Common Do’s and Don’ts for the IELTS Academic Writing Test

What are the Common Do’s and Don’ts for the IELTS Academic Writing Test?

What to write and what not to write - tips to remember when taking the IELTS academic writing test

The IELTS academic writing test is a must for those looking to get an education abroad at a country that accepts IELTS as a proof of effective English language skills possessed by non-native speakers.

Often, the IELTS writing test seems to give sleepless nights to many students who are on the verge of taking the exam for the first time. However, even the students who would have earlier attempted the test find it quite challenging when they re-attempt it. 

But if you can follow the common rules, or let’s say the do’s and don’ts while taking up the IELTS writing test, you can, perhaps, save yourself from unnecessary worries.

So what are those common rules that you must follow, and things that you need to stay away from in the IELTS writing exam, in short what you should and shouldn't write. Here we go:

Do’s in IELTS writing test -

  1. In the writing task 1, you must paraphrase while explaining the graphs and charts.
  2. You must analyse the graphs clearly in the task 1, and use correct words where necessary.
  3. In the writing task 2, you must spend some time thinking and planning what to write in your essay.
  4. Do stick to one idea while writing. Don’t jump from one idea to another. It’s quite natural to have different perspectives about a topic, but when you write there should be one single idea flowing through the topic. This is because when you drift from one idea to another, your reader (examiner) drifts too and might find it difficult to understand what you mean to say.
  5. Do spend adequate time in understanding the questions. Never rush to answer any questions without reading them properly.
  6. It’s always advisable to break down your essay into three parts: introduction, body and conclusion.
  7. Do write an overview for task 1, and a conclusion (summary of points discussed) for task 2.
  8. Do use expressions in the introduction part of your essay that match with the entire content. If the expression is different from the topic that you choose to write about, it might leave the examiner confused.
  9. Do avoid expressions that are often overused, which are termed as cliché. For example, using words like ‘controversial or highly debated topic’ may not sound right because certain topics that are controversial to a few people may not be the same to the majority. Common clichés that can be avoided while writing: ‘hand to mouth’, ‘there is no time like the present’ and ‘ignorance is bliss’ (which is not).
  10. Pay attention to every minute detail you put on paper.
  11. Be careful of spellings and punctuations that you choose to use.
  12. Stick to using simple words and phrases. When you write something in complex words, just ask yourself if it can be broken down to simpler words and phrases. If the answer is yes, do it.
  13. The conclusion should be as simple as possible. And words like above and below must be avoided in the concluding paragraph.
  14. Do proofread your work multiple times and look for errors with keen eyes.

Don’ts in IELTS writing test -

  1. Don’t write too many words (when advised to follow a limit).
  2. Never mix both ‘for and against’ arguments.
  3. Avoid using informal language.
  4. Though it’s good to time yourself while writing, don’t keep looking at the clock continually.
  5. Don’t go off topic.
  6. Don’t copy words and phrases from a question while answering it. Try using synonyms when you answer a question because there is a penalty for copying words. 
  7. Don’t let anxiety overtake you.
  8. Avoid using contractions – words that you normally use with your friends.
  9. Don’t focus too much on task 1 that you can’t complete task 2 in time.
  10. Avoid using emotive languages: filthy, cruel, slash, ugly, etc.
  11. Avoid giving examples based on your personal experiences.
  12. Any kind of slang that you pick up from somewhere or any colloquial words that you normally use while talking should be avoided in the IELTS writing tasks.
  13. Never try using too many idioms. If something can be explained using everyday words and phrases, why blame the idioms!

Good luck...!
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