Preparing for an IELTS exam can be rather stressful. After all, there are 4 skills you will need to master before you can ace the exam – listening, writing, reading and speaking. If you’re not a native English speaker who’s been practising the language for the majority of your life, scoring excellent marks in all 4 areas can be challenging.
Apart from enrolling in an IELTS course, surely there are other things you could do to ace your IELTS exam. If you need extra help to ace the writing section, don’t worry, these tips got you covered.
1. Understand Marking Criteria
As with any other types of exams, understanding the marking criteria is the first step. Doing so will give you an insight on what the examiners are looking for when marking your paper. This will provide you with an inkling over what you need what to write.
Typically, you will be marked on:
– Task achievement
– Grammatical range and accuracy
– Lexical resource
– Coherence and cohesion
Ensure that you include all the above-mentioned criteria in your writing and you’re guaranteed to score a high mark.
2. Paraphrase and Understand the Question
Before you start writing, the first step you’ll have to do is to first know and comprehend exactly what the question requires of you. Doing so will let you know what type of information you should provide. However, this can be rather challenging to some as certain questions may be worded in a way that is either confusing or misleading.
Thus, to understand the question better, it’s best if you break it down into smaller parts. Identify the subject markers and use the 5W1H (Who, What, Where, Why, When and How) to discern the particular problem.
To reinforce your answer, you can also paraphrase the question within your response. This way, you and the examiner will have a clearer idea as to what kind of message you’re trying to convey, and whether it applies to the question.
3. Write About Main Features
Whilst giving long-winded answers may seem like a great strategy, it may actually backfire. Doing so may seem like you are trying to cover as many areas as possible, but what it’s actually hinting at is the fact that you may not know what the question is truly asking of you, or perhaps you may not know how to package an answer succinctly.
Thus, avoid unnecessary details and only provide key features. Go further by developing and expounding on this information by giving appropriate examples and explanation. Carefully select the information to better articulate and illustrate your ideas.
4. Correct Format
Writing in the correct format is highly crucial, especially when sitting for writing task 2. You’ll need to have a clear introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Within your body paragraphs, you’ll need to identify your topic sentence, observations, examples, further elaboration and a paraphrased reiteration of your topic sentence.
Avoid using too long sentences and paragraphs, and make it succinct. Remove any unnecessary words and include punctuation marks whenever necessary.
5. Check Your Work
After you’ve written your task, you should go over your work once again. Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation marks for any mistakes. Make sure that the entire writing task flows and easily understood.
These tips are not only applicable for IELTS exams, but you can apply them even in your regular English courses! In fact, the more practice you have, the easier it’ll be and soon enough, it’ll be second nature to you.