In both the the IELTS Academic and General Writing exams, you should leave yourself 3 -5 minutes at the end to check your writing. But what should you be checking for? Here are my tips on how to effectively check your IELTS writing to ensure that you spend your 3 – 5 minutes in the most efficient way.
Photo by Oliver Tacke
What Should You Check For?
- First, you should check for the mistakes that you usually make. For example, maybe you often forget to include articles in front of collective nouns. Scan your writing for these. If you don’t know what your common writing mistakes are, then look at our list of common IELTS writing mistakes. (Note: Make sure the you keep a running error list of your common writing mistakes so that you know what to check for.)
- Be sure to check your spelling! If there are words that you know you regularly misspell then definitely look out for those.
- Pay attention where you have used synonyms. Have you used the right one? Does the synonym make sense in this sentence/context?
- Check your verbs. Have you used the right tense (past, present, future)? Did you use the right singular/plural agreement? Did you use the correct form of the verb?
- Make sure that the linking words that you used are correct and that you have not repeated any of them.
How Should You Check IELTS Writing
- To start, just check for one type of mistake at a time. It is too difficult to check all of your common errors at once.
- Our brains have a tendency to fill in gaps when things are missing, so it is often better to check for mistakes by scanning the text backwards rather than forwards. This is particularly useful when checking for spelling mistakes.
- Alternatively, scan at random from one paragraph to the next. You will be able to see mistakes quicker if you are not concentrating on the meaning.
- Quickly scan the beginning of each sentence and the beginning of each paragraph to check that the linking words that you used are correct.
- Regularly practice checking your writing so that you can get to a point where you can check for more than one mistake at the same time.
You may not spot all of the mistakes when you are checking, but you will get quite a few and this can make a difference of a band score! So do aim to save yourself enough time at the end of your writing to due this very important task. It can make all the difference to getting a 7.0!