Category Archives: IELTS Writing tips

These blog posts contain tips for the IELTS Writing test.

How to prepare for IELTS: What the experts say

Four experts share some advice on how to prepare for IELTS

I give a lot of advice on this blog about how to prepare for IELTS but I thought for this post I’d share some advice from other specialists in IELTS preparation.

So, apart from becoming familiar with the exam format and improving your English in general, what do the experts say about preparing for the IELTS test?

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Do you need to write an overview in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1?

What happens if you don’t write an overview?

A question I often get asked from IELTS candidates is whether it is necessary to write an overview in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: a summary of information shown in a graph, chart, table or diagram (or more than one of these).

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1
The chart above shows the different modes of transport used to travel to and from work in one European city in 1960, 1980 and 2000. (Source: the official IELTS website)

For those of you new to IELTS, an overview is a statement that summarises the main features shown, and it can come at the beginning of your summary after your introduction or at the end of your summary as a conclusion.

To answer the question of whether you need to write an overview, I’d like to show you what it says in the public version of the official IELTS descriptors for this writing task.

  • IELTS band score 7: “[Candidate] presents a clear overview of main trends, differences or stages”
  • IELTS band score 6: “[Candidate] presents an overview with information appropriately selected”

As you can see, you need to include an overview in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. If you don’t include an overview, you won’t be able to get a band score 6.0 or above for the content of your writing.

Here’s a sample answer for the chart above with the overview after the introduction: Continue reading

How not to write an introduction in IELTS Writing Task 2

An example of what you shouldn’t do when writing an introduction in IELTS Writing Task 2

Cambridge IELTS 8As you probably know, in IELTS Writing Task 2 you have to write an essay on a particular topic of at least 250 words. What I’d like to show you is what you shouldn’t do when writing your introduction, i.e. the first paragraph of your essay.

First, have a look at the following IELTS Writing Task 2 question and think about how you would introduce the topic.

IELTS Writing Task 2 (taken from the book Cambridge IELTS 8)

Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology.

In what ways has technology affected the types of relationships people make?

Has this become a positive or negative development?

Now read this introduction to the topic from a candidate’s essay and think about what the problem is. Continue reading

Common vocabulary mistakes in IELTS Writing and Speaking

Avoid these vocabulary mistakes and improve your IELTS Writing and Speaking band score
A common vocabulary mistake in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1
Did the number of complaints ‘rise’ or ‘raise’ between 2000 and 2008?

Do you know the difference in meaning between the words ‘rise‘ and ‘raise‘? What about ‘learn‘ and ‘teach‘, ‘lose‘ and ‘loose‘, or ‘care for‘ and ‘care about‘?

Do you know the difference in word form (i.e. verb, noun, adjective or adverb) between the words ‘convenience‘ and ‘convenient‘? What about ‘possible‘ and ‘possibly‘?

I’m asking you these questions because these are words that I’ve seen or heard many IELTS candidates make mistakes with in their writing or speaking.

To see how well you know the difference in meaning or form of these words, choose the correct word in italics in each of the examples below. (You can click on any of the words in italics for a dictionary definition). Continue reading

Common spelling mistakes in IELTS Writing

Three types of spelling mistake to look for in your IELTS Writing
Can you see the spelling mistake in the sign?
Can you see the spelling mistake in the sign?

As you probably know, the number of spelling mistakes in your IELTS Writing will affect your writing band score, and so it’s a good idea to check your writing for spelling mistakes at the end of the IELTS Writing test.

To help you find spelling mistakes in your IELTS Writing, here are three common types of IELTS spelling mistake that you should look for.

Spelling mistake 1: words that are often misspelt in IELTS Writing

According to the Cambridge Learner Corpus, the 11 most common spelling mistakes at band score 6.0 and above are… Continue reading

A common IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 mistake

Avoid this IELTS Writing Task 1 mistake and improve your band score

In IELTS Academic Writing task 1 you have to write a summary of the information in a graph, chart, table or diagram (or more than one of these). You can see a sample of an IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 graph on the official IELTS website here.

When the information relates to countries such as America or Britain, which it often does, a common mistake is to leave out the word ‘the‘ when reporting information about the USA or the UK. Continue reading