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Do’s and don’ts of IELTS essays (Band 7+)

As promised, today we are sharing Kathrine’s tips for writing a high scoring IELTS essay. Following these simple principles increased her Band score from 7 to 8.5 in Writing, and the same can happen for you! If you aren’t familiar with the term “do’s and don’ts”, it’s really simple: do’s are the things you should do, and don’ts are the things you should avoid.

The Do’s of IELTS Essay

– Conciseness (8-15 words per sentence)
– Cohesion (link ideas, paragraphs, sentences together)
– Coherence (all ideas should be easily understood by the reader)
– Composition (use the correct essay structure)
– Answer the question fully (cover all points asked in the task statement)

Band 7+ essays need

a) more complex sentence structure
b) more complex vocabulary
c) more complex grammatical use and variation

– Use the official writing task 2 form to practice and check what 250 words look like in your own handwriting
– Read many essay topics
– Read many sample essays
– Know the right structure for all essay types
– Know when to give your opinion

– Add examples from your own experience if asked
– Use smart words and noun groups
– Use punctuation correctly
– Separate the arguments “for” and “against” into different paragraphs
– Use the right tone (essays are always formal)
– Only use possessive/personal pronouns when giving your opinion
– Lead from one paragraph to another well – connecting words are vital!
– Vary grammar
– Write neatly as it values the reader-writer relationship
– Write maturely to reflect mature way of thinking
– Make a plan in 3-5 minutes: it makes your essay more organised, mature and conveys the positive image of YOU.
– Make your opinion very clear: formal and reasoned point of view, give details.

The Don’ts of IELTS Essay

– Write too many words if your English is average (aim for 250-265)
– Use contractions such as “don’t”, “shouldn’t”, etc
– Overuse connecting words (assessors expect that!)
– Jump from one idea to the next: link, link, link!
– Mix arguments “for” and “against” in the same paragraph
– Use the wrong tone (essays are always formal)
– Use abbreviations
– Repeat words or overuse primitive verbs (does, makes, gets)
– Cross out many things
– Write illegibly
– Use idioms too frequently or inappropriately
– Write in a babyish manner (bad grammar and poorly developed ideas)
– Become a clock victim (constantly look at the clock and panic)
– Start writing without a plan
– Forget to leave a blank line between paragraphs
– Use generalisations (“All”, “Every”) as this reflects an immature way of thinking
– Use simple sentences if you want a high score
– Use cliches as they are often too informal
– Use ‘lazy’ expressions (“and so on”, “etc”).
– Copy part of task question
– Agree with both sides – choose one side to make your opinion clear
– Let adrenaline make you arrogant
– Go off topic

These tips are not exhaustive but will give you some important points how to pass the IELTS Writing test with a high Band Score.

Full IELTS Speaking Test, Free Sample #2 (with Examiner’s Commentary)

Speaking Test Sample #1 became a very popular resource as soon as we put it on the blog, which is why today we’re sharing Sample Speaking Test #2. You are about to get free access to a new, full IELTS Speaking Test recording, with examiner’s commentary and a transcript. This test was recorded by a real past IELTS examiner and another future test-taker (Deniz), and is a very close simulation of what happens on the test day in the real examination room.

Here is how it can be useful to you:

1. You can get familiar with everything that happens in the Speaking test, and feel prepared when it’s your turn.
2. You can listen to the examiner’s questions, test-taker’s answers, and think about what YOU would say in response to these questions.
3. You can spot the test-taker’s mistakes and avoid them in your own speech.
4. You can go over the Examiner’s Commentary, learn how he rated the student’s performance and why (he also points out some of the student’s mistakes!)
5. You can even use this as a Listening exercise, and refer to the transcript to understand every word on the recording.

Watch the YouTube version here:

Or listen to the recording on SoundCloud here

If you find this resource helpful, there are more Speaking tests here. They aren’t free, but very affordable and worth every cent, because they will help you prepare for scoring your best in IELTS.

 

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