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Essay Tips For Ielts

The IELTS ACADEMIC module tests candidates on their ability to write two forms of essays in the writing section of the test. The Writing section is divided into two parts and both the parts would have to be completed in 60 minutes. In the first part called WRITING TASK 1 the candidate is given a task based on some information presented in a graphic and diagrammatic form and is expected to write a report of not more than 150 words on the information provided. In the second part, called WRITING TASK 2, candidates are assessed on their ability to produce a clear and logical argument on a given topic in a neatly written essay of not more than 250 words.

The IELTS GENERAL TRAINING module also has 2 parts to the writing section but the tasks vary from the academic module. The GENERAL TRAININGWRITING TASK 1 requires candidates to write a letter based on a situation described in the task. WRITING TASK 2 is an essay based on a given topic. The word count is the same as it is for the academic writing tasks 1 and 2.

The assessment criteria for marking both the ACADEMIC and the GENERAL are by and large the same.  IELTS examiners would be largely interested in the Content, Organization, Vocabulary and Grammar-the four main areas of assessment.

Here are 7 points to keep in mind while attempting the writing tasks of the ACADEMIC and GENERAL TRAINING modules.

  1. To prepare for the ACADEMIC WRITING TASK 2   you need to analyze and brainstorm different essay topics so that you have a range of ideas on IELTS –type questions. You could procure the essay question types from the internet. Reading up sample essays would also help in building a good pool of examples that can be used when required.
  2. After brainstorming for ideas, you would have to plan the writing of the essay. Always good to start with introducing the topic and establishing your point of view on the subject. The introductory paragraph can also contain the examples you plan to use in the rest of the essay. The subsequent paragraphs will contain an elaboration of the examples mentioned in the introductory paragraph, while the concluding paragraph will tie the examples back to the main point of view.
  3. To spruce up the essay it is good to use an argumentative style of writing. To be able to write argumentatively it is important to use certain words and phrases such as, While/although ; despite the fact, It could be argued etc.
  4. The ACADEMIC TASK 1 is about understanding graphic information. A good tip would be to work on pie charts or bar diagrams or tables of information presented in newspapers or business articles.  Alternatively you can draw a pie chart to show what percentage of time you spend on the following activities in an average week: watching TV, working, studying, sleeping, using the internet, doing sport, doing other activities. The next step would be to write a summary of the information you have provided in the chart. Simple, isn’t it?
  5. The WRITING TASK 1of the GENERAL TRAINING module requires that the candidate write a formal or informal letter depending on the purpose of the letter. The instructions in the task will describe a situation and tell you exactly who to write to. This is followed by 3 bulleted points which help you to organize the content of your letter.  The trick is to adhere to the bulleted points all the time. If the bulleted points are not dealt with either directly or remotely, you will not secure more than Band 4 for content.
  6. Letter writing is always formal, even in informal letters. The tone has to be polite and the language should be grammatically and logically complete. Slang and senseless rhetoric should be avoided.
  7. Keep to the word count.  Short answers lose marks, but there are no extra marks for long answers. Do count your words to make sure you have written enough.

Follow the tips presented above and hope to see your band score improve!!!

IELTS Writing

The IELTS writing module varies depending on whether you are doing the Academic Test (for university applications) or the General Test (usually for work / general migration). 

In IELTS Academic you have to describe a graph or diagram (Task 1) and write an essay (Task 2). 

In IELTS General Training you have to write a letter (Task 1) and write an essay (Task 2). 

So you have to write an essay for whichever one you choose, but the other part is different depending on which module you are taking. 

The Task 2 (essay) is actually worth more marks than the Task 1 (graph or letter) so you should spend 40 minutes of the time on the essay and 20 minutes on the graph / letter. 

This difference in marking is represented in the number of words you have to write, which is a minimum of 150 for the Task 1 and 250 for the Task 2.

Task 1
(150 Words)
Describe a
Graph or Diagram
Write a Letter
Task 2
(250 Words)
Write an EssayWrite an Essay

Strategies for IELTS Writing

These are some of our top pages for learning more about writing, or scroll down below for more information about what you have to do in each module of the writing test. 


These are useful for Academic or General Training as an essay has to be written for both:

Graphs and Diagrams (Academic)

Letters (General Training)

Questions from the Forums

You can also learn about the test, see questions people have asked or ask your own questions in the IELTS Forum: 

And if you need help with your writing you may be able to find a teacher here:

IELTS Grammar

You must be able to use complex sentences in your writing. Check out all the IELTS Grammar Lessons:

Improve your writing score quickly

Task 1 and Task 2 eBooks

"The books are beautifully written and are just as they say on the cover - a step-by-step guide. I highly recommend them!

Linda - Italy

Academic Task 1

In the first section you will need to describe, summarize or explain a graph, diagram or process. Here is an example question: 

You will have to describe the chart in no less than 150 words. In this section of the test, you could also get a line graph, a pie chart, a process, a table, or a map to describe.

Check out this video giving you an overview and tips on the language you'll need to know:

Academic Task 2

Task 2 is an essay question. You will have to write a response to the question giving reasons and examples to support your answer. The topics are general interest. 

Here is an example of a question:

Check out this video giving you an overview of the kind of questions you could get for the IELTS Essay:

General Training Task 1

The task of the general training module is to write a letter. You will be presented with a situation and you will need to write your letter explaining the situation or asking for information. The letter may be one of three styles: 

  1. Personal
  2. Semi-Formal
  3. Formal

Your response will have to reflect the appropriate style. 

Here is an example question:

You want to sell your television. You think a friend of yours might like to buy it from you. Write a letter to your friend.

In your letter:

  • Explain why you are selling the television
  • Describe the television
  • Suggest a date when your friend can come and see it

Write at least 150 words

You do NOT need to write any addresses

Begin your letter as follows:


General Training Task 2

This is the same as the IELTS writing Academic module. You will need to write an essay responding to a point of view, argument or problem.

However, on the test day, the essay will be different to the one given to those taking the Academic module.

The essays is sometimes in a slightly more personal style than for the academic essay, but you need to follow the same methods for writing the essay.

Check it out here

Worried about your grammar for IELTS Writing?

Problem Solved!

This grammar eBook is packed full of grammar explanations and practice exercises. 

It focuses on advanced grammar as you need to use complex grammar to get a higher score.


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The chart shows components of GDP in the UK from 1992 to 2000.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

The dangers and complexities of the modern world have made the mobile phone an absolute necessity for children.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

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