Updated: Feb 16, 2019
When you’re taking the IELTS writing exam, it’s understandable that you want to work as quickly as possible. After all, you only have an hour to write the answer to TWO questions!
BUT! Taking a few minutes to prepare before you begin writing can have a great impact on your writing score!
So before you start writing, do these things first:
1: Read the Question Carefully - And Make Sure You Understand It
This step is so important to getting a good score on your writing test - and so it’s surprising that so many students skip it!
Part of your writing score comes from how clearly you have answered the question. Once you understand the essay question, you will know what type of essay you need to write in response (cause and effect, problem solution, etc.)
How can you make sure you have done this?
Take a few minutes before writing to read the question carefully. You may want to rephrase it into a simpler question for yourself to make sure you understand it.
Example: Some people think that the best way to solve global environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
--> Agree/ Disagree Essay --> Would raising the cost of petrol/oil help to solve environmental problems (global warming etc)?
2: Take A Few Minutes to Consider Ideas and Plan Before You Start Writing
This is another step so many students skip because they think they don’t have time. The truth is, taking a few minutes to plan what you will write about before you begin will actually SAVE you time!
Have you ever started writing an essay for a test and then, in the middle of the test, you find yourself “stuck,” unsure of what to write about?
This is where planning before writing really helps. If you spend even 2-3 minutes thinking about ideas for answering your essay, when you get stuck, you can look back at your list to help you get started again.
This is why planning saves you time when you start writing.
Don’t believe me? Try it the next time you practice timed writing!
3: Finished? Not Quite Yet! Check Your Work!
Finished your writing? STOP! Don’t hand in your work just yet! You have one more chance to improve your score!
The best writers proofread, edit and rewrite their work. The best thing you can do once you have finished writing your essay is to take a few minutes to proofread and edit your work before turning it in.
You can check for:
-spelling and punctuation -grammar and vocabulary -paragraphing and essay organization
Will you be able to catch all mistakes? Probably not. But you really could find - and fix - mistakes, and that can help you increase your band score!
4: You CAN do all of these things in 40 minutes!
Here’s how to prepare, write, and check your essay in 40 minutes:
-Spend 3 - 5 minutes on preparation (understanding the question, planning) -Spend 30 minutes writing your answer -Spend 3 -5 minutes checking your work
You can do this!
Do you have any great tips for the IELTS writing exam? Let us know in the comments! And make sure to check out bounceenglish.rocks for our NEW course in Task 2 Writing, Unlocking IELTS: Academic Writing Task 2 - Essays!