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How to get a high IELTS academic-writing score

IELTS Academic Writing Preparation Guide

In this guide you will find IELTS Academic Writing practice questions, IELTS preparation tips, and IELTS exam information to help you prepare successfully for your IELTS Academic Writing test. This page contains everything you need to know and the essential skills for a high academic-writing score.

About IELTS Academic Writing

The Academic Training Writing Test has two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

  1. Task 1 - you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
  2. Task 2 - you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
Paper format There are two Writing tasks and BOTH must be completed.
Timing 60 minutes
No. of questions 2
Task types In Task 1, test takers are asked to describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in their own words. They need to write 150 words in about 20 minutes. In Task 2, they respond to a point of view or argument or problem. They need to write 250 words in about 40 minutes.
Answering Answers must be given on the answer sheet and must be written in full. Notes or bullet points are not acceptable as answers. Test takers may write on the question paper but this cannot be taken from the examination room and will not be seen by the examiner.

There are 2 different IELTS Academic Writing Task Types.

Task 1
Task type and format

In Writing Task 1, test takers may be asked to describe facts or figures presented in one or more graphs, charts or tables on a related topic; or they may be given a diagram of a machine, a device or a process and asked to explain how it works. They should write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral styles and include the most important and the most relevant points in the diagram. Some minor points or details may be left out.

Test takers should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. They are asked to write at least 150 words and will be penalised if their answer is too short. While test takers will not be penalised for writing more than 150 words, they should remember that a longer Task 1 answer may mean that they have less time to spend on Task 2, which contributes twice as much to the Writing band score.

Test takers should also note that they will be penalised for irrelevance if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). They will be severely penalised for plagiarism (i.e. copying from another source).

Test takers must write their answers on the answer booklet.

Task focus This task assesses the ability to identify the most important and relevant information and trends in a graph, chart, table or diagram, and to give a well-organised overview of it using language accurately in an academic style.
No. of questions 1

Task 2
Task type and format

In Writing Task 2, test takers are given a topic to write about an academic or semi-formal/neutral style. Answers should be a discursive consideration of the relevant issues. Test takers should make sure that they read the task carefully and provide a full and relevant response. For example, if the topic is a particular aspect of computers, they should focus on this aspect in their response. They should not simply write about computers in general.

Test takers should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task. They are asked to write at least 250 words and will be penalised if their answer is too short. While test takers will not be penalised for writing more than 250 words, if they write a very long answer they may not have time for checking and correcting at the end and some ideas may not be directly relevant to the question.
Task 2 contributes twice as much to the final Writing band score as Task 1. Therefore, test takers who fail to attempt to answer this task will greatly reduce their chance of achieving a good band.

Test takers will be penalised for irrelevance if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). They will be severely penalised for plagiarism (i.e. copying from another source). Finally, test takers should make sure that they do not copy directly from the question paper because this will not be assessed.

They must write their answers on the answer booklet.

Task focus This task assesses the ability to present a clear, relevant, well-organised argument, giving evidence or examples to support ideas and use language accurately.
No. of questions 1

IELTS® Academic Writing Example Question

The Academic IELTS writing test consists of two tasks. Each task requires you complete one IELTS writing question. Task 2 is worth more points than task 1, so it is recommended you complete task 2 before completing task 1.

Have a look at the IELTS writing questions you can expect from task 1 and task 2.


WRITING TASK 1

IELTS Writing Sample Question

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.


The chart below shows the number of men and women in further education in Britain in three periods and whether they were studying full-time or part-time. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

WRITING TASK 2

IELTS Writing Sample Question

Write about the following topic:

The first car appeared on British roads in 1888. By the year 2000 there may be as many as 29 million vehicles on British roads. Alternative forms of transport should be encouraged and international laws introduced to control car ownership and use. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Academic Writing Practice

100 IELTS Academic Writing practice questions with sample answers coming soon!

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