IELTS Writing: 12 Areas to Watch Out For!

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,296 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 2021 in IELTS Test
We don't mean to be negative, but here are 12 problem areas in writing.  If you do any of these, you'll reduce your score  :(.  So make sure you don't do these:

1.         Under length responses

This means that you don't write at least 150 words (Task 1) or 250 words (Task 2)

2.         Missing key features/bullet points

This means you leave out important (main points) from your Task 1 answer.

3.         Wrong format

This means that you have not written in block paragraphs.  For example, you have used bullet points and indented lists so your answer looks more like notes taken in a lecture.

4.         Wrong tone

For example, you could have been too informal (eg: instead of 'children', you have written 'kids', etc.).  In General Training Task 1 letter, you must choose the correct tone - it will be personal, semi-formal or formal.

5.         No overview

This means that you have not written a summary statement in your Task 1 response.

6.         Not enough data

In Academic Task 1 it is important that you back up your statements with actual figures/numbers.

7.         Not enough ideas

You must make sure that your ideas relate to the question.  Don't try to memorise an answer.  In Academic Task 1 don't try to interpret or give reasons for the data.

8.         Mechanical writing

In Academic Task 1, make sure you don't 'mechanically' describe the data (eg: in 2018 the numbers decreased to 17.  In 2019 the numbers increased to 21%.  In 2020 the numbers stayed the same.  In 2021 the numbers...)

9.         Off-topic/tangential/misunderstood

Don't try to memorise a full answer and hope that it will work on test day - it won't  :'(.  Make sure you carefully read the question and make sure your writing relates to the topic.

10.      Partially addressed the question

If the question asks: 'To what extent do you agree or disagree?'  It's important that you address both parts.  If a question asks, 'Discuss both sides and give your opinion', it's important that you include all three aspects.

11.      Paragraph problem

Make sure you write in block paragraphs (we recommend leaving a blank line between each paragraph) and make sure each paragraph contains a clear, central topic.

12.      Spelling errors
Aim to spell all words correctly  B)
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