Tips on how to write your IELTS essay

Some great tips on how to write your IELTS essay:

Well, this is a widely discussed issue about answering the Writing Task 2 of an IELTS test. In fact, the test takers are in deep trouble to deal with the questions and their potential answers. But this is not a big deal if someone follows some precise rules. This article is about some useful tips to start an IELTS essay and get a good band in the test. Before moving to the topic, some issues need discussion for you. So, an introductory speech would not taste bad to the beginners of IELTS test.

Achieving a band like 7.5+ is a long mountain to climb if the candidate lacks necessary preparations. The answers need to be perfectly correct and up to the standard. Application of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and vocabulary in right ways is also desired to achieve the score. The IELTS test taker should write the answers not entirely based on real facts. They have to apply their imaginations as well.

In IELTS Writing Task 2, an applicant is supposed to answer some particular questions. But, keep in mind – there is a limitation of time. The candidate should present the topic skillfully and obviously with no mistake. A pencil and paper will be used for the purpose, however, use of a pen is not prohibited. The candidate has to complete the task within the budgeted time – 40 minutes. No extra seconds will be offered.

There are some variations on the type of essays you might get in your writing task 2 question. They are usually – Opinion, Argument, Advantages/Disadvantages, Problem/solution and mixed essay. The candidates are also expected to use their experience and examples while answering them.

Actually, grading of the essay is predefined. The examiners mostly care about the coherence of the topic. Grammatical accuracy is also required. If you do not care about the grammar in your writing, you will lose a good portion of your score. Hence, this is always a good idea to know grammar, coherence, cohesion etc. while answering the writing section of this test.

Luckily, a wide number of tips and suggestions are available both online and offline, and the IELTS candidates can take a great help from those materials. It needs some moments to focus on the materials and know the secrets of success in IELTS.

I think you have got some ideas about the IELTS Writing Task 2 by now. So, let us start the tips.

Know the question:

Many of the IELTS candidates do not have any idea about the question as they do not read the question attentively. They simply answer the questions and copy some question lines on their answer script. They think it will add some exception. Wrong! I will not suggest copying questions from the question paper. Rather, my suggestions would be to follow the question. Get to know the question. Ask the question what it demands. In fact, this is a simple task. If you know your question completely, you would be able to understand what actually is demanded by the questions. You should never copy the question but always paraphrase it.

But if you know your question properly, you can answer them without losing any score. Knowing the questions plays a vital role here. DO NOT COPY questions on the answer script. Having the right knowledge on the question will help you answer them smoothly.


Take some notes:

A notable number of IELTS candidates avoid this step to save time. They do not take notes to deal with the questions. They have to realize that note taking is a part of the test. They need to take small notes either on their answer script or on their minds. This is a good way to raise the band score. A huge number of benefits are available in taking notes.

For instance, the IELTS question asks the candidate to write an essay about a problem about traffic congestions in his city and describes the detrimental impacts of the problem. Now the task is to describe the problems with proper examples.

In this case, a candidate should –

  • Take some notes on the negative effects of traffic congestions. Pondering about the problem will help to sort out the harmful effects like wasting time on streets, loss of working hours etc. And this is not waste of time at all.
  • Then the candidate should suggest some solutions. Adding some examples would raise chances of higher band in the test.

A brief model answer of the questions might be like this:

“Traffic congestion is increasing around the world. What is the situation in your own city? Do you have any suggestions that can help reduce the traffic jams?”

People consider traffic jam a curse as it kills valuable times and working hours every day.

(The candidate is supposed to take some drafts and then add the ideas into his answer) Reduction of traffic congestion is impossible to overnight. Awareness should be raised among people. Private vehicles should be reduced during peak hours.

Simply a model like this is helpful and the candidate should elaborate the answer necessarily.


Stick to the point:

While answering the Writing part 2, majority of the IELTS test takers are unable to stay focused to the point. They enlarge their answer unnecessarily. Most of the times, they cannot keep the track what they are writing. The entire writing becomes a hotchpotch for them. They forget about the rules and most importantly, they do not care about question topic. As a result, they miss the vital points of the questions. They forget about any important instruction. They also do not know what to do in such cases. Consequently, the Writing Part 2 becomes a nightmare for them. They blame their luck for not being successful in the test or for not getting the desired band.

