How to prepare for IELTS – Writing

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Details of the writing test Task 1 Bar and line graphs, pie charts & tables Process or flow charts Objects/how something works How to prepare for Task 1 Task 2 Questions How to prepare for Task 2 General tips for writing

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Make sure you have a copy of the How to prepare for IELTS – FAQs booklet in addition to this booklet.

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However. You will be given a card with the two tasks – one task on each side of the card. there could also be more than one of the same type of graph or a combination of graphs and charts. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Length & Timing You have to write at least 150 words. Using connective words to link sentences and paragraphs logically. Bar charts.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Details of the Writing Test Procedure of the test The writing test is the third test you do on the test day.31) or a line graph and a table. For example. You have 60 minutes for this test. There are two tasks or parts to do. 2 3 . you could also be given an object or series of pictures or diagrams or a flow chart to describe. p. Marking The Tasks Task 1 This task tests your ability to perform one or more of the following functions in English: describe and interpret graphic data describe the stages of a process or procedure describe an object or event or sequence of events explain how something works Your performance in Task 1 will be assessed on the criteria below: Task Fulfillment Being able to follow the instructions properly. pie charts and tables are most frequently given for this task. accurate and relevant description of the information. line graphs. You will also be given an answer booklet. Using a variety of sentence structures. The question You are given graphic or pictorial information and you have to write a description of this information. However. If graphs are used there may be just one – usually a line graph or a bar chart. Notes are not acceptable and essays under the word limit will be penalized. Vocabulary and Sentence Structure Using a range of appropriate vocabulary. Being able to write a clear. You can make notes or write your plans on the card but it will not be seen by the examiner. you could get a bar chart and a pie chart together (see Cambridge IELTS 1. You have to write your essays in the answer booklet. You are advised to spend 20 minutes on this task. Coherence and Cohesion Being able to organize your writing using a suitable structure. Being able to focus on the important trends presented as graphic information.

Incidences of firework accidents in 1984. You should write at least 150 words. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below. You should write at least 150 words. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below. secondary and tertiary students in Britain spend their free time. The chart below shows how primary. pie charts & tables Look at the two examples below. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Example 2 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 1 – Bar and line graphs. The pie charts below show incidences of firework injuries in Great Britain in 1984 and 1998. How students in Britain spend their free time (5 or more hours a week). Example 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. - 11% 33% At public displays 28% At a club/society display At a family party Children playing alone 28% 4 5 . 5% 16% At public displays 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Watching TV Homework 47% At a club/society display At a family party Children playing alone Primary Secondary Tertiary ExtraWorking for Using the curricular money Internet school activities 32% Incidences of firework accidents in 1998.

• Think about the time period represented and the tense(s) you should be using. • Make sure you follow the lines in a line graph correctly and don’t confuse the individual lines if more than one is present. • If there are two graphs or charts look for ways to compare the data.72 for example). If. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 1 . Use your own words. p. Your body will need to describe the graph(s) in detail. • Don’t include information that is not on the graph or in the chart. • Leave a couple of minutes to read through what you have written. • Try to write neatly and cross out errors with one line only. You will need an introductory statement. you are NOT being asked for your opinion on the information. 6 7 . • Don’t take more than 20 minutes over this task. (See Cambridge IELTS 1. body and conclusion. ‘occupations’. for example. An opinion would be considered ‘irrelevant’ for this task. • Make sure you organize your information clearly. Your introduction should introduce the graph(s) etc. pie charts & tables • Spend about 5 minutes reading the graph(s) or chart(s) and preparing your answer. • Remember there will usually be too much information for you to describe every detail. You should write at least 150 words. the graph refers to job types – interchange ‘jobs’. just to report it.Processes or flow charts Look at the example below. The following flowchart shows the process students at an English language school go through. • Think about varying your vocabulary and avoiding repetition by using synonyms. Remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary. so you will need to focus on the key information or significant trends. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. ‘types of employment/work’ etc. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information shown below.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing How to do Task 1 – Bar and line graphs. • Make sure you understand what the axis on the graph(s) or the percentages in the pie chart(s) represent. • Don’t copy phrases from the question as this will not be assessed. Your conclusion should summarise your report and come to a relevant conclusion about any overall trends. This may be considered irrelevant and cause you to get a lower mark.

