IELTS Academic Writing Task 1: Process Diagram

Model answer for an IELTS Process Diagram.

In the last lesson about process diagrams, I looked at the grammar and vocabulary needed to write about them. Click here to see the grammar needed.  This type of task sometimes appears in IELTS academic writing task 1, so I advise practicing this kind of task as it could appear in the exam.

Overall, the passive voice grammar is used when describing a process, you will also need sequencers to show a step by step process. The structure needed is: an introduction, an overview and 2 body paragraphs. Word count is 150 words minimum, aim for around 170 to 180 words.

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Handwriting, Paragraphing and the IELTS Answer Sheet

Key things to consider for IELTS writing:

Handwriting, pencils, paragraphs and using the IELTS official answer sheet.

I often get asked questions like: Should I use a pen?  Can I use cursive writing? Should I use the IELTS answer sheet? Do I lose marks for bad handwriting? How do I separate the paragraphs? Do I get a higher band score for a very long essay? ..and so on.

This post should clear up any confusion regarding these questions. Handwriting must be clear to the reader and I highly recommend using the answer sheet to practice. I also recommend using a pencil because it is easier to erase mistakes in the exam. The official IELTS answer sheet for writing task 1 and 2 can be downloaded here…click to download the answer sheet

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Learning New Vocabulary

Tips and points to consider for learning new vocabulary in IELTS.

I often get asked about the best way to learn new words that can be used in IELTS essays or the speaking section. I have not given any word lists on my website because I believe that vocabulary building is your responsibility, it is something that you will have to work on over a period of time.

One of the worst things you could ever do when studying IELTS is to just memorise lists of words and then randomly put those words into your writing, the same goes for speaking.

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IELTS general writing task 1: Job application letter

Model answer for General Writing Task 1 IELTS

Job application letter.

As mentioned before in my previous posts about IELTS general writing task 1, there are 2 styles for letters. Formal and Informal. Click here to see the differences between IELTS academic task 1 and the General Test.

In this lesson I will look at a letter applying for a job, the style here will be formal because it is a letter to a company.

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IELTS Writing: Keeping it simple

Being concise and keeping it simple.

If someone asked me for my advice about the IELTS essay tasks, I would say keep it simple and concise. I correct a lot of IELTS essays, but the one thing that stands out is that so many IELTS students are trying too hard to use  ‘complex sentences’ and completely miss the point and end up using ‘complicated sentences’. Some students may also memorise lists of words and then just put those into the essay without actually knowing fully what the word means.

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The dangers of memorised statements in essays.

Be careful of memorised sentences.

IELTS dangers

There are some IELTS teachers out there who tell students to write an outline statement after the thesis statement. 

To be honest, this is not a good way to structure the introduction. Outline statements are only for true academic essays that are many pages long, like you would write at university (IELTS essays are short discursive essays)

Another reason why I advise not writing them is that they look like they have been memorised. The examiner is looking out for memorised statements and sentences. 

You could lose points on this in task response and lexical resource. To put it simply, you have to use your own words. The IELTS examiners are looking at how you can use language naturally and coherently.

Read moreThe dangers of memorised statements in essays.

Paraphrasing without synonyms.

Useful paraphrasing technique without using synonyms.

One of the most important skills in IELTS is paraphrasing. This means to change the wording or the sentence structure but retain the same meaning. It’s a challenge for many students doing IELTS to get used to this skill, you need to have good vocabulary and know how to use synonyms correctly.

There are 2 main ways to paraphrase, this can be done with synonyms and by changing the structure of the sentence while adjusting the word formation. In the writing section you need to use this skill when starting the introduction of your essay. Let’s take a look at an example below.

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Why does this essay score Band 5.5?

Analysis of a Band 5.5 essay, plus a model answer.

Most people doing IELTS have trouble getting above Band 6 in writing, in fact a large percentage of IELTS test takers around the world end up with a Band 5.5 in Writing.

Probably the most important thing to do before you begin writing an essay, is to make sure you fully understand the question and find the issues in the question. Never write just generally about the topic, identify the issues and base your essay around those.

Read moreWhy does this essay score Band 5.5?

IELTS TFNG reading tips.

Tips for IELTS Reading.

To successfully answer IELTS True False not Given questions and Yes No Not Given questions, you can use exactly the same technique. The difference is that Yes No Not Given texts are based on the writers opinion,  whereas TFNG texts are based on facts.

Take at look at the graphic below for some ideas to help you.

Read moreIELTS TFNG reading tips.

5 things to do before writing your essay

5 steps you should take when planning your IELTS essay.

Planning is incredibly important before writing an essay in writing task 2. (also for wrting task 1) Most teachers have different advice for this, some say 2 minutes others say 5 minutes and yet others say 7 to 10 minutes of planning time.

I believe that you should take at least 10 minutes to plan. Why? because I have had students before with good English skills who did not take the time to plan, they ended up with a Band 5 even though they were capable of a Band 7. Those students did minimal planning and just went straight into writing, lost track of what to write about, went off topic, didn’t structure the essay well and so on. This is where problems can arise when writing an essay. However, with the right steps in place you can go into the exam feeling confident of writing a good essay.

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