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This is the third installment of a four-part series focused on mastering the IELTS examination. If you missed either the listening or the speaking portions, simply click the links. This week we’ll provide tips for success in the IELTS writing section.

Please note upfront, international healthcare professionals must pass the academic version of IELTS and not the generic version. The tests are different so make sure you take the right one.

IELTS Writing Overview

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) writing portion will take 60 minutes
  • Within that hour, you’ll have to complete two tasks
  • You’ll be asked to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2
  • Note that Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1

In Task 1, you will be presented with data in the form of a table, graph, diagram or chart. You will be asked to explain the data in your own words. You could be asked to describe or explain the data, or to write about an event or object. Be sure to organize your information in the following manner:

  1. Intro
  2. Overview
  3. First body paragraph
  4. Second body paragraph

You will not need to write a conclusion for Task 1.

In Task 2, you will be asked to respond in an essay to someone else’s point of view. The topics are generally interesting and easy to understand. Be sure to use a range of vocabulary to increase your score. The recommended number of paragraphs for an IELTS essay is four-five, for example,

  • An introductory paragraph
  • 2-3 body paragraphs
  • A concluding paragraph

Once completed, your writing test will be marked by a certificated IELTS examiner. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Tips and Tricks for IELTS writing success:

  • Analyze the two tasks, take some notes so you don’t have to re-read everything more than once
  • Use paragraphs clearly for organization
  • Stay on topic
  • Manage your time and remember that Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1
  • Pay attention to your word count! You lose marks if you do not write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2
  • Write your answers in full; bullet-ed or answers written as notes won’t be counted
  •  Pay close attention to your grammar, spelling and punctuation; mistakes will cost you
  • Spend time re-reading and correcting your answers

List of Do-Nots for IELTS Writing

Do not:

  • Memorize model answers; examiners are trained to recognize them and your test will be invalid
  • Repeat the same idea over and over again
  • Use the words the IELTS has given you. If you use the exact words the IELTS has given you, the examiner will not accept them. Instead, paraphrase and use synonyms to write your statements in your own words
  • Copy whole sentences from the question – you will receive no marks for this
  • Use informal language, just keep it professional

Free IELTS writing practice resources

You can use these links for a great IELTS writing practice test video, courtesy of English Lessons with Adam.

Task 1 Help Video
Task 2 Help Video 

Remember, practice makes perfect. But for an English writing assignment, it’s critical that you have your work checked by someone proficient in English. Utilize nearby learning centers, or consider an online resource to check your work instead. This online spelling/grammar check can at least help practice writing technique, but you’ll want to have someone read your work to ensure it makes sense.

To better understand the way IELTS is scored, click here. This page explains the marking criteria for each task along with the band scores you can achieve. Use this to assess your own practice samples.

These tips will help you master IELTS, and achieve your #AmericanDream!

*If you already passed NCLEX and signed our contract, we can assist you with IELTS. Please contact your most current assigned PassportUSA representative for more details.

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