The Writing Task-2 of the IELTS Writing Test involves writing an essay of 250 words or more. Today we are going to learn about some common mistakes students make in this task and how we can overcome these to score a good band.

1. Not Meeting The Minimum Word Limit

Though the instruction regarding word limit is clearly written in the essay question, it is sometimes ignored by the students. The result is that they do not even write the minimum number of words. The Test mentions a minimum requirement of 250 words and you need to strictly ensure that this is met, otherwise, it would lead to a reduced band score.

A good way to ensure this is to practice writing essays and counting the words. This would give you a fair idea of the number of words that you write in a line and help you meet the word requirement in your Test.

2. Writing Longer Essay

While you must write at least 250 words, your essay should not be excessively long. Although you are not penalized for writing long essays, you may lose marks for two reasons. The first being that the more you write, the more grammatical mistakes you are likely to make.

Hence, writing your essay concisely may get you a better score! The other reason is that you may not be able to complete the essay on time or even if you complete it, you may not get the time to review it.

3. Not Addressing The “Task Response” Criterion

“Task Response” is an important criterion for the evaluation of your essay. It essentially refers to whether or not you have answered the given question. Not addressing the question correctly and completely can lead to a loss of band in Writing Task-2.  Some examples of this error are:

  • Not stating your opinion when asked,
  • Not discussing both views when asked or when only one view has been discussed or one view has been discussed more than the other.
  • Giving your opinion when it is not asked for e.g when you are asked to discuss the advantages & disadvantages.

4. Not Explaining Ideas

One of the myths associated with writing an essay is that essay writing requires you to write a number of ideas and that the more you write, the more scoring it is.

In the case of IELTS, this is wrong !

You should rather focus on explaining and supporting the idea/s that you have mentioned in your essay.

For example:

If you are writing a paragraph on reasons, mention one point as reason and then supporting that reason with example/s.

P.S: Here is another article, where we explain how to write an essay in IELTS which can get you a 7+ Band.

5. Copying The Essay Question In The Introduction

Some students copy the question the way it is in the essay’s introduction. The introduction is the part where you need to paraphrase the question, but if you copy the complete statements from the question, the examiner will not count those words and hence, you will get penalized for writing less number of words.

Therefore, understand the essay question first and then try to rewrite it in your own words.

6. Missing Out On Writing Supporting Examples

Writing example is an important element of your essay and hence, it should not be ignored at all. The 2-3 ideas that you write in the body of the essay should be supported by examples.

Also, it should be noted that although he examples can be from your experience or knowledge, they should be written in a formal tone.

For example:

Rather than writing “Yesterday, I found a person committing a crime who got caught by the policeman”, we can write “The one who commits crime gets punished by the police”.

7. Missing out on the “Conclusion”

It is quite common for students to give more emphasis on the ideas & examples in the body paragraphs and not providing a logical conclusion to the essay.

A conclusion is an important part of the essay and counted as a part of the “Task Response” criterion. Thus, an appropriate conclusion is as important as the body paragraph and you should dedicate a paragraph in the end for this in your essay.

8. Over-using Connectives

Many students tend to over-use connectives in their essays since they know that “Coherence and Cohesion” are important marking criteria. But actually, over-using connectives can lead to a reduced band score.

Example Explaining Overuse of connectives

Following is an example of overuse of connectives (highlighted below),

To begin with, technology is changing day by day and thus, bringing positive changes in the life of mankind. Moreover, it has revolutionized the way humans used to work earlier.

Alternate Answer Without Use of Connectives:

The same lines can be re-written as follows where use of different connectives can be decreased.

Technology is changing day by day, bringing positive changes in the life of mankind and revolutionizing the way humans work.

9. Incorrect Tone of Writing

The IELTS exams writing tasks need to be written in a formal or academic tone and style. An informal tone or usage of slangs, abbreviations, colloquial words, etc. can lead to a reduction in band.

For example,

Informal tone:

Guess what? I’m moving to M & M’s finance department next month. Yippee!

Formal tone:

I am writing to inform you that I have taken up a job in M&M’s finance department.

10. Incorrect Spelling and Punctuation

Spelling & punctuation are important in the Writing Task in IELTS. As a part of the criterion for “Vocabulary”, you will be marked on your spellings. On the other hand, punctuation is a part of the “Grammar” criterion and any mistakes in these will lead to a loss in the score.

Regular writing practice, keeping the above guidelines in mind can help you improve your writing skills and improve your score in the IELTS Writing Test.

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