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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds So I’m here with Gad, who you know, and also with Pauline Cullen, who is a consultant to the Cambridge English Language Assessment and also one of the authors of the official Cambridge guide to IELTS. I have some questions for Gad and some for Pauline about the IELTS academic writing. So firstly, Pauline, how can you remind me what I have to do in the academic writing test? Yes. The academic writing test is one hour, and you’re given two separate tasks. The first task is a summary of some visual information. So you might be given a chart, or a graph, or a diagram. Or you might be given a set of maps to compare. And you need to summarise that information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds You need to write at least 150 words, and you should try to spend no more than 20 minutes on that. And then task two is a formal essay, and you have 40 minutes to spend on that. OK. Thank you, Pauline. So why was the test designed that way? Well, if you think about it, the kinds of writing you need to do at university always involve dealing either with data or with ideas. And if you think about it, the part one test is a test that makes you deal with data in your writing. And the part two of the test makes you deal with ideas when you write the essay.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds So basically, the two parts make you do what you have to do in university. Exactly. OK. Good. Makes sense. So in task one, I need to summarise the main points, and I can’t include every detail. But how do I know what the main points are? Well, it’s about summarising the most important points. So it’s really important to stop and look at the data really carefully before you begin to write. Don’t start writing straight away. People who do that tend to just list all of the details in the visual you’re given. That’s what you mustn’t do. You must summarise the main points. So by that, we mean the most interesting details that you can see. Look for things that are similar.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds Look for changes. Look for things that haven’t changed. And those, the most interesting things that you notice, are the main points to get across. But it’s also really important to remember that you must only describe the data that you’re given. So you mustn’t speculate about reasons why it might have happened or reasons why changes might have occurred, for example. Just stick to describing the data that you’re given and summarising it. And in test two, I know I need to get my point of view. But if I can’t decide, can I agree and disagree at the same time?

Skip to 2 minutes and 54 seconds I think it’s always a good idea to handle both sides of an argument, because it will sound like you’ve given careful consideration and thought to both before deciding on what you have decided. But I think it’s also important to note that the task twos can be slightly different. Some of them ask you to agree and disagree, but some of them ask you to consider the advantages and disadvantages on a particular issue, in which case the way you go about responding to them will be slightly different. So I think you should maybe spend some time in thinking, how might I respond differently to these different task two questions? Sure. OK. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

What do you need to do in the Writing test?

Watch Nuria and Gad speaking with Pauline Cullen about the two tasks in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

You can find more information on the IELTS website and on the IELTS YouTube channel.

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