IELTS Writing Test Format

Duration and format

The Writing test takes 60 minutes. There are two tasks to complete. It is suggested that about 20 minutes is spent on Task 1 which requires candidates to write at least 150 words. Task 2 requires at least 250 words and should take about 40 minutes.

Candidates may write on the question paper but this cannot be taken from the examination room and will not be seen by the examiner.

Answers must be given on the answer sheet and must be written in full. Notes or bullet points in whole or in part are not acceptable as answers.

Task types - Academic Training Writing

In Task 1 candidates are asked to describe some information (graph/table/chart/diagram), and to present the description in their own words. Depending on the type of input and the task suggested, candidates are assessed on their ability to:

• organise, present and possibly compare data

• describe the stages of a process or procedure

• describe an object or event or sequence of events

• explain how something works

In Task 2 candidates are presented with a point of view or argument or problem. Candidates are assessed on their ability to:

• present the solution to a problem

• present and justify an opinion

• compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications

• evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument

The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

General Training Writing

GIn Task 1 candidates are asked to respond to a given problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation.

Depending on the task suggested, candidates are assessed on their ability to:

• engage in personal correspondence

• elicit and provide general factual information

• express needs, wants, likes and dislikes

• express opinions (views, complaints etc.)

In Task 2 candidates are presented with a point of view or argument or problem.

Candidates are assessed on their ability to:

• provide general factual information

• outline a problem and present a solution

• present and possibly justify an opinion, assessment or hypothesis

• present and possibly evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence and argument

The topics are of general interest an

Marking and assessment

Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.

Writing responses are assessed by certificated IELTS examiners. All IELTS examiners hold relevant teaching qualifications and are recruited as examiners by the test centres and approved by British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia.

Detailed performance descriptors have been developed

which describe written performance at the nine IELTS bands. Public versions of these descriptors are available on the IELTS website.

The descriptors apply to both the Academic and General Training Modules and are based on the following criteria.

Task 1 responses are assessed on:

• Task Achievement

• Coherence and Cohesion

• Lexical Resource

• Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task 2 responses are assessed on:

• Task Response

• Coherence and Cohesion

• Lexical Resource

• Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task 1

– Task Achievement

This criterion assesses how appropriately, accurately and relevantly the response fulfils the requirements set out in the task, using the minimum of 150 words.

Academic Writing Task 1 is a writing task which has a

defined input and a largely predictable output. It is basically an information-transfer task which relates narrowly to the factual content of an input diagram and not to speculated explanations that lie outside the given data.

General Training Writing Task 1 is also a writing task with a largely predictable output in that each task sets out the context and purpose of the letter and the functions the candidate should cover in order to achieve this purpose.

Coherence and Cohesion

This criterion is concerned with the overall clarity and fluency of the message: how the response organises and links information, ideas and language. Coherence refers to the linking of ideas through logical sequencing. Cohesion refers to the varied and appropriate use of cohesive devices (for example, logical connectors, pronouns and conjunctions) to assist in making the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences clear.

Lexical Resource

This criterion refers to the range of vocabulary the candidate has used and the accuracy and appropriacy of that use in terms of the specific task.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy

This criterion refers to the range and accurate use of the candidate’s grammatical resource as manifested in the candidate’s writing at the sentence level.

Task 2 - Task Response

In both Academic and General Training Modules Task 2 requires the candidates to formulate and develop a position in relation to a given prompt in the form of a question or statement. Ideas should be supported by evidence, and examples may be drawn from the candidates’ own experience. Responses must be at least 250 words in length.

Scripts under the required minimum word limit will be penalised. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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