IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice

How Many Words for IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice: No, there is no upper limit. However, writing too many words does not guarantee a better mark. It might cause problems. It may include sentences that are less relevant and less focused.

IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice


How Many Words for IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice


IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice: What is the ideal length for your IELTS writing task 1 and 2? Discover how the examiner calculates your word count and the recommended essay length for your IELTS essay. In this blog, you will learn the following:


  •  IELTS writing word count rules
  • Recommended Essay Length
  •  Word count Warning
  •  How Words are Counted in IELTS Writing
  •  IELTS Writing:  Word Count Rules



1. IELTS writing word count rules


  1. IELTS has assigned a task to write over 50 words for IELTS writing task 1 and 250 words for writing task 2.
  2. However, there is no word limit.
  3. While the penalty for being under the word count has been removed, writing an essay that is too short will lower your score.


2.  Recommended Length of an IELTS Essay


  1. Writing over the word count is always the best approach to tackle your IELTS.
  2. You should aim to write around 170-190 words for writing task 1 and about 270-290 words for writing task 2. This indicates that you have sufficiently developed your writing for higher scores in terms of word count, but remember to ensure that each sentence remains relevant and focused.
  3. Avoid writing excessively. Prioritize quality over quantity. This entails focusing on producing excellent English and organizing your information rather than creating a lengthy essay for the task.
  4. This rule also applies to your report in task 1 Academic.


Will you get a higher score for a longer essay in IELTS?


The answer is very simple =no.  IELTS is looking for a highly relevant focused essay.  If you try to add information not 100% relevant to your task, you will get a lower score.

Try to avoid adding a hook to your introduction to make it interesting. Interest does not earn you more points. Being focused and concise, on the other hand, earns you more points. A longer essay does not result in a higher score.



3.  Warning for IELTS Writing Word Count


  1. The examiner will not count the words if you copy the information given by IELTS for your introduction. This means you might be under the word count. Therefore, you should always paraphrase your introduction.


  1. To check the number of words you have written, you should count the lines instead since you don’t have time to count each word individually. Knowing the length of your handwriting on the official writing answer sheet will be helpful.



IELTS Writing? Rules and Advice


IELTS Writing Penalty for Being Under Words


“Under the word count” penalty update for IELTS Writing Task 2

Previously, a fixed penalty of band score 5 for Task Response in IELTS writing task 2 would be imposed if the word count of 250 words was not met. However, this rule has now been removed.

Does this mean you can now write under the word count?

The answer to this is yes and no. Let me explain. It is now possible to write under the word count without incurring a fixed penalty. However, it may still have an impact on your score.

Writing a short essay under 250 words will impact your score, and not in a good way. The requirements of a good band score state that you need to develop your ideas sufficiently. This means you must have enough words to develop your main points. A short essay does not accomplish this. Take a look below at the requirements of

  • Band 5 = Ideas are limited and not sufficiently developed
  • Bank 6 = Ideas might be inadequately developed
  • Band 7 = extends main ideas
  • Band 8 = presents well –a developed response with extended ideas
  • Band 9 = fully extended ideas


As you see, developing and extending your main points is crucial to increase your score.  You cannot develop your ideas properly if your body paragraphs are too short.  Certainly, a long paragraph does not guarantee a well-developed idea, but a short paragraph will ensure it is not developed enough.  So you need two things:

  1.  Developed body paragraphs are long enough.
  2. Body paragraphs contain focused and relevant sentences.
    They are the right length and focused.



Word limit recommended for paragraphs


The introduction consists of just two statements, typically comprising 40-50 words, serving as a functional paragraph.

To achieve a high score, each body paragraph should have sufficient development. For two body paragraphs, aim for around 95 words per paragraph, and for three body paragraphs, approximately 65 words per paragraph. Insufficiently developed main points may pose a risk, so it’s important to ensure an appropriate length.

The conclusion should consist of a functional paragraph of approximately 30-40 words. Your essay’s total length should be around 270-290 words. Writing fewer words may result in underdeveloped ideas, which could lower your score. Conversely, writing more words may lead to unfocused ideas and irrelevant sentences.


Other Things affecting your score


  1. Your handwriting: Your handwriting can seriously affect your band score if the examiner has problems reading it.

  2. Memorised answer : Memorizing your essay answer could result in a 0 band score and it will not be accepted.

  3. Limited answer: Your score in task response will not go above 5 if you fail to answer the whole question and only answer half of it.



Is there a penalty for writing too much?


No, there is no upper limit.  However, writing too many words does not guarantee a better mark. It might cause problems. It may include sentences that are less relevant and less focused. People often enjoy adding “padding” to their essays, which only lowers their scores.

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