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7 Key Tips for Success When Preparing for the IELTS Writing Test

By Sophia Anderson

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a standardized test for evaluating English language proficiency. The candidates are tested in four parts: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

The listening, reading, and speaking part take a lot of practice and preparation, but the candidates gradually go through the training process. The writing part, on the other hand, is what most test-takers are afraid of.

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Why Does the IELTS Include an Essay?

The essay presents your writing style – an important factor that shows you’re able to think in English. The mastery of essay writing starts with mastery of basic language skills. That’s why you’ll need to engage in daily grammar practice and learn new words every day, so you’ll be able to write a great essay on the test.

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Understanding the Essay

The General version of the exam requires you to write an essay that gives an opinion, discusses a point, or examines a cause and effect.

Emily Waldman, an essay expert and tutor from EssaysOnTime, explains why the writing section is so challenging for the candidates: “The setting is pressuring. The candidate has a limited time to think of a focused answer and present it through a well-structured essay. Grammar and spelling mistakes are quite possible to occur when you’re rushing to complete the essay, and you may lose the logical flow somewhere along the way.”

How to prepare for the IELTS Essay Writing?
  1. Start practicing essay writing as early as possible. Take one sample question per day and write your answer.
  2. Find a tutor who will guide you through the practice and make you aware of the mistakes you make in writing.
  3. Search for essay samples online. When you see how a proper essay should look like, it will be easier for you to formulate a response.

  4. Use online tools that will help you check your grammar and spelling. Hemingway App, Grammarly, After the Deadline, and ProWritingAid are only a few that can help you identify the most common mistakes you make.
  5. Write down all the new words and phrases you read in the sample essays. This way, you’ll improve your vocabulary through the practice course.
  6. You’ll need to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2 of the writing section. You get one hour for both tasks, so spend approximately 20 minutes on the first task, and 40 minutes on the second one. Every time you practice, try to write within those timeframes.

  7. Don’t be afraid to use complex grammar structures. Your mentor will tell you whether you’re using them properly, and you’ll get more confident in your skills with practice.
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Useful tips during the IELTS Writing Exam

1.Before writing your answer, read the task very carefully. Make sure you understand the question. Ask yourself: what is the topic? Every sentence you write should be related to it.

2. Take a few minutes to write a brief outline, which will define your main point of view and one idea per paragraph. The outline will help you write a focused essay.

3. Write in a clear, focused manner. Try to keep your sentences short and simple. However, you should avoid too plain and common language, as well as informal expressions.

4. The question may sound so impressive that will make you copy whole sentences from it as you reply to it when writing your essay. Better avoid that and write in your own words.

5. Try not to extend the length of your essay more than required. The minimum for the second task is 250 words, so 300 words would be right enough. Since you will not have time to count the words during the exam, you should know that usually, one page covers around 300 words.

6. Don’t repeat the same words too often and try to use synonyms, especially if you feel the need to emphasise the same idea in a single paragraph.

7. Leave some time for editing. You need to catch and fix the grammatical and spelling flaws before you submit the test. It’s best to leave at least 5 minutes for rewriting your first draft into a clean copy.

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Maybe you can’t become a brilliant essay writer overnight. However, you can definitely take your writing skills to a satisfactory level with enough practice and commitment. The writing section for the IELTS essay is challenging, but you’ll go through it with ease if you start preparing as soon as possible. Good luck!

Author's Bio: Sophia Anderson is an associate educator, online language tutor and freelance writer. She believes that learning something new every day is a must. Her inspiration comes from reading books and online blog posts that cover a wide range of her interests. Meet her at Facebook or LinkedIn.

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