If you read the public band descriptors, you will see that your IELTS examiner assesses your ability to organise your writing in the coherence and cohesion criterion.

Before we get to the 5 tips, let’s look at tasks you will need to complete in the IELTS Writing test:

General Training Academic
Writing Task 1 You will need to write a letter to a friend, relative, manager, boss, etc. You will need to request information or explain a situation. You will need to describe or explain a diagram, table, chart or graph.
Writing Task 2 You will need to write an essay in response to a problem or argument. You will need to write an essay in response to a problem or argument.

Tip 1: Read the task carefully and take notes

Before you start writing your response, make sure you take a few moments to carefully read the question or task. It will help you better prepare your answers.

Don’t forget to:

  • Take notes and write down ideas you think might be suitable for your answer

  • Highlight keywords in the task or question to better understand what you need to address in your response

  • Do a quick outline to organise your thoughts in response to each

  • Expand on your ideas with examples, supporting details, etc.

Tip 2: Break your ideas into paragraphs

Once you have chosen your ideas, it is time to start writing. To keep your answers well organised, you must write in paragraphs. Each paragraph should contain a clear topic that is developed within the paragraph.

Make sure you do not write in bullet points or in point form.

Tips 3: Use the correct format in your response

Writing Task 1 in the General Training test is different to that in the Academic test.

In General Training, Writing Task 1, you will need to structure your letter and include:

  • A short greeting to the recipient

  • An intro telling the recipient why you are writing.

  • A paragraph for each of the bullet points in the question or task.

  • A short closing.

  • The correct letter-writing conventions to start and finish your letter

In Academic, Writing Task 1, when describing a graph, chart or diagram in the question, make sure you have:

  • An introduction - rewording of the question

  • Body paragraph(s) - key details, their relevance, comparisons, etc.

  • An overview or summary of the main ideas.

For the Writing Task 2 essay, you will write using essay format. You should have:

  • An introductory paragraph where you write the thesis statement – what the essay will be about

  • Body paragraphs (usually 2 to 3) with clearly defined topics supported with details and examples

  • A conclusion summarising the points in your essay.

Tip 4: Keep an eye on time

The Writing test takes 60 minutes, so make sure you plan your time accordingly. Most test takers spend approximately 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. But make sure you leave some time at the end to quickly review your answers and make any necessary changes to your responses.

Tip 5: Use cohesive devices to keep your writing organised

Cohesive devices help you connect your ideas and help keep your writing responses organised. Use these words and phrases to connect your ideas and help your reader follow your writing.

Some cohesive devices you could use, include:

  • Furthermore

  • However

  • Next

  • First, second, third

  • Finally

  • So

  • Then

  • In addition

Take some time before you take your IELTS test to study and practice using these words, as well as other cohesive devices (linking words).

Take time in your IELTS preparation to review some sample questions and answers online. You can gain a better understanding of the IELTS test format, the kinds of questions you may be asked and read model answers.