Category Archives: IELTS Writing General Training (all)

‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’

‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’

Two linking phrases that are often confused are ‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’. Compare examples A and B.

'In contrast' and 'On the other hand'A. Tourism often has a positive impact on less wealthy countries. On the other hand, this can damage local culture.

B. New Zealand has a good reputation for environmental safety. In contrast, many countries in Europe have high levels of pollution.

If you are contrasting ideas about the same general subject, use ‘On the other hand’. In Example A above, the focus is on balancing on the impact of tourism in less wealthy countries.

If you are contrasting the subjects and the idea (the object), use ‘In contrast’. In Example B above, the first sentence refers to New Zealand’s reputation and the second second sentence compares this to Europe and higher rates of pollution.

This is a simple guide to using these two linking phrases correctly. You may find exceptions to this rule, but if in doubt it is a useful rule to follow.

Now test your skills!

Select the correct linking phrase to complete the sentences. When you have finished, click ‘Finish quiz’. After you have submitted the quiz, click ‘View questions’ to see which answers were correct.

Linking words

Sometimes it is difficult to identify whether longer paragraphs actually share the same subject. Complete the paragraphs below with either ‘On the other hand’ or ‘In contrast’.

Education is good not only for the individual, but also for society. A society without scientists, researchers and intellectuals has little ability to further itself in a number of fields, specifically medicine, literature and technology. (a) ______, the cost to the taxpayer has to be considered, as most countries offer either free or heavily subsidised schemes for further education.

Education should be made available to all. State-funded education systems offer a solid level of schooling with dedicated and qualified teachers. (b)______, private schools are advantageous only to those that can afford to pay to go to them, and this runs the risk of encouraging teachers only interested in the better wages and conditions offered in such establishments.

Show the answers The first paragraph needs ‘on the other hand’ because the same general subject is being discussed (education). However, in the second paragraph, ‘In contrast’ should be used as the subject in the first part is state funded education and the subject in the second part is private education.
Previous comments:

    Um. What do reading exercises do here? Also, there must be smth mixed up in there exercises. For instance, there is the text about exploring New Zeland and no even a word about nannies or a children healthcare company which is asked in the exercise.

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

With only 40 minutes to read the question, get ideas, plan your essay, write the essay and then proofread your work, you need to be quick getting ideas.

Here are some useful methods of getting ideas:

Brainstorming

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

This simply means thinking about anything that is connected to the topic. It doesn’t matter whether or not the idea seems good at the time; the aim is to get your brain thinking about the topic and writing notes on the question paper. When you have finished brainstorming, you will find that some of your ideas don’t relate to the topic so need to be rejected, but at least you have a place to start.

If your Task II title was ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘ you might think of the following ideas:

  • underage crime
  • bad parenting
  • crime rates in developed countries
  • young / busy parents
  • society
  • the child’s friends
  • TV and video games

Then when you look again through the list, you need to reject the ideas that are not directly relevant to the questions. In the example above, you would reject the idea about ‘crime rates in developed countries’, as this does not directly relate to parents or children. Then look again and see which ideas would be difficult to support or argue in 250 words / 40 minutes, and would probably reject ‘society’ as it is a very wide area.

Who’s involved?

Another method of getting ideas is to think about who is affected by the topic raised in the question. If you are thinking about ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘, then the people involved would be:

  • parents
  • children
  • the police
  • the victims of crime
  • other criminals

Then you need to think about how each of the affected groups of people may react. Victims of crime, for instance, might want to see the parents punished as the child is arguably too young for prison. The police might also want parents to be responsible for the same reason.


Applying the questions words

A third useful method of getting ideas is to use the question words – who, what, where, when, how etc. In the example we have used so far (Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘), you could think about the following questions:

  • How could parents be punished?
  • What actions should the parents take responsibility for?
  • When is a child old enough to take responsibility themselves?

Here’s another example of applying question words:

TITLE: Everyone should be made to learn English. Do you agree or disagree?

You could consider aspects such as:

  • why should everyone have to learn?
  • what would happen to non-English people’s native language?
  • where would people study?
  • how would this be controlled/regulated?
  • who should pay for it?
  • when would many people find a use for English?

 


Always keep in mind that the ideas you support or argue against do not have to reflect your true opinion – if you find it easier to argue something that you don’t actually agree with, then do it!

General Writing #1

About IELTS writing

About IELTS writing

It is very important to note that there are significant differences between the Academic Module and the General Training IELTS writing test.

Parts of the test

writingThere are two parts to the IELTS writing test – Task I and Task II. Task I should take approximately 20 minutes and requires you to write at least 150 words, and Task II should take about 40 minutes and you need to write at least 250 words. Note, however, that time management within the IELTS test is your responsibility – you have a total of one hour to write at least 400 words in total, so you can decide how much time to spend on each Task.

Academic and General Training IELTS writing

Task II for the Academic Module and the General Training Module focus on the same skills. However, Task I is significantly different. In the General Training Module, you are required to write 150 words or more in a letter format – this could be a formal, semi formal or informal, depending on the context, and you may be writing to complain, apologise, request or give thanks. In the Academic Module, you are required to write 150 words or more as a report on a graphic – this could be a chart, graph, table, diagram or process.

