Home IELTS IELTS Writing – Writing Task 1 and 2, Format, Scoring & Preparation Tips
IELTS writing syllabus, format, scoring and preparation tips

IELTS Writing – Writing Task 1 and 2, Format, Scoring & Preparation Tips

by Varalika Vij

IELTS Writing – The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Writing test is one of the four sections of the IELTS test, which is the most popular English proficiency language test for study abroad admissions. The writing section is a part of both variants of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam – IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. 

In this article, we present you key information on the Writing section of the IELTS test and preparation tips to score well in the exam. Before we go into the details of IELTS Writing section, let’s also understand about the IELTS exam in its entirety. 

The IELTS test is effectively managed by the British Council and International Development Program (IDP) for non-native English language speakers to study, work and migrate to countries where English is used as a primary language of communication. It is accepted by most of the Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and American academic institutions. A good band score in the IELTS exam can help you gain goodwill and grant easy access to different visas. Being one of the chief factors for admission requirements in these nations, your score will determine which foreign university you’re likely to join. 

In both variants of the IELTS exam – IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, the first three tests are lined-up on the same day in the order of Listening, Reading and Writing. Your Speaking test might also be held either on the same day or seven days before or after that, based on the local arrangements. It is also important to note that in both of these IELTS variants, the listening and speaking tests are similar in nature while there are some notable differences in the reading and writing sections. 

Since there are no breaks in between the first three tests, you need to be well prepared and aware of your last ‘writing tasks’ of the day. Read further to know the purpose, format, expectations, preparation tips and more about the IELTS Writing test. Learn how to manage both the parts of the IELTS Writing Exam – Task 1 and Task 2 within an hour and how to give your best for an excellent band score. 

Latest: Check IELTS Results and IELTS Exam Dates

IELTS Writing – What is IELTS Writing Exam?

Why this test?

The IELTS Writing test evaluates how adaptable you are in your writing skills. It accesses if you can: 

  • Write a suitable response
  • Organise ideas
  • Make use of correct vocabulary and grammar

Key differences between the writing section of IELTS Academic and General Training 

IELTS Academic Writing Test IELTS General Training Writing Test
Purpose Intended for potential university students who are applying in different universities and programs in countries where English is the primary medium of instruction.  For every other immigration employment and general immigration, the General Training IELTS test is needed for countries like Canada, the USA, Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Australia etc. 
Number of IELTS Writing Tasks and Task Types Two Tasks: IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2. 

The examinee is expected to write a minimum of:

150 words for Task 1 

250 words for Task 2 

Two Tasks: IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2.

 The examinee is expected to write a minimum of:

150 words for Task 1 

250 words for Task 2

Number of Questions 2 2
Format The IELTS Academic Writing Test involves a graph, table, chart or diagram and the candidate would be expected to describe, summarise or explain the information in their own words and style.

Academic IELTS Writing Task 1

One shall be expected to give a description of the data, put the stages of the process into words and express how something works or describe an object or a particular event.

Academic IELTS Writing Task 2


For the IELTS Writing Task 2, you shall be expected to respond to a point of view, an argument or an issue in the form of a written essay. 

The IELTS General Writing Test entails topics of general interest.

General IELTS Writing Task 1

The candidate will write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation given to him/her. You may write this letter/brief in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

General IELTS Writing Task 2

In task 2, the candidates will be presented with a point of view, argument or an issue. In response to this, they will have to write an essay in a spontaneous and personal style. 

Time Management The entire Writing test will take 60 minutes. The examinees will have to manage their own time. Therefore, one should complete the IELTS Writing Task1 and IELTS Writing Task2 in 20 minutes and 40 minutes respectively.  This Writing test will also take an hour to complete. After completing Task 1 in the first 20 minutes, the rest of the 40 minutes should be dedicated to IELTS Writing Task2.
Marks Your Writing test will be checked and scored by a certified IELTS examiner.  Your Writing test will be checked and scored by a certified IELTS examiner. 
Important Note:  Please keep in mind that the IELTS Writing Task 2 has twice as much value as the IELTS Writing Task 1. Scores are given in whole and half bands.

IELTS Writing – Writing Task 1 Format & Preparation Tips

While Writing Task 2 might appear to be tougher, the examinees should make sure not to ignore Task 1. This is because Task 1 is based on the facts which are provided to you. With the right preparation and language skills, one can bag an excellent result in Task 1, making the IELTS band score much more promising. Therefore, be mindful of time, organise the write-up, maintain accuracy of language and facts and much more.

Scheduling – The IELTS Writing Task 1 (in the case of the Academic Writing test) resembles a yearly or monthly report that an employee presents to his/her senior at work. In 20 minutes of time, the candidate has to examine one or two visuals, comprehend it and write a clear-cut 150-word report on it. This involves careful time management. We suggest you to – 

  1. Read and understand the table, chart or diagram in the first 5 minutes 
  2. Write its description in the next 10 minutes 
  3. Edit and proofread in the last 5 minutes

Maintain accuracy – After examining the kind of information contained in the visual, make sure that you give accurate descriptions of the information. Avoid describing any personal understanding on the data. Remember, Task 1 is all about exploring how well you can write in your own words on what you actually see. 

Organising the brief – After evaluating the visual, the candidate needs to describe it coherently in 150 words. One may begin by introducing the visual in a line or two. 

For example – “The graph above shows information about…/illustrates the trends in…/depicts the comparison between…” Further, you may change the paragraph to give a brief synopsis of what data or information the visual illustrates. The second and third paragraph may contain a different aspect of the information provided in the visual in two to three lines each. 

