IELTS Writing Test: Complete Breakdown:

This blog offers a comprehensive description of the IELTS Writing Test. Find out what is required for the academic and general modules!

Understanding the IELTS Writing Test: Task 2, Academic Task 1, and General Task 1


Misunderstanding the IELTS Writing Test could be the difference between a 6 and a 7, or even a 7 and an 8 on test day. By reading this blog, you’ll gain a complete understanding of the IELTS Writing Test so you can get the score you need.


Introduction: The Challenge of IELTS Writing


Did you know that the writing test is the most challenging part of the IELTS Test? The average scores worldwide in 2023 show that writing is harder than every other part of the test. This difficulty stems from misconceptions and bad advice about what IELTS Writing is all about. In this video, I’m going to properly clarify IELTS Writing Task 2, Academic Writing Task 1, and General Writing Task 1.



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IELTS Writing Task 2: Essay Writing


IELTS Writing Task 2 involves crafting an essay that follows a specific structure. It will have an introduction, two to three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The distinctions between the essay in the general test and the academic test are minor and not worth mentioning. The general test’s question prompt is slightly less complex.

On test day, you will encounter a Task 2 question prompt. You have only one chance to get it right, spending about 40 minutes on this task. This essay accounts for 66% of your overall writing score. This makes Task 2 worth two thirds of your writing test score, with 40 minutes allocated to it and 20 minutes to Task 1. The essay must contain more than 250 words, but writing more than 300 words is unnecessary.


Discursive Essays: Understanding IELTS Writing Task 2


The IELTS Writing Task 2 requires a discursive essay. Many mistakenly believe that there are different essay types like advantage-disadvantage or problem-solution, but the only essay type needed is discursive. A discursive essay explores a specific idea from various angles, taking a position or point of view and balancing personal observations with different perspectives. Real-life experiences or knowledge should be drawn upon.

When examining the IELTS question prompt, a crucial set of instructions is given: “Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.” Hence, incorporating relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience is vital.


Types of IELTS Essay Questions


There are common question types in IELTS Writing Task 2: opinion questions, advantages-disadvantages questions, problem-solution questions, discuss-both-views questions, and double questions. These question types determine the information you need to address in your response.

A critical tip is to avoid memorizing essay templates based on questions. Test takers should remember that irrelevance to the question will lead to a penalty. Flexibility in answering the question is key, and using memorized templates hampers that flexibility.


Idea Generation and Planning for Task 2


Now, brainstorming clear and relevant ideas is essential on test day. Carefully analyze the question prompt and spend time considering the content before writing. Also, clear and relevant ideas will emerge from this process. Make sure to practice this skill at home with these simple steps:

-pick a question

-think about two points on one side and two on the other

-do this in less than 2 minutes

-repeat for other questions


This will train your brain on how to quickly generate ideas when it comes to any questions!


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Scoring Criteria for Task 2


Task response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource (vocabulary), and grammatical range and accuracy constitute the scoring criteria for Task 2. These criteria can be further broken down into elements like addressing the question, presenting a strong position, organizing and linking within paragraphs, vocabulary variety, grammatical flexibility, and more.


IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Describing Visual Data


In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you have 20 minutes to describe visual data, such as line graphs, tables, bar charts, pie charts, diagrams, processes, or maps. Your task is to summarize the information, report main features, and make relevant comparisons.

Summarizing the information involves analyzing data and presenting it using academic language without speculating or giving opinions. Reporting main features necessitates selecting and presenting key data and trends, supporting them with relevant numbers. Plus, making comparisons is important for data that exhibits significant changes or trends over time.


Scoring and Time Management for Task 1


Overall, the scoring criteria for Task 1 include covering the bullet points, developing ideas, internal and overall structure, tone and formality, vocabulary range and precision, grammatical flexibility and accuracy, punctuation, and spelling. Time management is crucial, with around 20 minutes allotted to writing, considering that this section constitutes a third of the overall score.

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IELTS General Writing Task 1: Letter Writing


Let’s now talk about IELTS General Writing Task 1 where you must write a letter based on a specific situation. The situation provides background information and three bullet points that outline tasks you must accomplish in the letter. Different tones—informal, semi-formal, or formal—are applicable based on the relationship between you and the recipient.

Moreover, understanding the tone and the tasks outlined in the bullet points is crucial. You should not only cover the tasks but also use your imagination to create an engaging narrative while sticking to the provided content.


Mastering IELTS Writing


In conclusion, understanding the nuances of IELTS Writing is essential for achieving the desired score. Whether it’s crafting a discursive essay for Task 2, summarizing data for Academic Task 1, or composing a letter for General Task 1, the key lies in addressing the prompts accurately, organizing ideas coherently, and using appropriate language. E2 Test Prep offers practice and expert feedback to help you refine your writing skills further. Remember that success in IELTS Writing hinges on comprehending the tasks, effectively utilizing your imagination, and adhering to the scoring criteria