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How to Get a Band 8.0 in IELTS Writing Task

How to Get a Band 8.0 in IELTS Writing Task 2 – Tips, Strategies and Band 9.0 Sample

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The key to success in your IELTS Writing Task 2 is to practise the right techniques and impress the examiner with your grammar and vocabulary in your writing task 2 essay. 

IELTS Writing guidelines

In the IELTS writing test, there are 2 writing tasks for both the categories of IELTS that is General Training Test and the Academic Test. Writing task 1 in the general training test is letter writing to a family member, friend, manager and so on. Writing task 1 in an academic test is to describe or illustrate a chart, graph, table and so on. Writing task 2 of both the academic or general training test is writing an essay. In this post, you will find everything you need to know to maximize your IELTS Writing Task 2 score, including:

  1. IELTS Writing Tips and Tricks/Golden rules (Page 1)
  2. Common IELTS Writing Task 2 Topics (Page 1)
  3. Analyzing the essay questions and understanding the rubric (Page 2)
  4. How to write the introduction (Page 2)
  5. How to write a supporting paragraph (Page 3)
  6. How to organize a supporting paragraph (Page 3)
  7. How to speed up your writing and make it more flexible (Page 4)
  8. Common mini sequences of functions (Page 4)
  9. How to express your opinion (Page 5)
  10. How to link your sentences (Page 5)
  11. General writing hints (Page 6)
  12. Checking your writing efficiently (Page 6)
  13. Practice and Band 9.0 Sample Answer (Page 7)
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1. IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips and Tricks/Golden Rules

  •  Use the question to help you organize your answer.
  •  Check the general topic of the question, usually, a problem, a point of view or a statement with two opposing views.
  •  Check how many parts there are to the question.
  •  Make a brief plan. Use the focus points in the question.
  • Plan to write about four/five paragraphs. Keep this writing structure in mind:
    http://ieltsmaterial.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ieltsmaterial.com-ielts-writing-task-2-structures.png
  • Introduction: The introduction should tell the examiner what the rest of the essay is about and also answer the question directly. This tells the examiner that you know what you are doing straight away and helps you write your main body paragraphs.
  • Supporting Paragraphs: This is where you give the examiner more detail. You do this by stating your main points and supporting these with explanations and relevant examples.
  • Conclusion: Here you provide a summary of what you have already said in the rest of the body paragraphs.

• Make very brief notes about what you are going to write for each paragraph – one idea for each paragraph is enough.
• Aim to write around 260 words.
• Work out how many lines 250 words are in your handwriting, e.g. if you write about ten words per line, then you will need to produce at least 25 lines.
• Spend no more than five minutes analyzing the question and planning.

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2. Common IELTS Writing Task 2  Topics

The most common IELTS essay topics are:

3. Analyzing the Essay Questions and Understanding the Rubric

  • Prepare for understanding the questions in Task 2 by looking at the various books available.
  • Familiarize yourself with the basic structure of the essay question and the ielts writing rubric.
  • The essay question usually contains a statement that describes a general situation followed by specific points to write about.
  • The general statement can present a problem, e.g. Stress in modern life is increasing. This may then be followed by questions like What do you think are the main causes of this? What possible solutions can you suggest? Your answer should then be organized around the main causes and then the suggested solutions. In each case, you need to give reasons and support with examples.
  • Remember that you also need to give your opinion, when it is asked.
  • The organization of the question gives you the organization of your essay. Do not try to contradict it or to be overly clever.
  • Try to analyze questions by concentrating first on the organizing or words [causes, effects, solutions, etc] that are contained in the question.
  • Make lists of the common words used.
  • If you are asked to give your opinion about a point of view, the common instructions used are: To what extent do you agree [or disagree]? How far do you agree [or disagree]? What is your opinion? Note that these may be combined with questions about causes etc.
  • Note that when you are asked just “To what extent do you agree?” It means that you can disagree!

4. How to Write the Introduction

  • Keep the introduction short.
  • Write no more than two or three sentences – about 30 words.
  • Connect your introduction and title. Write a general statement relating to the topic.
  • Then write a sentence which contains the parts of the questions you are asked about: … factors contributing to... etc.
  •  Where you can, use synonyms to rephrase the question.
  •  Cross out any notes in the plan you made.
  •  Remember that quality is better than quantity. Do not panic if other people are writing more than you.

