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  • IELTS General Training Writing Test

    The General Training IELTS is typically for those aiming to migrate to English-speaking countries and for those who need to demonstrate their English-speaking capabilities at a workplace or school. This article focuses on the General Training Writing test, providing insights into its structure, question types, scoring, and helpful tips. This test assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in written English in a practical, everyday context.

    Types of tasks and timing

    The writing section of the IELTS General Training version consists of two tasks that must be completed in 60 minutes. IELTS recommend to use 20 minutes for the first task and 40 for the second.

    Task 1

    In this task, candidates write a letter responding to a common, everyday situation, such as writing to your neighbour about a problem, writing to your emplpoyer, writing to a local newspaper, etc. Depending on the scenario presented, the letter could be formal, semi-formal, or informal. This task tests the ability to follow conventions, express needs, request information, or explain a situation clearly and appropriately.

    Time to write: 20 minutes (recommended)

    Words: 150 words minimum

    Score: This task is worth about 33% of your total writing marks.

    Example question 1

    Your friend helped you prepare for an exam, and you have passed it. Write a letter to your friend.

    In your letter,

    • Thank your friend.
    • Explain how your friend’s help was useful to pass the exam.
    • Arrange to meet up with your friend sometime soon.
    Example question 2

    You have been offered a job position in another city and have decided to accept it. Write a letter to your employer.

    In your letter,

    • Inform your employer about your decision to leave the company.
    • Express your appreciation for the opportunities and experiences you have had during your time at the company.
    • Offer to assist with the transition process before your departure.

    Task 2

    Task 2 involves writing an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. This part evaluates the ability to provide general factual information, outline a problem, present a solution, or justify an opinion. Opinion essays, discussion essays, advantages-disadvantages essays, and problem-solution essays are common in this task. You will need to write about a topic of general interest, such as: work, retirement, exercise, children’s education, food and diet, shopping, etc.

    Time to write: 40 minutes (recommended)

    Words: 250 words minimum

    Score: This task is worth about 66% of your total writing marks.

    Example question 1

    Write about the following topic: Some people argue that adopting a four-day workweek would help increase employee productivity and well-being. Others believe that this change could harm business operations and economic stability.

    • Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
    • Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
    Example question 2

    Nowadays AI is helping students, researchers, and all kind of professionals carry out their work.

    • Is this a positive or negative development?
    • Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

    How do IELTS examiners assess your writing?

    Certificated IELTS examiners will assess your writing according to four assessment criteria. Here is a breakdown of the different criteria and what is being assessed. 

    1. Task Achievement/Response

    • Have you covered all the points in the task?
    • Have you clearly presented and appropriately illustrated or extended each point?
    • Is the format and tone (informal, formal) appropriate?
    • Is the purpose of your text clear and the content relevant?

    2. Coherence and Cohesion

    • Is your essay or letter logically organized? Can the examiner understand and follow your ideas clearly?
    • Have you used linking words or phrases (like furthermore, in addition, however, etc.) effectively to connect ideas within and between paragraphs?
    • Are your paragraphs well-structured and clearly separated, each focusing on one main idea?

    3. Lexical Resource

    • Have you used a wide range of vocabulary appropriate to the task?
    • Are the words and phrases you’ve chosen precise and accurate in expressing your ideas?
    • Does your text sound natural? Have you used common collocations, idiomatic expressions, etc.?
    • Are words spelled correctly and used appropriately in terms of context and style?

    4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

    • Have you used a wide range of structures to express ideas clearly?
    • Are your sentences grammatically correct with few errors?
    • Is punctuation used correctly throughout the essay to help convey meaning?
    • Have you shown flexibility by using a variety of grammatical structures effectively?

    How is your IELTS Writing Test scored?

    Each task of the test is marked separately. Both tasks contribute to your final Writing score, but they don’t have the same weight:

    • Task 1 is worth about 33% of your total Writing score.
    • Task 2 is worth about 67% of your total Writing score.

    Each of the four criteria used to assess your writing accounts for 25% of the score for that task.

    • Task Achievement/Response: 25% of the task score
    • Coherence and Cohesion: 25% of the task score
    • Lexical Resource: 25% of the task score
    • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: 25% of the task score

    These are the steps to calculate your final score for the Writing section:

    1. Each of the four criteria is scored on a scale of 0 to 9.
    2. Each task is then also scored on a scale of 0 to 9.
    3. Your scores from Task 1 and Task 2 are combined, with Task 2 having a greater weight. This means:
      • Task 1 score (multiplied by 0.33)
      • Task 2 score (multiplied by 0.67)
    4. The final result is averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score for the Writing section.

    For example, if you scored a 6 on Task 1 and a 7 on Task 2, your final Writing score would be calculated as follows:

    • Task 1: 6 x 0.33 = 1.98
    • Task 2: 7 x 0.67 = 4.69
    • Final Writing Score: 1.98 + 4.69 = 6.67, which would be rounded to the nearest whole or half band, resulting in a final band score of 6.5.