How to Improve IELTS Writing

writing in notebook with laptop

When it comes to how to improve IELTS Writing, many candidates face the same troubles!

Here is a direct quote about the IELTS Writing tasks from a former student who had just taken the exam:

‘My advice is to concentrate more on the preparation to the writing part. It was really difficult to write 2 well-structured essays during 1 hour.’

Now, I know you might be thinking:

“Yes, Jason, we know it’s difficult.  Even native speakers have trouble reducing their mistakes during writing tasks with time constraints like those set during the IELTS exam. So how can I improve my writing on my own before the exam?”

Here it is:

The top IELTS Writing tip to reduce your mistakes that you can start practicing right now is…

Create a Personal Mistakes Profile!

1. First, write your response.cellphone notebook pencil glasses laptop

Write it in pen/pencil and paper to a sample writing task. Here are some prompts for the Academic IELTS and others for the General Exam.

  • Try to stick to the exact time constraints suggested on the prompts (20 minutes for task 1 or 40 min for task 2), but don’t worry too much about time yet. While it’s best to mimic the test environment, the important thing is that you don’t give yourself a ton of extra time to plan, revise and correct this first draft.
  • Type the response into a Word document without making any changes using Spellcheck at first. Just write it exactly the way you normally would when the mistakes are made. Now that the response is on your computer, it’s time for step 2!

2. Now, look at your response.

Using a proofreading service like Grammarly or Spellcheck, track your mistakes and note them in a list.

3. Next, ask a native speaker of English for corrections.

Make sure it is someone whose skills you trust to correct your response,  like one of our affiliate instructors with over 18 years of correcting IELTS writing for students just like you.

  • This part is important because it helps catch the mistakes that can slip through the automatic corrector cracks.  We want to check for misuse of idioms, lack of verb tense agreement, preposition use, proper linking phrases, etc.
  • If you’re ready to take your preparation seriously with expert feedback you can learn about memberships.

The strategy I’m sharing is a great way to make use of your tutor’s feedback!

4. Create a list of your most common mistakes.highlighter pen blue

These will be the mistakes that you’ve identified with the autocorrect service and the IELTS instructor.

  • Pro tip: for extra speed, match the mistakes to an abbreviated correction code that you’ll remember easily (e.g. verb tense agreement=VTA)

5. Start playing games of Spot the Mistake

Use your list to spot your most common mistakes quicker in your future writing practice. Revisit past practice responses and continue improving the skill in your free time with more practice prompts.

  • Gradually reduce the time given to make the corrections to the hour you’ll have during the exam for both tasks.

6. Track your progress.

Refine the skill by submitting another writing piece to a native speaker or expert instructor after a few weeks of practicing.

  • You will internalize this process, and your self-correction skills will improve!
  • You’ll be able to spot your most common mistakes independently with greater speed and consistency!  It’s like having a highly advanced Autocorrect Angel who knows your writing better than anyone else’s sitting on your shoulder during the exam!

Final Word On How to Improve IELTS Writing

This IELTS Writing tip will help you quickly complete the final step in the IELTS Writing process: Checking your work! (You are giving yourself 5 minutes after each task to check your work for these common mistakes, right?)

I hope this helps you as you prepare for the IELTS exam and in all your future writing projects!

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2 thoughts on “How to Improve IELTS Writing

  • I am really bad at writing in English. My grammar is poor. I am glad that there are people out there like you to make these guides. Not only for people who will take IELTS test. I will read more on this website.

    • That’s great Jonilla! Thanks for commenting, and be sure to check back weekly for new posts about the different sections. If you ever have any questions about writing, speaking, listening or reading, just shoot me an email via the contact form! Happy studying!

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