8 things that could lower your IELTS writing score

Things to avoid in IELTS essays.

Updated: Nov 19th, 2022

The essay writing section of IELTS is formal. This is the same for the academic writing task 1 reports, so you must use the right register. You could lose marks in vocabulary or grammar if you are writing informally, 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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IELTS general exam: How to write a formal letter

IELTSfocus writingGuide to writing a formal letter for IELTS general training.

Updated: February 2024

There are 3 types of letters in IELTS general, formal, semi-formal, and informal. If the letter is to a ‘friend’ then it is always informal, even if it is a letter to a friend in a business content. So to simplify it, most letters will be either formal or informal. I have not included any material on semi-formal here. Just a reminder, click here for a lesson about the differences in IELTS academic and IELTS general task 1 writing.

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