The IELTS writing test is 60 minutes long and is divided into two parts. Doctors and nurses will be asked to write two texts. The first piece of writing is a report on some data, such as statistical tables or graphs. The second piece is an essay, in which you must respond to an opinion or statement about a particular topic.
You will be marked on a range of criteria. These include whether you have answered the question set, used an appropriate style of language, and organised your thoughts clearly. You will also be marked on grammatical accuracy, range of vocabulary, and the ability to connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs correctly.
In the first part of the writing test you are expected to write a short descriptive report based on visual information or data.
The good news about this task is that all the content that you need to include in your answer will be contained in the diagram(s) that you are given. These could be pie charts, bar charts, line graphs, tables or a mixture of two or three of these diagrams.
You are not required to explain or interpret the data in front of you, so do not do this. Just report the facts in front of you.
Try to begin your writing with the following in mind – imagine that after you have finished writing your answer, the examiner will attempt to recreate the diagram you were given from your description of it.
For the examiner to be able to do this, you will need to include some or all of the following:
If you can manage this, you will be well on your way to completing the task successfully.
This is a very easy thing to do and it can have a positive effect by organising your writing and making it more readable.
Very often, people use no paragraphing in the IELTS writing task and the examiner is faced with a “sea” of writing with no breaks from start to finish. This is not good, as your writing can become difficult to read easily.
We strongly recommend that you make your paragraphing as clear as possible by separating each paragraph with an empty line. This will leave the reader with no doubt where one paragraph ends and another begins.
You should have a paragraph for a short introduction, a paragraph for each graph that you are describing and a paragraph for your ending. If there’s only one graph to be described, then you should split your writing into two or maybe three paragraphs for the one graph, with each paragraph talking about a specific feature or idea.
Remember when you begin a new idea, a point that contrasts one you were just discussing, or when you are raising a related but separate point, it’s probably time to start a new paragraph.
In the second part of the IELTS writing test, you are asked to write an essay on an academic subject. You do not need any specialist knowledge.
Your essay should be at least 250 words long and the recommended time to complete this section is about 40 minutes. As in part one, there is no choice in subject or title. Everyone taking the IELTS test on that day is set the same essay question.
The question types follow three main patterns with small variations. They are:
Under the pressure of an exam, students often skip planning to save themselves time. Don’t make this mistake! Organising your thoughts can have a vital impact on your final score, because it makes your script more coherent.
If you’re unsure how to plan, here are some tips. Read the question below and quickly write down any ideas you have on a piece of paper. Try to spend no more than five minutes.
Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Now look at the two plans below. Which one do you think is better?
You chose (b), right? Here’s why (b) is better…
Although plan (a) has some good ideas, they are not organised into paragraphs and there are no examples. This means that during the exam, the writer will have to pause to structure their argument. This takes away from the time they could spend focussing on getting their vocabulary and grammar to a high standard, which is necessary for a good score.
Plan (b) is divided into three main ideas with at least three examples to support each idea. Each idea can now be used as the main focus of a paragraph, which is a good way to organise your essay. Because there are at least three examples for each paragraph, you shouldn’t struggle to write 250 words. So when you go into your writing exam make sure you plan for the first five minutes – you won’t regret it!
So far this year, we have placed 386 doctors and nurses into the UK, who have been assessed on their English language skills and offered dedicated IELTS exam preparation to help them pass their IELTS tests.
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Contact one of our friendly consultants today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you pass your IELTS exam.
Read our other articles on the IELTS test:
Source: Specialist Language Courses
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