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

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

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

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

69 & 74.23. Then describe step-by-step how it works. pp. You will need an introduction and body. Insight into IELTS. p. p. p. p.25-29. describing how something works.g. • Remember for this report you will need to guide the reader with sequence expressions such as ‘first of all’. making reference to graphs/figures. for graphs and tables. describing a process. ‘concurrently’ etc. writing introductory sentences. Helpful Hints for IELTS. Use your own words. p. ‘dramatic’. See Focus on IELTS. p. pp. • Don’t take more than 20 minutes over this task. • Look at the language used for: describing charts (e. describing and comparing objects. Begin with a brief description of the structure and function of the object. p.39. • Think about the topics that could be used for this task.33-35. ‘at the same time’. • Don’t copy phrases from the instructions as this will not be assessed. For example. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p.17-18.83 –85. A conclusion is not necessary. You are not expected to have technical knowledge.166. See Focus on IELTS. describing tables. • Make sure you know how to use ‘sequencing expressions’ when describing a process. ‘words to describe the degree of change’ – ‘slight’. See Focus on IELTS.107-115. pp.67-75 & p. • Think about varying your vocabulary – using synonyms.56. Cross out errors with one line only. 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. Focus on IELTS. pie charts). p. See Focus on IELTS. Insight. you are NOT being asked for your opinion on the information.121. ‘after that’. • Become familiar with a variety of ways to: 10 11 . pp. p.58-59. • Concentrate on significant features.131. Remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary.67-68. ‘significant’ & ‘moderate’. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p. (See Holmesglen website downloadable writing booklet p.119. pp. See Focus on IELTS. See Preparation & Practice: Writing p. p. just to report it.101. Homesglen website downloadable Writing booklet pp. 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. See Helpful Hints. • Try to write neatly. just a description of it. • Leave a couple of minutes to read through what you have written. See Insight into IELTS. See Focus on IELTS.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing • If you don’t know the precise word to describe part of the object.70-72.33.18 & p.87.39). • Practise identifying key information in graphs and charts. • Make sure you organize your information clearly. See Focus on IELTS. • Practise working out what graph axes represent. An opinion would be considered ‘irrelevant’ for this task. See Focus on IELTS. • You are not being asked for the reasons for the development of the object. • Do lots of practice exercises in describing graphs. For example.115. p. think of another way of saying it.

