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How To Improve Your IELTS Writing Score

How to improve your IELTS Writing score is a matter of mastering two very different sets of skills: one for Writing Task 1, and another for Writing Task 2.

How to Improve Your Writing Score in IELTS Writing Task 1

The key to improving your score in IELTS Writing Task 1 is attention to detail. Although Task 1 is different on the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS, attention to detail is very important on both exams.

In the General Training IELTS Writing Section, Task 1 requires you to write a personal letter for a specific purpose. In your letter, you will have to include certain specialised bits of information, as specified in the Writing Task 1 prompt. (For an example, see this official General Training IELTS Writing Task 1 question from the British Council website.) For the best possible score, your response needs to fully cover all of the details outlined in the task.

In the Academic English version of Writing Task 1, detail is even more important. Here, you need to carefully look at a detailed infographic — a chart, graph or table — and capture every important piece of data in your writing. You can see an example of this on the IELTS.org website.

To get good at this task so that you can maximise your Academic Writing score, learn to really see every detail in the informational visuals. Practice writing two paragraph descriptions of various graphs or charts, either from an IELTS prep resource, or from any book or website that has infographics.

In the first paragraph, just describe the information visual. Write down the purpose of the infographic and the basic type of information in it. Say whether the visual is a chart, a table, or a graph. Then say what colors, lines, and symbols are used and what they mean. From there, write a second paragraph where you simply express all the detailed data in the graph in complete sentence form.

To help you get started, the following video contains vocabulary words you can use in this task.

This kind of writing practice helps you learn how to not just capture all the Academic Writing Task 1 details, but capture them correctly. It’s easy to misinterpret the visuals in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 if you don’t practice analyzing them deeply. As an added bonus, this practice exercise can work as the first two paragraphs on Academic Writing task 1 essay, followed by a paragraph of analysis. (There are also other ways to construct the opening to your essay, of course.)

How to Improve Your Writing Score in IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Writing Task 2 is the same on both the Academic and General Training versions of the test. Here, attention to detail is also important in its own way. The questions for Task 2 are short, but it’s important to make sure you address the whole question, and address it correctly.

You might, for instance, see a statement that people are becoming more interested in science, technology and business, and less interested in art. (That’s an actual example from the IELTS Liz website.) This statement could be followed by a few different possible questions. You might be asked, “Do you feel this trend is good or bad?” Or you could be asked, “Why do you think this is?” Or you could even be asked, “Do you think this statement is true? Why or why not?” It’s easy to glance at the follow-up question too quickly, agreeing or disagreeing when you should be explaining why something is, or labeling a statement as untrue when you should be agreeing or disagreeing. If you miss the finer points of the question, you’ll answer the wrong question, and this can hurt your score badly.

Also be careful to come up with enough details of your own. Any argument you put forth on an IELTS Writing Task 2 prompt needs to be complete with a full set of supporting details. The better and more supportive your details are, the higher your score will be.

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