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Writing tips for the IELTS General module

Yesterday I received an email from a loyal visitor of IELTS-blog (hi, Ankur!) and it made me sit down and finally write some tips for the IELTS Writing test.

Right now I am working on a book that will include everything you need to know to ACE The IELTS. But I know that you can’t wait and you’ve got to study RIGHT NOW, so here are some tips to keep you working :).

As you know there are 2 parts, the Writing task 1 and the Writing task 2.

In the Writing task 1 you receive a “scenario” and you have to write a letter. Not many people know that there are 4 types of letters in the IELTS test:

  • Complaint / Request (of information) letter
  • Formal business letter
  • Job application letter
  • Personal letter
  • In any letter you write IELTS examiners will be looking for these 3 important components: structure, vocabulary and fluency of language.

    Structure means that your letter must have paragraphs, at least 3 of them. Every paragraph has its job.

  • The first one must define the purpose of your letter in one – two sentences.
  • The second one must explain more about why you are writing this letter.
  • The third must say what kind of answer you expect.
  • Vocabulary means that you should use some “smart” words. In case you are writing a Complaint, a Business or a Job application letter you must use formal language, but not for the Personal letter.

    Fluency of language means phrases people usually use in letters. The best advice I can give you here is to read every IELTS Sample Letter you can get. This way you develop proper language for any type of letter.

    You can find some examples in the right side-bar of IELTS-blog, under “Writing Practice” (or Click Here) and I will continue to add more links to sample letters there.

    IELTS score – the strategic plan

    Now, let’s talk about the most important thing – your IELTS score.

    After studying for a while you begin to understand what your strong and weak sides are. For example you do the Reading very well and the Listening test makes you cry. This information is very important because it reveals what you need to focus on.

    If you know that you need a total average score of 6, you can reach it by getting 5, 6, 6, 7 or 6, 6, 6, 6, or 5, 5, 7, 7 – in a number of ways. You should decide which way is the best for you, thinking of your current level of English. If you know that the Listening test is a problem for you, but in Reading you are really good, then aim for 5 in Listening and for 7 in Reading.

    When I say “aim”, I mean that you need to measure yourself when you are practicing. How do you do that? Here is a table you can use to convert the number of correct answers into an IELTS band score, which will give you the approximate band score (actually, for each IELTS test this table is a bit different because of varying level of questions’ difficulty.)

    General Training Listening

    Correct Answers ……… IELTS Band Score
    10-15………………………………..(4)
    16-22………………………………..(5)
    23-29………………………………..(6)
    30-34………………………………..(7)
    35-38………………………………..(8)
    39-40………………………………..(9)

    General Training Reading

    Correct Answers ……… IELTS Band Score
    15-22………………………………..(4)
    23-29………………………………..(5)
    30-33………………………………..(6)
    34-36………………………………..(7)
    37-38………………………………..(8)
    39-40………………………………..(9)

    Let’s say you have finished the Listening test with 28 correct answers out of 40. It places you at band 6, which means that to reach 7 you need to improve your Listening skills.

    Well, what are you waiting for? Start working 🙂 !

     

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