IELTS, TOEFL & TOEIC writing - should you use personal pronouns?
Since this is asking for YOUR OWN knowledge or experience, is it okay to use words such as 'I', 'me', 'my', 'we', 'you'?
The answer to this question is yes and no .
Have a look at the following sample extract from a student's IELTS Task 2 answer:
We have highlighted two personal pronouns. The reason they are highlighted is because it is wrong to use them in this context. So what do we do? We should write such sentences in the passive voice because this is more academic (which IELTS likes!). Here's how we would write the paragraph extract above:
The main point: use sparingly (if at all) personal pronouns in IELTS formal writing!
On the TOEIC test, you are asked to write an email and an essay as two of the writing sections. The TOEIC is a test of business English, not formal essay writing, so you may use an informal writing style to answer the questions, as you would in a business situation.
The TOEFL exam requires candidates to use university-level English. The second writing section on this exam is a 300 word essay (or more words). Because the essay questions often ask for you to agree or disagree, you may write using the first person pronoun (I) or first person plural (we see that, we find). It is also possible to use the second person for examples (you see, if you do). However, the vocabulary and structures must reflect university level grammar and word choice.
For information about personal pronouns in IELTS Academic Task 1, go here.