IELTS Writing Section

The IELTS writing section is one of four sections that make up the IELTS exam.

You’ve 60 minutes to complete two separate writing tasks. You’ll take either the general IELTS or academic IELTS writing task. Which you take will depend on the reason you’re taking the exam and the institution that has requested the test.

General Information and Tips

The IELTS writing section is important if you want to study in English.

I’ll explain the precise nature of each part of the IELTS writing section in a moment but first some general information and tips that are helpful for both modules.

  • In both the general and academic sections, for task 1 you’ll need to write a minimum of 150 words and for task 2 a minimum of 250 words.
  • You can write more for each task, but shouldn’t as time is tight to complete this section. Write just a little bit more than the minimum requirement.
  • Spend 20 minutes on task 1 and 40 minutes on task 2.
  • Answer the question you’ve been given. Read the question/task description for each part and make sure you answer it fully in your response. If you don’t you’ll lose marks.
  • Don't learn model answers by heart and write that in the IELTS writing task. The examiners know how to spot this and will automatically give you zero if you do this.
  • Make sure you use a suitable IELTS vocabulary. To gain higher bands you’ll be expected to use a range of different words. So also work to expand your vocabulary.
  • There are expected formats for answering each type of question so learn those and write your answer in accordance with them. See the specifics of each task later on this page.
  • Do plenty of IELTS writing preparation. You need to have written lots of answers to previously published questions so you’ll be ready and confident when taking the exam. 
  • Also look and study sample answers to see how an answer should be written.

IELTS Writing Tasks

I’ll now explain a bit about each of the four possible IELTS writing tasks as well as give a link to a page dedicated to each.

Academic IELTS writing task 1
In this task you’ll need to study some information, such as a graph or table, and then write a descriptive report about the information. You’ll need to describe the main trends in the data, highlight interesting data points and provide a summary of all the information included in the task. See the page about writing an IELTS report for more information.

Academic IELTS writing task 2
In this task you’ll be given a statement or argument that you’ll have to respond to. Sometimes you’ll have to produce a balanced answer while for others you’ll need to give an answer just supporting one side of an argument. In this task organisation is very important, as well as giving supporting points. See the page about writing an IELTS essay for more information.

General IELTS writing task 1
For the general task 1 you’ll need to write a letter. The question will include a situation and you’ll need to write an appropriate response. You’ll need to use the correct format and answer the question fully, include all the requested information to do well in this task. See the page about writing an IELTS letter for more information.

General IELTS writing task 2
This task is an essay writing task again, similar to the academic task 2 but the topic will be different. Again you’ll need to answer the question fully and support your answer. See the page about writing an IELTS essay for more information.

If you need help or advice about the IELTS written section have a look at the page about our IELTS writing correction service. On this page I explain how you can get help from the experienced team of ELS teachers that are part of Excellent Proofreading and Writing. Alternatively come to our Facebook page to ask question or find more information.

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