IELTS Academic Writing

The IELTS Academic Writing module measures your ability to write in clear, formal English, as is generally demanded in an academic context. You are assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Task Response - how accurately to address the task
  • Coherence and Cohesion - how organized your writing is
  • Lexical Resource - the range of your vocabulary
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy - the correctness of your grammar

You have an hour to complete two writing tasks. You must complete both tasks to get a score. You need to organize your ideas, write accurately, and use rich vocabulary. It is recommended that you divide your time in this way:

  • Task 1 – 150 words – 20 minutes
  • Task 2 – 250 words – 40 minutes

In the first task, you must write a report based on pictorial information. This means you may need to describe a graph, chart, or diagram. It may be a bar chart, pie chart, line graph, or some other graphic representation. You might also be asked to describe the process illustrated by the diagram. This involves describing the data accurately, pointing out trends and relevant information, and using appropriate vocabulary.

To understand how best to answer this type of task, read through the model answers provided in IELTS guidebooks. Examiners will score your answer based on your ability to group relevant information, link ideas in complex sentences, and use appropriate vocabulary to describe trends. This is not as difficult as it sounds. By reading through several sample answers, you can extract the vocabulary you need and also learn a variety of sentence structures, to present your information in a formal, academic manner. For the highest marks, also pay close attention to your spelling and copy given words and phrases correctly.

In this task, you need to write an academic style essay on the single topic given. You have no choices here – you must write only about the one topic – so prepare yourself with strategies to write a well-organized essay on a variety of subject areas. You may need to offer a solution to a problem, express an opinion or comment on ideas or arguments presented.

Your essay should be about four or five paragraphs in length, with an introduction, body and conclusion. It should not be a list of bullet points, but a properly organized essay, written in full sentences. You need to state your thesis, provide evidence or reasons to support your argument and write a strong conclusion. Use topic sentences to clearly identify the main theme in each paragraph. You could use the guide below to structure your essay.

Paragraph 1


Restate the topic, indicate your position

Paragraph 2


Main idea, supporting idea, examples

Paragraph 3


Main idea, supporting idea, examples

Paragraph 4


Summarize ideas, restate position

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