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IELTS Writing Guide for General and Academic Candidates

IELTS is an obligation for the candidates who want to immigrate to a country like Canada either for their educational or professional purposes. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and it is internationally accepted by majority western counties like USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc. Securing a good band in IELTS exam can be really beneficial to you and you can unleash the opportunities awaiting in these countries at ease. There are two forms of IELTS exam- IELTS academic and IELTS general. If you are aiming for higher education in Canada, you have to score a very good band in IELTS academic test. The same is applicable to the IELTS general and this for the professional purposes or emigration.

We have previously discussed about the 5 STEPS STUDY PLANNING of IELTS exam where we specifically mentioned about certain strategies for each tests of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We know that it had benefitted all the aspirants aiming to immigrate to Canada irrespective of the purposes. Thus, we are hereagain with some guiding tips and tricks that can help you prepare for your upcoming IELTS. We are specifically going to cover all the four tests individually in separate blog posts so that it becomes easier for you to comprehend. In this blog post, we will be focusing on the WRITING TEST OF IELTS EXAM. Don’t worry, we will provide adequate guidance for both general and academic candidates. You are precious to us and it is our responsibility to guide you in the right track. So, consider sufficient time for yourself to read this blog post from the start to the end.

Similarities and the differences in WRITING tests of IELTS Academic and General 

• In both the cases, writing tests last for a whole I hour or 60 minutes.
• The examiners will judge all candidates on the exact same marking criteria and the type of questions that an examinee will receive, will be the same.
• For each of the candidates, there will be two sections- Task 1 and Task 2.
• Task 1 will comprise of minimum 150 words and is same for both of the candidates.
• Task 2 will comprise of minimum 250 words and is applicable to both types of candidates.
• In case of IELTS academic exam, the examinees have to write a report on the basis of an essay, graph, chart or diagram in task 1 while task two is a complete essay.
• In case of IELTS general, task two is same while task 1 is about writing a letter (either formal or informal)
• Both of these candidates must complete the 1st part in 20 minutes and the second part has to be done in remaining 40 minutes.

Special instructions to both the general and academic candidates

• Examines should not open their question paper until they are told by the invigilator.
• They have to write their name and candidate number in the spaces allotted at the top of the page.
• They have to read instructions for each task very carefully (you should be aware of these from very earlier in the form of exam preparations, otherwise, your time will be wasted).
• They have to answer both of the tasks.
• They either have to use a pencil or a pen. They can make alterations too but, they must assure that their hand writing is neat and easy to read.
• At the end of the test, candidates must hand in both the question paper and their answer booklet to the invigilator.

 IELTS General writing guide for Test 1

In Test 1, a general candidate can be either asked to write a formal or an informal letter. Irrespective of the type of letter that a candidate will be getting, a scenario will be given to him with three bulleted points. These three bulleted points have to be covered precisely in your letter.

For example-
You live in the students’ hostel of your university with your other roommates. But, you are facing a lot of issues in your accommodation and it is getting difficult for you to manage your study and this mess.

Write a letter to the accommodation officer of your university. In this letter-

• Describe your situation
• Explain your issues and difficulties
• Also mention, the kind of accommodation that you are preferring.

This is a predictable format that helps to maintain a strategy while you write a letter. The strategy that you must use is given below-


In case of formal letter- Dear Sir/Madam

In case of informal letter- Dear John/Rita

Paragraph 1: purpose of the letter

Paragraph 2: cover the first bullet point

Paragraph 3: cover the second bullet point

Paragraph 4: cover the third bullet point


In case of formal letter- Yours faithfully
In case of informal letter- Best regards/Warm wishes

Your name

Important points to keep in mind during writing a letter

A candidate must pay attention to the type of letter asked in the question. He must know to figure out which one is formal and which one is informal. A letter to a friend is always an informal letter and if you are asked to write specifically to someone then, it is an informal letter.
• The candidate should open and close the letter correctly as mentioned above.
• He should open a formal letter with a formal sentence where getting straight to the topic is the most safe-sided choice.
• An informal letter must be opened with a brief and a friendly paragraph.
• The main purpose of the letter has to be identified and all the 3 bullet points have to be covered entirely.

• Correct use of spellings and standard written phrases are must.
• It is the best to stay in the topic only.

To know in details, consider watching these two videos-

For formal letter guidance-

For informal letter guidance-

IELTS Academic writing guide for Test 1

This part is mostly like preparing a monthly report that an employee had to submit to his supervisors or manager at work. Here, the manager will only want relevant facts and data on the basis of the latest information of the company. So, basically, you will be given one or two visuals which you have to observe, analyse, understand and interpret very carefully and based on that you have to write a report.

Important tips to keep in mind in writing the report

This part is totally based on TASK ACHIEVEMENT. This is one of the main evaluation criteria that IELTS examiners use to analyse your writing potentials.

• Task achievement implies upon how a candidate can appropriately and accurately use the responses to fill the requirements that have been asked in the question paper by using the minimum 150 words.
• A candidate need to follow every letter of the prompts and directions given in the question to score good in this part.

Consider watching this video to know in details.

IELTS Writing Guide for Test 2

A candidate should write over 250 words in this section. Approximately 66% of the total writing marks is in this part. This part is the same for all general and academic candidates. There is only one difference and that is, the essay questions of general candidates are much easier and the topics are also simpler than the academic candidates. This essay will be completely formal and generally, are based on topics like Discussion, Opinion, Advantage and Disadvantage, Direct questions and Solutions. Do watch this video to know more-

Strategy for approaching Task 2

Question analysis– a candidate must understand what the examiner is exactly wanting from him. He needs to identify the type of question and the keywords in it. He should pay attention to the instructions too.

Planning- one can take time up to 10 minutes to plan his answers for he must pay attention in organising the ideas and giving a proper structure to those before he writes up.

Introduction– it must contain a brief on what the essay is about in a clear and a very concise manner.

Main body paragraphs– the examiner wants details in this part. One should state the main points with relevant explanations and examples in this part.

Conclusion– one must provide a summary on the discussions made in the essay.
Important tips for task 2

• A candidate will be assessed on the basis of four aspects in this part. Each of these parts will comprise of 25% of total marks in this part
• The four parts are-
 Task response (25%)
 Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
 Vocabulary (25%)
 Grammar (25%).
• Even single word will be counted including the repeated words.
• It is always the best to be specific to the needs of the examiners and answering exactly like that.

For more details, do watch this video-

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