IELTS study plan part 4: writing…

Skill specific strategy: writing

Writing, this is the one that most students dread, I get mail every week from people who have taken the test several times and can’t get through the 6.0/6.5 barrier and ask me to help them. So what to do first? Again, as before, you need to have your English level/current band score properly assessed by someone who knows how the writing section works, not just a random native, but someone who specialises in IELTS. I can do this for you, if you write to me and send me some writing samples, to

The reason for this is that the writing section has certain criteria which you need to address, and if you have your writing looked at by someone who doesn’t know what these are, they will probably only correct your grammar and vocabulary and that’s all. Which is ok, but grammar and vocab are only half of the assessment criteria, task achievement and cohesion/coherence are the other half.

So, how to study for writing? Start with the criteria, found out what the examiners are looking for and what that means in practice.

As I mentioned in the other sections, you need to know what the different question types are, and to have a strategy for writing. There are 8 or 9 possible academic task 1 question types, graph, chart, table, map, process, etc (general training is a letter, either formal or semi/informal) all of which have a slightly different approach and language required to write them. As for the essay, we have five different question types, to what extent, discuss both views, problems/causes and solutions, advantages vs disadvantages, and the two part questions. All of which have a typical four/five paragraph structure but a slightly different structure at the level of the sentence depending upon if it is an opinion or discussion question.

There is a lot you need to know, about the writing process, the importance of planning, of time management, of how to analyse the question, and how to structure your essay sentence by sentence. For general guidance I recommend the following resources.

Task 1: general and academic

Task 2: essay

These sites are the best around currently and have all the tips and hints you need, examples, etc, and of course, if you have any questions you can ask me at any time. I do have some material on my blog, and I intend to write more and I am also starting a channel on YouTube which will have lessons on writing, but for now these links will do quite well.

What I would suggest is that you spend some time every week (as per your plan) studying the differences between question types, and writing timed practice exercises. Then you send them to me, and we either discuss it in class, or I will send you back a video of my corrections and comments. If you want to see how that looks, click on this link below.

There you have it, your writing plan, so as before, any questions let me know at