Thursday, 28 March 2019

The IELTS Writing Test

The writing test is divided into two tasks: tasks 1 and 2. Both tasks last for 60 minutes, 20 minutes for task 1 and 40 minutes for task 2. The task 1 format is totally different for both the academic and general categories. However, the format for the writing task 2 is the same for both categories.

I'd like to quickly mention that the writing test is the test that most candidates usually have a low band score in. It is the part that gives most candidates problems. This is not to scare you but rather help you to be fore-armed. Indeed, you must give this part serious attention.

What Assessors Look Out For When Marking Your Writing Test (Assessment Criteria)  
Irrespective of the category you are writing, the examiners will assess your writing on four main areas. They are lexical resource, grammatical range, coherence and task achievement. 
  • Lexical resource: By lexical resource, we mean the variety of words you use and how accurately you use them. Yes, your vocabulary must be resourceful. Your write-up would lack this quality if you use one word over and over again to represent the same situation or idea in the course of your writing. So in order to show that you have a wide of vocabulary, you should endeavor to use different words with the same meaning. It is also important to note that you don't just use words just for the fun of it. Try to use appropriate words that would fit the context for which it is meant.
  • Grammatical range: This has to do with the variety and the accuracy of the grammatical forms you use. For example, your tenses must be right. Whenever you are referring to something in the past or present, use the appropriate tenses. Another example is subject-verb agreement. You should use a singular subject (which could be a noun or a pronoun) with a singular verb. Also, a plural subject should go with a plural verb. The tables below show some examples of singular/plural subjects and singular/plural verbs.

Singular Subject
 Plural Subject


Singular Verb
 Plural Verb

Consider the following examples where the rule of subject-verb agreement is applied.
  1. The diagram show/shows the ages of boys in a class.
  2. The diagrams show/shows the ages of boys and girls in a class.
From the first example above, which would you write? show or shows? If you write shows, you would be very correct. This is because the singular subject, 'diagram', should go with the singular verb 'shows'. In the same vain, in the second example, the  right word to use is 'show', because the subject, 'diagrams', is plural and as such it should go with the plural verb, 'show'. So these are just but a few ways to ensure that your grammars are accurate.
  • Coherence: Your writing is said to be coherent if it is well organized and your points or ideas are well connected. Yes, in order for your writing to be coherent, it should be fluid. It should flow from one point to the other. One thing that can help in this regard is endeavoring to use connecting words like: firstly, secondly, next, moreover, furthermore, in addition e.t.c.
  • Task achievement: Your assessor will examine your write-up based on how well or how accurately you respond to the topic you're asked to write on. If you are asked to write on a particular topic and you start writing on something else, you will be marked down. So in order for your writing to be on point, you must as a matter of importance, first take out some time to understand the task. If you do this, the likelihood that you would derail tends to zero.

General Helpful Tips For The Writing Test
Tip 1: Write neatly and legibly
If your assessors can't read your writing then they can't score you.
Tip 2: Use your time wisely
You will have about 20 and 40 minutes for tasks 1 and 2 respectively. However, do not spend all the time writing. Set aside time for planning, writing and proof-reading.
Tip3: Plan before writing
Planning helps your writing to be well organized. So set aside some time to plan your writing.
Tip 4:
Understand the task before writing.

Tip 5: 
Use pages 1 and 2 of your answer sheet to answer task 1 and pages 3 and 4 for task 2. Don't use pages 1 and 2 for task 2 and vice versa.

Tip 6:
If you wish to make any corrections, do that neatly.

Tip 7:
You are expected to write at least 150 words for task 1 and at least 250 words for task 2. You can write more than these word limits but you can't write less. If you do, you will be penalized.

    A1 GRADE

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