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IELTS Preparation - The IELTS Writing Test

This IELTS preparation page gives you tips and suggestions on how best to study for the IELTS Writing test. For information and tips on taking the IELTS Writing test please see our IELTS Writing Module page.

If you are following our tips on preparing for the IELTS Reading test you will already be doing good work towards preparing for the IELTS Writing test because one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read a lot. You should try to write in English whenever you can, even writing your shopping list in English will focus your attention. Organising your writing is very important so concentrate on planning and organisation whenever you write. We would also recommend that you keep an English diary and use it to write your opinions about things you have read. You should also write down other people's opinions.

The IELTS Writing tasks are different for the Academic and General Training versions and you should focus your IELTS Writing preparation accordingly.

Task 1


In task 1, Academic Writing candidates have to describe information from a graph, table, chart or diagram. Look in newspapers, magazines, books, journals etc. to find this sort of information and then describe it in English. You can find this sort of information locally - it doesn't even have to be in English, although that would be preferable - as long as you write about it in English.

General Training

General Training candidates will be asked to write a letter for task 1. They will be expected to request information or explain a situation. Practise writing this type of letter to different people - friends, organisations etc. Be sure that you understand how a letter is set out, how to address the recipient correctly and write in the correct register. You must know the difference between formal and informal letters and know when to use them. You should be able to make up your own scenarios once you have looked at a couple of samples e.g. on the IELTS website or in text books.

Task 2

Task 2 differs between the versions in so far as the task set for Academic Writing candidates will require a more rigorous approach to providing arguments and evidence and justifying opinions. The task set in the General Training version will be less demanding in these areas but still require you to write a coherent essay that responds appropriately to the task set.

Whichever format you are taking, the more you practise writing, the better. Find as many sample questions as you can, or try making them up yourself. Although you can start your IELTS Writing practice by allowing yourself a little more than the 40 minutes allowed in the IELTS Writing test, after your first few practices you should restrict yourself to 40 minutes. Time yourself carefully and count the number of words you have written so that you 'know' when you have written 250. In the actual exam it is very unlikely that you will have time to count your words - it is far better to know intuitively when you have written enough.

For further materials and other resources to help you prepare for the IELTS Writing Test check out our IELTS Resources pages.

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