Should I Indent my Paragraphs in IELTS Writing?
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For IELTS writing task 1 and task 2, students often wonder whether they need to indent the first sentence of a paragraph or not.
Well, in IELTS Computer-based examination, earlier, it was common to leave space at the start of each paragraph to make it clear to the examiner which sentences are part of a new paragraph and which are not.
In the IELTS Writing exam, you can leave one line empty between each paragraph instead of indenting. So, when writing your IELTS task 1 and task 2 answers, start your sentences at the beginning of the line and skip one line when you start a new paragraph. Examiners will have an easier time seeing the paragraphs if you leave one empty line in them.
Do you need to indent and leave a line between paragraphs in the IELTS exam?
No, indenting is not necessary for a pen and paper IELTS exam; simply leave one line blank and begin on the next. There is nothing wrong with indent, but since you only have 60 minutes to finish all Writing tasks 1 and 2, most students don’t care about making neat indents while trying to write as fast as possible.
Paragraphs are very important. Look at the band descriptors (available on the IELTS website, it states what examiners require you at each band). You’ll see that the Cohesion and Coherence state criteria that “may compose in paragraphs”, and if you don’t break the paragraphs, it would automatically drop you to BAND 2 with that criterion, even if you write correct grammar, vocabulary and so on. Leaving a line is the only way an examiner can identify whether you’ve begun a new paragraph. Indenting can be confusing at times, particularly if you have written till the end of the line, and instead of leaving a line for the paragraph, you only left a small indent.
Do you need to leave a line for each paragraph in the IELTS Letter Writing task?
Yes, leave one line blank and begin from the next. The aim is to make your paragraphs as readable as possible for the examiner, and leaving one empty line helps a lot.
Following things could happen if you don’t leave one line empty in between each paragraph:
- If you have not shown any experience of paragraphing, you will be given a Band 5 or lower for Coherence and Cohesion.
- If you don’t make it very clear when one paragraph finishes and the next begins, the examiner would have no way of knowing, and you will be given a low score for coherence.
Tips that can help you on your actual test day
- First and foremost, leaving an empty line will enable you to accommodate some lines that you might have unintentionally missed in the previous paragraph. Moreover, If you run out of paper, don’t worry; you can always request more.
- Second, using a pencil and eraser is even more convenient. If you’re out of time and using a pen then you can draw a line around the information you want to get rid of, but you can easily erase it if you use a pencil.
- Always remember to leave a line space between each paragraph. It helps to make your answers easier to read and understand.
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