This is the last article from Phuong, Band 7 in IELTS, and here he shares the secrets to success in the Writing test.
This isn’t, in fact, my weakness. But this skill is difficult to self-study. You need to go to an English center where there are teachers who are willing to check your writing. Here are some suggestions I can think of, it maybe can’t help you out. But do your best, you will be fine.
1. Before writing an essay, you must know its basic structure. A book about essay writing might show you this.
2. Do Task 2 first, because it is worth more marks and is easier.
3. Don’t waste too much time on Task 1. Learn all the specific writing structure for each type of task 1. In the real test, you just have to apply that structure with new data and suitable verb tenses. Read sample essays and take note of the ones with good structure to have a wide range of academic structures for task 1. Some structures might be used in the task 2 as well.
4. You must complete both tasks. I don’t care how difficult the test is, I don’t care how little time you have got. You MUST complete your test at any cost. If you don’t, you will be penalized.
5. Again, practice writing. Do both 2 tasks in one hour. You can focus only on task 1 or task 2, but before the test, you should practice writing both tasks to get familiar with time limits.
6. Practice makes perfect. In writing, this statement is completely true. But it is better if there is someone to check your writing for you and so you can learn from your mistakes.
7. Writing requires wide academic vocabulary. You also have to buy a dictionary to work on and enrich your vocabulary.
8. Avoid all informal ways of writing. There are some rules of writing you should follow. For example: no abbreviations, no 1st and 2nd pronoun or possessive (I, you, me, my, your), except in conclusion where you have to state your opinion.
9. Each body paragraph has to include: the topic sentence, supporting sentences (2-3 sentences), development sentences (evidence: example, experience, data). In many languages (English included), there are many ways to develop a body paragraph, which results in a situation where that topic sentence is not the first sentence. But you are advised to put the topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph. Don’t be creative in this case.
That is all I can think of. I hope you will be lucky in your exam and what I wrote will help you in one way or another. But REMEMBER, to reach success, you MUST make an effort. You should have a clear motivation and a strong will to overcome difficulties. When I did practice tests, I was exhausted. But no success comes easily. Practice is the only way to gain success. Don’t just wait for a lucky break, it will never come if you don’t know how to grab it.
And the final point I want to mention is:
Relax before the test!
Attempting to do one or two practice tests before the real test won’t help you increase your score. On the contrary, it will make you feel stressed and less confident.
I took IELTS 2 times:
The first time: no relaxing, I tried to do more practice tests right before the test day. As a result, I couldn’t concentrate on the test and the result is: L:5.5 ; R:7.0 (don’t mention about W and S here because it depends mostly on examiners)
The second time: 2 weeks after the first time, that means when I received the first result, I had to take the test the day after. But this time I felt relaxed since I knew I got 6.5 overall in the first test. And here is the second result: L:6.5 ; R:7.5
I believe in a short period of time (two weeks), I couldn’t improve that much. Moreover, the second test was considered to be more difficult. So what makes the difference is the relaxation. There are more examples I could mention to prove this point, but it would be wasting your time.
In brief, you must relax before any tests. Forget about them to relax, and believe in yourself.