IELTS Writing has two tasks. The first, Task 1, involves writing a summary of a visual or process (for the Academic test) or writing a letter (for the General test). In Task 2, you’ll write a complete essay. You’ll be tested on how well your ideas flow together, your vocabulary and grammar, and if you fulfilled all the requirements. Read on to learn more about this task, and more about how to practice IELTS Writing at home!
What is IELTS Writing?
The IELTS Writing section is the third section of the main IELTS exam, right after the Reading Section. Here are some basic stats for the test:
IELTS Writing Section Basics
- Time limit: 60 minutes
- Number of tasks: 2
- Handwritten (IELTS Paper-Based Test)
- Typed (IELTS Computer-Delivered Test and IELTS Indicator Test)
- This section has a band score of 1-9, based on a rubric (this is the same band score range as rest of the exam).
Comparison of the Different IELTS Writing Tasks
|TYPE OF IELTS WRITING TASK||Minimum word count||Recommended time limit||Description|
|Task 1 (Academic)||150||20 minutes||Describe the information in a graph or chart|
|Task 1 (General Training)||150||20 minutes||Write a letter for a specific purpose|
|Task 2 (same on General Training and Academic)||250||40 minutes||Take a position on a social issue and support your position|
Academic Writing Task 1
On the Academic version of the IELTS, the first Writing task requires you to describe an infographic in at least 150 words, with a recommended 20 minute time limit. Common types of infographics include pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, maps, and process diagrams. Sometimes you will describe combinations of more than one kind of infographic.
Magoosh offers a complete guide to Writing Task 1 (IELTS Academic), including sample questions and answers. We also offer a quick 15 minute video guide for this first task, seen below (click here for instructions on how to use the Writing Task 1 video guide).
General Training Writing Task 1
Like IELTS Academic, Writing for General Training Task 1 requires a minimum of 150 words, with a recommedned 20 minute time limit. But the similarities end there. In IELTS GT, this first task requires you to write a letter; the instructions will tell you the context of the letter and the specific points you should include.
Letters for IELTS GT can vary in how formal they are. To help you with this, I’ve written a guide to formal vs. semi-formal language for this task, and Kuangyan has put together a great guide to formal and informal language in IELTS letter writing.
And of course, you should also check out Magoosh’s full guide for this task: “IELTS General Training Letter Writing Tips and Examples,” as well as our shorter video guide:
Task 2 for IELTS Writing
The second Writing task is the same on both versions of the test, and requires you to give and defend your opinion on a social issue. Common IELTS Writing topics for this task may be broadly public (such as the issue of government funding for the arts) or more personal (such as one’s preferences on where to live, how to study, etc.).
Magoosh breaks this second essay down for you in detail, with example questions and sample responses. Check out our complete guide to Academic Writing Task 2. You can also check out the video below for some quick tips on this second question:
How Is IELTS Writing marked?
And for a more in-depth look at how Writing scores are calculated and what they mean, check out the following Magoosh guides:
- IELTS Band Descriptors: How to Improve Your Score in IELTS Writing
- Lexical Resource for Writing Task 1 (Academic)
- What is Coherence and Cohesion in the First IELTS Academic Writing Task?
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy in IELTS Academic Writing
- Do You Lose Points for Bad Handwriting on the IELTS?
How to Improve Your Score in IELTS Writing
The guides below really focus on boosting your band score in the Writing Section. Learn the best way to improve your score in IELTS Writing, task-by-task.
Better Scores for Task 1 (Academic)
- Useful Words for the IELTS Graph Essay
- IELTS Paragraph Structure (Academic Writing Task 1)
- Getting a Band 9 in Writing for IELTS Academic Task 1
- Paraphrasing for IELTS Academic Task 1
- Describing an IELTS Academic Chart
Better IELTS Scores for Task 1 (General Training Writing)
Better IELTS Writing Scores for Task 2
- Sentence Structure for Task 2
- Agree/Disagree Questions in the Second Writing Writing Task
- Paraphrasing for Academic Writing Task 2
- How to Write Faster on IELTS Writing Task 2
General Articles to Improve Your IELTS Writing Score
- IELTS: Linking Words in the Writing Section
- IELTS: Common Grammar Mistakes in Writing
- The Best IELTS Writing Resources
Examples of IELTS Essays
Perhaps the very best way to improve your score in IELTS Writing is to look at sample essays. Read these examples carefully to learn how to practice IELTS Writing for the various tasks.
Examples of Writing for Task 1 (Academic)
- Pie Chart Model Answer
- Bar Chart Model Answer
- Process Diagram Model Answer
- Map Model Answer
- Two Graphics Model Answer
- IELTS Writing Sample Questions and Practice Resources (Task 1, Academic)
IELTS Writing Models for General Training Task 1
- General Training Model Formal Letter
- General Training Model Personal Letter
- Example Letters for the General Training Test
Samples of IELTS Writing for the Second Task
IELTS Writing is multifaceted, testing your English writing skills in a variety of ways. While you may want to hire an IELTS Writing tutor or take a class, with Magoosh that isn’t always necessary. We offer essay feedback to our students. Check out Magoosh IELTS to learn more about how to improve your writing with Magoosh.