The IELTS Writing test consists of two tasks, designed to assess a wide range of writing skills.
These include how well you:
- write a response appropriately
- organise and link your ideas
- use a range of grammar and vocabulary accurately and appropriately.
There are two versions of the IELTS Writing test – one for Academic and one for General Training. Our preparation materials below can help you develop your IELTS writing skills for both tasks, whether you are taking IELTS Academic or General Training.
Below you’ll find more information about the test format and scoring, as well as top tips, free videos and blog articles, and other resources to help you understand the Writing test and achieve a high score.
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The Writing test lasts for one hour. Within that time, you must complete two Writing tasks.
The tasks are different for Academic and General Training test takers:
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 requires you to write at least 150 words describing some visual information (e.g. a diagram, chart, graph or table). For Task 2 you must write an essay of at least 250 words responding to a point of view, argument or problem.
IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 requires you to respond to a given situation (e.g. by writing a letter) in at least 150 words. You may be asked to request information or explain a situation. In Task 2 you must write an essay of at least 250 words in response to a point of view, argument or problem.
Writing Task 2 carries more marks than Writing Task 1, so you should spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.
Writing responses are assessed by certified IELTS examiners who will mark your answers based on the following criteria:
- Task 1 achievement: did you answer the question fully and write at least 150 words?
- Task 2 response: did you answer all points? Did you provide a balanced argument? Were all your ideas relevant?
- Coherence and cohesion: is your writing easy to understand? Are your ideas well organised and linked?
- Lexical resource: did you use a wide range of vocabulary accurately and effectively?
- Grammatical range and accuracy: did you use a wide range of grammatical structures accurately and effectively?
Each task is assessed independently. Writing Task 2 carries more marks than Writing Task 1 and the two scores are combined to obtain a final band score.
1. Practise each type of Writing task. For example, if you’re taking the Academic test, each time you see a graph, chart or table, study it carefully and practise picking out the major changes that the figure shows.
2. Practise writing quickly and neatly and don’t use bullet points, notes or abbreviations, or prepared answers.
3. Answer each question fully. Work out in advance how much space 150 and 250 of your own words take on a page. This can save you having to count on test day!
4. Leave time at the end of the test to check your writing. Make sure that your facts and language are accurate, and check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.
5. Remember, Writing Task 2 is worth more than Writing Task 1 so spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.
In Task 2 of the IELTS Writing test, you will be given 40 minutes to write at least 250 words in both the Academic and General Training test.
When you’re preparing for your IELTS test, it’s a good idea to practise writing 250 words in your own handwriting (or on the computer if you are taking computer delivered IELTS) before test day. Find out why in Emma’s short video.