IELTS Writing

Your ULTIMATE IELTS Writing Resource

Welcome to the most comprehensive IELTS Writing guide on the internet

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How to identify common IELTS writing mistakes and how to avoid them!
  • How the writing IELTS exam is scored and how to take advantage of it!
  • How to reach a band score of 7, 8 or even 9!
  • And a whole lot more!

Interested? Lets Dive In!

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What is IELTS and why do you need it? 

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. This is a standardized English proficiency test designed to gauge an individual’s English proficiency in four areas, namely reading, writing, listening and speaking. Along with TOEFL, an IELTS certificate is one of the most accepted English proficiency certificates in the world.

Native English speakers might wonder why a proficiency certificate is needed, but for the rest of the non-native English-speaking population, an IELTS certificate opens up the doors to endless possibilities.


 For those who want to take further studies abroad or at a higher level, an IELTS certificate is proof that the learner has enough grasp of the English language in order to understand and participate in classes, lectures and understand (from a language perspective) any and all reading materials used for the course.


Many English-speaking countries now require proof of English proficiency for all individuals and families that plan to migrate. The reason is pretty simple: Assimilation. Studies have shown that being proficient in English makes it easier for the migrants achieve economic and social integration with the host country making them productive citizens faster.


An overwhelming majority of businesses and employers now require English proficiency proof in the form IELTS certificates from non-native English speakers. For the employers, skills and experience won’t matter if the potential employee cannot communicate properly at a minimum required level.

Over 9,000 organizations worldwide, which include governments, universities, academic institutions and businesses require IELTS Certificates as proof of English proficiency.  Currently, IELTS is the most popular English language proficiency exam with over 3 million exams taken every year.

An IELTS Writing Guide? Why not a guide for all IELTS sub-exams?

The IELTS Writing exam is a different beast in itself when compared to the other exams.

The IELTS Writing exam is a different beast in itself when compared to the other exams. In the exams with multiple choice questions, you have a one in four chance of getting the answer right if you just guess in the event that you don’t understand the question. In the speaking exam, as long as you speak with clarity, make sense and don’t panic, you’ll get good marks. In the writing exam, if you miss the question entirely then all your marks go out of the window.     

In fact, if you check on the official IELTS website, you can see that in ALL test takers, no matter what nationality or first language they have, the lowest average scores all come from the IELTS Writing Exam. If you take a look on Quora, most of the people there are asking why they have high marks on all of the other sub-exams and yet their writing exams are sub-par. These show that there is an absolute NEED for a comprehensive and definitive IELTS Writing guide. 

Academic vs General, What's the difference?


Writing Task 1
-Examinee will be tasked to summarize, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram.
Writing Task 2 (Same for both Academic and General)
-Examinee will be tasked to write an essay on a specified topic. 


Writing Task 1
-Examinee will be tasked to write a letter, it may be formal, informal or semi-formal.
Writing Task 2 (Same for both Academic and General)
-Examinee will be tasked to write an essay on a specified topic. 

People always ask me, which one is easier? The IELTS Academic Module or the IELTS General Module? Well, the answer doesn’t really matter because you can’t swap one module for the other. If you’re required to take the academic module, then you’ll have to take the academic module and vice versa. What’s more important is how you’ll prepare for the module you’re required to take, which we will get to later on.


What does the IELTS Writing Exam entail? Should I study for it?

The short answer is yes, you should study for the IELTS Writing Exam, but not in the way that people usually study for when it comes to exams. Remember that the IELTS is not an exam about your mastery of world events, or accounting, sports or even general information. The IELTS is about gauging your English skill, so you have to focus on those skills.

Quick IELTS Tips

Remember that this is a written exam! If you think your handwriting needs work, then by all means work on it. Remember that if the examiner cannot understand your handwriting, he or she is under no obligation to interpret your answers for you.

How Examiners Rate your IELTS Writing Exam Answers and how to take advantage of it.

The IELTS writing exam is divided into two tasks; task 1 and task 2. While both tasks are important, it is worth noting that the second task contributes 66% to the total writing band score. That being said, a lot of examinees make the fatal mistake of focusing all of their time and effort on task 2 while totally ignoring task 1.

Quick IELTS Tips

Task one is easier, shorter and takes less time to complete! It’s best to get it done early so you can focus on the longer, more daunting task 2

IELTS BAND DESCRIPTORS a.k.a. How the examiners mark your answers

Task Achievement and Task Response 

This is probably the most important criterion when it comes to the IELTS Writing exam. If you get this criterion wrong then it won’t matter if you have written a very beautiful and cohesive piece.

What is Task Achievement and Task Response?
  • Being able to identify the requirements of the task
  • Being able to present a fully developed response to the task
  • Give them what they are asking for. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Examiners Love it when...

  • You stick to the topic. Everything you need to write down is there on the task question.
  • You think inside the box. Don’t add ideas or concepts that are not asked for in the original task.
  • Coherence & Cohesion

    This criterion pertains to the overall structure and flow of your answer. It is not enough that your IELTS Writing Exam answer is properly structured, it should also seamlessly flow from one idea to the next, all the way from introduction to conclusion.

    Quick IELTS Tips

    Before writing a single word, take a minute or two to create a framework and organize your thoughts. This will make your work a lot more cohesive and will enable you to work much faster than thinking and writing on the fly.

    Examiners Love it when...

    •You only have one central topic per paragraph.
    •You present them with a logical progression in your writing.
    •You use Cohesive Devices just right. Not too little, not too much, just right.

    What is a Cohesive Device? 

  • Cohesive devices are words/phrases that signal to the reader what relationships different sentences, clauses and paragraphs have to each other.
  • Cohesive devices make your message more succinct and easier to read.
  • Here are a few examples of when to use cohesive devices and which cohesive device to use.

    Explaining results – “as a result”, “consequently”
    Showing sequence – “first”, “second”, “previously”
    To Compare – “Whereas”, “but”, “on the other hand”
    Concluding Ideas – “to sum up”, “in conclusion”

    Now there are hundreds of other cohesive devices out there for many different situations, the key to a high band score is knowing when to use them and when not to use them.

    Lexical Resource a.k.a. Vocabulary

    Don’t be intimidated by the term “Lexical Resource.” It’s just a fancy way of saying vocabulary. This criterion demonstrates to the examiner your range and accuracy of vocabulary used to express your thoughts.

    Examiners Love it when...

    •You don’t repeat yourself. Use synonyms to break up the monotony in your answer.
    •You use synonyms properly. The words might have the same literal meaning, but context is key.

    Quick IELTS Tips

    Tip #1 - When preparing for the IELTS Writing exam, a thesaurus is your best friend. 

    Tip #2 - If you know a synonym, but are not entirely sure if it fits the desired use, don’t use it!

    Grammatical Range and Accuracy

    This criterion is basically the quality of your writing. This is where your writing skill will be truly put to the test. Not only will you have to make complex sentence structures in order to score high, but you also have to have as little errors as possible.

    Examiners Love it when...

    ​•You mix it up between simple sentence structures and complex sentence structures. Show them your range.
    •You use correct punctuation.

    Quick IELTS Tips

    If you’re not sure about your grammar in a certain sentence structure, stick to a simple structure. Errors = Point deductions. It’s better to put in a beautifully written simple sentence without errors than a complex sentence structure that makes no sense.

    Writing Task 1 In Detail (General Module) 

    Your Ultimate IELTS Writing Resource

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