Help yourself to IELTS success in Academic Writing

Hi Everyone,

We are going to look at writing and some tips to help you to better IELTS writing success.

There are two tasks in the Academic Writing test.

Task 1) This is a task where you have to describe the important features of a graph, table or chart by summarising the main points and making comparisons where required.

Task 2) In this task you will be asked to write a short essayon a topic.  You will be asked to give your viewpoint on the issue (possibly points for and against) along with your reasons for your answer.  These will have to be supported by relevant examples.

In both test questions you will be required to time yourself and you will also be given a number of words beyond which you must not exceed.

There are  a number of ways in which you can prepare yourself  for both questions.  Read on…

Task 1) 

Read through the  practice task and ensure you know what you are being asked to do, i.e. look fully at the chart, graph etc, look at the instructions and really be sure you have thoroughly understood it.

Next, list the main and relevant features of the chart, graph etc and write down any specific details.  Look at any specific comparisons to be made between the data variants.  Think about the specific data – do not make assumptions, then write down your ideas.  Your ideas at this point should specifically be on the actual data in the given chart or graph.

Now think about the actual  form of the answer.  Ask yourself for example, is there an introduction and conclusion?   How is the answer organised and are there any special vocabulary and grammatical structures needed for it?  Really anaslyse the question.

Finally, have a go at writing your own answer in the time suggested.

Task 2

Have a look at the practice task and make sure you have understood all parts of the task (the words in bold italics tell you what you must answer.)

Think about how many parts there are to the task – do you only have to discuss one part, two or more?  Brainstorm your ideas by writing words/ideas about all parts of the task relevant to the essay.

Now consider the relevant ideas in the task.  Which are the most important?  Which could be included?  Which are claims/views and how can you support them?

Now think about the actual language you are going to use when writing your essay.  Make a list of the expressions, words and structures you might use to organise your essay, i.e. signpost language/linkers//interesting and relevant vocabulary.

Have a go at writing the essay in the time suggested.


Now let’s look at some general writing tips to support you…

Try to get over any reluctance you have for writing by writing whenever you get the chance.  The more you write, the easier the writing process becomes.

Take charge of your own learning process…. write a short article, review or critique on different news articles, short novels you have read, a film you have seen etc.  Ask your tutor to assess and comment on them.

Think about how a piece of writing is organised.  What style is  it written in?  Is there any special vocabulary? Referencing?  How are the paragraphs linked?

Try focusing on intoductions, conlusions and body paragraphs separately.  Look at how they are constructed and give time to practising them.

Think about planning your work.  What exactly needs to go into your essay/artcle?  Think carefully about the structure of the particular piece you are working on and jot it down before you start on the actual writing.

Record new vocabulary and try to re-use it when writing and check your work for errors – use a dictionary when needed!

Finally…. good luck and enjoy your writing!

Watch out for some great tips in the final part on IELTS Speaking and Listening coming soon….

(Go to: for further information and tips for candidates.)