What is the IELTS test?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardized test of English language which accepts international English, not only British English.

The test has mainly 4 parts:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

The IELTS test assesses your English abilities

IELTS comes in two types: Academic and General Training. For both tests, Listening and Speaking are identical, but the Reading and Writing sections are different depending on the test you take.

The test takes 2 hours and 45 minutes.

You will complete the Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests on the same day without a break.

However, you can complete the Speaking section a week before or after the other sections of the test. The test center will let you know.

IELTS Academic Writing

60 minutes

If you are looking to enter undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional qualifications, this test is for you. There are two writing tasks:

  • Task 1 presents a graph, table, chart, or diagram and asks you to describe, summarize or explain the information contained in it. For example, you might need to explain data, describe a process, or describe an object or event.
  • Task 2 asks you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Use a formal writing style for both tasks. You must write your answers on the answer sheet in the test booklet, and you must write a full answer. Do not answer with short notes or bullet points. You can write notes to yourself on the question paper, but the examiner will not see it, and you will not be allowed to remove any part of the exam from the examination room.

What is involved in Academic Writing Task 1?

The goal of Writing Task 1 is to assess how well you can summarize the relevant facts and details presented in a graph, chart, table or diagram. You should write in an academic or semi-formal style. Do not write in conversational English. You can leave out some minor details. The writing task is essentially information-transfer, relating only to the factual content of a diagram and not to speculations about what it means.

Do not spend more than 20 minutes on this task. Write at least 150 words because there is a penalty for answers that are too short. You will not receive a penalty for writing more than 150 words, but remember that spending more than 20 minutes on your Task 1 answer may leave you less time to spend on Task 2, which impacts your Writing band score twice as much.

It is especially important to avoid irrelevant information in your answers. Answers that are off-topic, incomplete, or presented as a list rather than cohesive paragraphs will receive penalties. Copying word-for-word from another source (plagiarism) will incur severe penalties.

What is involved in Academic Writing Task 2?

The goal of Writing Task 2 is to assess your ability to present a well-organized clearly expressed and relevant argument, supporting your ideas with evidence and examples in error-free English.

You will write about a topic in an academic or semi-formal style. Answers should proceed coherently, carefully considering the relevant issues. Test takers should make sure that they read the task carefully and answer the question asked. You should avoid a general, unfocussed discussion.

You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task. Write at least 250 words because you will be penalized if your answer is too short. You can write more than 250 words, but make sure you have time to check and correct your writing.

Task 2 contributes double the number of points to the final Writing band score as Task 1. So, if you fail to finish answering this task, you will significantly reduce your chance of achieving a good band.

Avoid going off-topic or writing unconnected text in the form of bullet points. There are major penalties for irrelevance, irregular paragraphing, and copying from another source (plagiarism). As a final point, you should avoid copying word-for-word directly from the question paper because the examiner will ignore copied text.

Write your answers on the pages provided in the answer booklet.

How is IELTS Academic Writing scored?

Scoring and evaluation

Each task is evaluated separately. The evaluation of Task 2 is worth double the value of Task 1.

Your answers will be evaluated by certified IELTS examiners. All IELTS examiners are qualified teachers who are recruited as examiners by the test centres and authorized to perform evaluations by the British Council or IDP-IELTS Australia.

Your score will be rounded to whole and half bands. You can see detailed performance descriptors for written performance at the nine IELTS bands on an IELTS scoring details page. Descriptors apply to both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions of the test and involve these criteria.

Task 1 responses are scored for

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Task 2 responses are scored for

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Performance descriptors

Task 1

Task achievement assesses how appropriately, accurately, and relevantly the response fulfils the requirements set out in the task, using the minimum of 150 words. Academic Writing Task 1 is a writing task which has a defined input and a largely predictable output. It is basically an information-transfer task that relates narrowly to the factual content of an input diagram and not to speculative explanations that lie outside the given data.

Coherence and cohesion concern overall clarity and fluency: how the response organizes and links information, ideas and language. Coherence refers to the logical sequencing of ideas. Cohesion refers to the use of a variety of appropriate cohesive devices to assist in making the relationships between concepts clear to the reader.

Lexical resource refers to the variety of vocabulary employed and its correct and appropriate use in the task.

Grammatical range and accuracy refer to the variety and accurate use of grammar throughout the essay.

Task 2

Task response relates to how well you formulate and develop an argument in relation to the given test prompt. You should support your argument with evidence and examples from your own experience. Responses are required to be at least 250 words long. Texts with fewer than the required minimum word limit will receive a penalty.

Coherence and cohesion relate to an assessment of the overall clarity and development of the argument, that is how your response organizes ideas. Coherence refers logical sequencing. Cohesion refers to the use of a variety of appropriate cohesive devices to assist in making the relationships between concepts clear to the reader.

Lexical resource refers to variety of vocabulary employed and its correct and appropriate use in the task. Grammatical range and accuracy refer to the variety and accurate use of grammar throughout the essay.