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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds Well, you now know that IELTS Writing is scored on a number of different criteria - whether you’ve done what you were asked to do, whether what you’ve written is well-organised and makes sense, and whether you’ve used the English language well in doing this. These are actually the same things that your university professors will be looking for, so it is good to pay attention to these whether or not you’re preparing for IELTS. Let’s say a professor asked students to write an essay about 17th-Century literature. And let’s say John produces a response like this - Dear Professor Smith, I think Shakespeare is awesome. Yours sincerely, John. Would you say that John has actually fulfilled the requirements of the task in this case?

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds Well, yes and no. On the one hand, he has written something that’s on the topic, but what the professor has asked for is an essay, not a letter. Letters and essays are different forms of writing, what we call genres. And each genre has features that make them different from other genres. At university, it is important to produce the type of writing that is asked for whether it’s an essay, a lab report, a research proposal, and so on, and so forth. Similarly, in the IELTS Writing test, it’s worth thinking - what type of writing am I being asked to produce? What features does that type of writing typically have?

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds Second, in English there are words like ‘and’ or ‘but’ which are very small but make a difference because they indicate a completely different relationship between the ideas before and after it. We call them discourse markers. Some of them are longer, such as ‘therefore’ and ‘however’, and some of them are actually phrases. When you say ‘in other words’, for example, that’s a discourse marker. In preparing for the IELTS Writing test, you might be tempted to focus just on the big words, but it’s equally important to focus on these little words. These, and make sure that you’re using the right discourse markers to organise your ideas effectively.

How will IELTS Writing prepare you for higher education?

Watch Gad talking about the IELTS Writing test and some aspects of writing at university.

As Gad says, the way that IELTS Academic Writing is assessed is actually very similar to the things that your professors at university will be looking for. Try to answer these questions:

What can you do to improve both your IELTS Writing and your academic writing for university?

Are there any genres of writing that you would like to get better at?

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Inside IELTS: Preparing for the Test with the Experts

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