The Academic Writing module of IELTS consists of two tasks.
Task 1: Describe a diagram
Time: 20 mins. Words: 150
In this task, you are shown a diagram or set of data and you have to write a short report identifying the main features and making comparisons where relevant.
The chart below shows Internet use at Redwood Secondary School, by sex, from 1995 to 2002.
Write a report for a university professor on the main features of the chart and make comparisons where relevant.
Other examples of IELTS Writing Task 1: A table showing accident statistics; A line graph comparing sales at four companies; Two maps showing a town’s development over 30 years; Several diagrams showing different models of bicycle.
Task 2: Discursive essay
Time: 40 mins. Words: 250
In this task, you have to write about your opinion on a particular issue, or about both sides of an argument. The question will make it clear which approach you should take.
It is widely believed that people’s ability to learn new things decreases with age and that companies should actively recruit younger employees who have greater potential to learn.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Other topics covered in IELTS Writing Task 2 may include: education, health, technology, work, or the media. Sensitive topics such as politics or religion are avoided.
You do NOT need any special knowledge of these issues, only the ability to present ideas in a logical format with clear links and an appropriate style of language for academic discourse.
Typically, you will write a four- or five-paragraph essay beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion.
In IELTS Writing, Task 2 is more important than Task 1, so you should spend more time on Task 2.
Five key skills for success in IELTS Writing
1. Always spend some time (2-3 mins) making a paragraph plan before you begin writing. In Task 1, each paragraph should deal with one aspect of the data. In Task 2, each paragraph should contain one main idea.
2. Avoid repeating the same words too many times. Paraphrase the questions and vary vocabulary as much as possible in both IELTS writing tasks.
3. In Task 1, do not attempt to explain or present reasons for the data. You should only describe what it shows.
4. In Task 2, remember that you can write about other people’s ideas as well, so practice using reporting verbs and passive structures to give your writing a more academic style.
5. Mistakes are much more obvious in writing than in speaking, so you should be continuously working to improve your English grammar while preparing for IELTS.
And finally, keep checking IELTS Academic for more detailed advice on applying all these strategies in the IELTS test!