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IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Tips


Are you gearing up for your IELTS Writing Exam and feeling a bit overwhelmed? Fear not! In this post, we'll delve into a treasure trove of invaluable essay tips designed to help you ace your IELTS Writing Exam with confidence and finesse.
In both the IELTS General and Academic, Task 2 entails writing an essay. It's advisable for students to allocate 40 minutes (out of the total 60-minute writing section) to this task, ensuring they produce a minimum of 250 words for a higher score. The IELTS essay topics encompass a broad spectrum, spanning from subjects like food and technology to environmental issues and crime.

Difference between academic and general topics can sometimes be nuanced. Generally, in the IELTS General students tend to focus on everyday themes such as social media, travel, and healthy lifestyles. Conversely, in the Academic module, similar themes may be explored, but with the utilization of more sophisticated vocabulary or by delving into more specific inquiries.

And these are what we're going to discuss:

  • IELTS essay writing topics and types
  • Assessment criteria and tips
  • Academic style
  • Tips to master your skills
  • Tips on how to manage your time

Essay topics and types

These are the examples of the tasks which illustrate the difference between General and Academic IELTS:
Medicine
General: Some people believe that it is important to spend time in nature in order to maintain good health, others say it is better to do sport in gyms under the supervision of professionals. Discuss both of these views and give your own opinion.
Academic: An increasing number of individuals who have health concerns are experimenting with unconventional forms of medicine and therapies rather than seeking care from their typical physician. Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?
Ecology
General: Recycling is becoming more and more common in many countries. What are some benefits of recycling? How can we encourage people to recycle more?
Academic: Pollution is a major problem in many countries, and it can have negative effects on our lives. What are the possible negative effects of pollution? What can be done to reduce pollution levels?
An essay that you’ll receive in the test will belong to one of the 3 types:

Opinion essay. An increasing number of individuals who have health concerns are experimenting with unconventional forms of medicine and therapies rather than seeking care from their typical physician. Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?
Discussion essay. Some people believe that it is important to spend time in nature in order to maintain good health, others say it is better to do sport in gyms under the supervision of professionals. Discuss both of these views and give your own opinion.
Two-part questions. Recycling is becoming more and more common in many countries. What are some benefits of recycling? How can we encourage people to recycle more?

Assessment criteria and tips

Your writing will be assessed based on 4 criteria.

Task response tips

  • cover all requirements of the task
  • present well supported ideas (strong arguments and examples if necessary)

Coherence and cohesion tips

  • logically organise information and ideas
  • use a range of cohesive devices (linking words and phrases, e.g. “moreover, however, in contrast, for instance, etc.”)
  • use paragraphing appropriately

Lexical resource tips

  • use a wide range of vocabulary including topic-specific and advanced vocabulary, collocations, phrasal verbs, and idioms
  • stick to the academic (formal) style of writing in IELTS Academic. In IELTS General you can use a semi-formal or neutral style
  • don't make errors in spelling and/or word formation

Grammatical range and accuracy tips

  • use a wide range of structures including complex ones (different tenses, clauses, modal verbs, etc.)
  • pay attention to punctuation
  • proofread the essay to avoid grammatical mistakes

Scores are reported as a whole band or half band from 0 to 9.0, for example a candidate can get a 5.0 or a 5.5.

Academic style (for IELTS Academic)

Academic writing is quite formal and impersonal. The focus is on the facts or the argument, rather than the personal feelings of the writer.

Avoid in academic writing:

  • informal words and expressions, such as stuff and blown away.
  • contractions, such as I’m, we’ve.
  • abbreviations, such as etc. and e.g.
  • informal phrasal verbs, such as turns out.
  • vague expressions, such as things and something.
  • overuse of personal pronouns, such as we and I.
  • questions to the reader, such as Isn’t that awful?
  • emotional responses, such as I think it’s amazing.

IELTS Writing tips to master your skills

Practise writing about a variety of topics. It’s better to start with more simple topics and then take more challenging ones as you progress.

Switch off T9, Grammarly, and other text assistants to see your weak points. You should understand from the very beginning if you have gaps in spelling or grammar, so that you can work on them and improve over time.

First, take as much time as you need to write a good essay. Next time control the time and take only 40 min to deliver the best possible answer. It’s OK to take your time to write an essay which you are proud of. When you’ve learnt to write good essays, you can do it faster next time.
TRICK. Start the writing section with Task 2

Although an essay is the second task in IELTS, you are allowed to write it first. You can start the writing section with an essay (Task 2), and then when 20 min are left you can move on to the first writing part. It could be especially helpful to students who find Task 1 more difficult. Moreover, Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score, so make sure you dedicate 40 min to your essay.

IELTS exam tips on how to manage your time

To achieve the best score possible you should spend the 40 given minutes smartly. We recommend you to stick to the following plan:

1 min: Read the task and identify the key words.

4 min: Make the plan (how many paragraphs you need) and brainstorm. Your essay should have at least 3 paragraphs (an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion), but the majority of good essays are between 4 and 5 paragraphs.

30 min: Write the essay. Keep in mind all 4 criteria and remember to use the brainstormed information.

5 min: Proofread and edit your writing. Check it for misprints, spelling mistakes, repetition and grammatical inaccuracies.

If you don’t have time to check your writing, you can miss the opportunity to correct the mistakes and ultimately get a lower score. Try to do practice tests for 40 minutes so you get used to the timing.

TRICK. Brainstorm:

  • arguments and examples
  • key-specific and advanced vocabulary
  • useful grammatical structures
  • suitable linkers

Make a list of relevant arguments, words and phrases, grammatical structures, and linkers and then prioritise them in order of importance. After that decide which to include and which not. Start writing only after you’ve brainstormed a sufficient list.

Here you can watch a video about how to brainstorm effectively: HOW TO GET IDEAS FOR WRITING: 3 Ways How to Brainstorm for an Essay!

Are you ready for your high scoring IELTS Writing test?

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