Your introduction should introduce the process or flow chart. you are NOT being asked for your opinion on the information. • For this report you will need to guide the reader with sequence expressions such as ‘first of all’. ‘occupations’. • Try to write neatly and cross out errors with one line only. • Use any notes on the diagram but put them into your own words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. • Make sure you understand how the object works. You should write at least 150 words. ‘types of employment/work’ etc. An opinion would be considered ‘irrelevant’ for this task. ‘concurrently’ etc. • Don’t take more than 20 minutes over this task. A conclusion is not necessary. How to do Task 1 – Objects/how something works • Spend about 5 minutes studying the object and preparing your answer. • Leave a couple of minutes to read through what you have written. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 1 . You will need an introduction and body for this report.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing How to do Task 1 – Processes and flow charts • Spend about 5 minutes studying the flow chart or diagram and preparing your answer. • Think about varying your vocabulary. Your body will describe the process or flow chart in a logical order. Find the most logical place to begin a description of the object. If. (See Holmesglen website downloadable writing booklet p. Remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary. Use synonyms. the diagram describes jobs – interchange ‘jobs’. 8 9 . Find a place to begin and work your way through or around the diagram or chart. • Make sure you understand what the important stages of the flow chart or diagram are and that you know what order they all come in. • Don’t copy phrases from the instructions as this will not be assessed. summarizing its overall function. Write a report for a university lecturer describing the information and explaining how a washing machine works. ‘at the same time’. just to report it.Objects/how something works See the example below.39). ‘after that’. for example. • Make sure you organize your information clearly. Use your own words. The diagrams below show how to plumb in a washing machine. • You will need to include all the stages in your description. • Make sure you are aware of any stages that happen at the same time as other stages or are alternatives. • You will probably be using the present simple passive and present simple if you are describing a process.

just a description of it. p. p. See Focus on IELTS. See Focus on IELTS. See Insight into IELTS. pp.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing • If you don’t know the precise word to describe part of the object. just to report it. p.18 & p. making reference to graphs/figures.23. p. • Think about varying your vocabulary – using synonyms. pie charts). • Make sure you know how to use ‘sequencing expressions’ when describing a process.107-115. p. See Helpful Hints. information on: Births Crime Deaths Education Environment Heath Leisure Old Age Populations Science & technology Transport Travel & tourism Work How to prepare for Task 1 • Become familiar with the graph types. describing tables.g. • Become familiar with a variety of ways to: 10 11 .121.119. pp. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p. you are NOT being asked for your opinion on the information. • Do lots of practice exercises in describing graphs.56. • You are not being asked for the reasons for the development of the object. p. • Don’t copy phrases from the instructions as this will not be assessed. ‘concurrently’ etc. p.58-59. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p.39. • Don’t take more than 20 minutes over this task. Remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary. A conclusion is not necessary. think of another way of saying it. p. pp. Use your own words. See Focus on IELTS. For example. pp. • Remember for this report you will need to guide the reader with sequence expressions such as ‘first of all’. Cross out errors with one line only. • Practise identifying key information in graphs and charts. You will need an introduction and body. • Look at the language used for: describing charts (e. You are not expected to have technical knowledge.33-35. ‘after that’. • Concentrate on significant features. • Make sure you organize your information clearly.70-72. See Focus on IELTS. p. Focus on IELTS. See Focus on IELTS.69 & 74. • Practise working out what graph axes represent. Insight into IELTS. • Leave a couple of minutes to read through what you have written. describing a process.39). An opinion would be considered ‘irrelevant’ for this task.33. See Focus on IELTS. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing express percentages express numbers & statistical data express the key points in a graph or describe trends describe increase and decrease make comparisons between data. Begin with a brief description of the structure and function of the object. • Think about the topics that could be used for this task. See Focus on IELTS.67-75 & p. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p. ‘words to describe the degree of change’ – ‘slight’. ‘at the same time’. See Focus on IELTS. p. describing how something works. writing introductory sentences.67-68. Insight. for graphs and tables. • Try to write neatly. ‘significant’ & ‘moderate’. p.131. (See Holmesglen website downloadable writing booklet p. pp.87. Homesglen website downloadable Writing booklet pp.17-18.83 –85. Helpful Hints for IELTS. ‘dramatic’.101. For example.25-29. Then describe step-by-step how it works.115.166. describing and comparing objects.

