7 things that could lower your IELTS writing score

Words and phrases to avoid in IELTS essays.

The essay writing section of IELTS is formal, this is the same for academic writing task 1 reports, so you must use the right register. You could lose marks in vocabulary or grammar if you are writing in an informal way, using idioms, or using memorised stock phrases.

In IELTS general writing task 1, you will sometimes get an ‘informal’ letter to write, so obviously in that specific case you will write the letter in an informal register.

You may not lose a band score if you are doing just one of these things below, but if you are making a combination of errors then it could be the cause of being stuck at band 6 or 6.5.

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Paraphrasing and Synonyms in IELTS reading

An exercise to test your synonyms and paraphrasing in IELTS reading.

A key skill for a high score is your ability to understand paraphrasing in IELTS reading.

Paraphrasing is also a crucial skill for the writing section as you need to change the wording of the task question, it is also very useful in speaking and it shows up in the reading and listening sections. Paraphrasing is when the wording changes but the same meaning is retained. It can be done with synonyms, changing the grammatical structure and the use of set phrases.

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How to write an IELTS opinion essay

ielts word countIELTS opinion essay: structure, model answer and analysis.

There are 5 types of essay in IELTS writing task 2 and a common one is an opinion essay.

So how do you know if it is an opinion essay?.. Well you will need to study the instruction words. These words tell you what you should write about. This should be the first step to take before you even begin to plan. Analyse the task and especially the instruction words so you do not go off topic or write another essay altogether.

Here are 2 essay tasks below, which one do you think is the opinion essay?

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What’s the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’?

In IELTS, using vocabulary precisely is very important for getting a high score in lexical rescource. Affect and effect are often used incorrectly even by native speakers!

Lets look at the difference between these and how can they be used in a sentence accurately.

They are not exactly synonyms, they are homophones, which means they sound the same but are spelt differently. There are some exceptions when affect can be used as a verb or effect used as a noun, but generally speaking these are the rules below:

Affect is a verb   –   Effect is a noun

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IELTS Writing Task 1: Using prepositions correctly

How to use prepositions in IELTS writing task 1 academic.

It is very important to get prepositions right in this part of the exam. I often see prepositions mistakes when I am marking task 1 reports and this is a particular issue when describing dynamic data.

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Word count for IELTS writing tasks

ielts word countWhat is the ideal word count for IELTS writing?

This is a common question many IELTS candidates have, but there seems to be misinformation out on the internet about word count in the IELTS writing section.

In fact, you can actually lose marks if the writing is under word count. Here are some examples of what I have heard about the word count in IELTS essays and writing task 1.

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True False Not Given: Useful technique

TFNG: Changing the statements into questions

True False Not Given and Yes No Not Given questions are some of the most challenging for IELTS candidates. However, there is a technique you can use to successfully answer these questions which is to change the statement into a question. Actually, the IELTS reading test is really about how good your vocabulary is, such as your ability to understand synonyms and your paraphrasing skills.

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What’s more important in grammar, range or accuracy?

Let’s take a look at grammatical range and accuracy in writing.

Many IELTS test takers think that they need to have a wide range of grammar for a high score in grammatical range and accuracy in the writing section. This is only partly true. If you have a wide range of grammar but it is not accurate then it will not score very high.

My advice is to focus on accuracy rather than range. You need to think of the reader when writing. If you are just trying to impress the examiner then you are not considering the overall coherence of the essay. Keep it concise and simple. Of course, if you have a consitently wide range of grammar with good accuracy then you are well on the way to a Band 7 or more.

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IELTS Speaking part 2 Structure

Give your talk a structure to help you achieve a higher Band score.

In IELTS speaking part 2 you have to talk for 2 minutes on a particular topic. The examiner gives you a cue card with 1 minute preparation time to make notes.

It is important to have a structure in this part of the speaking as 2 minutes is actually a long time to talk non stop, even I would find that a challenge!

The way to make this easier is to structure your talk. Remember that you really need to devlop your speech like you are telling a story. This is very important for a higher band score.

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Giving effective examples in IELTS essays.

ielts examples in writingHow to write specific examples in IELTS essay body paragraphs.

In writing task 2, it is very important to be able to extend your ideas and explain your main points with examples in IELTS essay body paragraphs. This can be done with supporting points and most importantly, specific examples. This is necessary to get a good band score in task response and helps with overall cohesion of the essay. By using examples the examiner can clearly see how you are developing your main idea in the main body paragraphs. However, the examples given must be specific to the task question and your main idea, they should also be clear, easy to follow and concise.

Read moreGiving effective examples in IELTS essays.