Tips to Pass the IELTS Academic Writing
Are you planning to work, migrate or study abroad but do not know where to begin? First, gather information about the place (country or university) and list down their provisions for foreign workers or students. Second, take note whether it would require you to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in Academic or General Training. Third, assess your macro skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. How do you fare in each of these skills? Fourth, know what you are up against—in this case, IELTS—and prepare for it by subscribing to IELTS online reviews or IELTS online courses.
IELTS is a widely used English test that measures your English language proficiency if you wish to study, migrate or work in an English-speaking country like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The United States also recognizes IELTS for study and work purposes.
Say for example you want to study abroad and the university has required you to take IELTS Academic. IELTS generally has four subtests: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Both Listening and Speaking are the same for Academic and General Training, while Reading and Writing vary depending on what type of test you are taking. Now for someone who is not into writing, you may be anxious about not getting the required band score for the IELTS Academic Writing examination. Relax. This article provides an overview of the IELTS Academic Writing examination and tips on how you can ace it.
The IELTS Academic Writing examination consists of two tasks. Task 1 requires you to describe or to explain a diagram (e.g., charts, graphs, tables, etc.). You are given 20 minutes to compose an essay with at least 150 words. Task 2, on the other hand, requires you to write about a particular topic. It may be an argument, a point of view or a problem. You are given 40 minutes to come up with an essay consisting of at least 250 words. These tasks are graded based on task achievement (Task 1) and response (Task 2), coherence and cohesion, lexical resource and grammatical range and accuracy.
Here are some tips to help you pass the IELTS Academic Writing examination:
• Read academic essays, journals and reports
Prepare for your exam by doing lots of reading. If you do not have the slightest idea of what academic writing is or how it is constructed, read essays and journals written by scholars. Examine how these authors discuss and develop a topic, support and refute a claim or a counterclaim, etc. You may also read about reports or studies, mainly focusing on the methodology and results. These sections contain tables, graphs or charts that authors used to present statistical data. Observe how they interpret those diagrams in paragraph form.
• Prepare an outline
Creating an outline is beneficial to you when writing for Task 2. From the given topic, decide on the major and minor points that you want to discuss. Make sure that they are arranged in a logical order. Also, see to it that for every argument you make, you accompany it with evidence or supporting details.
• Be concise
The tasks do not require you of lengthy essays. In fact, when you combine Task 1 and Task 2, you only have to produce a write-up with at least 400 words. The key is to be direct and specific. Do away with unnecessary elaboration. Besides, both tasks are under time pressure.
• Analyze the question, diagram or topic
Yes, you are only given a specific time to accomplish the tasks, but being hasty may not yield positive results. Take time to analyze what is presented. It saves you from coming up with a wrong or irrelevant answer.
• Read the instructions carefully
Many people either failed or got a deduction because they did not follow what the instructions state. Simply put, do what is asked.
• Practice interpreting data and writing essays
After observing how some authors develop their essays or interpret data, try coming up with one. Compose your work based on the requirements of Tasks 1 and 2. Then have someone look at your work and comment on it.
• Use the appropriate organizational pattern to develop the essay
A clear organization of concepts leads to comprehension. Enhance the ideas that you want to present in your essay by using an appropriate organizational pattern (e.g., chronological order, comparison and contrast, problem-solution, cause and effect, etc.).
• Observe the structure and tone
Task 1 is descriptive in nature. It does not require a structure since you will most likely describe or interpret the information presented to you. Meanwhile, Task 2 requires a structure when writing about the topic. Your essay must contain the three parts: introduction, body and conclusion. You may include a brief origin, an anecdote, or a famous line in the introduction. Present you major and minor points in the body, supporting them with evidence. For the conclusion, reiterate your main arguments and encourage the reader(s) to take action. To ensure a smooth transition of ideas, use cohesive devices such as coordinating, correlative and subordinating conjunctions. You may also use transitional words or phrases like “however,” “on the other hand,” “moreover,” “in addition,” among others.
Furthermore, both tasks require a formal tone. Avoid using figures of speech or idiomatic expressions, contractions, slangs, among others. Present ideas in complete sentences rather than in fragments or phrases.
• Be conscious of the time and the number of words
Take note of the time while completing each task. Also, you may go beyond 150 or 250 words but never lower.
• Edit or proofread your work
Take one final look at your output before submitting it. Change or correct glaring errors.
Aside from the tips mentioned above, you may also want to enroll in an IELTS online course or engage in an IELTS online review. This is particularly helpful for those who are working and cannot take a day off from work. Various institutions offer flexible plans that you can take advantage of to assess your language skills.
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