Question Types – Writing

Question Types – Writing

Question type of IELTS Writing test

In an question type of IELTS Writing test (both Academic as well as General Training), there are two writing tasks and both of them should be compulsorily completed.

In Task 1, a candidate has to respond to certain circumstances by writing a letter, for instance, seeking a specific detail or describing a situation. Candidate should prescribe to the mentioned word count, given in the Task 1 i.e. at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.

In Task 2, a candidate is provided with a specific point of view, opinion or an issue which he needs to discuss. Candidate should prescribe to the mentioned word count, given in the Task 2 i.e. at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.

Topic selected for IELTS Writing test and tasks is based on real life situations and is generally derived from magazines, journals, magazines, newspapers and other books. Candidate should be cautious when writing his answers on the answer sheet because he will lose marks for wrong spellings and grammar.

ielts writing coaching bangaloreCandidate should write his answers using full sentences. Also, care should be taken to not to write answers as notes or bullet points. Answers must be written on the answer sheet. Though candidate is allowed to jot down small notes on the question paper but these will not be considered for marking by the examiner.

Test Tasks

There are 2 writing tasks given in both IELTS Academic as well as General Training. The candidate needs to write at least 150 words to complete Task 1 and at least 250 words to complete Task 2.

IELTS Writing test – Academic Writing

In Task 1, the candidate is provided with some figures in the form of a diagram, table, chart or graph and is asked to illustrate, summarise or describe the data in his or her own words. The candidate is asked to explain the information, describe the various steps of a procedure, what is the mechanism of a particular thing or explain an entity.

In Task 2, the candidate is asked to write an essay in response to an argument or a line of thinking or problem or social issue. The questions raised are of common interest, suitable for and easily understood by candidates who wish to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate education or go for a professional registration.

The question in the Task 2 indicates the candidate what information to comprise in his opinion, argument or problem that takes the form of his essay. The instructions in the question inform a candidate what he should discuss in his essay. Candidate should ensure that he writes his answer carefully so that his complete response is not only relevant but also specific to topic. To do this the candidate requires arranging his ideas clearly and ensuring to use applicable examples (which can be from his own experience, if relevant).

For this task, the candidate should be able to write about more theoretical and composite issues and utilize a range of vocabulary, language and grammatical objects. Candidate must not spend more than 40 minutes on Task 2 but write at least 250 words. In case, the answer is too short, he will be penalised for same. While candidate will not be penalised for writing more than 250 words in Task 2, he should keep in mind that a longer answer may result in candidate having lesser time to check and correct the essay at the end. Candidate should leave some time for checking and correcting the essay by removing some points which may not be relevant to the topic. Candidate should also try to write in clear and understandable hand writing.

Also, candidate could be penalised if what he has written is not specific to the topic. Candidate may also lose some marks if his essay is not written as a single piece of connected text (i.e. avoid using notes or bullet points).

It is for the common interest of the candidates to write the answers for Task 1 and Task 2 IELTS Writing test in an academic and semi-formal style.

IELTS Writing test – General Training Writing

In Task 1, the candidate is given a situation where-in he or she has to write a letter requesting for the information or describing his or her circumstances. The format of the letter that the candidate has to write could be informal or semi-formal in style.

The question in the Task 1 indicates the candidate what information to comprise in his letter in the form of three bullet points. Candidate may have to give information or explain a situation. These situations are general and common in everyday life. For example:

  1. Writing to a Hostel warden regarding problems with hostel room
  2. Writing to a office subordinate regarding his regular late coming / too many leaves in the office
  3. Writing to a local newspaper about inconvenience caused due to construction work on site adjacent to housing society
  4. Writing to a motor car agency to sort out problems with the gear system in car

The format of letter writing i.e. formal / semi formal / informal, that candidate has to use rely on whom the candidate is asked to write to and how good he is expected to know them. Candidate should be careful to choose a format that is suitable for his audience and will help him attain his purpose for writing, e.g. writing to a friend (informal / personal) or writing to a colleague (semiformal) or writing to boss / principal (formal).

