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IELTS Writing Task 2

As in writing task one, the essay will receive a grade based equally on four criteria: task response, coherence and cohesion, vocabulary, and grammar.

With this task taking up 66 percent, or two thirds, of your final written exam score, it is important for you to know the fundamentals of how to do well on this test, including:

  • We recommend that you budget 40 minutes for this portion of the test, though you can take as long as you want.
  • Make sure that your word count exceeds 250. IELTS assigns significant penalties for using too few words.
  • All words get counted. Each number counts as a single wordGT Writing Task 2 is the same format as Academic IELTS.

Essay topics will come in one of a number of types, including:

  • Opinion
  • Discussion
  • Advantage/Disadvantage
  • Direct Questions
  • Solutions

Planning Your Essay

Those familiar with the test suggest that you take at least 10 minutes to develop an outline and plan your essay. Some, however, will develop a strong outline plan in five minutes or less. How much time you take is determined by your ability to quickly form the outline. Take care to develop your ideas along the lines suggested by the topic and the assigned essay type.

Half of your essay’s score will be determined by how directly you answer the topic question, present ideas relevant to the topic, use supporting points that add clarity to the discussion, and coherence in organisation.

Your essay plan should take the following into consideration:

  • Clearly identify assigned issue.
  • Use brainstorming techniques to form important points.
  • Select the best points that are most relevant to the topic.
  • Plan your supporting points of evidence.
  • Organise your paragraphs.
  • Many writing test candidates inadvertently plan to fail because they fail to plan. Use your time wisely and make sure that you have a plan in place prior to composing your essay.

Final Advice On Formal Writing

Here are some tips on how to successfully compose a formal essay:

  • Never use contractions in formal writing.
  • Only write formal essays in the third person point of view.
  • Make sure that you are 100 percent certain of an obscure or complex word’s meaning before using it.
  • Avoid worn-out cliches that often distract from the seriousness of the topic.
  • Do not use overwhelming amounts of quoted material.
  • Try to use active language when possible. Active voice does not rely too much on passive verbs.
  • Read some of the English language’s best writers and essayists to get familiar with the format, including, but not limited to, George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens, G. K. Chesterton, William F. Buckley, H. L. Mencken, and many others.
  • Great readers make great writers.
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