Being able to write cohesive sentences and paragraphs.51. p.holmesglen.95 Cambridge IELTS 3: p. The question will either present you with an opinion.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Practice for Task 1 Books in the SAC Graphs/tables/charts Focus on IELTS: p. pie charts. Being able to focus on the topic and not include anything irrelevant.102.123. Demonstrating good spelling and punctuation. bar graphs. 12 13 .104.85 Insight into IELTS: p. 116. an argument or a problem. p.135 Helpful Hints for IELTS: p. p.27. Vocabulary and Sentence Structure Using a range of appropriate vocabulary.vic.htm Writing (downloadable booklet with sample questions with sample answers) – practice in describing: single-line graphs. This task carries more weight in marking than Task 1.117 Preparation & Practice . you get a 5 in Task 1 and a 6 in this task.edu. p. You have to discuss the question with two or three main points and supporting detail for each point. Marking Your performance in Task 2 will be assessed on the criteria below: Arguments. If. p. 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. p. p.51. Ideas and Evidence Being able to present a clear.116 & p. logical. p. p. Being able to support your argument with personal experience and reasons.129 Cambridge IELTS 1: p. p. double-line graphs.214 Websites Holmesglen: http://international. p. You are advised to spend 40 minutes on this task. p.133.117. p.73.Writing: p.73. p.127.150 Cambridge IELTS 1: p.31.138.72 Cambridge IELTS 2: p. evidence and argument The Question You are given a discussion topic.77 Preparation & Practice – Writing: p. well-supported argument. Using a variety of sentence structures.51 Objects Focus on IELTS: p. p.182 Insight into IELTS: p. p. p. Length & Timing You have to write at least 250 words. tables.97 Processes Focus on IELTS: p. for example. you will get a 6 overall.150.27.166. Communicative Quality Being able to write fluently enough to make your message clear to the reader.au/IELTS01.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? You should use your own ideas. The structure for your essay will depend on the type of question. Your thesis statement tells the reader your opinion. so you include everything required. • Decide what supporting details you have for each main point. * REMEMBER In your refutation you point out the problems with the con-argument & strengthen your own argument. You should have at least two main points. * REMEMBER Your scope tells your reader the main points you will make. Think about your point of view. • Make sure you organise your points logically. *Scope and thesis statement. • You will need an introductory statement. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? You could use the following argument structure. Background information. • Write a plan. 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. • Study the question carefully. The instructions will always start with the sentence ‘Present a written argument …’ and include the sentence beginning ‘You should use your own ideas …’. • Underline key points in the question. Summary of your main points. For example: How to do Task 2 14 15 .How to prepare for IELTS – Writing Task 2 Questions Look at the example below. 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. INTRODUCTION Opening – general statement introducing the topic. 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. Decide which points are your main points or topic sentences. • Quickly brainstorm the topic. knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence. • Make sure you read all parts of the question. Think about any personal experience you can add. You should write at least 250 words. body and conclusion. You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Scope. . View on best solution. Summary of your main points. *REMEMBER For each solution you should evaluate the pros and cons.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. Use your own words. • Leave at least 5 minutes to check through what you have written. • You will lose marks if your essay is less than the required number of words. INTRODUCTION Outline of problem. 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. • Don’t take more than 40 minutes over this task. 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. 16 17 You could use the following problem/solution structure. • Don’t copy from the question as this will not be assessed. • Remember to link your ideas within and between sentences and paragraphs. Scope & thesis. INTRODUCTION Background. 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. • Also remember that you will receive a higher mark if your use a range of structures and vocabulary. What are the reasons for overpopulation and how can overpopulation be controlled? You could use the following compare/contrast structure. How do you think these two methods of studying compare? Type 2B – Problem (cause)/solutions Overpopulation is a twentieth century concern.

p. in conclusions. p. ‘In my experience …’ or ‘A good example of this is …’. model answers) Helpful Hints for IELTS: p.150 Websites Homesglen: http://international. See Insight into IELTS.41-450) with sample task and answer & strategies including using connectives). Practice for Task 2 Books in the SAC Cambridge IELTS 1: p. Technology Crime Tourism Transport Education Population Media Health Society • Brainstorm the topics for possible questions. See Focus on IELTS. See all the practice books and web sites for sample questions.au/IELTS01.89 for giving opposing arguments.74.73 (p. p. p. For example.’ or ‘’On balance…’.72. so you can do it in under 5 minutes. See Insight into IELTS. p. Practise underlining the key points and brainstorming the topics.104. • Look at the language used: for making paragraphs and sentences cohesive (linking your ideas within and between sentences and paragraphs).28. p. p. For example. Do the ones that have sample and model answers in the books in the SAC. p.holmesglen.How to prepare for IELTS – Writing How to prepare for Task 2 • Look at as many sample questions as you can. 18 How to prepare for IELTS – Writing • Write as many timed essays as possible. See Insight into IELTS. 19 . p. in addition) or contrast (whereas. for making contrasts and concessions.138.96 (all inc. p. For example.98 (all inc.52. Helpful Hints.125. p.32.71. ‘There is little evidence to support the …’ See Insight into IELTS. See Helpful Hints for IELTS.21-22. for providing support to your main points. Lots of them have sample answers as well. p.52.92 for referring to causes & effects. for making comparisons & contrasts. p. Helpful Hints for IELTS. p. ‘In conclusion .. ‘ Despite the fact that …’. model answer) Cambridge IELTS 2: p.74. making plans for each one. See Focus on IELTS. Gradually reduce the time you allow yourself to do this.28. • Think about the topics that could be used for this task. p. ‘I believe that …’ ‘I would argue that …’ .52. logical links that show addition (as well as.73.100 for refuting an argument.edu. p. p. For example.54 for expressing views. p. p.88 & Focus on IELTS.71.88. For example. For example. on the other hand).120. For example. p. p. See Helpful Hints for IELTS.vic. p. See Helpful Hints for IELTS. model answers) Cambridge IELTS 3: p.htm Writing (downloadable booklet (p.73 inc. p.