IELTS Writing Part Two (Academic and General)

How can I get a 7 or 8 in IELTS Writing Part Two Essay (Academic or General)?

As an IELTS examiner of 10 years and with over 1,000 official writings marked, I can tell you that it’s actually simple what you need to do to get 7 or 8 in the second part of the IELTS writing, or the “essay”. And, yes, it’s the same “rules” for both general and academic IELTS writing part two, for all five main types of IELTS essay task.

The examiners look at the same criteria for both the academic and general exams, and all 5 types of essay task. You need to….

  1. answer the exam task given, including all the points that are in the task
  2. avoid overgeneralizing or including unasked for information
  3. support your ideas with reasons and examples (and no, the ideas, reasons and examples do NOT need to be highly intelligent, just relevant to the exam question)
  4. organize your ideas logically into an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, in a way that the IELTS exam wants (as opposed to TOEFL or other international exams)
  5. use a range (variety)  of grammar and vocabulary structures, including complex grammar and less common vocabulary
  6. only make occasional mistakes with grammar, vocab, and linking words

And that’s it! Any time a candidate does the above, they get a 7 or above. So why is it so difficult? The table below shows the main reasons an examiner will give you less than a 7 or 8 according to the above criteria….

You need to….

You get less than 7/8 because you ….

answer the exam task given, including all the points that are in the task

miss part of the points in the exam task. This is true for about 80% of candidates.

avoid overgeneralizing or including unasked for information

overgeneralize and / or include unasked for information. Again, 80% of candidates make this mistake :(((((

support your ideas with reasons and examples

introduce an idea but don’t support it. Not that bad here, only about 20% make this mistake.

and/  or

your reasons / examples either don’t support your main idea, or overgeneralize to some extent. Here it’s about 70%  that make this mistake.

organize your ideas logically into an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, in a way that the IELTS exam wants for each of the five main types of essay

write an essay that has perfect organization for TOEFL or a university in your country, but not appropriate for IELTS. Good news here, you probably don’t have this problem! But maybe you do 🙂

and / or

write an essay that is suitable for an IELTS writing, but for a different essay type than the one that is given. About 20% make this mistake.

use a range (variety)  of grammar, vocabulary and linking (cohesive) structures naturally, including complex grammar and less common vocabulary.

don’t use enough structures (20% make this mistake)

and / or

you don’t use them naturally (60%)

only make occasional mistakes with grammar, vocab, and linking words

make mistakes more often than “occasionally”. 90-95% have a problem with this one, and so do you 🙂

 

So there it is,it’s that simple!!!

How can I avoid making these mistakes?

That is, of course, the difficult part. In order to familiarize yourself with the five different types of IELTS Writing Part Two essays and avoid making the mistakes listed above for the first four points, you can download some information PDFs from here. The PDFs cover all the points above, and go further into the exam criteria the examiners use and the mistakes people like you make.

To get better at points 5 and 6, that is get your use and accuracy of grammar, vocabulary and cohesive devices up to a 7/8, then you will probably need a teacher. Please feel free to contact me (John) at

john.a.aiton@gmail.com

for lessons.