How to Prepare for the IELTS Writing Test
What is the IELTS, and why do people take it? IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System, which is an exam that determines someone’s command of the English Language for work, study, or migration. It is a standardized exam required by countries such as Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada, and the US. Aspiring international students take the Academic IELTS while people who aim to work or live abroad take the General Training Exam. It consists of testing one’s comprehension of the English language in many forms, which also includes the writing test.
The IELTS is one of the keys to opening a door of possibilities for people hoping to go to another country. Reaching a certain score will be proof of your capability to speak, write, listen, and communicate in English, which is critical not just in school or work, but for everyday living. The exam is mandatory for several countries where you prefer to study, either undergraduate or postgraduate, as a lot of universities require a minimum score in the IELTS.
The IELTS score scale ranges from 0 to 9, with 0 being the lowest (did not answer questions) to 9 (fully operational command of the language). The IELTS tests the test taker’s knowledge of the language in different subjects:
- Listening, which takes 30 minutes with 40 questions
- Academic Reading, which takes 60 minutes with 40 questions
- General Training Reading, which takes 60 minutes with 40 questions,
- Speaking Test, which takes around 14 minutes with a trained and certified examiner
- Academic Writing, which takes 60 minutes with two tasks to complete: one with 150 words and with 250 words
- General Training Writing, which takes 60 minutes with two tasks to complete: one with 150 words and with 250 words
Table of Contents
Tips for Taking Language and Writing Tests
Read, Watch, Listen
There’s no better way to improve your writing skills than learning new words and ways to express ideas through consuming English-language content. It could be in the form of reading articles online, watching a movie with English closed captions, or listening to a podcast.
Practice Tests are Helpful
The official IELTS website provides examples of the writing test. Familiarize yourself with the format of the two tasks, and make use of free practice tests online to improve your skills. Take note of where you need improvements, such as grammar or vocabulary, and create a study plan to work on it.
Take Note of the Time
If you are worrying about the allotted time, time your work in every practice session. Make sure to strategize and focus on points you can expound and write about. Absorb the writing prompts properly and quickly organize your thoughts before writing the essay.
Structure is Key
Be aware that essays follow a simple structure: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning should properly introduce the topic, which you will expound on properly in the middle, and tie up together at the end or the conclusion. Connect the introduction and conclusion properly, and you will have a pretty solid essay to submit.
Make Every Word Count
Don’t end up writing 300 words for your body and then running out of time for a conclusion. More than the length, it is vital that you make your point across clearly and correctly, and ensure you know how you’re using each word. Make sure you have at least three minutes left at the end of your 60 minutes to review and do last-minute edits to your work.
Be Up to Challenge
The IELTS may feel like a barrier between you and a new life, but instead, consider taking this as a challenge for the next step in your life, as nothing worthwhile comes that easy. You can also look at your IELTS review and practice as preparation when you make new connections, using the English language as the foundation of your communication.
Remember to keep on practicing and finding ways to improve your command of the language by consuming English language media, and soon enough you’ll be more than ready to take on the IELTS Writing Test with ease.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.