How to improve your writing for the IELTS General Training Test?
The IELTS Tests patterns are made in such a way so as to test a candidate on how efficient he is in all forms of the English language. By all forms it means that the IELTS judges the proficiency of a student’s proficiency of 1) Listening, 2) Speaking, 3) Reading and 4) Writing the English language.
Who the IELTS general Training Tests are for The students who want to go to any foreign English speaking country for the secondary level of education, need to qualify through the IELTS general Training Test. Also, candidates who want to go to any foreign English speaking country for ‘Work Experience’ or ‘Trainings’ need to qualify through the IELTS general Training Test. Also, candidates who want to migrate to the U.K., Australia, Canada, New Zealand need the IELTS Certificate and of course the desired IELTS Band Score set by the absorbing bodies. As per record more than 900 institutions or organizations in no less than 140 countries accept the IELTS Certificate, which indicates the trust of the test worldwide. For a bright and prosperous career, all the students/candidates want to score as high as possible in the test. The benchmark set by the IELTS is regarded as a stamp of proficiency of a candidate’s overall expertise in the English knowledge.
The IELTS writing test is regarded as the toughest test of the all four parts of the test. There are to tasks to do Task1 and Task2. In the Task1 a candidate is asked to write a letter in minimum 150 words. The letter to be written is usually on explaining a problem that has arisen or reporting/describing a situation that has occurred. The times suggested is 20 minutes for Task1, keeping 40 minutes reserved for the longer test Task2. In Task1 a candidate is assessed on:
- How efficient he is in making a personal correspondence.
- How rational he is in providing a factual information
- How he expresses his likes and dislikes
- How well composed he is in expressing his views and complaints etc.
The Writing of Task2 requires a candidate to write an essay in at least 250 words on a given topic. Through the essay a candidate is assessed, how he can justify his opinion by logic and argument, how he can provide feasible solutions of a problem, etc. In this section writing error, free simple English will not be sufficient. A candidate has to show his range of vocabulary, expertise in constructing complex sentences with extensive grammatical knowledge and writing with no spelling mistakes at all. Only the candidate can achieve a high Band Score of 7+ or 8. The performance in Task2 is much important compared to Task1. The examiners recruited by the test center are highly qualified and they are approved by the British Council or IDP.
Any candidate who belongs to a non-English speaking country and has not an English medium background has to face an uphill task to come to the level of achieving a Band Score of 7+. The candidates belong to the non-English medium background should put special effort. He should first start from scratch. He should learn and follow a good grammar book to be a competent candidate with solid grammatical knowledge. Before starting actual preparation a candidate should start listening to ‘English News’, ‘English debate shows’ on TV and also he should download sample audios for the IELTS Listening test and listen to them minutely. Listening ‘Good English’ from any source will develop the candidate’s understanding of English pronunciation and if he listens to International English News and other programs he would also be familiar with the accent of native English speakers.
While updating himself a candidate should listen to the IELTS sample audios of the particular country he is heading for. If somebody is going to go to the USA its’ useless for him to listen to audio samples of British English. A noticeable problem of non-Native English speakers is their ‘Mother Tongue Bias’. Any candidate has to get rid of this and its’ easier said than done. As a primary step to get rid of this is to start speaking in English with friends and members of the family. Sample audios of spoken English for the IELTS is also available on the Internet. Those audios would be very handy to improve spoken English. But, above all the candidate has to listen and speak a lot and taking help of a teacher or a knowledgeable person to talk to and get rectified would be very beneficial. If one can afford to have a good English teacher, that would be of great help.So far we have discussed on listening and speaking. Following the above methods listening and understanding English and also spoken English can be developed a lot.
Next, comes writing. Dozens of sample writing papers are available on the Internet. A candidate can download and practice following the instructions given in those samples papers. But without the help of a teacher a candidate with the non-English medium background cannot improve up to the desired level. Very serious and time bound practice would make a candidate a competent one for the test. As in the Task1 and Task2, letters and essays are given to write, any candidate even a native English one should follow the instructions and understand what exactly the test wants him to write. Without having the basic preparation a candidate should not take admission to an IELTS coaching center because that would be a sheer wastage of time and money. By taking mock tests of himself or by his teacher would be able to understand how his preparation is.
Coming to ‘Optimum Standard’ a candidate should take help from and expert IELTS teacher or a reputed IELTS coaching center. Because only an expert help with a series of mock test can prepare a candidate for the ultimate test. A candidate should understand well that even the best coaching center would not be able to make him get a high Band Score of 7+ or 8 unless he is extremely serious and diligent. A truly well-prepared student having gone through a series of mock tests can succeed in the writing rest.
Task1 in details:
Task achievement: In the case of Task1 a candidate is required to write a personal response (in the form of a letter) preferably in formal English with flawless grammar and well constructed English in at least 150 words. Candidates are told what type of information they should include in their letter, instructions are given in three bulleted points. The situations, candidates are asked to write about like reporting on some problems or some crisis or to write a newspaper to cover the problems in the local conveyance or so on.
Coherence and cohesion: The assessment is made on how logical, orderly, and consistent relation of parts of the message. Also, how the candidate responses, organizes and links the given information is judged. Cohesion refers to sticking the ideas through sequencing with logic.
Lexical resource: It is the criteria refers to the range of vocabulary of the candidate used with maintaining accuracy.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The range of grammatical usage and the grammatical resource as manifested in the construction of sentences.
Task2 in details: In the General Training test Task 2 requires the candidate’s application in developing a position in relation to a given topic in the form of a question or statement. The ideas should be justified with evidence and examples.
For getting a high band score in the writing test, a candidate should:
- Analyze and read the question with extreme care to understand what exactly is being asked.
- Make a plan before writing.
- Highlight or underline the important keywords in the tasks
- Put one idea in each paragraph, not more than that.
- Should not copy full sentences of the question.
- Extremely wise about time management. Should keep at least 40 minutes for Task2
- Use minimum 150 words for Task1, but should not write more than 170 to 180 words.
- Use minimum 250 words for Task2, but should not write more than 270 to 280 words.
- Practice writing Task1 within 150 words and Task2 within 250 words. It would not possible to count word in the exam hall.
- Won’t get any marks for pointed answers or answering in bulleted points.
- Spelling error, grammar errors are not allowed.
- Strict use of formal English language.
- A variety of complex sentence structures would be appreciated.
- Keeping 10 minutes in hand for correcting answers.
To be precise, there are some key areas, by developing those areas a student can improve his IELTS writing score distinctly. Which are:
- Improving his proficiency of English writing by regular practice and by getting corrected by an expert.
- Improving the test skills of him by giving a number of mock tests conducted by the coaching center or by his teacher.
- Understanding how the marks are given and where one might lose marks.
- Improving one’s knowledge level in the English language as a whole.
- Getting special tips and tricks to excel in the exam, from an experienced tutor or from a coaching center,
- Writing on a regular basis and getting corrected by an expert tutor.
- Going through repeated mock-tests, strictly maintaining the time.
Achieving a better band score is always the goal for any candidate. The IELTS Writing Test is the ultimate test of Proficiency in the English language. Hence the surest way to improve the IELTS Band Score is to improve the level of one’s General English and prepare for the actual test by repeatedly giving mock tests which replicate the actual exam. Holding nerve in the exam hall, managing time wisely a well-prepared candidate can achieve his goal of getting 7+ or more.