The official IELTS by IDP app is here! Download it today.
The General Training Writing test is made up of two tasks, Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. The topics in each task are of general interest.
In Writing Task 1, you will be given a situation where you will need to write a letter to request information or explain the situation. You might, for example, be asked to write a letter to suggest how to improve facilities at a library. Examiners will look at your ability to provide general and factual information in relation to the task, express needs, wants, likes and dislikes, as well as opinions, views and complaints. Your letter should be written in a style that matches the situation presented.
Writing Task 2 is a little different. Here, you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. For example, you might be asked to write an essay on whether you agree or disagree that serial dramas on TV play an important role in our society. You will be assessed on whether you can provide general factual information, outline a problem, present a solution, justify an opinion or evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.
- What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
If you take IELTS on computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session.
If you take IELTS on paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Writing, Reading and Listening. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
- Do I have to write in pencil for the IELTS on paper test?
Pencil is recommended for the IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. This is because tests are scanned and work best with pencil. It also means that you can easily erase and rewrite words. If you forget to bring a pencil, the test centre will provide one for you.
- Can I do all parts of the IELTS test on computer?
If you take an IELTS on computer test, the Reading, Writing and Listening parts of the IELTS test are completed on a computer, but the Speaking test is completed face-to-face with an IELTS examiner.
- How can I improve my Writing band score?
Read the assessment criteria used for both Academic and General Training Writing tests carefully before your test day. The examiner will assess your writing based on four criteria for Task 1 and Task 2.
Remember that Writing Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. You can improve your Writing band score by practising. Our news and articles page has extensive tips and advice to help you prepare and improve your English-language skills.
- Can I write my answers in capital letters?
Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening sections. If you use capital letters in the Writing section, make sure that your punctuation is correct and the examiner can see where you start and finish sentences.
- Why are the topics in the Reading and Writing test so difficult?
Every IELTS test is carefully produced and tested to ensure a consistent level of difficulty across all the test versions. We want every IELTS test taker to have their true English-language ability reflected in their result, which is why we offer so many free and paid tools to help you practise and prepare.
Check out our preparation tools for tips and advice so that you can be as prepared as possible for your test date.
- Will I get more marks if I write more than the word limit In Writing?
The minimum word limit is important and you must write at least 150 words for Writing Task 1 and at least 250 words for Writing Task 2.
If you write less than this, you will have fewer ideas and may lose marks. However if you write much more, this does not mean you will gain marks. It is more important that you use correct English, appropriate grammar, and a wide range of vocabulary and sentence structures.
- Will I lose marks if my opinions differ to that of the examiner?
In your Writing and Speaking tests, there are no right or wrong opinions. The examiner is assessing how well you can use your English to report information and express ideas.
- Should we expect topics related to COVID-19 in the Speaking and Writing tests?
No, not as part of the question. However, topics in the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests could be related to health, so you can use COVID-19 as an example if you want to.
- What is the maximum number of words we should write in the Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 essay?
This varies from person to person, because some people write quickly. There is no exact number, but approximately 180 words for Task 1 and 280 words for Task 2 can be a good guide, as long as you have enough time to go back and check your work.
- Will I be penalised if I mix UK and US spelling in my Writing test?
No. You can use either British or American English. If you use both in the same sentence it will not be a problem.
- Can we use numbered lists to support our opinion?
It is not a good idea to use numbered lists in the IELTS Writing test. It is better to use full sentences, connecting words and paragraphs to show your writing ability.
- Should we show both sides of the argument or just one in an opinion essay?
If the question in the IELTS Writing test asks you to discuss both views, then try to give equal weight to both sides. If the question asks if you agree, you do not have to give an opposing view.
- Can I write my overview in the second paragraph after the introduction?
In Task 1 of the IELTS Writing test, the examiner just needs to see an overview. It does not matter where you place it, although it is more likely to see one at the end of the answer.
- Can I use personal answers in IELTS Writing Task 2?
Personal examples are fine, because the question says you can use your own experience and knowledge.
- If I am asked to provide reasons in an IELTS Writing response, can I only provide one reason?
If the word in the question is a plural, you should provide more than one. Also, you can provide one reason but it can have more than one part or aspect.
- How can punctuation errors impact my score?
If the error makes your writing hard to understand, it can reduce your score. If the error has a little effect on understanding, it will not impact your score as much.
- Do I need to use different sentence structures to get a good score in Grammatical range and accuracy?
Yes, if you use a variety of structures, you can show you have a deeper understanding of English.
- Is my IELTS Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2 response weighted equally in terms of grading?
In the IELTS Writing test, Task 1 is worth half the marks of Task 2.