Skip main navigation

IELTS Writing – the basics

Watch Sally introduce the IELTS Writing course.
0.5
Let’s have a look at the IELTS Writing test. IELTS Writing takes 60 minutes, and you have to answer two tasks in that time. It’s worth noting that task two is worth twice as much as task one. In task one, you see a graph, diagram, or chart, and you have to summarise the information presented in the diagram in your own words. You might be asked to identify the main features or describe the stages of a process. And you have to write at least 150 words to do so. The second task is to write an essay in response to a point of view, arguments, or a problem. The topics should be accessible for anyone.
46
You don’t need to be an expert on the topic in order to share your opinion. And you have to write your essay in an academic style, which is quite formal. You need to write at least 250 words in task two. Your answers to task one and task two are both assessed in four different areas. You can find out more in the next step.

Listen to Sally introducing the course and find out exactly what you have to do in the IELTS Writing test.

There are two IELTS tests available – IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. In this course, we will be focusing on the IELTS Academic test. It measures whether your level of English is suitable for an academic environment, and is used by universities all over the world for entry to undergraduate and postgraduate level courses. If you’re planning to take the General Training test then the tasks will be different from those you see on this course, but there will still be lots of writing advice and practice that you will find useful.

These are the two tasks in the Academic Writing test that Sally describes in the video.

  TASK TIME WORD COUNT
TASK 1 Describe a graph, table, chart or diagram and summarise the information in your own words. 20 minutes Minimum 150 words
TASK 2 Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Both tasks will require a formal writing style. 40 minutes Minimum 250 words

Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to your final Writing score.

These tasks test your ability to do various things including:

  • Describing facts and figures accurately
  • Expressing your ideas and opinions clearly
  • Finding the right words to say what you want
  • Getting the grammar right

We will look at each task in detail during this course, and you will find out more about the assessment criteria in the next step.

For now, tell each other in the comments how confident you feel about doing each of these four things in English.

This article is from the free online

Understanding IELTS: Writing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education