IELTS Writing: learn how to write great letters, reports and essays

The IELTS Writing test is the part of the IELTS exam which most students find the hardest. In fact, in every country in the world, students get a lower band score in the writing test than they do in speaking, listening or reading.

In this section we include information, advice and preparation tips for the IELTS Writing test. Read this page and click on the links for more information.

IELTS Writing

Like the reading test, the writing test has two different types: the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS.

The Academic IELTS is for people who are going to study overseas in an English-speaking country. The General Training IELTS is for people who want to work or live abroad.

You do the writing test after the listening and reading parts of the test.

Academic Test

The academic writing test consists of tasks. It takes 60 minutes.

IELTS Writing Task 1

In writing task 1 you have to write a short descriptive report about some visual information or a table of data. The visual information is most commonly presented as a bar chart, a line graph or a pie chart. However, it could also be a process diagram or a map.

In task 1 you must write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on task 1.

How is Task 1 assessed?

You are assessed on the following:

  • how well you achieve the task set out in the question (Task Achievement)
  • how well you organize your essay and link your ideas together (Coherence and Cohesion)
  • the range, accuracy and appropriateness of the vocabulary you use (Lexical Resource)
  • the range, accuracy and appropriateness of the grammar you use (Grammatical Range and Accuracy)

Read more about cohesion in IELTS writing.

For more information, read The Essential Guide to IELTS Writing Task 1.

IELTS Writing Task 1: The Essential Guide

IELTS Writing Task 2

In writing task 2 you have to write an academic-style essay on an everyday topic, such as the environment, health or education.

In Task 2 you must write at least 250 words. You should spend about 40 minutes on Task 2.

How is Task 2 assessed?

You are assessed on the following:

  • how well you respond to the question (Task Response)
  • how well you organize your essay and how well you link the ideas together (Coherence and Cohesion)
  • the range, accuracy and appropriateness of the vocabulary you use (Lexical Resource)
  • the range, accuracy and appropriateness of the grammar you use (Grammatical Range and Accuracy)

Read more about cohesion in IELTS writing.

For more information, read The Essential Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2.

IELTS Writing Task 2: The Essential Guide

General Training Test

IELTS Writing Task 1

In writing task 1 of the General Training test, you have to write a letter in response to a certain situation. The most common examples of Task 1 letters are to request information or to make a complaint.

In task 1 you must write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on task 1.

The General Training letters are assessed in exactly the same way as the Academic IELTS reports.

IELTS Writing Task 2

Writing Task 2 in the General Training IELTS is almost the same as for the Academic IELTS. You have to write an academic-style essay on an everyday topic, but the topics are more familiar and everyday that those in the Academic IELTS test.

In Task 2 you must write at least 250 words. You should spend about 40 minutes on Task 2.

The General Training essays are assessed in exactly the same way as the Academic IELTS essays.

Important Points

What happens if I do not write the minimum number of words?

You must write the minimum number of words. If you go under the minimum number of words, your band score for Task Achievement (Task 1) or Task Response (Task 2) will go down.

Read more about how many words you should write in IELTS Writing, and what happens if you don't.

IELTS Writing Task 2 is worth more than Task 1

When the IELTS examiner assesses your essays, they will give you a band score for Writing Task 1 and a separate band score for Writing Task 2.

It is important to understand that Task 2 is worth roughly double that of Task 1. This is why you should spend more time on Task 2 than Task 1.

Read more about how IELTS Writing band scores are calculated.

Do you want more tips, information and ideas?

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