5. How to Write a Supporting Paragraph

  • Write in stages.
  • To connect the paragraph to the introduction, write a statement with a focus word, e.g. The main cause/factor is … Alternatively, you can just state the cause or begin to explain the situation.
3
  • As a rough guide, write about 75/80 words for each paragraph – about 7/8 lines if you write 10 words per line.
  •  Mark this on the answer sheet and write towards this mark. Repeat this for the subsequent paragraphs.
  •  As you write, use a pencil, but try not to rub out corrections or changes, as this wastes a lot of time. You also stop the thread of your writing. Cross out any changes with one line. Write above if you have space. Only rub out the text you want to change if you don’t have space to write above.

6. How to Organize a Supporting Paragraph

  • Improve your organization and you will make fewer mistakes. You then have more time to concentrate on grammar, vocabulary, and spelling.
  • Have an aim of how much you want to write for each paragraph.
  • For 75/80 words, aim to write about four to seven sentences of varying length.
  • Make sure each paragraph is connected with the previous one, as you are marked according to how you organize each paragraph.
  • You only need to use a limited range of sentence/clause types to write effectively. Here is a list of the most common types of sentences and clauses you can use to guide you as you write:
4
  • These types of sentences/clauses fit together in common combinations. For example, what would you write after a measure sentence? You could write a result or a reasonable sentence.
  • Think about how you can combine two or more within sentences and as separate sentences. Don’t think about grammar or vocabulary. Think about an idea and then the functions you would need to explain and support it.
  •  As you write a paragraph, it will tend to move from general to specific.
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7. How to make your writing more Flexible

  • Start your paragraph with a general statement and then support and explain it.
  • Make sure that you do not write a series of general statements.
  • When you start to write, develop your main idea by asking yourself questions to guide you. Use the list of functions above. For example:

– What is my focus statement?   The main measure is …
– What do I mean by this?      By this I mean…
– What is the result of this?       This will…
– Can I give a specific result?        First of all, it will…
– Can I give a general example?        For example at the moment, …
– Can I give a specific example?       However, … could…

8. Use proper sentence structure

  • Practice combining the functions in different ways.
  • Widen the range of sentence types that you use. For example, think of sentences in pairs. Then think what would come after the second function in the pair and so on. Practice this until it becomes fluid and automatic technique.
  • The more organized you are in your writing, the more fluent and flexible you will be. So make sure you know and can use a wide range of connections and functions.
  • The more organized you are, the fewer mistakes you will make. If you do not have to think about the organization of a question in the exam, you will be able to concentrate on avoiding repetition and expressing your ideas.
  • Mark out the end of each paragraph before you write an essay and aim for that point. It helps you to focus your ideas and stops you from rambling.
  • Revise efficiently. Take a blank sheet and then write down everything you know about a specific aspect of Writing Task 2: what you know about introductions; what common sentence functions you use; what common connecting words and phrases you know – for, but, and, so, etc. This will show you what you know and what you don’t know. It will help you organize your thoughts and increase your confidence and hence your speed.
  • Above all know yourself, your strengths and your limitations and your common mistakes. Then push your limitations and correct your mistakes.

9. Common Mini Sequences of Functions

  1.  As you become more confident you can build these sequences and as you write and learn to combine in whatever way suits you.
  • measure/result/reason; general example; specific example
  • condition (if/unless); result; real example
  • problem; cause; solution; reason; general and specific example
  • opinion; explanation; reason; general example; specific example; my opinion
  1. Try and think about these sequences without writing them down. Try to combine and recombine.
  2. Developing your flexibility helps develop the fluency in connecting text and prevents over-generalizing.
  3. The following checklists are only guidelines and can be adapted in many different ways. You can combine the information in endless different ways.
  4. You can take parts from one checklist and add them to another.
5

10. How to Express your Opinion

  • There are many ways to express your opinion. If you find it difficult, use the frame below to check and guide.
  • Practice writing your own statements of opinion. Then practice supporting them. Use reasons, results, explanation, contrast, effect, condition, etc.
  • Each time you write a sentence, qualify what you have said.
    6

11. How to Link your Sentences

  • Below are common words and phrases you know, but which you often forget to use when linking your writing. Check how they are used.
  • Match the expressions below with the function checklist.
  • While practising for the exam, try to use these expressions.
  • Before you write and before the exam read through the expressions again.
  •  Avoid overusing connecting words, especially too many additional words.
  •  Revision tip: On a blank sheet of paper, write addition, comparison, etc. at the top of the page and then list the words you remember. Check against the list on page 39.