What is the IELTS writing test assessing?

The IELTS writing test is assessing your ability to write clearly and coherently, using a range of grammar and vocabulary and addressing the task you are given. Your writing is marked by a trained examiner who will evaluate your work based on a set of criteria given by the IELTS organisation.

In Task I, the examiner is marking you on the following:

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

In Task II, the examiner is marking you on the following:

  • Task Response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

For specifics of what you need to achieve in each band, there are publicly available descriptions. Links to the PDF documents keep changing, so here is a Google search result that will show you their current location!

Topics you can expect in Task II

There are a wide range of possible topics that you may be asked to write about in Task II, but generally it related to one of the following:

  • education
  • health
  • society
  • transport
  • the environment
  • culture
  • technology
Previous comments:

    i need to improve the writing and reading skills

    Dear Ieltsforfree, the following links are not working: Task I public descriptors Task II public descriptors Thanks for repairing.

    How can one end an informal letter, a semi-formal and a formal letter? I dont know if I used the right words but wat I meant is…. E.g. Sincerely, or Yours Sincerely, or Yours faithfuly, etc. I think those are the Formal ways. How about an Informal way?

    Ieltsforfree says:

    Hi Emmanuel, The ending of informal letters often depends on the topic of the letter. For example, if you were writing to a friend who is coming to visit you soon, you could say this: Anyway, looking forward to seeing you! John or if the letter was about thanking a friend for something they did for you, you could say Well, thanks again for your help, John Hope that helps! The team at http://www.IELTSforFREE.com

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 001

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 1

All of the model answers on this site are guaranteed band 9

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In many countries, people do not recycle their rubbish as much as they could.

Why do you think this is? What can be done to change this?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 1With an increasing world population and subsequent environmental concerns, it is important to dispose of trash in an eco-friendly manner, yet there are a significant number of places around the world that fail to do so.

There are a number of reasons that mean that recycling is not done as effectively as it could, the primary problem being the attitude of the general public. Lethargy or lack of knowledge leads people to throw all of their rubbish into one place, meaning that material that could have been sorted and reused is buried in landfills. In the UK, for example, over 20 million tonnes of waste is buried whilst less than 1 per cent of that amount is actively recycled. There is also the matter of availability, as there are situations in which recycling facilities are either extremely limited or nonexistent.

In order to combat these issues, the first step would be educating the general public about the facts of waste disposal and recycling, perhaps even enforcing participation by levying a fine against those who do not separate their rubbish into different types. Hand in hand with this, making recycling centres more available would also help, or perhaps adopting a system used in some Asian countries where households are given a number of different containers into which to sort their rubbish for collection.

Overall, it seems that a change of attitude is needed as well as more resources to manage different recyclable materials. This can be achieved through a combination of education and penalties, as well as ensuring better access to facilities.

(261 words)

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 005

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 5

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:

In schools, most courses finish with a final exam to assess a students ability. However, some people do not do well in exams. Therefore academic success should not be measured by exam performance but by an overall grade based on the whole period of study.
Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 5Formal testing has often relied on an end of year assessment of a candidate’s knowledge, but in many respects this is perhaps unfair, as will now be explained.

The principle argument against using exams is that some students, although competent, simply do not respond well to formal testing. Exam nerves are common, and in extreme cases can cause a form of mental paralysis in which the student is unable perform at all. In an average class of 20 or so students, there is statistically at least one or two students who do not manage the pressure of exams well, and fail to produce results that are a reflection of their true abilities.
Another strong argument is that some areas of study do not lend themselves to traditional exams. A clear example of this can be seen in certain trade based courses, where a long written examination is not an accurate method of assessment, and a more practical approach would be preferred. Carpentry, for example, would be best assessed by what the trainee has made over the course of study, not what they can write about in a two or three hour exam at the end of the year.

Granted, there are some fields of study that are perhaps best tested in the traditional style. For example, science or medicine based courses require a level of academic knowledge that can be evaluated through a formal assessment.

In conclusion, although certain subjects may be assessed in the traditional manner, it would perhaps be more balanced to assess a student’s ability based on work they have completed over the whole period of study rather than a single written exam.

(276 words)

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 046

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 46

All of the model answers on this site are guaranteed band 9

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Nowadays we are producing more and more rubbish.

Why do you think this is happening? What can the government do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 46There is no doubt that modern society creates more refuse per person than previously. This essay will first consider some of the influences that have caused this, then suggest some ways that the authorities can promote a reduction in this increase.

The main cause for the increased amount of waste produced is largely the result of excess packaging that is common in society today. A simple fast food meal has bags, wrappers and containers that are in use for just a few minutes before being discarded. There is also a rising trend towards disposable items which are designed to have a short life before being consigned to the dustbin. Common examples include razors, bottles and plastic bags.

