IELTS Essay Writing Tips & Preparation Advice
Starting out with essay writing may seem difficult and daunting task at first, but don't worry, it will become easier as you practice.
We advise you to take time to read about the do's and don'ts of IELTS essay writing and tips on how to improve and raise your writing skills to the next level.
Here you will also find:
Prepare smarter, follow our tips and advice, and writing tasks won't stop you from getting the band score you deserve!
Don't get confused about the structure or type of essay
There is a ton of information available online about different types of IELTS essays and as being a self-learner it is easy to get confused. Especially, when the information is often conflicting as well. Therefore, regarding IELTS essay writing, we recommend that you should not worry about identifying what type of essay you are asked to write or what structure you need to use.
Although there are 5 types of IELTS essays (see also samples), learning about these essays and suggested structures one-by-one just overburdens you and at the end of the day, there is no actual benefit. All that matters is to answer all the questions and stick to that. It is as simple as that! You just need to fully address all parts of the task. That's it!
Take time to read the question prompt and answer the question completely and directly. No need to overthink whether the essay is this or that type and which structure you need to use. You will do yourself a favor when you skip learning about "right" essay structures to follow as there are none found. Instead, trust yourself and listen your gut.
Importance of planning your essay
Think and plan before you write! It is necessary to brainstorm for at least 2-5 minutes. Write down all the keywords and phrases that come to your mind and then organise your ideas by making a very simple plan for the essay structure. The more you practice essay writing, the faster you will become at brainstorming.
It is very important to keep in mind what you are asked to do. So, by making a plan make sure you answer all the questions!
For example, if you are asked to discuss both views, then make sure that you have one paragraph for one view and another paragraph for another view and so forth.
Stick to the plan and use the words, phrases and ideas that have come to your mind while brainstorming.
Show good grammar and vocabulary
For writing a high-level essay, you need to demonstrate that you are able to use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary. For example, use different tenses, conditionals, passive voice, wide vocabulary and avoid repeating the same words.
You need to find a good balance between showing your writing skills and feeling comfortable.
Using good language in your essay doesn't mean that you know some sophisticated sentences by heart that you're desperately trying to use in your essay. Actually, it is a very bad practice and we recommend that you should avoid doing that.
If your overall usage of language is consistent throughout the essay and then, all of a sudden, you use a very complex sentence, it looks unnatural. Furthermore, IELTS examiners consider this to be a learned expression and, as a result, it pushes your score downwards.
Write coherently and use cohesive words
Writing coherently will surely give your score an extra boost. Actually, coherence and cohesion is one of the four band criteria your writing will be evaluated against. Therefore, it is super useful to learn linking words along with IELTS essay vocabulary. You can use these resources all the time while studying.
After writing about 3 essays, many good phrases and linking words will be glued to you. You will find out your favourite ways to start and end the essays, to state viewpoints and add arguments.
As a result, writing an essay becomes easier and you will be a lot quicker too. But don't memorise long phrases or sentences, these are all listed just for inspiration. However, learning words for different topics is highly recommended! It will give you ideas and ability to express yourself.
Get feedback on your IELTS essay and practice
Finally, it is also important to get feedback on each essay you write. The key to improving your essay writing is to get your essay reviewed by qualified IELTS trainers, so you could learn from feedback and improve your writing skills.
Writing evaluation gives you an idea of what level you are at and what band score your writing would likely get. You will learn about your weak areas and you will be given tips and suggestions on how to improve them. See a sample:
If you struggle and want to improve your writing skills, let IELTS experts help you. The last thing you want to happen is to discover what your weaknesses are on the exam day, especially if the result is unsatisfying for you. After all, taking the exam gives you nothing but a plain band score that carries absolutely no weight regarding feedback: you will not get to know your mistakes and why you failed.
So, rather use IELTS writing evaluation service to be better prepared, achieve your desired result on the first try and ultimately become better at writing.
10 IELTS ESSAY TIPS
- Read the task
- Understand what the task asks you to do. This is very important for achieving a good score. You need to read the task thoroughly and cover all the points you are asked to write about.
- Manage your time
- Think and plan before you write. Allow time for planning (no more than 5 minutes), writing and also some minutes for editing.
- Brainstorm and plan before you write
- Take time to brainstorm before you write. Make sure that each paragraph of your essay has a central idea. Make a plan and stick to it.
- Organise your essay
- Organise your ideas into separate paragraphs. In general, your essay must have an introduction paragraph, 2-3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
- One idea for each paragraph
- Come up with one main idea for each paragraph of your essay. If your essay question includes several questions, you should write a body paragraph for each one.
- Use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary
- Show a wide range of vocabulary, use different tenses, conditionals, passive voice and avoid repeating the same words.
- Use cohesive devices to link your ideas
- If you know linking words, this will surely help you write more coherent essays and also keep the essay flow clear and logical.
- Don't learn model answers
- Do not memorise model answers or long phrases. Examiners are trained to spot these answers and you will receive less points for such writing test.
- Don't write under the word count
- There is a penalty if you write under the word count which is 250 words for Task 2. It is also a bad idea to write too many words as you are likely to make more mistakes and have less time to check what you wrote.
- Handwrite your practice essays
- As the IELTS test is mostly a pencil and paper exam, it is essential that you handwrite your practice essays. You will learn how quickly you write and get a good overview of the amount of words, so you won't risk losing marks for writing under the word count.
Want to get your IELTS writing tasks corrected by IELTS examiners?