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Writing tips

How to prepare for the IELTS Writing test, tips and techniques that help to raise your score

Stuck on Your IELTS Essay? How to Get Unstuck

Stuck on Your IELTS Essay

If you are getting stuck trying to write your IELTS essay, 90% of the time it is because of the writer’s block.

This problem is incredibly common and is a major source of pain in IELTS preparation. You’ve read the essay topic but can’t think of any ideas to write about.

Do this exercise to overcome the writer’s block and easily generate ideas for any essay topic you may get in IELTS:

Preparation: Put together a list of 5 IELTS essay topics (you can use the ones we post on or any other reliable source).

1. Analyse the first topic on your list to understand what you need to write about.

2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

3. Spend these 5 minutes thinking of 2-3 main ideas for your essay. Write them down, but don’t proceed to writing the actual essay.

4. Move on to the next topic on your list & repeat the process.

This exercise will do 2 things for you:

A) It will train your brain to generate ideas quickly, and
B) By the end of it you will have notes that will help you write 5 essays.

Note: If you can’t come up with any ideas on a particular topic, it means you need to do some research! Find some model essays written for that topic and see what other people are writing about. It will give you ideas of what you can cover in your essay. That way, if you’ve done this exercise enough, you won’t have knowledge gaps. After all, the list of IELTS topics isn’t endless 😉

Keep practicing and soon you will get rid of the writer’s block for good!

What other problems are you struggling with in IELTS writing? Let me know in the comments!

5 Mistakes in IELTS writing that keep you from scoring a Band 7

5 Mistakes in IELTS writing that keep you from scoring a Band 7

You probably don’t want to hear this, but…

It’s not the IELTS examiner that is harsh on you. It’s YOUR WRITING.

Before you get offended, let me explain. There is a famous saying “You don’t know what you don’t know” and so many IELTS test takers aren’t aware of these little – yet costly – mistakes. They honestly think that their writing was 100% fine. They simply don’t understand how they lost all those marks, scoring a lousy Band 6 when they expected a 7.5 at least.

If this happened to you, here are the 5 major reasons why you got a low score in your IELTS writing test:

Mistake 1. Using informal language in your IELTS essay

Many students think that if it’s OK to use an informal expressions in Speaking, then it must be fine for their Writing. It is NOT! Forget about ‘I recon’ and use ‘In my opinion’. Don’t say heaps of people’ – say ‘a number of’ or ‘many people’.

Mistake 2. Addressing the question only partially

For example, if the essay topic has two questions in it, such as “Why is this happening? What can be done to improve the situation?’ – you need to answer both questions. Ideally dedicate 1 paragraph to each question.

Mistake 3. Not making your opinion clear

When the essay topic is asking “Do you agree or disagree”, don’t stay neutral like Switzerland! Pick a side and say on more than just one occasion how you, personally, feel about this. Make sure your opinion is in the introduction and in the conclusion, and if you can hint at it in the body paragraphs, that would make your essay even better.

Mistake 4. Using words you don’t fully understand

This is a very common mistake. You don’t want to sound repetitive, so you open a dictionary and look up synonyms for ‘important’. Oxford dictionary says ‘supreme’ is one of them, so you go ahead and use it in a sentence. But ‘supreme’ means not just important, but THE MOST important – and if you mention a number of things of equal importance, this would be a wrong word to use!

Mistake 5. Not separating your paragraphs

It’s very, very simple. Examiners need to see your paragraphs. If you don’t leave enough space between them, it makes your essay harder to read, because when two paragraphs are joined together (they look like one block of text), the examiner may think it’s one paragraph and he/she will expect to read about just ONE main idea, not two. This will lower your Coherence and Cohesion score.

How many of these mistakes can you find in your own essay? Let me know in the comments!