Online Course
Buy NowBook Now

IELTS Writing Exam

In this course we will be looking at the two forms of the IELTS writing exam: General and Academic.

IELTS writing test Our tips and guides will show you how to

  • approach each task with confidence
  • construct helpful essay plans
  • write in the appropriate style for each task

First of all we will show some samples and tips on how to complete the different types of IELTS writing exam papers with excellent videos that are especially relevant to the criteria that examiners are seeking.  We show you how to approach each question and the technique to use to ensure you get a good mark.  Sample questions are shown for each type of the IELTS writing exam as well as a satisfactory answer..

Furthermore, as part of the course you will have an opportunity to look over some model answers for each question. There are mock writing tests for you to practice with where you can upload your answers to have a qualified teacher assess your work and provide feedback.

Section 1Format of the Writing Exam
Lecture 1Academic v GeneralFree Preview

General v Academic?

The IELTS Writing component tests your ability to write English in appropriate styles for your audience. Like the Reading component of the IELTS exam, the writing component exists in either General or Academic versions. The main difference between the two versions is the expected level of English vocabulary and grammatical construction that you are required to know.

Whichever format you chose depends on why you need to sit this exam: If you are hoping to enroll in a university/course then it is very likely that you will need to do the Academic version. If you do not need the exam for university/course purposes then we advise you to sit the General version. When deciding which version you will study for, always check with the person requiring you to have this exam, as some universities are okay with students just completing the General version whereas some courses state that you need the Academic version.

The format of the exam

Both versions of the writing exam have a limit of 1hr in which to complete both tasks. It is recommended that you spend 20mins on Task 1, and 40mins on Task 2. This is only a guideline and can be adapted slightly to suit your own needs

min20min In part 1 of the General English version you write about 150 words in the format of a letter. The style could be informal, semi-formal, or formal. The instructions may also provide some further points that you need to include.
min40min For the second part you need to write about 250 words on a topic that is provided. Pay close attention to the instructions on what needs to be included. Normally you are asked to provide examples from your own experience.

min20min The first part of the Academic English version requires you to write about 150 words in a formal style on a graph or diagram that is supplied. You will need to make comparisons within the graph.
min40min The second part is also to be completed in a formal style where you write about 250 words on a given topic. The topic is of a more advanced nature than the General English but you are still required to provide examples from your own experience.


Question 1 carries less marks than Question 2. If you do not write at least 150 words then you will be penalised. If you write more than 150 words you will not but remember that Question 2 carries more marks so you will want to give as much time as possible to this.

Both questions are awarded points assessed on:

  • Task Response – how you answer each point of the question
  • Coherence and Cohesion – how your answer flows
  • Lexical Resource – using appropriate words in the correct place
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy – how you form and use sentences


Bulleted Lists

In both the General and Academic versions of the writing test, one thing you MUST NEVER DO is to write, at any point within your essay or letter, in bulleted points.

  • This is what a bulleted point looks like
  • This is another bulleted point
  • examiners don’t like these
  • this will lose you marks
  • So don’t do them!


How IELTS assesses your writing

Task Criteria Criteria explained
Task 1 Task Achievement The question must be answered fully and be at least the minimum requirement of 150 words.
Task 2 Task Response
  • Your answer must address all of the points in the question
  • Provide a balanced argument and support your idea with evidence and examples.
  • Your ideas need to be relevant to the question.
  • You have to write at least 250 words.
Task 1 & 2
Coherence and

Lexical Resource

Grammatical Range
and Accuracy
  • Is your writing easy to understand?
  • Are your ideas clearly linked and well organised?
Did you use a wide range of
vocabulary accurately and effectively?
Did you use a wide range of
grammatical structures accurately and

In the following lectures we will look at some actual examples of questions and answers that scored highly in past exams.

There is an opportunity in the last section for you to try some questions yourself that will be graded by a qualified TEFL teacher.

Lecture 2Writing Styles
Lecture 3How to write for Question 1
Lecture 4Question 2 and Essay Blueprints
Section 2Academic Test
Lecture 5Question 1 Samples
Lecture 6Question 2 Samples
Section 3General Test
Lecture 7Question 1 Samples
Lecture 8Question 2 Samples
Section 4Practice Test and Uploads
Lecture 9Academic Question 1 Practice
Lecture 10Academic Question 2 Practice
Lecture 11General Question 1 Practice
Lecture 12General Question 2 Practice