Following a simple rule will improve the situation. As an IELTS test candidate, you will not need to elaborate the answers unnecessarily. You just need to stick to the main points. Write the answers to the point. Try making the points in line with the questions. If you want to put a logic, please keep it aligned with the question or with the relevant situations. Actually, the questions are not to assess your intelligence rather your knowledge on the topic. Underlining the keywords from the question will help you to set the answers.

For instance, the questions say to show the detrimental impacts of technology on youth and potential ways to get rid of it. And you begin this way-

“Technology is a blessing for all and it has countless benefits. It helps live a meaningful life but sometimes it has negative effects on young minds. People around the world are now dependent on technology. Youths are part of it. But they use it in a different manner. They are glued to the technological device. This is not good for them, I believe”

In fact, this is not the right approach. Your answer is derailing from the topic with unwanted lines. It wastes time, loses chances to a good score. Focusing on the problem would be more beneficial and you can do it this way –

“Technology is an asset but youths at present are abusing it. They waste time needlessly ….”


Budget your time:

Well, this is another important matter in the IELTS test. The time for the tests is limited. An applicant is to follow the time management skills while appearing on the test. There are varied suggestions regarding the time management. It is told before that the examiners will not allow a single extra second to the candidates to complete the test. When the time will be up, the live examiners will ask the candidates to stop writing or they will take the answer scripts. Hence, the candidates should be careful about time.

Planning ahead of time for the test would be the best. For completing an essay worth 250 to 280 words, an applicant should not use more than 36 minutes. This is from my personal experience. Though experts suggest spending around 40 minutes in this section and remaining 20 minutes for Writing Task 1. If someone can complete the task within 30 minutes, it points that s/ he will get a 10 minute extra. This 10 minutes could be used for different purposes. The applicants are in rush in the last moments. This extra minutes will help them in rush. They actually will not need to rush at all.


  • Budgeting the time for each of the section is a must. And this is too important for the Writing Part 2.
  • The applicant should not spend for over 5 minutes in thinking and planning. Actually, time flows rapidly in the test centres and exam halls.
  • Map your answers spending not more than 5 minutes.


Think out of the box:

IELTS is a competitive skill assessment test. If you are unable to score a better band, some other will have that. So, your thoughts on the test need to be critical. Please keep in mind that if you cannot think out of the box, you will lose chances to have a remarkable band. When your thoughts would be critical, you would be able analyzing the questions from different perspectives. Actually, the examiners want the candidates to think deeply and make a unique resolution to the problems. Unless the answer scripts are filled with out of the box ideas, the examiners do not find interest in scoring a higher band.

As an IELTS candidate, you also should know that an examiner takes part in various activities. Examining the answer scripts is one of them. And if the answers are not attractive, they will lose interest in the answer script and consequently, the candidate will have a poor band. You do not need to be a rocket scientist. Your writing does not need to win the Nobel Prize. Simply it should provide the necessary answers in proper details.

The answers should be well organized with a simple look. The answer should be easily comprehensible for the readers (or the examiners). If you can think crucially, reflect the thoughts on the answer script.


Care Lexical features:

Well, an IELTS test is about testing the English language skills of the applicants. The examiners are expected to assess your capabilities and capacities with the language. Many of the applicants do not have the idea about the lexical features. They repeat words again and again. This is a kind of expression of empty inside for the candidates. The examiner expects to see some variety of language in the answer script. They also have an expectation that the candidates should use different terms and phrases in the answer script to describe their imaginations. But in reality, they do not find such variations.

This is an important part for the IELTS candidates. They should check the words they have composed on the answer script. It is wise not to repeat words in the answer script. The more you will repeat, the more the examiner will have a negative impression about your vocabulary. He will comprehend that as an IELTS test taker, you own a poor language knowledge. So, the band will be selected accordingly.

Hence, this is extremely important to select your words and apply them in the right place and in the right manner. A revision is required to change the words repeated in the answer script. It is easier to find the repeated words. Since you are not writing an epic at the test centre, you definitely will have some time in hand (if you budget your time for each of the questions accordingly).


