The IELTS academic writing test has two tasks, both of which are based on formal writing.
Task 1 is a report writing task that checks how well you can analyse the pictorial information, or the data that is given to you.
The key is to present only the key features, and not to report everything. This is crucial, as the question instructs you to do so. You should also be able to compare wherever possible. These are basically the two parts of writing task 1, comparing and reporting the key details.
Another thing to keep in mind is the word target. You are required to write minimum 150 words. The ideal amount of time that should be spent on this task is about 20 minutes.
Be careful as to not include any opinion in your answer.
The most important thing in writing is to plan your answer before you write. Structuring the response well can also help in appropriately communicating the key comparisons and reporting.
Always remember to check your answer for silly errors like those in spelling, or the subject verb agreement. Just 2-3 minutes’ time to check and edit your answer later can save you a lot.
Task 2 is an argumentative essay which mostly asks for an opinion. We can broadly classify them into 3 types:
- Expressing an opinion
- Balancing an argument
- Suggesting a solution to a problem
This task has two -third weightage of the writing test, and hence, is advised that you spend 40 minutes on this task. The target is to write at least 250 words here. This is a task that gives you a chance to present your opinion, unlike writing task 1.
To write a good essay, an appropriate understanding of the question is important. Any misunderstanding may lead to an answer that is not relevant to the question. Hence, spending a little time for reading the question carefully and understanding what they ask is the key here. This may take about 2 minutes, but will put you on the right track.
Just like in task 1, planning the answer first can help in writing a well-organised answer, that is easy to follow. Writing without planning out your key ideas can create chaos, ultimately leading to confusion. So, before you write, brainstorm for ideas and select the ideas that are strong ones, and that differ from each other.
Your essay should have at least 2-3 key ideas that should be appropriately supported. Paragraphing is of essence in this task. We should distinguish each of your fundamental ideas through separate paragraphs.
You can keep on re-checking as soon as you complete writing one paragraph, to make necessary changes. Checking the entire essay at the end may not leave you with making bigger changes. Remember, checking can save you from losing marks to silly mistakes.