What’s in the IELTS General Training Writing test?

There are two Writing tasks and BOTH must be completed.

 

In Task 1, you have to respond to a situation by writing a letter, for example, asking for information or explaining a situation. 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, Task achievement refers to how well your letter achieves its purpose.

 

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

General Training Writing – Task 1

What’s involved?In General Training Writing Task 1, you are given a situation and you need to write a response of at least 150 words in the form of a letter. Depending on the task, the letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style. The question paper tells you what information to include in the form of three bullet points. 

You might need to ask for or give information and/or explain a situation. The situations you need to write about are common, everyday situations such as: 

  • writing to a college accommodation officer about problems with your accommodation
  • writing to a new employer about problems you are having with managing your time
  • writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport
  • writing to a renting agency to sort out problems with the heating system in your house.

The style of writing that you use depends on who you are asked to write to and how well you are supposed to know them. You need to choose a style that is appropriate for your audience and will help you achieve your purpose for writing, e.g. writing to a friend (personal) or writing to a manager (semi-formal or formal). 

You should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. You need to write at least 150 words and will be penalised if your answer is too short. While candidates 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 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 do not need to write any addresses at the top of your letter. 

You must write your answer on the answer sheet. 

What skills are tested?This task tests if you are able to write a letter which is well organised and appropriate in its register and style. 

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

  • ask for and/or provide general factual information
  • express needs, wants, likes and dislikes
  • express opinions (views, complaints, etc.). 
How much do I have to write?A minimum of 150 words.

 

General Training Writing – Task 2

 

What’s involved?In General Training Writing Task 2, you need to write a semi-formal/neutral discursive essay of a minimum of 250 words. 

The instructions for Task 2 give information about an opinion, argument or problem. The instructions then tell you what you should discuss in your essay. 

You will need to write about a topic of general interest, such as: 

  • whether children’s leisure activities should be educational
  • how environmental problems can be solved
  • whether smoking should be banned in public places.

You should make sure that you write your answer carefully so that you give a complete response that is also relevant. To do this 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. For this task, you need to be able to discuss more abstract and complex ideas and use a variety of vocabulary and grammatical structures. 

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: 

  • provide general factual information
  • outline a problem and present a solution
  • present and possibly justify an opinion
  • evaluate and discuss ideas, evidence or an argument.
How much do I have to write?A minimum of 250 words.

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