Understanding the IELTS Writing scoring criteria for both and is critical to performing well in the IELTS Writing module. The examiner awards a score of 0 to 9 based on four criteria:
- Usage of vocabulary (25%)
- Grammar (25%)
- Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
- Task Achievement (25%)
IELTS Writing Tips: How to Improve Your Score
Task 1: Letter
Time: 20 mins (recommended). Words: 150 minimum
Identify the type of letter.
Is it a formal, semi-formal or informal letter? The entire tone of your letter is based on your answer to this question. Adjust your style and choice of words according to the type of letter you have been asked to write.
Open and close the letter correctly.
Remember that each type of letter requires a different opening and closing. The chart below will help you to remember this:
|Formal||To someone you have not met, whose name you don’t know||Dear Sir / Madam,||Yours faithfully,|
|To someone you may or may not have met, whose last name you know & use||Dear Mr Brown,
Dear Ms Stone,
|Informal||To someone you know well, whose first name you know and use||Dear John,
Open a formal and semi-formal letter with a formal sentence.
Don’t try to be friendly, as you do not know the person you are writing to. Get right down to business and indicate the reason you are writing.
Open an informal letter with a general, friendly paragraph.
If the person you are writing to is your good friend, its better to acknowledge that friendship first, before getting down to the reason for your letter. In fact, the first paragraph could be purely friendly small talk, unrelated to the reason for your writing.
Identify the main purpose of the letter.
Are you asking for help, apologizing, inviting someone, complaining or thanking someone? Learn appropriate and polite expressions that will support what you need to say.
Make sure you write at least 150 words.
Practice writing letters till you know what 150 words feels like and looks like. You will lose marks if you write less. You will not lose marks if you write more.
Learn the correct spelling of commonly used words.
Task 2: Essay
Time: 40 mins (recommended). Words: 250 minimum
- First off, read & understand the topic of the essay for Writing Task 2.
- Identify all the key parts of the question.
- Brainstorm and organize your ideas to ensure that each of your ideas is fully explained and well supported with examples.
- If the question ask for your opinion, make sure you state it clearly and you dont contradict that view throughout the rest of the essay.
- Learn the structure of an essay: Introduction , body paragraphs, conclusion
- Do not copy the question word for word for your introduction or those words will be deducted from your total word count. Instead always paraphrase the question in your own words.
- You MUST write a conclusion/overview at the end. Dont add new information in your conclusion. Instead, rephrase your key points, and give a strong ending sentence that ties everything together.
- Always write in a formal tone and use it consistently throughout the essay.
- Do not use bullet points or short notes.
- Use a wide range of grammatical structures and vocabulary.
- Remember to follow the 4 C’s of essay writing.
- Practice and learn synonyms so your writing has a range of vocabulary and does not become repetitive.
- Write at least 250 words or you will lose marks. Ideally the essay should be about 250-280 words.
- Write neatly, as the person who is marking your essay should be able to easily read and understand what you have written.
- Do Task 2 first, as it is worth twice as much as Task 1, so priority should be placed here.
- Practice makes perfect. Write as many practice essays as you can, and have them marked by an English teacher for mistakes.
- Practice timing yourself at home, and stick to the allotted time for each section.
- Check your writing. If you finish with extra time, look over your essay for any spelling, grammar, or other mistakes you might find.
Take these tips into consideration when approaching the Writing Task and you’ll surely get a high band score.