The IELTS Writing test: a common mistake

Before we begin, there is something else you need to know. In the recent post about the difference between the formal and informal writing styles there was a mistake. Although it was caught and fixed almost immediately on the website, the erroneous version was sent to your emails before we could stop it. To clarify, the words “children”, “many” and “much” are formal equivalents of informal “kids”, “a lot of” and “heaps of”. My apologies, if the previous email confused you.

And now to the common mistake in the IELTS Writing test. As you may know, there are 2 tasks, Writing Task 1 and Task 2, and in both Academic and General Training modules Task 1 is shorter (150 words) than Task 2 (250 words). Often people decide to write the Task 2 first, before writing Task 1. No problem so far, but we are getting to the really important bit.

It is essential that you pay attention to the Answer Sheet and write your answers in the right places. There are 2 marked spaces on the Answer Sheet that you get in the Writing test, one says “Task 1” and the other says “Task 2”. To avoid confusing the examiner who will check your work, you need to make sure that the the essay is written under “Task 2” and the report (for Academic) or the letter (for General Training) – under Task 1.

If worse comes to worst and you’ve mixed the two spaces, don’t panic. First, finish writing your tasks – wherever you’ve started to write, don’t worry about the wrong spaces, just take care of the contents and the paragraphing as usual. After the Writing test is over you can ask staff at the test center to affix a note to your work explaining where each task is. It will help the examiner locate the right task and your score won’t suffer.

Good luck with your exam!

21 thoughts on “The IELTS Writing test: a common mistake”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention IELTS Writing: a common mistake | IELTS-Blog --

  2. Rajashekar Reddy Gangula

    Hello sir. I did the same mistake that I had written task 2 answer in task 1 answer sheet and task 1 in task 2 sheet. Eventually, staff came with red pen to fix the problem. I’m worrying about the upcoming consequences.

  3. This mistake is quite common, many test takers mix up the answer sheets for task 1 and task 2. If the staff member marked task 2 / task 1 correctly, it should not affect your score.

  4. What if I am not sure if I mix them up or not?😭 Will the examiner still mark them when they receive the paper? I didn’t ask for check after exam immediately and by the time I asked they told me they seal the answers already.

  5. It’s really hard to say! I hope everything will be fine and even if you wrote the answers on the wrong sheets, they will disregard that and mark by the content of your writing. But, whatever happens, please leave a comment and let us know – there might be others in the same situation, they would appreciate the info.

  6. HeI did the same mistake that I had written task 2 answer in task 1 answer sheet and task 1 in task 2 sheet. Eventually, staff came with pen to fix the problem. However, I got good score.

  7. I did the same mistake. When the staff member noticed it, she asked me to change the headings of tasks with blue pen and do a signature beside. Will it affect my score?

  8. I took extra sheet for task two on which the examiner wrote sheet 2 of 2 but did not write sheet 1 of 2 in the first one… Hope they ll find the second sheet or else it will look like i did not complete my essay

  9. I took extra sheet in task 2 but instead of writing on front side of the sheet I mistakenly wrote on other side of the sheet and front side remained blank … After completing my task I asked the invigilator about this scenario he told me to write p.t.o on front and now i am confused that whether they are going to check other side or not please me tell me anyone… what wil be result of this

  10. Hi Anant, p.t.o stands for Please Turn Over and that will let the examiner know they need to check the other side of the sheet. Don’t worry, your hard work won’t go to waste. When you get your score, please comment here to let me know. Good luck, and I hope you get the score you need!

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