IELTS General Training Writing: In-Depth Analysis of Question Types

The Writing module of the IELTS test consists of two tasks.

Task 1- Letter Writing (150 words)

Task 2- Essay (250 words)

Test format: There are two Writing tasks to be completed.

Time Allocated: 60 minutes

Task 1: Letter

General Writing, task 1 requires candidates to write a letter in response to a given situation or problem. In the task-1, candidates are presented with a scenario and are asked to write a letter in response to the situation. The letter can be formal, semi-formal or informal, depending on the given situation. The test assesses the candidate’s ability to convey information, express opinions, make suggestions and provide solutions.

The letter should be at least 150 words and should be written within 20 minutes. It is important to read the instructions carefully and follow the given format and style. The letter should be organized into paragraphs, with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

In the IELTS General Writing Task 1, the candidate’s writing ability is assessed based on four criteria: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. It is crucial to note that Task 2 carries twice the weightage of Task 1, and therefore, candidates should limit their time spent on Task 1 to 20 minutes. This means that while attempting Task 1, it is important to prioritize efficiently and not exceed the allotted time, as Task 2 holds more significance in the overall evaluation.

Task focus: In the IELTS General Training Writing Task, a test taker’s ability to follow the conventions of letter writing is assessed, which includes using appropriate language, following a logical sequence of information, and providing suitable introductions and conclusions. This task also evaluates the test taker’s proficiency in presenting information in a clear, well-organized, and connected manner.

To excel in this task, it is crucial for test takers to possess a solid understanding of the conventions of the English language and be able to skillfully apply these rules. They must also have the capability to present information in a coherent and well-structured manner, while maintaining the flow and consistency of the text. By exhibiting competence in these aspects, test takers can effectively accomplish the Writing Task of the IELTS General Training.

Task 2: Essay

The test taker is presented with a point of view, argument, or problem, and is expected to write an essay in response. The essay can have a personal style of writing but should be well-structured and demonstrate the ability to analyze, evaluate and present ideas effectively The IELTS Writing Task 2 is a discursive essay that requires test takers to write a minimum of 250 words in a semi-formal or neutral style. The task presents a topic or issue that is of general interest, along with specific instructions on how to approach and discuss it. This may involve incorporating general information, outlining and/or presenting a solution, justifying an opinion, evaluating evidence and ideas, and more.

Task focus: The Writing Task in the IELTS evaluates the test taker’s capacity to adhere to the conventions of English discursive writing. This includes understanding the appropriate sequence of information, style, and structure for starting and ending discursive writing, as well as paragraphing. Furthermore, this task assesses the test taker’s proficiency in presenting information in a logical and connected manner, while using language accurately and appropriately.

IELTS General Training Writing - How it is evaluated?

Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Task 1 responses are assessed on:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Task 2 responses are assessed on:

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Performance descriptors

Task 1
  • Task achievement
  • This aims to evaluate how effectively, precisely, and suitably the response meets the stipulated task requirements, while utilizing a minimum of 150 words. In the General Training Writing Task 1, the task typically provides the context and objective of the letter, along with the necessary functions that the test taker should incorporate to accomplish the objective.
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • This evaluate how clear and smooth the message is conveyed, including how the test taker arranges and connects information, ideas, and language. Coherence refers to how ideas are linked through logical order, while cohesion refers to using various cohesive tools (such as logical connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions) appropriately to help express the relationships between and within sentences. This evaluation is a part of the assessment for the IELTS writing module.
  • Lexical resource
  • This pertains to the variety of vocabulary utilized by the test takers and how precisely and appropriately they use it in relation to the given task.
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • This involve evaluating the accuracy and range of grammar displayed in the construction of sentences by the test takers, particularly in the IELTS writing module.

Task 2

Task response Both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions require test takers to write an essay in Task 2, where they need to formulate and expand their opinion in response to the given question or statement. The essay should be supported by evidence and relevant examples, which can be taken from the test taker’s personal experience. The response must be at least 250 words in length, and any scripts that fall below the minimum word limit will be penalized.

**The other three evaluation criteria, which are Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy, are the same for both Task 1 and Task 2.