Do’s and Don’ts in IELTS writing

Writing is regarded as one of the most challenging modules of the IELTS exam, therefore it is natural for applicants to have many questions about it. It is critical to have a firm grasp on the guidelines governing the writing part.

Do’s and Don'ts in IELTS writing

As you tackle each section of the writing, there are various dos and don’ts to bear in mind. For a better understanding, please see the tables below:

IELTS Academic Writing Task One – Report Writing

Do’s Don’ts 
Always compare and contrast the data in the graph.Personal assumptions should never be written.
If necessary, facts pertinent to the question can be mentioned.In graph analysis, do not use contractions (can’t, won’t).
Use the right punctuation.Do not use possessive pronouns like I, us, and so on.
Improve your score by using academic vocabulary.Do not express opinions of any manner.
When answering map questions, use the cardinal directions.In map questions, avoid using phrases like left side and right side to describe directions.
When responding to process diagrams, use time connectives.Don’t write a conclusion for your report.
Plan your time wisely and practise completing the task in 20 minutes.Avoid repeating the most common graph words, such as increase and decrease.
Include question paraphrases and a general trend in the opening paragraph.Avoid using archaic words or synonyms. 
To improve your score, use synonyms for frequently used terms.Write a report in no fewer than three paragraphs and no more than four paragraphs.
Plan your time so that you can reread your work before submitting it to avoid losing points for spelling and punctuation.Use a variety of vocabulary and phrases/idioms that are appropriate for the question.
For a higher score, use several types of sentence formation, such as complex and compound sentences.Don’t overload your analysis with numbers; instead, convert it into words. (For example, instead of stating “25% of the population,” write “a quarter of the population”
Include sufficient data from the question.Never say ‘will’ when referring to a future year; instead, use estimated to, anticipated to, predicted to, and so on.
Use connecting devices (for example, however, while) to connect paragraphs and concepts inside paragraphs.During paraphrase, avoid using all of the identical terms from the question.
For map and process diagram questions too, an overview and paraphrasing are required.Never describe each line, section, or bar individually.
Check for time references and make sure you’re using the correct verb tense.Do not include numerical in your overall. 
Include all the relevant key features from the question.Do not detail less significant data while writing as it will not contribute to your score. 

General IELTS Writing Task One – Letter Writing

Do’s Don’ts 
Answer all the bullet points.Contractions should not be used in formal or semi-formal letters.
Each bullet point should be addressed in separate paragraphs. When mentioning the name of a company or location, do not employ variables or simple alphabets.
The letter must include an opening statement and a closing statement.Don’t mix up the letter’s tone; a formal letter should have a formal tone.
For formal letters, the first sentence should state the purpose of the letter.Please and request are not appropriate words to use in a complaint letter.
In informal letters, contractions must be used.Use the different opening and closing sentences for each letter type.
When responding, always use realistic names for persons, businesses, or locations.Dates and full addresses should not be included in your letter.
If more than one aspect is to be mentioned in a bullet point, confirm you address all of it in the letter. Do not mix British and American spellings; instead, use one of them.
Keep the tone consistent throughout the letter.The closing should not be written on the right side because the opening and closing should be given on the left side.
Leave a line after each paragraph and start towards the left hand side. Model letters should not be memorised.
Confirm to use formal and informal vocabulary in accordance with the letter question. For example, for formal, use apologise, receive, and require, whereas for informal, use sorry, get, and need. Idioms should only be used in informal letters.
Use paragraph connectors to ensure the flow of the letter. The small letter ‘i’ should not be used anywhere in the letter, and ‘I’ should always come before ‘am’.

IELTS Writing Task Two- Essay Writing 

Do’s Don’ts 
Answer all the parts of the question. Do not write your essay in less than four paragraphs. 
Make sure our opinion is clearly marked.If you skip the opening or conclusion while writing the essay, you will lose your score.
Use the appropriate paragraphing strategy.Avoid employing archaic or difficult words whose meaning you are unfamiliar with.
At the start of the essay, write a concise topic statement.If you write less than 250 words, you will forfeit points.
In your sentences, use adequate and correct punctuation, such as full stops (periods), apostrophes, and commas.Filling in synonyms and lexical resources that are not contextually appropriate will not help you score higher.
Use examples to support your argument in a formal manner ( eg: i firmly believe that)Don’t write too many short, basic sentences.
Use an effective time management method and spend the first 5 to 7 minutes planning your essay.If you begin each phrase with a connecting device (for example, additionally, in addition to), you will receive a lower score.
During the planning step, jot down any significant points you intend to write.Do not construct paragraphs with only two sentences because a proper paragraph should include at least four to five sentences.
Use formal vocabulary (for example, keep —> maintain: make sure —> ensure).Make no more than three or four spelling errors, as this will result in a lower score.
You can use invented statistics in your essay as long as they are relevant. Do not use the same vocabulary throughout the essay. 
Use synonyms to eliminate repetition (for example, important = vital = essential = key).Dont make broad generalisations. (e.g. everyone, always, never, all)
make use of formal linking terms (e.g. despite, nevertheless, furthermore)Do not forget to summarise and conclude your essay in the final paragraph.
It is ideal to write anywhere between 250 to 275 words. Do not use examples or arguments unrelated to the topic.
Use at least five or six complex sentences in your essay for better scores. Avoid using personal examples and colloquial expressions (e.g. I had great time)
Spend two to four minutes proofreading your response to rectify simple errors. In your essay, avoid using contractions.
provide a reason and an example for each of your argumentsDo not use emotive language and avoid being personal. 

If you use the above-mentioned ideas and strategies, your writing will become more error-free and standardised, resulting in a higher band score. However, tips and tricks alone will not serve to achieve a high score because comprehending diverse question types, combined with constant practice, is necessary to gain a higher band.

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Shruthi Raveendran

I am Shruthi Raveendran, a TEFL-certified IELTS/PTE and ESL tutor who has 8+ years of experience working in the education industry. I am a passionate writer, logophile and film enthusiast

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