Waylink English

IELTS Writing Test - Guidelines for Teachers

  1. Train the students to read the instructions very carefully and respond appropriately.
  2. Ensure that they get into the habit of making brief plans before they start to write.
  3. Ensure that they spend only 20 minutes on Writing Task 1 to allow enough time to answer Writing Task 2 as Writing Task 2 carries more marks. In practice session, use a stop-watch!
  4. Ensure that they use the numbers, statistics or data appropriately and accurately for Task 1.
  5. With Writing Task 1 make sure that they provide any supporting evidence that is necessary to support their argument/answer.
  6. Paragraphing is very, very important with the writing tasks so ensure that they paragraph their work very carefully. Paragraphing is the key to a good answer.
  7. Ensure that they start each paragraph with a clearly stated topic sentence. They should not deviate from this topic in that paragraph.
  8. Provide plenty of practice in writing in the formal style of academic writing or report writing. Formal writing characteristics include the following:
    • No use of contractions
    • No colloquial language
    • Avoidance of multi-word verbs and the use of single-word verbs (make out/perceive; get hold of/ acquire; speed up/accelerate; add up/ calculate).
    • The use of hedged language (the figures suggest; the data indicate {note that data is plural}; the numbers point to).
    • Objectivity, and the avoidance of I or you.
    • No expressions such as etc, and so on.
  9. Make sure that the students are careful about the length of their answers and write the appropriate number of words for each question.
  10. Make it very clear that the students will lose marks for spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes so they must leave time to check their answers.
  11. They will gain marks by displaying a range of language so appropriate language must be practised in class. Try to ensure that they use a range of vocabulary, a range of phrases and a range of structures in their answers. They should not repeat favourite phrases several times in the hope of gaining marks.
  12. Provide practise in writing as clearly as possible. The test is relatively short so they must try to express their ideas succinctly. They should be discouraged from writing long complex sentences unnecessarily as this may make understanding their answers more difficult. Equally, they should not only write short simple sentences.
  13. Remind them that they must not use headings, sub-headings or numbering in their answers.


Learning resources, notes and exercises for international students and teachers of English