The key reason for low scores in IELTS Writing is the way IELTS Writing is assessed. It is not unfair or random, but it is strict.
IELTS examiners evaluate not only your English language proficiency, including your vocabulary and grammar, but also your writing abilities. In order to achieve a high score, your essay must provide clear, well-written responses that cover all necessary aspects, present sufficient arguments, avoid irrelevant details, and meet other IELTS Writing requirements.
In this article, we will focus on Task 2 major mistakes that anyone can make, and I will show you how to correct them to get a higher band score.
Here’s the first task. Our IELTS Writing Task 2 topic is about whether children should read books for entertainment or not.
The idea is clear without the list of books, and you won’t get any extra points for knowing the names of books, games or anything else.
Here’s another example.
Unnecessary details, in this case, are the name and position of the researcher. Using imaginable research doesn’t add any credibility to your arguments. If you want to refer to some fact you know, just say “research suggests” or “research shows”.
Here are two sample sentences showing overgeneralisations.
They say that something is true all the time when it’s only true sometimes. Not all schoolchildren dislike Maths and not all employers prefer experience.
Try to soften your language by adding elements of probability.
Not all of them, just some. “May” also means that they may dislike it, or not.
Adding this clarification makes the argument stronger because it is more factual that employers’ preference depends on the kind of job.
This is an introduction to an essay about the best ways to prevent crimes.
This introduction is too long. All we need in an introduction is to present the topic, task and our position. I call it the TTP formula, which you can learn more about in my previous blog about writing better IELTS introductions.
In our case, we can simply remove the four sentences:
The task is “to discuss both views and give your own opinion”. Have a look at the last sentence of the introduction; it seemly repeats the task, which your examiner already knows. Instead, it’s better to give your opinion.
The next topic is about introducing a tax on unhealthy foods, and this is part of a body paragraph:
In your essay, you should use formal English. Avoid informal phrases, slang, idioms and colloquialisms in your essay. Actually, we have two informal phrases here. At the very beginning, “to beat around the bush” is an idiom and it’s informal. A formal linker we could use is “on the one hand”.
“To score points” is also informal. It’s better to say that “the sugar tax has had some positive effects”.
Now, we have a topic about the advantages and disadvantages of working from home rather than from an office. Let’s have a look at the paragraph about the advantages of working from home.
First, secondly, thirdly… the structure is quite repetitive. The use of linking words is mechanical. Try to make your transitions less noticeable.
Although the ideas are the same, in the second version they are better connected. But there’s still one thing missing.
If this is our whole paragraph about the advantages, there should be a topic sentence, which should tell the reader what the paragraph is about. It can be simple:
Ideally, at the end of the paragraph, you should wrap it up and transition to the next. In my courses, you can learn how to develop ideas in your body paragraphs and how to connect all your sentences – something that’s very important for your score.
The topic is still the same. Now, we need to answer the following question: “Do the advantages of working from home outweigh the disadvantages?”
Have a look at this conclusion:
The task question requires to say if the advantages or the disadvantages are greater, but this conclusion fails to do that. Make your opinion very clear:
Things to remember:
Here’s a sample topic.
In many countries, people do not recycle waste materials, such as bottles and newspapers. What are the reasons for this? What could be done to solve this problem?
This conclusion doesn’t provide a complete answer:
In your conclusion, you should answer all the essay questions. In the sample topic we have two, reasons and solutions. However, the sample conclusion above only gives us the reasons. Here’s what we should add:
These are our solutions. I actually have a full sample answer to this question, which you can download below.
Truly understanding what is required in IELTS Writing is key to passing this exam. In my courses, you can learn how to meet each requirement, what to write about in each body paragraph and in each type of task, where to express your opinion, how to do it, and how to write your answers more quickly to finish in 60 minutes. The links are below.
Here is the full essay on the last topic we discussed (problem and solutions) which you can download on our Telegram channel: