Knowing this, you are probably working hard to ace all parts of the IELTS test but you might need to pay more attention to the Academic Writing section. 

Not only does it involve writing a series of texts, but you will also have to do it on a strict time limit that could easily add extra stress. 

You will be tasked to write a letter as well as an essay, presenting your viewpoints and explaining situations as accurately as possible. 

In this article, we will take you through what you can expect in the IELTS General Training Writing test and how to prepare effectively to score better on test day! 

Four things you must know about the IELTS General Training Writing test 

1. Understand the two tasks you need to handle 

The General Training test involves two different types of tasks that are: 

  • Writing a letter (Task 1) 

  • Writing an essay (Task 2) 

 In Task 1, you will be required to write a letter in response to a situation and depending on the situation, it could be semi-formal or formal.  

It could involve everyday scenarios and challenges such as time management problems, logistics issues and complaints. It is recommended that you only spend 20 minutes here and you are required to write at least 150 words. 

The second task, however, is very different. It will require you to write a discursive essay of at least 250 words.  

You will be given information about an argument or point of view and you will need to discuss your thoughts, present a solution to a problem or justifying an opinion you have. 

The topics are normally of general interest and can range from family issues and challenges society faces all the way to environmental and climate change issues. 

Because this task contributes twice as much to your final band score than the first task, it is recommended that you spend more time, around 40 minutes here, to maximise your chances to obtain a higher overall score. 

2. How you will be marked and assessed

The General Training Writing test will be assessed according to each individual test and will consist of the following criteria: 

Task response: 

Have your essay or writing addressed the topic or task at hand and have you written more than the minimum amount of words required for each individual task? 

Coherence and cohesion: 

Are your thoughts, viewpoints are arguments clearly laid out and easily understood? Can the reader logically follow your flow of thoughts and do they make sense as a whole? 

Lexical resource:  

Simply put, do you have a wide range and depth of vocabulary? Are you able to use various adjectives and nouns to describe a particular topic or do you catch yourself constantly repeating the same basic vocabulary? 

Grammatical range and accuracy: 

Apart from just minimising grammatical errors, you will need to correctly use a mixture of simple, compound and complex sentences. However, you’ll need to use them in the correct context and also ensure a good flow of ideas. 

A male candidate preparing for IELTS General Training Writing test

3. How to approach the General Training test

Because the two tasks are uniquely different, you will have to come to the test with different approaches. 

Here’s what you can do to score your best possible on test day! 

Task 1 - Letter writing 

It is important to clarify the purpose of the letter. Is this a complaint letter, a request for detailed information or a statement of fact to the recipient?  

You need to get this clear because it will also affect the correct tone of voice you will need to adopt, whether it is to be more informal or strictly formal. 

In addition, you will need to include the key information, presented to you in bullet points, as part of your letter response. This is crucial as you will be penalised if you forget to include any. 

Task 2 - Essay writing  

For this task, it is important to remember to discuss both sides of the issue or question being presented to you. A discursive essay is one that highlights viewpoints and presents both sides of the argument. 

However, you also want to ensure your opinion is clear by the end of the essay and you showcase facts or anecdotal examples to strengthen your viewpoint as well. 

4. Prepare yourself better with these resources

A great way to ensure you are well-prepared is to start taking sample practice tests that will mimic the real conditions of the Writing test. 

You can access our test preparation materials here

In addition, you can also attend a free IELTS Masterclass presented by IELTS experts who will share tips and tricks, including on the writing section, to help you score better with confidence! 

If you prefer a paid option to simulate the exact test you will encounter, without the actual grading, you can take the IELTS Progress Check paid test

It will be as close as possible to the real deal and you will also get back personalised feedback that will be valuable to help you pinpoint areas that need improvement. 

A test taker prepares for the IELTS test with preparation materials.

Prepare for the IELTS Writing test with IDP today

Preparing early for your General Training Writing test is the key to success. It allows you to get familiar with the format with ample practice to help you gain confidence on test day. 

Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

At IDP, we have a world of resources and IELTS supportexternal icon that you can rely on to help you score better! 

Be sure to check out our IELTS preparation materials here as well as read hand-picked tips on how to prepare and ace the testexternal icon.

And once you are prepared and ready, you can book your IELTS test hereexternal icon!