What’s in the IELTS Academic Writing test?

There are two Writing tasks and BOTH must be completed.

 

In Task 1, you have to describe some visual information in your own words (a graph, table, chart or diagram). You need to write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.

 

In Task 2, you are given a point of view, argument or problem which you need to discuss. You need to write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.

 

You must write your answers using full sentences. You must not write your answers as notes or bullet points. You must write your answers on the answer sheet. You are allowed to write notes on the question paper, but these will not be seen by the examiner.

 

Marking

 

Certificated IELTS examiners assess your performance on each Writing task. There are four assessment criteria (things which the examiner thinks about when deciding what score to give you): 

  • – Task achievement/response
  • – Coherence and cohesion
  • – Lexical resource
  • – Grammatical range and accuracy. 

Task achievement (in Task 1) and Task response (in Task 2) assesses how accurately, appropriately and relevantly your response covers the task requirements, using the minimum of 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2. 

In Task 1, all the information you require is given in the diagram. 

In Task 2, Task response includes how well you develop your argument in response to the task, giving evidence and examples which may be from your own experience. 

Coherence and cohesion assesses how clear and fluent your writing is, and how you organise ideas and information. It includes giving your ideas in a logical order, and using a range of cohesive devices (for example, linking words, pronouns and conjunctions, etc.) appropriately. 

Lexical resource assesses the range of vocabulary you have used, and how accurately and appropriately you use it. 

Grammatical range and accuracy assesses the range of grammar you have used and how accurately and appropriately you have used it. 

 

Summary

 

Time allowed:60 minutes
Number of tasks:2
Marking:Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score.
Tasks 1 and 2

Academic Writing – Task 1

What’s involved?In Academic Writing Task 1, you may be asked to describe:

  • one or more graphs, charts or tables
  • a diagram of an object, device, process or event. You have to include the most important points in the diagram. Some minor points or details may be left out.

You should write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style.

You should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. You must write at least 150 words and will be penalised if your answer is too short. While you will not be penalised for writing more than 150 words, you should remember that a longer Task 1 answer may mean that you have less time to spend on Task 2, which contributes twice as much to your Writing band score.

You should remember that you will be penalised if what you write does not relate to the topic. You will also be penalised if your answer is not written as a whole piece of connected text (i.e. you must not use notes or bullet points). You will be severely penalised if your writing is plagiarised (i.e. copied from another source).

You must write your answer on the answer sheet.

What skills are tested?This task tests if you can give a well-organised overview of the visual information using language that is appropriate in its register and style.

Depending on the task type, you will be assessed on your ability to:

  • organise, present and possibly compare data
  • describe stages of a process or procedure
  • describe an object, event or sequence of events
  • explain how something works.
How much do I have to write?A minimum of 150 words.

 

Academic Writing – Task 2

 

What’s involved?In Academic Writing Task 2, you are given a topic to write about. Your answer should discuss the most relevant issues. You must read the task carefully so that you can write a full answer that is relevant. For example, if the topic is a particular aspect of the wider topic of computers, you should focus on this aspect only in your answer. You should not simply write about computers in general. 

You should write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style. You will need to organise your ideas clearly and make sure you use relevant examples (which can be from your own experience, if relevant) or evidence. 

You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task. You must write at least 250 words and will be penalised if your answer is too short. While you will not be penalised for writing more than 250 words, if you write a very long answer you may not have time for checking and correcting at the end, and some ideas may not be directly relevant to the question. You may also produce handwriting which is unclear. 

You should remember that you will be penalised if what you write is not related to the topic. You will also be penalised if your answer is not written as a whole piece of connected text (i.e. you must not use notes or bullet points). You will be severely penalised if your writing is plagiarised (i.e. copied from another source). 

You must write your answer on the answer sheet.

What skills are tested?This task tests if you can write a clear, relevant, well-organised argument, giving evidence or examples to support your ideas, and use language accurately. 

Depending on the task type, you will be assessed on your ability to:

  • present a solution to a problem
  • present and justify an opinion
  • compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications
  • evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.
How much do I have to write?You must write a minimum of 250 words.

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