Follow these IELTS writing tips before and during the exam. It is all the advice you need to improve your writing band score.
Before the exam
- Read newspapers and magazines every day, like ‘The Australian”, ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Time’. Avoid ‘The Courier Mail’ and ‘The MX’ newspaper at all cost as some articles are badly written, biased and use an excess of colloquial language. This type of language will not be useful for students who are taking an academic English based exam like IELTS.
- Try to read at least 5 articles per day (3 if you are really lazy).When you read, use different coloured highlighters: one colour for grammar and another colour for vocabulary. Underline grammatical structures to see which ones are the most commonly used. If you do this every day, you will easily remember those grammatical structures.
- For vocabulary, only underline the words you do not know. Find their meaning in a monolingual dictionary, as you have to think and behave as English speaking people do. Once you have done your research, write down the definition in your own words. That will help you to remember the word and to think in English.
- Keep vocabulary lists (subdivided into nouns, adjectives and adverbs) for specific topics related IELTS: communication, the environment, law, social issues, lifestyle, media, arts, innovation, technology, globalisation, health, education, tourism, relationships and language. You should review vocabulary a bit every day. Do not review all lists as you will not have time or patience, and that will lead you to give up.
- Train yourself to write specific IELTS essays by buying IELTS preparation books.
- Train yourself by using some free and reliable websites, like www.englishpractice.com.
- Have a “non-speaking day”. All communication during this period of time must be written in English. Take a pad and paper everywhere you go and see how well you can convey your message with written text.
- Memorise the paragraph structures and sentence headers your teacher has taught you for each part of the writing exam.
During the exam
- As IELTS is recognised in different English speaking countries, you can choose the British or American spelling. However, if you choose one style, be consistent (ie US English always uses z in words like organize, UK English uses s – organise). Try also to have legible handwriting and leave time to correct your mistakes. Remember, you will not be given extra time at the end of this section.
- Stick to the definite structure your teacher has taught you. For example, in Part 2 – write a 3 sentence introduction going from a general statement on the topic to the specific information/opinion(s) that will be presented in this essay/answer. In Part 1 – outline the overall function of the process, or the key information presented in the graph/table – do not give your opinion!
- Always make sure you have enough time to do the FULL Exam (1 hour). Time yourself strictly. Do Part 2 first (40mins) and Part 1 second (20 mins).
- The first thing you should always do is PLAN – don’t skip this step because you’re nervous in the real exam. You should be planning to write a short intro, 2 body paragraphs and a short conclusion/summary. So, for Part 2. think about the main point of each body paragraph and the support/examples/evidence you can give for each of these points. For Part 1, think about the most logical way you can outline the process or describe the key statistics presented in the graph/table.