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【Tips for IELTS】Writing



The University Timesで好評連載中の「IELTSテストのコツ」。こちらはBritish Councilの人気講師が毎回執筆しています。「英語版で読んでみたい!」という声にお応えして、英語版をシリーズで公開します。


今回はThe University TimesのVol.24で掲載された、「Writing」に関して【Tips for IELTS】です。


Tips for the IELTS writing section


In my experience the writing section of the IELTS test is the one with which students tend to have the most difficulty. In fact, writing clearly and concisely is something which a lot native speakers also have problems with. The following article aims to give IELTS candidates some practical advice on how to improve their writing.



Overview of the writing section

The writing section lasts one hour and you can choose to do either the academic version or the general training version. Usually candidates needing an IELTS score for entrance to university take the academic version and candidates needing an IELTS score for visa or work purposes take the general training version.

The writing section is divided into two parts, with the first part being a minimum of one hundred and fifty words and the second part being a minimum of two hundred and fifty words.

In part one you will have to complete a writing task; for the academic version this will be describing visual data, usually a graph, table, chart, map or process and for the general training version the task will be writing a short letter, usually fulfilling some function, such as inviting, complaining, explaining etc.

In part two you will have to write an essay, usually stating your opinion on something or offering solutions to some problem. This is the same for the academic and general training versions.

You are assessed on how fully you answer the questions, the clarity of your writing, the variety and accuracy of your vocabulary and the variety and accuracy of your grammar.



General advice

  • There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.
    In part one (academic version) you only have to describe the data, you do not have to give an analysis, offer reasons or an opinion. In the general training version you only have to complete the task in an appropriate tone.
    In part two you are only required to give your opinion and justify it, if you can do this then there is no ‘wrong’ answer.


  • Follow the instructions.
    Make sure that you follow all the instructions given to you in the rubric. If the rubric tells you to;

– say why you are writing
– how you feel
– what you expect the recipient to do

Then make sure you do all of those things. You will lose marks if you only partially complete the task.Related to this is the word count. You will lose marks if you do not reach the specified minimum word count, if you fully cover all of the points mentioned in the rubric then this should not be a problem.


  • Planning.
    Spend a few minutes before you start writing making a rough plan with some general ideas that you can use to guide you when you are writing.


  • Using paragraphs.


  • You will need to divide your writing into paragraphs and each one will have to have a clear focus follows logically from the previous one.


  • Leave a little time to proofread. Try to leave a couple of minutes at the end to go over what you have written and make any corrections you need to. Common mistakes are using the wrong tense, verb/noun agreements, plural forms, articles and punctuation like commas and full stops.
    If there are mistakes that you know you are prone to making then pay special attention to those.



Task 1 – General training

The most important things to do in this part is to make sure that purpose of the letter is clear and that the tone is consistent.

The tone will depend on who the recipient is and what the function of the letter is; a letter to good friend inviting them to stay will be much more casual in tone than a letter of complaint to a company and the vocabulary will reflect this.

It is also important that the tone is consistent and doesn’t change from paragraph to paragraph.

And as mentioned previously, make sure to cover all the points mentioned in the rubric.



Task 1 – Academic

In this part it is a good idea to provide the reader with a general picture of the data before you go on to describe the details. This generally involves describing the kind of change or trends that the data shows, if you can describe this without using figures or numbers then the reader should be able to visualise the overall shape of information.

When you do come to talk about the figures it is important that you do not just list them but that you describe the figures in relation to each other and use a variety of adverbs and adjectives to describe the trends and changes.

Remember to use a separate paragraph for each piece of information you are describing



Task 2

For the second part of the writing test, the most important thing is clarity, both in the opinion that you give and the organisation and structure.

You have to clearly state what you think; this means not changing view or contradicting yourself over the course of your writing. It’s not necessary to state your opinion in the introduction but if you do it makes it easier for the reader to understand you and can act as a point reference for you.

In order to organise your writing clearly it is necessary to use paragraphs, which means only writing about one topic at a time. When you want to change the topic you have to start a new paragraph. If you jump between topics in a paragraph it can be very difficult to understand what your point is.

As this part is a longer piece of writing and you can basically write what you want, within reason, it is a good opportunity to show your range of vocabulary and grammar. Try to use any appropriate idioms that you know and do not be afraid to use grammar or vocabulary that you are not one hundred percent sure about. If you only use simple language because you know it is correct it can sound inflexible or, even worse, memorised.

Basically, the thing to remember for all parts of the writing test is that clarity is key. If you follow the instructions carefully and organise your writing in paragraphs, dealing with one topic at a time you should be able to make your writing easy to understand.


By Alex Babulall








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