Candidate must not spend more than 20 minutes on Task 1 but write at least 150 words. In case, the answer is too short, he will be penalised for same. While candidate will not be penalised for writing more than 150 words in Task 1, he should keep in mind that a longer answer may result in candidate having lesser time to spend on Task 2, which weighs twice as much to writing band score. Also, candidate could be penalised if what he has written is not specific to the topic. Candidate should also take care not to write any addresses at the top of his letter.

In General Training Writing Task 2, the candidate has to write an essay in response to an argument or a line of thinking or problem or social issue or a topic. Topics given are of common interest. The candidate has to write a semiformal or a neutral essay of a minimum of 250 words. The essay should be discursive in nature, that is, writing about many different issues in an organised way.

The question in the Task 2 indicates the candidate what information to comprise in his opinion, argument or problem that takes the form of his essay. The instructions in the question inform a candidate what he should discuss in his essay. The candidate should write about a topic of common interest, such as:

  1. If self defence classes should be made a mandatory subject in schools
  2. How traffic and pollution related problems can be solved
  3. Whether drinking should be banned across the states
  4. If sports should be more emphasised in smaller towns due to greater proportion of population residing there

Candidate should ensure that he writes his answer carefully so that his complete response is not only relevant but also specific to topic. To do this the candidate requires arranging his ideas clearly and ensuring to use applicable examples (which can be from his own experience, if relevant). For this task, the candidate should be able to write about more theoretical and composite issues and utilize a range of vocabulary, language and grammatical objects.

Candidate must not spend more than 40 minutes on Task 2 but write at least 250 words. In case, the answer is too short, he will be penalized for same. While candidate will not be penalised for writing more than 250 words in Task 2, he should keep in mind that a longer answer may result in candidate having lesser time to check and correct the essay at the end. Candidate should leave some time for checking and correcting the essay by removing some points which may not be relevant to the topic. Candidate should also try to write in clear and understandable hand writing.

Also, candidate could be penalized if what he has written is not specific to the topic. Candidate may also lose some marks if his essay is not written as a single piece of connected text (i.e. avoid using notes or bullet points).

The main difference between the Task 2 essay in General Training and that in Academic is that in General Training, the essay can be a bit more personal in format.

IELTS Writing test – Skills Tested

This task tests a candidate’s ability to write an understandable, comprehensible, specific, relevant, well structured opinion, giving proof or instances to support his ideas, and use language correctly. In this task type, a candidate is assessed on his ability to:

  1. Provide generic accurate and realistic information
  2. Summarize an issue and suggest a solution
  3. Ability to rationalize an opinion
  4. Assess and explain his opinion

Timing

In a IELTS Writing test, the time allotted is 60 minutes to answer the questions. Since the candidate has to directly write the answers in the answer sheet, he or she is NOT provided with any additional or extra time. Since Task 2 holds double the weightage compared to Task 1 in terms of writing score, it is advisable to complete the Task 1 in 20 minutes and Task 2 in 40 minutes.

Marking

The candidate is assessed for his or her performance on each of the 2 tasks by recognised and certified IELTS examiners as per the IELTS Writing test assessment criteria (For Example, Lexical Resource, Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Grammatical Range and Precision). Task 2 holds double the weightage compared to Task 1 in terms of writing score. Scores are awarded in whole as well as half bands (For example, 7 & 7.5).

IELTS Writing test – Assessment Criteria

A broad range of candidate’s skills are tested in the IELTS Writing test. In both the writing tasks, a candidate is assessed for his or her ability to write an answer which is suitable in terms of:

  1. Task Achievement
  2. Task Response and Substance
  3. Organisation of views
  4. Precision and variety of vocabulary and grammar used including:
    1. Comprehending the core of topic
    2. Understanding of main objective of the topic
    3. Ability to draw conclusions and summarise the topic
    4. Ability to infer writer’s thoughts, vision and aim

In Task 1, Task achievement stands for candidate’s ability to write a letter that achieves its purpose. In Task 2, Task response refers to candidate’s ability to develop his argument in response to the task, citing examples and facts which may be from candidate’s own experience.

Coherence and cohesion examines how understandable and fluent a candidate’s writing is, and how has he organised his ideas and information. It includes giving opinions and statements in a logical order, and using a variety of cohesive objects appropriately.

Lexical resource examines the range of vocabulary used by the candidate and how precisely and suitably it has been used. Grammatical range and accuracy checks the variety of grammar a candidate has used.