IELTS Writing strategies

[Language ★★★]


Spend 20 minutes on Task 1 (150 words) and 40 minutes on Task 2 (250 words). Task 2 is longer than Task 1 and is worth twice as many marks.

Before you write

  • Read the task and make a mental summary of the key points and overall trends/stages.
    Why? Because if you misinterpret the data or diagram, you will lose a lot of marks for content.

As you write

  • Introduce the information, in a sentence or two, using your own words.
    Why? Because if you copy the question, the examiner will not count these words.
  • Summarize the key points and use data to illustrate these.
    Why? Because you will lose marks if you miss key points or fail to illustrate them.
  • Include an overview of the information – either in your introduction or conclusion.
    Why? Because you will lose marks if your answer does not contain an overview.

How you write

  • Try to show that you can use your own words (wherever possible) and a range of grammatical structures.
    Why? Because you will get more marks for vocabulary and grammar if you can do this.
  • Divide your answer into paragraphs and use linkers to connect your ideas.
    Why? Because you will get more marks if you can organize your answer well and use a range of linking and reference words.

When you have finished

  • Count your words to make sure you have written enough.
    Why? Because short answers lose marks. (There are no extra marks for long answers.)
  • Check your grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
    Why? Because mistakes in these areas can reduce your marks.

WORDS: 264


VOCABULARY: marks, misinterpret, illustrate, overview, linkers


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Do you agree with these strategies? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you want to take the IELTS exam?
  3. Is it important to practice and study for the exam? Why or why not?
  4. Would you recommend this article to another English learner? Why or why not?


  1. Task 2 is shorter than task 1.  (T or F)
  2. Will you lose points if you do not include an overview? (Y or N)
  3. It’s not important to use connectors. (T or F)
  4. If you write too much, your score will be lower. (T or F)


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Mental summary (before you write)
  • Wherever possible (how to write)

Cambly Practice ButtonImage source: by “unknown”

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