The most important thing to understand about the IELTS writing test is that it is not an exam with a passing or failing score. It is better to think of the IELTS writing test as measurement of your ability to communicate in written English.
Your writing ability in the IELTS writing test part 1 and part 2 will be measured in four areas. These are task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy.
- Task achievement relates to whether you’ve covered the necessary parts of the task and how developed your response is. You need to develop a response that covers all of the task requirements. Put simply, you need to answer the question and discuss all the relevant details.
- Coherence and cohesion means how you have organised your writing into paragraphs and linked the ideas in your writing. You need to organise your writing into logical paragraphs and link your ideas in a way that makes sense to the reader. Is your writing easy to read and understand?
- Lexical resource is your vocabulary. What words are you using? Are they appropriate to the topic and the ideas that you are trying to communicate? Are you repeating words or phrases? Are you using a wide range of language? You need to use a wide variety of vocabulary that is appropriate to the subject matter and the format of academic writing. You should also try to avoid repetition by using synonyms.
- Grammatical range and accuracy measures the variety of structures you are using and your accuracy in using them. You need to be comfortable in using a range of sentence structures accurately so that you can communicate your ideas in detail.
There are two parts to the IELTS writing test, IELTS writing part 1 and IELTS writing part 2. In part 1, you are given a diagram such as a chart, graph, or a table. You need to describe the most significant features of the information given in the diagram. You should write at least 150 words. In part 2, you are asked to write a discursive essay on a given topic. You should write at least 250 words. You have 60 minutes to write both responses. You can write them in any order. It is recommended that you spend approximately 20 minutes on part 1 and 40 minutes on part 2.
At IELTS MOOC, our IELTS lessons will expose you to the types of questions you will be expected to answer. We will show you example responses and explain how they have been structured. You will also understand how to organise your writing and learn how to connect your ideas.
Our lessons are divided into themes giving you the opportunity to read texts specific to subject areas and develop your vocabulary.
Being exposed to a wide variety of task responses gives you the opportunity to build an understanding of what you need to do to get the IELTS score you need. We will also ensure that there is the opportunity for you to practice what you have learnt by writing your own responses to tasks and sharing them to receive feedback from other IELTS learners.
Bringing it all together
All four skills in the IELTS test are interlinked, and improving one will often help improve all the others. In this section we will look at how practising writing can also increase your scores in the IELTS Speaking, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Reading sections.
When you read and listen to English you are exposed to various words and grammatical structures. However, when reading and listening you are not actively involved in producing any language. You learn and remember far more when you are actively involved in both receiving and producing English. Think about when you are in a class. Usually you will be introduced to a new idea – you receive information; then, once you have understood the idea, you will be asked to use it, or demonstrate your understanding of it – you produce something from the idea you have been given.
When you write in English you are taking the vocabulary and grammar that you have encountered in your classes or your reading and you are trying to produce something similar yourself. When you write you have to think carefully about the words you use, and the order in which you use them.
The best way to improve your writing is to write. A good idea is to keep a reflections journal. Whenever you read an interesting article, have a stimulating discussion, or encounter an idea you think is worth remembering, write about it in your reflections journal. Of course, you will want to know if you are making mistakes when you write. To do this you should try sharing your writing with someone else. This does not have to be an English teacher. It could be a friend, a teacher, or another student. For instance, you may want to post examples of your writing on our Facebook page or the comments section below lessons in order to get feedback from others.
When you write about and discuss these ideas you could be improving not only your IELTS Writing scores, but also your IELTS Reading, IELTS Listening, and IELTS Speaking scores.