Communicative Quality Being able to write fluently enough to make your message clear to the reader.Writing: p.51 Objects Focus on IELTS: p.vic.51. pie charts. Ideas and Evidence Being able to present a clear.72 Cambridge IELTS 2: p.123. p. you will get a 6 overall.htm Writing (downloadable booklet with sample questions with sample answers) – practice in describing: single-line graphs.102. p. p.95 Cambridge IELTS 3: p. p. p. logical. p. p. p. p. Being able to write cohesive sentences and paragraphs. Vocabulary and Sentence Structure Using a range of appropriate vocabulary. You are advised to spend 40 minutes on this task.73.150 Cambridge IELTS 1: p.133.51.97 Processes Focus on IELTS: p.138. p. This task carries more weight in marking than Task 1. p. evidence and argument The Question You are given a discussion topic.117.27. Being able to support your argument with personal experience and reasons. Length & Timing You have to write at least 250 words.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Practice for Task 1 Books in the SAC Graphs/tables/charts Focus on IELTS: p. You have to discuss the question with two or three main points and supporting detail for each point. bar graphs. Marking Your performance in Task 2 will be assessed on the criteria below: Arguments. p. well-supported argument. Being able to focus on the topic and not include anything irrelevant.117 Preparation & Practice .edu.85 Insight into IELTS: p. tables. The question will either present you with an opinion.129 Cambridge IELTS 1: p. If. p. p.127.116 & p. p. Demonstrating good spelling and punctuation.135 Helpful Hints for IELTS: p. 12 13 .31.182 Insight into IELTS: p.104.au/IELTS01. you get a 5 in Task 1 and a 6 in this task.73.27.150. for example.77 Preparation & Practice – Writing: p.holmesglen. Using a variety of sentence structures.166. p. p. an argument or a problem. 116.214 Websites Holmesglen: http://international. double-line graphs. process diagrams How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 2 This task tests your ability to do one or more of the following: discuss a problem and present a solution present and justify opinions compare and contrast evidence or opinions argue a case evaluate and challenge ideas.

* REMEMBER Your scope tells your reader the main points you will make. so you include everything required. Summary of your main points. Decide which points are your main points or topic sentences. • Quickly brainstorm the topic. • You will need an introductory statement. Background information. • Study the question carefully. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? You could use the following argument structure. You should write at least 250 words. • Write a plan. • Make sure you read all parts of the question. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? You should use your own ideas. • Underline key points in the question. *Scope and thesis statement. Present a written argument or case to an educated reader with no specialist knowledge of the following topic: A great many countries around the world are losing their cultural identity because of the Internet. * REMEMBER In your refutation you point out the problems with the con-argument & strengthen your own argument. Think about any personal experience you can add. body and conclusion. The structure for your essay will depend on the type of question. For example: How to do Task 2 14 15 . The instructions will always start with the sentence ‘Present a written argument …’ and include the sentence beginning ‘You should use your own ideas …’. You should have at least two main points. • Decide what supporting details you have for each main point.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 2 Questions Look at the example below. How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Type 1 – Argument A great many countries around the world are losing their cultural identity because of the Internet. INTRODUCTION Opening – general statement introducing the topic. Your thesis statement tells the reader your opinion. Think about your point of view. • Make sure you organise your points logically. knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence. BODY PARAGRAPH 1 (Proargument 1 & justification) Topic sentence/main point Supporting sentence 1 Supporting sentence 2 Supporting sentence 3 BODY PARAGRAPH 2 (Proargument 2 & justification) BODY PARAGRAPH 3 (Con argument 1& *refutation) CONCLUSION Restatement of your opinion.

