The 3 Dos and Don’ts of IELTS Academic Writing

Writing, especially during exams, can be daunting.

Despite considering myself a proficient writer, tackling the IELTS format, especially the academic variant, posed a unique challenge. Unlike the general test, academic questions require a deeper understanding and command over technical aspects like various graph and table analysis. While I didn’t have ample preparation time—less than a week before the main exam—I managed to secure a 7.5 score.

Today, I’ll share the invaluable do’s and don’ts I learned on the fly, which not only helped me maintain composure but also write proficiently under pressure. Keep reading to get even more detailed tips below.

✨ The 3 Dos ✨

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice: It may sound cliché, but it’s true. Regularly flexing your writing muscles through practice essays is key to honing your skills and boosting your confidence. Go to for practice tests.
  2. Know Your Essay Types: Familiarise yourself with the different essay types—whether it’s opinion, argument, or problem-solution—and understand the nuances of each. Practice structuring your responses effectively to meet the requirements of each task.
  3. Mind Your Mechanics: Pay close attention to grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary usage. Clear and concise writing is essential for conveying your ideas effectively, so make sure your language is on point.

The 3 Don’ts

  1. Don’t skip the Planning Stage: Resist the temptation to dive headfirst into writing without a solid plan in place. Take a few minutes to outline your ideas before you begin. A well-organized essay is bound to impress the examiners.
  2. Avoid Memorization: While it may be tempting to memorize essays or pre-written content, don’t fall into this trap. Examiners are trained to sniff out memorised responses, and it could seriously dent your score.
  3. Don’t cross the Word Limit: Whatever you do, don’t exceed the word limit. Stick to the recommended word count for each task to showcase your ability to express ideas concisely and effectively.

Now that you’ve grasped the fundamental aspects to bear in mind during the exam, let’s delve deeper into the intricacies of the exam structure.

IELTS Academic Writing TIPS

The IELTS Academic Writing examination consists of two sections: Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. The prompts in the Academic Writing test differ from those in the General Training Writing test.

In Academic Writing Task 1, candidates are presented with visual data such as graphs, tables, charts, or diagrams. They are tasked with summarizing, describing, or explaining the information depicted. It is essential to structure the response into three key components: an introduction, an overview, and detailed analysis supported by data from the visual.

In Academic Writing Task 2, participants encounter topics ranging from environmental issues to immigration, culture, and technology. They may be required to express agreement or disagreement with a viewpoint, discuss contrasting perspectives, evaluate advantages or disadvantages, or propose solutions to problems. Responses for Academic Writing Task 2 must be presented in essay format.

Read the Question

Understanding the question’s requirements is vital for achieving a high score. Hence, always thoroughly read the question and address all its components. For instance:

The government should pay to the parents of very young children, so that one of them can stay at home and look after their children.

What do you think are the pros and cons of this policy? Justify your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

This task entails two objectives:

  • Analyze pros and cons
  • Provide examples Failing to fulfill either requirement can lead to a lower score!

Review your writing

Before proceeding to the next paragraph, revisit the preceding one. While you may perceive this as time-consuming, it fosters coherence between paragraphs, facilitating smoother transitions.

Be concise

Opt for your strongest idea and elaborate on it. Avoid overloading your essay with excessive information. Focus on clarity over complexity.

Draw from your knowledge

Your English proficiency is under scrutiny, not the originality of your ideas. Thus, prioritize clear articulation and justification of a simple concept.

Adhere to the prescribed format

For optimal scores, adhere to standard structures. In IELTS Writing task 1, follow these guidelines:

  • Introduction: Succinctly outline the graph’s content.
  • Overview: Highlight primary trends.
  • Specifics: Detail specific changes, supported by data.

IELTS Writing task 2 answer should have such backbone:

  • Introduction: rephrase the topic + give your opinion.
  • Body paragraphs: each should have its central idea, which is generally stated in the first sentence.
  • Conclusion: just rephrase your opinion from the introduction.

Limit word count

Avoid exceeding 300 words for task 2 and 200 for task 1. Lengthy essays strain examiner evaluation and increase error likelihood.

Adopt appropriate tone

Reserve informal language for general module task 1. In academic writing, maintain a formal tone.

Avoid memorisation

Refrain from memorizing model responses, as deviation from the prompt results in reduced scores. Instead, focus on incorporating advanced vocabulary relevant to your answer.

Stay on topic

Maintain thematic coherence and omit irrelevant details. Straying from the subject matter leads to score deductions, regardless of writing quality.

Ensure clarity and cohesion

Avoid redundancy and ensure each paragraph in task 2 presents a central idea. Clear paragraph division enhances essay organization and coherence.

Most often than not, you’ll have enough time to prep before the main exam, so please utilise it to practice a lot. That is, at the end of the day, the most useful advice anyone can ever give you.

I hope my tips on each sections have been helpful. Let me know if there are any specific questions you have! Best of luck!! ☘️ Stay tuned by clicking the follow button below and following my Instagram (@mistghost1398) for more insightful content tailored for those on a tight schedule. Your support means the world to me! 💖

Follow The Interlude on


You may also like...

1 Response

  1. March 22, 2024

    […] How to Score 9 in IELTS Reading: My Comprehensive GuideThe 3 Dos and Don’ts of IELTS Academic Writing […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *