Tips for Acing your IELTS General Training Writing Test
If you haven’t written an essay in a while, the tasks on your General Training Writing test might seem a little overwhelming. Recently, I stood outside of the main observation deck at the CN Tower. That felt overwhelming, too, but I managed to conquer my fear! Meanwhile, you can follow these tips to raise your score to higher levels.
Firstly, here’s what’s expected of you: The IELTS General Training Writing Task 2 asks you to answer a problem in a 250 word, four-paragraph essay. You can use semi- formal language, since you don’t have to be as formal as for the Academic writing. That being said, you still have to follow basic essay structure, so remember to keep to one topic for each body paragraph, and use transitional phrases throughout the essay. Since you don’t have a lot of time, start by briefly outlining your ideas on the question paper. Then, start with a one-sentence thesis statement, write two main body paragraphs detailing your reasons or solutions, and end the essay with a short conclusion.
Secondly, here’s how you are being graded, as can be found by checking the Public Band Descriptors for Writing Task 2. Here’s the four main areas you’ll want to work on to make sure you’re ready:
- Structure – Practice providing supporting points for your main ideas. Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence, and end with a concluding sentence. Remember, you only need two body paragraphs.
- Cohesion – Learn to use a wide variety of transitional words.
- Vocabulary – Try using uncommon words in your daily life. For example, you can give yourself a challenge to use one new word per day. Keep the new words in an ongoing ‘dictionary’ on your phone. If there are any words in this article you don’t use on a regular basis, get a head start by adding them to that ongoing dictionary. Check out idioms and expressions that you come across. Word forms are also important; for example, you don’t want to use a word’s noun form when you need a verb. There are plenty of great websites with exercises to help you through this.
- Grammar - Provide a variety of sentence types, such as compound, complex or compound-complex sentences in your essay. Read the completed essay from top to bottom to ensure it makes sense, and to check for any grammar errors.
Now that you have some tips to score higher on General Writing Task 2, you can get started by downloading a free practice test. Why not block off a couple of hours of your time to write a few essays? Don’t know what to write? You may want to take a walk outside or bring a book to the beach to get you inspired. Remember, practice helps you become a better writer, so there’s no better way to get better at writing than to just keep doing it.
IDP Education Canada Ltd. (2021). Free IELTS Practice Tests. View Webpage
Written by Marilyn Parsons M.T.S., MEd, OCELT