be no data to support the description
(GT) may present a purpose for the letter that is unclear at times; the tone may be variable and sometimes not appropriate
presents information with some organization but there may be a lack of overall progression and makes inadequate, inaccurate or over-use of cohesive devices
uses a limited range of words, but this is minimally adequate for the task and may make noticeable errors in spelling and/or word formation that may cause some difficulty for the reader
uses only a limited range of structures and may make frequent grammatical errors and punctuation may be faulty; errors can cause some difficulty for the reader
How Can Globalexam Help You Prepare For the IELTS Test?
On the GlobalExam platform you can prepare for Task 1 and Task 2 of the Writing section of the Academic exam. Although some of the Task 2 questions will also be suitable for practice of the General Training.
Other tools are also at your disposal to help you in your revisions.
We give you access to grammar and lexical review sheets.
In addition, with our Statistics and Corrections mode, you can not only follow your progress throughout your training, but also identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, our Personalized Courses allow you to set goals to reach before the big day
GlobalExam gives you access to IELTS writing sample questions which are graded from easy to difficult. You can submit your own answers and have them graded by a teacher. The questions are also accompanied by a model answer, as well as model essay plans and key language to improve your writing skills.
To access the free version you could simply register to our platform. You will then be able to take a complete practice test for free. We also offer a Premium version if you want to have access to more exercises. Check online and find the IELTS test center location nearest to you.