Six ways to prepare for the IELTS Writing test
Whether you’re taking IELTS Academic or General Training, check out this advice about how to prepare for the IELTS Writing test. To give yourself the best chance of getting the IELTS Writing band score you need, it’s important that you do as many of the following as possible.
1. Become familiar with the types of writing task you could get.
Before you take your IELTS test, it’s important that you look at some examples of the types of writing task you could get. When you take your test, if you’ve already seen similar tasks to the ones you’re given, you’ll probably take less time to understand the tasks and write your answers.
The Cambridge IELTS series of official examination papers (e.g. Cambridge IELTS 6, 7 or 8) have lots of examples of IELTS Academic and General Training Writing Tasks.
For an example of an IELTS General Training Writing Task 1, have a look at our blog post ‘Some advice for IELTS General Training Writing Task 1‘.
For an example of an IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, have a look at our blog post ‘The chart shows…(2)‘.
For an example of IELTS Writing Task 2, have a look at our blog post ‘Discuss both views…‘.
2. Look at some example answers.
If you haven’t done any IELTS writing before or if you need to improve your writing, it’s important to look at some example answers for different IELTS writing tasks.
Before you read an example answer to a particular writing task, it would be a good idea to think about how you would answer the writing task yourself (i.e. think about what ideas or information you would include in your writing and how you would organise your answer).
After reading the example answer, you should think about what the writer has done well and how the writer could improve their writing. You may, for example, think that the writer has organised their ideas very clearly and that you could organise your ideas like that in your writing.
The Cambridge IELTS series of official examination papers (e.g. Cambridge IELTS 6, 7 or 8) has some example answers of IELTS Academic and General Training Writing Tasks written by candidates and examiners.
To see some example answers now, have a look at the posts in the ‘IELTS writing samples‘ category of our blog.
3. Do some IELTS writing under timed-conditions.
The IELTS Writing test is one hour long and many IELTS candidates find it difficult to finish both writing tasks in this time.
If you don’t do any timed-practice (i.e. if you don’t practice writing under some kind of time pressure), you may not finish your writing in the test and lose marks because your answers are too short.
4. Do some IELTS writing practice without worrying about how long it takes you.
As well as practicing under timed-conditions, it’s important to do some writing practice where you try to improve the quality of your writing by, for example, looking up some vocabulary that you need in a dictionary.
If you only do timed-practice, you may be able to finish your writing in the test but your writing may not be good enough to get the band score you need.
5. Become familiar with how the examiner will assess your writing.
If you understand what the examiner will look at in your writing, it can help you understand what you need to do to prepare for the IELTS Writing test.
If you know, for example, that the examiner will check that you’ve used a range of vocabulary in your writing, and you know that you don’t use many different words in your writing, you’ll know that you need to focus on improving your vocabulary before your test.
You can find out more about how the examiner will assess your writing on the ‘IELTS Writing‘ page of our website.
6. Get some feedback on your writing.
If you don’t know what you need to do to improve your writing, or you know what you need to do but don’t know how to do it, it would be a good idea to get some help with your writing by taking an IELTS preparation course or getting some help from an experienced IELTS tutor.
Getting some feedback on your writing from a tutor who is familiar with the IELTS writing criteria used by IELTS examiners can help you improve your writing and get the band score you need.
If you’d like some individual feedback on your writing, have a look at our IELTS tutoring options for writing.
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