Learn all about the IELTS General Training Writing test

Learn the general details of the module, what type of questions it includes, and how to practice your writing skills.

Before you take the exam, it is important that you are familiar with the format of the IELTS General Training, the type of questions you will encounter, the time allocated for each stage, and some tips that you can apply from home. Therefore, we will tell you everything you need to know about the writing module. 

Prepare for the test by practicing with some sample exercises and understanding the aspects you need to consider before taking the IELTS General Training.  

What is the writing module about? 

In the writing module, your ability to generate ideas, organize them in a written structure, and the accuracy and range of your vocabulary to answer the questions will be evaluated. It lasts for 60 minutes and consists of two types of tasks; in the first one, you must write more than 150 words, and in the second one, you must write more than 250 words. 

First task: write a letter with a specific purpose 

In the first task, you will be presented with a situation, and you will have to write a letter in which you interpret, describe, or respond in your own words to the event. The style is flexible and can be personal, formal, or neutral, but you will be evaluated based on your ability to maintain correspondence, gather additional information, and express your opinions and judgment regarding the context. 

The situations you will encounter are common, for example, writing a letter to a local newspaper about a developing news story or requesting a rental agency to visit you to discuss a water supply issue in your house. You must write more than 150 words in this stage, otherwise, you will be penalized. The approximate time to complete this task should not exceed 20 minutes. 

Second task: write an essay 

On the other hand, in the second task, you will have to respond to a topic, an argument, or a problem by writing an essay. In this stage, you need to expand a bit more, as you will have to propose solutions and opinions and, if applicable, question some presented ideas. 

The themes of the second task involve deeper issues such as the environmental crisis, care for the elderly, prohibition measures in public spaces, and the reasons behind the increasing distance between family members. It is important to support your argument with examples from your personal life and write a response using a broader and more complex vocabulary than in the first task. 

Woman doing IELTS General Writing

Regarding the evaluation criteria, examiners will pay attention to the coherence of your ideas, the accuracy, and your ability to respond appropriately to each situation. The second task carries more weight than the first one, as its length and difficulty are higher. 

Discover some tips on how to get a Band 7 qualification in the IELTS. 

Examples of exercises to practice at home 

To give you an idea of the writing module in the IELTS General Training, here are two examples of exercises that can help you study from home. Practice by answering the questions and addressing the problems they present. 

  • Example exercise Task 1  

You live in a room in college which you share with another student. However, there are many problems with this arrangement, and you find it very difficult to work. Write a letter to the accommodation officer at the college.  

In the letter: describe the situation, explain your problems, why it is difficult to work and say what kind of accommodation you would prefer.  

Write at least 150 words.  

You do NOT need to write any addresses.  

Begin your letter as follows:  

Dear Sir or Madam… 

  • Example exercise Task 2 

In Britain, when someone ages they often go to live in a home with other senior people where there are nurses to look after them. Sometimes the government must pay for this care.  

Who do you think should pay for this care, the government or the family?  

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.  

Write at least 250 words. 

Tips to take advantage of the time in your test 

With a duration of 60 minutes, you need to make the most of your time and be effective in responding the two tasks. You should be specific, make decisions based on criteria, and ensure coherence in all the ideas you want to communicate. 

That’s why we’re here to provide you with some tips to keep in mind when taking the writing module: 

  • Make a brainstorming session before starting to write: Before drafting your response, write down everything that comes to mind about the theme of each task. In the end, you can choose which path to take and how to develop your response. 
  • Communicate in a direct and simple manner: Although the writing module assesses the breadth of your vocabulary, it is not necessary to use complicated and obscure words. The more concrete and precise your text is, the better the evaluator will understand it. Avoid irrelevant information that has nothing to do with the problem. 
  • Read your text aloud: One of the simplest ways to detect errors is to read the text aloud. This way, you also identify issues with writing or unnecessary changes in rhythm. 
  • Learn to use connectors: On the contrary, however, in addition, among others, are some of the connectors you should learn so that your text feels natural and well-written. 

Two students reviewing IELTS General Writing

  • Avoid long sentences at all costs: Separating ideas and giving them closure is an attribute you should learn so that your sentences do not become too lengthy. Keep your text in a concise and simple structure. 
  • Practice different styles of writing: Write formal, informal, and personal texts to practice from home. This way, you can know how to handle any situation that is presented to you in the IELTS General Training. 
  • Read, write, and seek feedback: Three golden rules for those who want to study from home for this module. It may seem obvious, but only by following these three instructions can you improve and achieve a good score in the writing stage. You can seek the assistance of another person to read what you wrote, so you can hear another point of view on how to approach the text. 

Enter and do the IELTS General Training through the British Council.