The Academic Writing test is a core component of the overall IELTS test that you must take and ace in order to advance your university education abroad.

Unlike the Reading or Speaking test, many students believe Academic Writing to be more difficult than other components and there is some truth to that.

The Writing test is one of the most demanding components that will require you to write a series of essays within a strict time limit.

You will have to summarise charts, diagrams and explain data while also presenting your point of view in the form of an essay.

In this article, we’ll be diving into what you can expect in the IELTS Academic Writing test and how to come out on top on test day!

Four things you need to know about the IELTS Academic Writing test

1. Understand the two tasks you need to handle

The Academic Writing test will involve two distinct tasksexternal icon you will need to complete within 60 minutes.

For the first task, you will be required to summarise the information from one or more graphs, charts or tables presented to you. Alternatively, you could be given a diagram of a machine, device or business process and be required to explain how it works.

It is recommended that you dedicate 20 minutes to the first task and you have to write at least 150 words minimum for your answer.

The second task involves writing in an academic or formal-neutral style about a given topic. It could be in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The topics here will be interesting and relevant for students looking to enter university education.

You are expected to give a relevant and discursive answer and not just write about the topic in general terms.

For Task 2, you should spend 40 minutes here and write at least 250 words.

2. How you will be marked and assessed

The Academic Writing test will be assessed according to each individual test and will compromise 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 & 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 test taker preparing for IELTS Writing test in a laptop

3. How to approach the Academic Writing test

While the Writing test might intimidate you, with a proper strategy, you’ll be able to score well without much worry!

Here are three tips to remember:

A. Focus on satisfying the task and don’t try to be interesting

A big mistake students have is to try to embellish their writing with lots of information, ideas and arguments to spice up the narrative or story.

This is not required. You are not judged on how colourful your text is, but based on how coherent your thoughts are.

B. Use a variety of words and vocabulary as comfortably as possible

It is true that the more complex sentences you can string together will give you a higher chance to score better.

However, it needs to be done correctly and in a relevant manner. Do include some complexity in your writing but if you are unsure of its use, defaulting to a simpler sentence might be a better choice.

C. Watch the time carefully and allocate it accordingly

It is important to note that Task 2 will hold twice as many marks compared to Task 1. So it is important to not linger too long on Task 1.

A good way is to consistently practise and get familiar with the format through practice tests!

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 Masterclassexternal icon 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 testexternal icon.

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 male test taker preparing for IELTS Writing test in a classroom

Prepare for the IELTS Writing test with IDP today

Preparing early for your Academic Writing test is essential. It allows you to get familiar with the format with ample practice to help you ace your test for the band score you desire! 

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 ready, you can book your IELTS test hereexternal icon!