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The General and Academic Training Writing tests are usually graded to the same level. While IELTS Academic Writing test comprises topics suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students, IELTS General Training module consists of excerpts on general topics from books, magazines, notices, company handbooks and guidelines that you are likely to face on a regular basis in an English speaking environment.

Test duration: 60 minutes (for both Academic and General tests)

IELTS Writing test format – Academic

There are two tasks that you have to do, and both should be written in an academic, semi-formal or neutral style.

Task 1: You will be presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram where you’ll be asked to summarise and report the information in your own words. You may be asked to select and compare data, describe the stages of a process, describe an object or how something works.

Task 2: You have to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score.

The issues raised are of general interest to that are not only relevant but can also be easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

IELTS Writing test format – General Training

There are two parts and the topics covered are of general interest.

Task 1: You will come across a situation where you have to write a letter to request information from someone or explain the situation at hand. It can be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.

Task 2:  In this, you have to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The essay can be less formal in style with a more personal response than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay. Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score.

Helpful Tips for IELTS Writing Test

You’ll mainly be graded on your expression rather than the accuracy of your answers

  • Examine the questions properly and see that it applies to all parts of the question

  • Remember to stick to the word limit. If you happen to write lesser than 150 words in Task 1 or lesser than 250 in Task 2, you are going to lose marks

  • Always write the answers in your own language. If you use the words from the question exactly, you will not be given marks for the same

  • Do not use bullets in your answers, always write them in full. Arrange your basic ideas into different paragraphs. This shows the examiner how well you can organise your points

  • Do not concentrate on writing long and complicated answers. Write well, coherent and organise your thoughts well. Ensure, your grammar is immaculate

  • When attempting Academic Writing Task 1, you will have to select and compare relevant information from data presented in a graph, table, or diagram. When writing the introduction, make sure you don’t copy the text from the question, write it in your own words

  • Task 2 of the Academic Writing test is an essay. Always plan the structure of your essay beforehand – a nice introduction, supporting ideas and real-life examples, followed by a conclusion

  • You are given 40 minutes to complete your essay for Task 2. Always take five minutes to first plan your answer before you start writing, and five minutes in the end to review any mistakes

  • In your essay, keep the last paragraph for a valid conclusion of all the points you’ve made in the answer

  • Do not confuse between singular and plural nouns. Always double check your answers for this common mistake

  • Remember, spellings are everything. Standard American, British, and Australian spellings are all acceptable in IELTS

To be better prepared, you can always access a range of free IELTS preparation material by IDP.

Know more: Free IELTS Writing test practice paper