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A quick look at the IELTS Academic Writing test

Duration: 60 minutes

The IELTS Academic Writing test is made up of two tasks. The topics in these tasks are related to areas of general interest and are suitable for test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. Responses to both tasks must be written in a formal style. 

Task 1  

You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and present data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object, plan or design.  

Task 2  

You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You will support your point of view with relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience. 

Summarising facts or figures from graphic information

In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you will be shown some visual information, a visual way to represent information. You may be shown one or more than one visual. This visual information can be shown as a: 

  • Table 

  • Chart  

  • Process 

  • Graph 

  • Map 

You will also be given instructions so summarise the information you see by selecting and reporting the main features you see, making comparisons where relevant.  You will need to do an information transfer task – the visual information you are given needs to be presented in the form of text. 

To complete the task successfully, you will need to: 

  1. Write an introduction 

  2. Write an overview (a summary of what you see) 

  3. Present and highlight the key features with figures (data) 

You will need to write a minimum of 150 words and answers must be written in full, no bullet points or notes.  

Writing an essay

In Task 2 of the Academic Writing test, you are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, an argument, or a problem. Essays should be written in an academic, or semi-formal style. Topics are about relevant issues and focus on a particular aspect of the topic. For example, if the topic is about computers, the focus will be on a particular aspect rather than writing about computers in general.   

The task instructions give you information about the question telling you how to discuss the topic in your essay. You may be asked to provide factual information, outline and present solutions, justify an opinion or evaluate evidence and ideas. It is important that you complete the task carefully using relevant ideas and examples to support your position. Your ideas should be organised clearly, using paragraphs for each idea. You must write a minimum of 250 words.  

You are assessed on your ability to follow English essay-writing conventions to organise and link information in a coherent way using language accurately and appropriately to express your ideas and opinions.

Sample questions

Can I retake IELTS Writing only?

Yes, IELTS does allow retaking of individual test components.

It's IELTS One Skill Retake.

You're eligible to book IELTS One Skill Retake after you have recently completed a full test on computer and received your IELTS test score, from an eligible test centre. You must book your IELTS One Skill Retake within 60 days of your original test date.

You can check more details about IELTS One Skill Retake here.

IELTS Writing sample answers

Looking for IELTS Writing sample answers? With IELTS Prepare, you have access to a range of preparation materials at your fingertips: from practice tests, sample answers, videos and articles, all the way to expert assessments, online courses, webinars and more.