a. Addition

  • Adverbs: moreover, what is more, furthermore, further, in addition. (to that), additionally, likewise, similarly, besides, equally, as well as, also, on top of that
  • Conjunctions: and, which/that/whose, etc. for explanation/adding additional information

b. Comparison

  1. Use conjunctions, like while/whilst/whereas/but
  2. Use linkers: however/in contrast/ by comparison/ meanwhile/, on the other hand,
  3. Focus on one thing:
  • As regards/with regard to/regarding/in the case of/as for (Noun), Subject + Verb…
  • When it comes to……., it/they…….

c. Condition

  • Conjunctions: if, unless, whether, on condition that, provided that supposing, as/so, as long as, otherwise

d. Examples

  • Adverbs: for example, for instance, such as, as, like
  •  Expressions: take … for example, a (very) good example/the best example, in many countries/every year/now/in the past, etc.

e. Reason/Cause

  • Conjunctions: because, as, since, for
  •  -ing (present)… knowing I’d be late,…
  •  -ed (past)… warned about the problem …

f. Concession and Contrast

  • Adverbs: however, nevertheless, though, even so, but, (and) yet
  •  Conjunctions: although, even though, though, while
  •  Prepositions: despite/in spite of (the fact that)

g. Result

  • Adverbs: as a result, as a consequence, consequently, accordingly, therefore, so, on that account, for that reason
  •  Conjunctions: and, so, so that, so + adjective that
  •  Other forms: -ing, which … this will…

h. Manner

  • Conjunctions: as, as if

i. Time

  • Conjunctions: as, as soon as, after, before, since, until when, whenever

j. Purpose

  •  Adverbs: so
  •  Conjunctions: so, so that, too, in order (not) to, in order that, so as (not) to

k. Making Generalizations

  •  Adverbs: Generally speaking, overall, on the whole, in general, by and large

l. Conclusion

  •  Adverbs: hence, thus, therefore, consequently
  •  Explanation: by this I mean, which, this
  •  Practice making your own checklists.

12. General Writing Hints

Writing in English follows some basic principles:

  • The basic pattern of an English sentence is Subject/Verb/Object.
  •  The connecting and reference words generally come at the beginning of the sentences and/or clauses: words like moreover/he/they/such/this/these/another measure is, etc.
  •  English sentences are organized around the principle of old and new information.
  •  The reference words refer to the old information, and the new idea in the sentence is generally at the end. For example, An old man entered a shop. The shop had a wide range of food. The food… Sometimes the structure is reversed for emphasis.
    Compare: Another measure is educating the general public, (old/new information) with: Educating the general public is another measure, (new/old information).
  •  Always check your work as you write. Look backwards as well as forward.
  •  Remember what you bring to the writing when you do the exam. Your mind is not a blank sheet!

13. Checking your Writing Efficiently

  •  Read this section before and after you write and keep it in mind.
  •  Leave yourself 3-5 minutes to check your writing.
  •  Be aware of the mistakes you usually make and look out for these. It can make a difference between a score band!
  •  As it is difficult to check for all mistakes at one time, check for one type of mistake at a time.
  •  Check your spelling first. Scan the text backwards rather than forwards. Alternatively scan at random, jumping from one paragraph to another. You will see mistakes quicker as you are not engaging with meaning, but looking at word pictures. You may not spot all the mistakes, but you will get quite a few.
  •  Scan quickly the beginning of each sentence and the beginning of each paragraph. Check if the linking words, the reference words or synonyms you use are correct.
  •  Check the verbs – tense? singular/plural agreement? the correct form of the verb?
  •  Check that your connecting linking words are correct and that you have not repeated any of them.
  •  If you tend to make other mistakes, like misusing the articles, study them and look for them in particular.
  •  Practice so that you can do these all at the same time while going through the text from the beginning.

14. How to write essay in IELTS?

Practice and Band 9.0 Sample Essay

Some people believe that a crime is a result of social problems and poverty, others think that crime is a result of a bad person’s nature. Discuss both views and give your opinion 

IELTS writing task 2 Band 9.0 Sample Answer

Many people consider that innate characteristics are responsible for the fact that some people choose to turn to a career of crime.  However, I would argue that crime is a consequence of social issues and poverty.