While Task 1 does not need a necessary conclusion, you may consider reserving 15 to 20 words for it to make your analysis look more defined. 

Language Practice some key words and phrases to make your language more precise and defined for this section of the test. 

For example, instead of writing – “The prices of onions went up to Rs. 100 and came down to Rs. 30 per kg in the year 2019” you may write – “The price of onions fluctuated between Rs. 100 and Rs. 30 per kg in the year 2019.” 

To be more coherent while adding another aspect of the visual in writing, use words like ‘although’, ‘furthermore’, ‘moreover’, ‘though’, in addition’. Also, avoid repetition of words to describe Task 1. 

For example – Instead of using the words ‘increase’ and ‘decrease’ over and over again, you may write words like – ‘rise’, ‘fall’, ‘skyrocket’, ‘plummet’, ‘jump’, ‘decline’, ‘spike’, ‘dip’. 

Are you planning to appear for IELTS exam? Not sure about detailed syllabus? Read our IELTS Syllabus article here.
IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing – Writing Task 2 Format & Preparation Tips 

The IELTS Writing Task 2 is considered the more important task out of the two writing tasks. This is because it requires you to write a formal essay in the age-old five paragraph format within 40 minutes. Further, Task 2 has more value for your overall band score since it holds 2/3rd worth of your writing score. Read below to understand how to schedule Task 2 most effectively within 40 minutes, what to practice, depending on offline vs online IELTS exam and tips on maintaining a 5-paragraph essay format.

Scheduling – The minimum word requirement is 250 words and Task 2 question is quite abstract with no perfect answer, hence needing more thought.  Therefore, it is advised to follow a clear break of time during this task. Plan and think about the essay in the first 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Write the essay in the next 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Re-read and edit the essay in the last 5 minutes.

Maintaining a formal essay format

  • The candidate must stick to the point and avoid losing track of the topic while writing the 5 paragraph essay that the 250-word IELTS Writing Task 2 demands. 
  • Secondly, one must maintain a balanced expression while writing the essay and keep away from expressing personal opinions in a matter-of-fact way. For example, instead of writing “Everyone is addicted to social media nowadays,” one must write, “Most of the people seem to be addicted to social media nowadays.”
  • Avoid using slang language or casual abbreviations like ‘b4’ instead of ‘before’ or ‘u’ instead of ‘you’. 
  • Avoid repeating the same words or ideas to fill in space or show off your vocabulary. The essay must have a logical introduction, body and conclusion based on the topic. 
  • Give special emphasis to the grammar, especially conjunctions and punctuations. 
  • Pay attention to the spellings during the editing process.

IELTS Writing – Practice for Offline IELTS vs Online IELTS 

In case you plan to give the IELTS test offline, keep in mind that it is a paper-based test and that you should have legible and fast handwriting skills. Therefore, one must practice to write as much as possible to achieve ease of writing during the actual test. However, the IELTS Writing Tasks are much easier on a computer-based set-up because of the ease of re-writing and editing, saving the editing and proofreading time for the candidate (especially for Writing Task 2). Make sure that you are comfortable with typing on the keyboard. Please remember that the online IELTS test involves an inbuilt timer on your computer itself while the offline IELTS test involves the supervisor warning you about the time. 

IELTS Writing – Video Resources for Writing Task 1 and 2 

It is fairly well known that the IELTS Writing Exam is considered the lowest scoring when compared to the IELTS listening, reading and speaking exams. This is because expressing oneself in writing generally needs more concentration on details like grammar, spelling, vocabulary and sentence structure. Also, the examinee needs to be quicker with their writing skills while keeping the mistakes to the minimal. However, with correct and intense practice, one can ensure a perfect score in their writing paper. 

Here are some of the videos that can help you in varying ways to prepare for this vital part of your IELTS exam:

  1. Watch this video to learn about the 12 common but costly mistakes that drag your score down in IELTS Academic writing. This includes mistakes like ‘Writing under 50 or 250 words’, ‘Answering the wrong question’, ‘Using informal writing style’ and more!

  1. Watch this video to understand how to manage and divide time during the IELTS Writing Task 2. 

  1. Watch this video to understand how to boost your writing style to succeed in your IELTS Writing Exam. This will include top 3 tips to bring variety in your sentences. 

For more preparation tips, check out IELTS Preparation article here.

IELTS Writing – FAQ’S

Q. How can a student improve his/her Writing Task 1 in IELTS?

A. Students needs to keep some very important points in mind while preparing for their IELTS Writing Tasks. Some of  the most important considerations are:

  1. Start your paraphrase with an introductory line on the visual provided in a specific formal language. For example, ‘The above graph illustrates the difference between…’/’This graph provides accurate price fluctuations from year ______ to _________. / This chart compares the social media preferences of men and women from year _______ to ________.
  2.  Learn phrases and words that aptly describe progressions and comparisons.

Q. How many writing tasks are there in IELTS?

A. There are two Writing Tasks in IELTS: IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2. The Examinee is expected to write a minimum of 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.

Q. How can I improve my writing task 2 in IELTS?

A. IELTS Writing Task 2 will include writing an essay on any general topic that concerns the society like education, health, youth, the environment, gender roles, age etc. You will need to write a formal 5-paragraph essay in a chronology of introduction, body and conclusion. The faster and more accurate you are in putting your thoughts into written words, the better it is for Writing Task 2.

Q. Does IELTS writing task 1 need conclusion?

A. The IELTS Writing Task does not necessarily need a conclusion. However, to add more weightage, you may reserve 10 to 15 words for it.

Study Abroad Banner

You may also like