SOLUTION 1 (Problem 1 – cause or effect) Topic sentence Supporting sentence 1 Supporting sentence 2 Supporting sentence 3 SOLUTION 2 (Problem 2 – cause or effect) SOLUTION 3 (*Solutions to problems 1 & 2) CONCLUSION Summary of your main points. • Leave at least 5 minutes to check through what you have written. 16 17 You could use the following problem/solution structure. What are the negative consequences of this way they spend their time and how can problems be prevented? How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Type 3 – Compare/Contrast Nowadays courses are offered on the Internet instead of face-to-face tuition. • Don’t take more than 40 minutes over this task. • Remember to link your ideas within and between sentences and paragraphs. Use your own words. INTRODUCTION Background. • Also remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary. How do you think these two methods of studying compare? Type 2B – Problem (cause)/solutions Overpopulation is a twentieth century concern.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Type 2A – Problem (effect)/solutions Children are spending more time at their computers today than playing with their friends. . View on best solution. *REMEMBER For each solution you should evaluate the pros and cons. • Don’t copy from the question as this will not be assessed. INTRODUCTION Outline of problem. What are the reasons for overpopulation and how can overpopulation be controlled? You could use the following compare/contrast structure. Scope. Summary of your main points. POINT of comparison 1 Topic sentence Supporting sentence 1 Supporting sentence 2 Supporting sentence 3 POINT of comparison 2 POINT of comparison 3 CONCLUSION Re-statement of thesis. Scope & thesis. • You will lose marks if your essay is less than the required number of words.

21-22. • Look at the language used: for making paragraphs and sentences cohesive (linking your ideas within and between sentences and paragraphs).100 for refuting an argument. For example. See Focus on IELTS. p. 18 How to prepare for IELTS – Writing • Write as many timed essays as possible. See all the practice books and web sites for sample questions.. p. making plans for each one. p. See Helpful Hints for IELTS.104. Practise underlining the key points and brainstorming the topics. See Insight into IELTS.73. p.88 & Focus on IELTS.32. p.71. p. ‘ Despite the fact that …’.52.vic.54 for expressing views. ‘There is little evidence to support the …’ See Insight into IELTS.28. For example.98 (all inc. Gradually reduce the time you allow yourself to do this. p. logical links that show addition (as well as. For example. p.73 inc. See Helpful Hints for IELTS. model answer) Cambridge IELTS 2: p.41-450) with sample task and answer & strategies including using connectives). • Think about the topics that could be used for this task. See Insight into IELTS.73 (p. Do the ones that have sample and model answers in the books in the SAC.52.28. For example. model answers) Helpful Hints for IELTS: p.138. 19 .’ or ‘’On balance…’. p.edu. See Insight into IELTS. p. p.au/IELTS01. p. in addition) or contrast (whereas. p.holmesglen.125. p. for providing support to your main points. p. For example. for making comparisons & contrasts. p. p. ‘In conclusion . p.89 for giving opposing arguments. For example. p. so you can do it in under 5 minutes. on the other hand). p. See Focus on IELTS. Technology Crime Tourism Transport Education Population Media Health Society • Brainstorm the topics for possible questions.150 Websites Homesglen: http://international. p.92 for referring to causes & effects.74.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing How to prepare for Task 2 • Look at as many sample questions as you can. Practice for Task 2 Books in the SAC Cambridge IELTS 1: p. ‘In my experience …’ or ‘A good example of this is …’. Helpful Hints for IELTS.71. in conclusions.htm Writing (downloadable booklet (p.120. Lots of them have sample answers as well.74. for making contrasts and concessions. p.52. p. See Helpful Hints for IELTS.88. ‘I believe that …’ ‘I would argue that …’ .96 (all inc. For example. model answers) Cambridge IELTS 3: p.72. Helpful Hints.

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