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From the UK to Australia and Canada, the best study destinations in the world require students to take the IELTS test as part of their visa applications and university applications. 

If you are sitting for the IELTS test, you might be worried about the writing test component, especially if you have heard rumours and myths about the right way to score. 

Thankfully, we are here to help you debunk these myths and you get the score you desire by helping you focus on what really matters.    Let’s dive in to get you back on track!

7 myths of the IELTS Writing test to debunk 

1. My ideas or arguments have to be interesting to score better

It is easy to have the misconception that the ideas or arguments written down will be carefully read through and factor into your final grade.

However, that is not true.

For both Writing tasks, you will be assessed on how accurately you completed the task, the coherence and cohesion of your writing, how deep your vocabulary use is as well as the accuracy and range of your grammar.

You will be judged on how well you write and not based on your personal ideas or argument.

2. The more I write the better I will score

Each task in the Writing test will require you to write 150 words and 250 words respectively. 

You should aspire to write as much as possible around the word limit, it will allow you to showcase the full scope of your vocabulary lexicon as well as grammatical range. 

However, it is untrue that you will definitely score more if you exceed the word limit. While the number of words that you exceed won’t be penalised, you might be spending more time than necessary during one task and could neglect the other. 

It is better to write concisely within the word limit and spend more time writing well and checking through for any mistakes and correcting them. 

3. All my examples must be supported by real evidence

In Task 2 of the Writing test, candidates will be required to formulate and take a position in response to a question or a statement.

However, you do not necessarily need to take a stand or back up your statements with real-world evidence. You are not being judged on how well you back up your statements but on how well you write and convey the information in your language.

Feel free to use your own knowledge, experience and opinions to answer the questions if you are more comfortable doing so. 

4. Using bigger & complex words will impress & help me score better

While using more complex words can undoubtedly help you score better, there is a limit to how much it can help.

Firstly, you need to use words in a way that is natural and relevant to the context of the statement and topic you are addressing.

Additionally, you do not need to use very complex academic words to get the point across. If you overuse the words and utilise or even spell them wrongly, there is a good chance it will penalise your score and you will get marked down. 

A candidate taking notes using a laptop for IELTS test.

5. I should attempt to use as many tenses as possible

Tenses are verbs used to indicate the time or continuation of an action and are great to add colour and detail to your sentences.

However, as with complex words, using too many different tenses all over your writing will not only start to sound weird, you could easily run into the wrong use of tense.

You should choose the right tense that fits the situation you are writing about and stick with it.

6. I must only use British English spelling in my writings

This is yet another myth that you shouldn’t believe.

You can use either American or British English in your Writing test. In fact, it is recommended to use the version that you are most comfortable with.

This will allow you to write faster, more confidently and spend less time checking your writings. This means more time you can spend on the content of your writing. 

7. The more linking words I use the better

While linking words do facilitate making your writing flow better and add to the cohesion of your ideas, especially signalling how they link together, overuse is a problem.

Too many transition linking words will confuse or distract your examiner and make your writing sound strange and even break coherence. This will negatively impact your score.

So use them sparingly and to connect ideas but not as a way to gain a higher score. 

A female candidate preparing for IELTS test using preparation materials.

Also, the IELTS Familiarisation test is designed to give test takers an idea of what to expect on the actual IELTS test. It includes sample questions from different parts of the test, such as Listening, Reading, and Writing.