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IELTS Academic writing advice

Updated: May 11, 2022

Text reads 'Studying IELTS at Notting Hill College Manchester', IELTS academic writing advice' in front of a photo of a women in glasses reading a book at a table.

The IELTS Academic exam is split into different sections to test your skills in various aspects of the English language. Here is how to tackle the writing section.

IELTS Academic writing

The writing sections of the IELTS Academic test is comprised of two tasks.

Within the first task you will be required to summarise and also compare data. What this means is you will have to write about the data given to you. This data can be presented in various formats such as a graph, bar chart or pie chart, for example.

You will be given 20 minutes to complete the summary and comparison of the data you are writing about, and you must write at least 150 words. This part of the test will carry one-third of the overall writing mark.

Within the second task, you will be required to produce an extended piece of writing. This will be in the form of an essay, of which there will be one of four different types:

1. Agree or disagree with a statement.

2. Discuss advantages and disadvantages of something.

3. Analyse a problem and identify a possible solution.

4. Evaluate the effects of a development.

Grammar and vocabulary

Within either task you need to make sure you are using the appropriate grammar and vocabulary to answer the questions. You cannot predict the topic of the question, but there are some aspects of grammar and vocabulary that more likely to come up than others.

Below is a sample exercise for you to complete:

Can you match the following language points to the most relevant task(s):

  • General structures for cause and consequence (for example, X causes Y to happen or this is usually due to X).

  • Structures for introducing positives and negatives (for example, one positive point about X is . . . . . or another drawback of doing X is . . . . . . ).

  • Comparatives (for example, X is much better than Y or X is not nearly as good as Y).

  • Conditional structures for expressing consequence (for example, this would most certainly lead to or there is a fair chance that this will make it easier to).

  • Passive structures for introducing common opinions/beliefs (for example, it is widely believed that . . . . . or X is often thought to be . . . . . . ).

Some of these language points could be useful with more than just one task take note of the above and remember them thoroughly.

If you feel you need more practice on a specific area or with any type of language that you feel may be more likely to pop up in the writing exam, then it will be worth making the effort to focus on the areas you are struggling with.

It is highly recommended that you look at sample answers and try to extract good examples of language used within them, and then reuse them within your own piece of work. It will also give you a good idea of what the examiner is looking for.

There are many useful resources that can be found online when it comes to preparing for the IELTS exam.

Notting Hill College have helped countless students pass their English examinations enabling individuals to work and study in the UK. If you would like to pass with confidence, enrol on our IELTS Preparation course today.


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