There is a belief that a person’s nature determines whether or not they become a criminal. Firstly, they argue that an individual who is cruel turns to crime more easily than a kind person.  For instance, a child bullying other boys or girls at school may turn into a violent criminal in the future.  Secondly, bad characteristics such as laziness or selfishness could also breed future offenders, who seek to acquire easy money without working for it.  A number of youngsters choose to steal from others, instead of working hard to make an honest living.  These are strong reasons for thinking that those who have an inborn bad nature are more likely to break the law.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that social issues and poverty are the main causes of crime.  There are many problems in society which might lead to an increase in the crime rate.  For example, unemployment pushes people into resorting to crime because they simply cannot find a job.  As a consequence, the number of offenders has climbed in many countries over recent decades.  Another reason is that, more broadly, poverty, in general, leads to a rise in crime.  If people do not have enough money to make ends meet, they will be tempted to pursue illegal activities just to support themselves and their families.

In conclusion, while a number of people think that a person’s nature is the primary cause of crimes, I would argue that they are the results of social issues and poverty.

To read more Band 8.0+ Sample Essays for IELTS Writing Recent Actual Tests, you can check out the post: 30 IELTS Writing Recent Actual Tests in 2016 & Model Essays

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IELTS Writing Tips and Tricks

Things to be remembered before you attend the IELTS test

  • You have to focus more on finding out your weaknesses so that you can overcome that. It should not affect your performance on the test day.
  • You need to go through practice and preparation before attending the IELTS examination. Or you can hire a practitioner who can help you to prepare a study plan.
  • The total exam timing will be 2 hours 45 minutes. Therefore you need to make sure that you can work under the time frame.
  • Check the official website of IELTS where you can get the books, videos for reference.
  • Make a study plan before you start preparing for the exam, based on your strengths and weaknesses.

IELTS Writing Format

The candidates are given 40 minutes to complete the 250 words essay question. The essay has to be divided into 4 sections the first paragraph should be an introduction the middle 2 paragraphs should be the bodies of the essay, and the last paragraph should be the conclusion. The essay writing is included in both Academic as well as general training test.

Tips for IELTS Writing

  • You have to make sure that your handwriting is neat and tidy.
  • Try to attempt writing task 2 first, as it contributes more IELTS score for your writing test.
  • Do not use spoken English for your test while writing.

Tips for IELTS Writing Task 1

  • You have to write 3-4 paragraphs, containing at least 150 words in your essay.
  • In the first paragraph, you can paraphrase the question like the table shows, the graph shows, the chart shows and so on.
  • Avoid using the word ‘Below‘ while describing a chart, graph or table.
  • There should be proper usage of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns and so on as the grammar is also checked.
  • The conclusion is not necessary, but if you want the content to look complete, then you can add a conclusion.
  • Do not forget to use punctuation or check your spellings to make your essay sound more readable.

Tips for IELTS Writing Task 2

  • Write at least 250 words.
  • Plan your supporting points so that you do not miss out on the topic.
  • All the issues in the essay have to be covered.
  • More focus has to be on the issues than on the general topics.
  • You should include the relevant points which support the essay.

IELTS Essay Writing Tips

  • You have to understand the issue in the question, see if it is problem, solution or a discussion. Try to avoid writing an essay on a general topic and write it based on the issues.
  • Try to jot down the ideas that come to your mind while looking at the issue given in the essay.
  • If you practice and prepare for the IELTS exam you can score a high band. There are a lot of web pages where you can find ebooks and video tutorials that can help you improve your vocabulary. It’s important to remember that the IELTS exam is not about testing your knowledge on the subject but about testing your language skills.
  • You can also write the essay based on your opinion, for example, if any issue is given in the essay you can pin down your opinion on solving that issue.
  • As you’ll only have 40 minutes for the essay writing, it’s essential to practice managing your time before appearing for the IELTS writing test. Make sure to not take more than 5 minutes to prepare for the essay and try to complete the essay 2-3 minutes before the given time, so that you have time for proofreading.

Written By

Syed Monif is a professional content marketer and IELTS Trainer by day, and a bookworm by night, and sometimes during the day too! He currently works on creating extremely user-friendly and engaging content for the online portal IELTSmaterial.com. His work involves creating and editing content while making sure they're super interesting and easy to read! And also as a master procrastinator, right now he's probably googling something so arbitrary like 'How rich is Scrooge McDuck?' without realizing that his lunch break is almost over.

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