Use Paragraphs:

Many of the IELTS test takers are unaware about the fact. They do not use paragraphs in their writings. They write the answers on the answer scripts in a single para. They clearly express their opinions on the lengthy single paragraph. But this is not the way of making a respectable answer to Writing Task 2. Hence, the candidates should take the matter seriously. Breaking down the ideas in several paragraphs is a helpful method. The candidates should follow the method to have several paragraphs while answering the questions. Actually, the candidates are asked to write an essay. But a lengthy paragraph makes the answer a ‘paragraph’ only. This is not an essay.

Thereby, the chance of a higher band is reduced in this case. The examiners do not care for such essays and grade poorly. The best idea is to make a detailed plan. Make sure you break down the paragraphs before writing the answer. Experts appreciate around four paras for an essay.

You can take an example-

An agree-disagree Writing Task 2 asks you to write about the matter or brushing teeth twice in a day and seeks your opinion about it.

– The first thing is an introduction. You can introduce your ideas in the first paragraph.
– Place the agreements or logics that you generate on the second paragraph.
– Write down the disagreements on the third paragraph.
– Finally, place your own ideas in the last paragraph.

But you need to remain careful. Do not put any unwanted information on the paras. Do not add any expletives to expand the lines. Rather, it would be appreciated if you only expand your ideas with the right words.

At the end, you will find a healthy essay in all terms. To know more about paragraph writing on Writing Task 2, you can check some model answers from this website […………………………..].


Complete answers:

Interestingly, to reduce the pointless words, many of the IELTS test takers do not complete the answers. They prefer to write small sentences and in some cases, they write points only. But this is thoroughly a bad practice in IELTS test. The examiners are dissatisfied with such answers. The test is meant to assess your knowledge and skills on the English language. And if you do not complete the answers, the examiner will be unable to assess your potentials. Some examples might clear the fact.

An IELTS candidate can get a Writing Part 2 question like this:

“Climate change is a serious issue in these days.

What is causing global warming? How could they be neutralized? Is there any role of civil society other than the government?”

And many of the candidates fail to address the questions in right manner. Some of the wrong answers are as followed:

“Climate change is bad. This is hampering development. The potential ways to reduce climate change are –

– Reducing carbon emission
– Planting trees
– Stop deforestations
– And so on …….”

But in reality, an examiner does not prefer such answer against this weighty question. The answer should be planned in a different technique.

The answer has no serious problem but if the answering way is changed, it will bring a better result. Adding the points into a paragraph (each point in a para with an explanation of one or two lines) could do much better. The answer will be completed.


Know grammar, spelling, and punctuation:

An IELTS candidate should care about the application of spelling, grammar and punctuation marks. Using the wrong grammar, making some informal sentence structure or not putting punctuation marks on right places can reduce marks in Writing Part 2. The candidates have to be careful about the issue. A prior practice is desirable to have a high band score in IELTS.

You might write the answer script filled with mistakes of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. And it quite natural to make mistakes if you are writing in an offline setting. An example may prove beneficial here.

If we consider the former question given above –

“Climate change is a serious issue in these days. What is causing global warming? How they could be neutralized?”

“Reducing carbon emission is a great way to control climate change. People should be made aware of the issue. Planting trees everywhere is another way to defuse the problem.”


Be formal in language:

Application of informal expression is a common issue nowadays while discussion. But using the same type of language in Writing Task 2 is a big offence. In fact, the examiners will not love the matter. They would expect you to be formal in writing. Using the inappropriate terminologies and language is annoying for the examiners when they check the answer scripts.

Final words –

If you are armed with necessary knowledge, it is easier to have some high band score. Before moving for an IELTS Writing Task 2, a prior reading and knowing all the rules of the Grammar and language is a must. The tips here would also be supportive of potential candidates for IELTS takers. They should keep in mind that mistakes are unwelcomed and reduce the chances of success. Becoming practical is another way to carry some good bands. Be clear in expressing ideas without overstating. Adding examples than explanations will improve the writing style. The tips in this post will help them to get some good band score in this writing section.

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