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7 Steps to Improve Writing Skills for IELTS Exam

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Getting lower bands in the Writing section each time? Don’t feel discouraged, here are some useful tips for you to hone up your skills in the writing section.

7 Steps to Improve Writing Skills for IELTS exam

1. Understand the band descriptors:

To start with, understand the scoring pattern, get to know all the important band descriptors you are judged on in the writing section. And those band descriptors are:

• Task achievement: You are expected to fulfill all the requirements of the task. Your response should include all the important points, facts, information, statistics provided to you in the tasks. The content should be written in a presentable way by developing all ideas nicely.

• Coherence and Cohesion: Bridging the different ideas in the task so that the continuity doesn’t break. Your written content should paragraph in such a way that all the different parts should have connectivity.

• Lexical resource: Usage of a vast range of appropriate words related to the task are essential in the writing task. This illustrates that, using precise words or synonyms wherever necessary so that the idea projected behind the writing is crystal clear. Learn at least 5 new words/phrases/ keywords each day and learn how to use them in your writing tasks.

• Grammatical range and accuracy: The correct sentence framing goes a long way in fetching good scores in writing. Besides that, using accurate and different sentence structures such as simple and complex, correct prepositions, verbs, etc. can help you give more depth to your writing.

Whether it is IELTS Academic task 1 and task 2 or IELTS General task 1 and task 2, always make sure that you understand the question well. Provide exactly the same information as asked in the question. In order to do that, always jot down the main points and then frame the answer around it.

2. Paraphrase the question statement in Task 2:

• Task 2: Start your IELTS writing task 2 by rephrasing the question statement in a crisp. Beyond that develop the main ideas in the separate paragraphs with relevant examples to justify your opinion. And then conclude with your viewpoint and possible solutions. Avoid using many ideas in one paragraph, rather take each idea and elaborate it separately. And the conclusion should have a rephrasing of your opinion/ argument you present in the essay. It’s evident that you score the marks on strong vocabulary skills, cohesive writing, and complex sentence structures.

• For IELTS Academic task 1, begin with rewording the title of the diagram/ graph/ flowchart/ table/ chart followed by an overview in brief to project the upcoming contents of the report. In the following paragraphs elucidate the given factual information showing the contrast or trending as per the diagram/ graph/ picture, etc. The idea is to develop the information in such a manner that what the diagram depicts should be clear to the reader. It is basically a summarization of the given facts and figures or comparing the data or showing a rising or falling trend, describing a process or working of a thing. The information needs to be presented in a formal manner. Always make sure to review the written content.

• And for the IELTS General task 1, an introduction is a must, followed by the explanation of the reason you are writing the letter for. You are supposed to respond to a given situation and you are required to express the requirements, opinion or suggestions and provide the information regarding the same to be able to fix the problem.

3. Use linking words:

Make use of the linking words to connect the different ideas in a way that the writing doesn’t deviate from the main topic.
There are various kinds of linking words and are used in different situations. They are categorized as under:

• SEQUENCING: When you have to show a series or sequence of the events you can use the words: Firstly, to initiate, To begin with, First of all, last but not least, lastly, etc.

• RESULT: When you have to show a result or an outcome then you can use the words: Hence, Thus, Therefore, As a result, Accordingly, Consequently, So, In consequence, etc.

• ADDITION: When you have to add more information or ideas to a given topic you can use the words: In addition, Moreover, Additionally, Furthermore, Besides, etc.

• COMPARISON: When you have to show a contrast in the data you can use the words: However, On the other hand, On the contrary, However, Similarly, Otherwise, Either/ Or, Neither/ Nor, Likewise, In the same way, equally, alternatively, nevertheless, In spite of, etc.

• TIME: To show a time or date, you can use the words: Later, Second, First, Earlier, Soon, etc.

• LOCATION: To signify a location, you can use the words: Beneath, Next to, In front of, Adjacent to, Under, Over, Above, on the other side, beyond, nearby, here, there, etc.

• SUMMARY: While summarising information or a text, you can use the words: To sum up, After all, In general, In brief, it seems, In other words, In short, to conclude, in conclusion, etc.

• EXAMPLE/STRESS: while giving some example or stressing on some particular point, you can use the words: for instance, for example, such as illustrated by, in particular, specifically, obviously, of course, etc.

• REASONS: when you have to give your reasons to support an argument, you can use the words: Since, as, because, due to, etc.

• OPINION: while giving your opinion on a particular issue, you can use the words: I think, In my opinion, in my view, I agree, I believe, etc.

4. Focus on Accuracy:

Identify the common mistakes: Review your writing skills each time you practice and identify the common mistakes you make each time. Fix your mistakes by seeking help online or correcting is referring to the related book. Try not to repeat the same errors and avoid them. The writing task is marked on its grammatical accuracy which includes:

  • The articles (a, an, the)
  • Nouns (Uncountable nouns) are used when the entity is inseparable into an individual item.
  • Punctuation such as: full stops, commas, semicolons, etc.
  • Noun Verb Agreement which implies that a singular noun must be in agreement with the singular verb.
  • The verb tenses: all three tenses such as past, present, future should be used correctly.
  • Use of Prepositions such as: in, on, at.

5. Avoid using fancy language:

Using advanced or academic vocabulary in very complicated sentence structures can fizzle out the clarity from the content. It’s advisable to use accurate, simple vocabulary and fill the gaps with correct grammar. You do not have to write exceptionally fancy English just to make your writing impressive, rather keep it simple, understandable and use the right words wherever necessary.

6. Avoid using contractions:

Contractions means when you combine two different words so that they sound like one word such as “going to” contracted to gonna, “it is” becomes it’s, “we are” becomes we’re, “you have” becomes you’ve, “I Will” becomes I’ll, etc. Using contracted forms in your writing gives a very casual approach to the content. It can be used where necessary once a while especially in the informal or semi-formal letter writing but avoid using contractions in the academic essay, reports or in any formal style of writing. Although using them in general writing tasks once a while is still acceptable.

7. Minimize the word count but keep it more than the lower limit:

While writing, make sure to use one strong/ effective word in the place of many common words in a sentence which unnecessarily increase the word count and also reduce the effectiveness of the content. Eg. Instead of saying, “I am extremely happy today”, you can say, “I am elated today”, so that reduces the word count yet it adds more value to the sentence. As the IELTS writing test has a minimum word limit for each task, i.e. 150 words for task 1 and 250 words for task 2, so it is advisable to write a minimum of these many words.

In conclusion, I will say, if all the above points are taken care of while attempting the writing tasks and practices well, without a second thought, you will be able to improve your writing skills quite a lot.

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