Another major cause for the rise in refuse can also be linked to technology. Computers, tablet devices, mobile phones and more are considered old and obsolete, often within only a few years of use. These devices are often not recycled but are simply abandoned to lie in landfills.

It is perhaps with this second point that the government can be the most proactive. By encouraging recycling, either by better programmes of education or more available facilities, more of the material that would otherwise be dumped could be recycled and put back into use. There is also the possibility for local councils to charge more for refuse collection services, thus making adding a financial incentive for people to recycle more assiduously. Admittedly, this could lead to more illegal dumping as people attempt to avoid paying additional costs.

In summary, there are varied reasons as to why the amount of waste produced is increasing, but there are also avenues the government could consider in order to reduce this.

 

(283 words)

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1 and page 2.

In the final page in this lesson, we will look at what might be the MOST important point regarding Task 2 writing – the 4 different types of Task 2, and the style you should use depending on which type it is.

Video 3 of 3

Narration:
Now let’s look at some examples of the four different types of Task II essays you may have to write about. The most common type of Task II requires you to give an opinion or challenge a point of view. Here is an example. The same question type could also be presented like this. You could also be given a question like this. The basic point of these questions is that you are presented with a situation or a statement that you have to give opinions about. The second type for Task II essay is when you are asked to compare points of view. Here is an example. Notice how the instructions tell us to discuss both the advantages and the disadvantages, then give an opinion. In this example, we are told to argue both opinions and give your view.

The way in which we approach essays that ask us to compare is slightly different to the type that asks us to give an opinion or challenge a point of view, as will be discussed later in the course. The final two types of Task II essay are the least common: we may be asked to give solutions to a problem or discuss a given situation; for instance, talking about benefits, causes or reasons. Here is an example of solutions essay. Here are examples of essays which require you to discuss a given situation. Knowing which type of essay you are writing about is important because it affects the way you plan and present your ideas. We will look at this in more detail later in the course, but on the next page you will see a list of common task words for the different essay types. You can often identify which type of Task II you are writing about from the task words themselves.


Here are some common task words that you might see for each Task 2 type:

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view

Do you agree or disagree?
Do you think…?
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Is this positive or negative?
What is your opinion?

Compare points of view

Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Consider both sides and give your view.
Argue both views and give your opinion.
Discuss the two points and give your opinion.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
Discuss the two situations and give your view.

Give solutions to a problem

What measures should be taken…?
What can be done about this?
What is the solution to this?
In your opinion what are the solutions?
How can the situation be improved?

Discuss a given situation

What problems does this cause?
What are the advantages of….?
In your opinion what are the problems associated with this?
What are the disadvantages of….?
What benefits does this bring?
What factors contribute to…?

Now practice!

Look at the Task 2 title below and select the question type you think it is.

A lot of people do business internationally. Therefore we should abolish passports to make it easier to travel. Do you agree or disagree?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

There is a rising rate of obesity among children in developed countries. What can be done about this?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give solutions to a problem.

The internet now allows fast access to a huge range of information. Do you think that libraries are still important?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

Some people believe that the government should support the arts. Others believe that the money would be better spent on basic services such as healthcare. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is compare points of view.

The rate of childhood obesity is rising in many developed countries. Why do you think this is?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is discuss a given situation.

We hope this lesson has helped – if it has, please share our page using the buttons below – thanks!

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, you answered some questions about Task 2. On this page, we will look at the marking criteria – that is, what the examiner is looking for when assessing your Task 2 essay.

Video 2 of 3

Narration:
The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task response (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you ( written at least 250 words but not more than about 270? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have presented a clear point of view, and also that you have supported your opinions.

The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together. You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure.

For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title.

The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now look at the points below and decide which of the 4 writing criteria each one relates to.

If you repeat words, especially from the question, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Lexical resource

You need to show the examiner that you can express yourself using a range of sentence structures and will gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Grammatical range and accuracy

If you write less that 250 words, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Task response.

You need to express your arguments and ideas clearly to gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Cohesion and coherence.

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

POINT OF VIEW: (noun phrase) An opinion . Example: ‘It can sometimes be difficult to understand other peoples’ points of view.’

CHALLENGE: (verb) To argue against an opinion. Example: ‘In IELTS writing, you may need to challenge an opinion by giving a different point of view’.

(noun) A difficult situation. Example: ‘Studying in a second language can be a challenge for many students’.

PROVIDE: (verb) To give or offer. Example: ‘IELTS students need to provide evidence and examples to support their opinions.’

COHESION: (noun) Joining ideas together. Example: ‘A good essay will be easy to understand because of its cohesion’

COHERENCE: (noun) Able to be understood. Example: ‘An essay needs to show coherence; that is, a logical flow of ideas’.

INSTRUCTIONS: (noun) What you have to do. For example: His instructions were to deliver the package to Mr Jones.

DEMONSTRATE: (verb) To show. Example: ‘It is important to demonstrate a range of accurate grammar in your IELTS essay’.

STRUCTURE: (noun) The way in which parts are arranged or put together. Example: ‘A good essay should have a clear structure’.

(verb) To arrange something into clear parts or order. Example: ‘It is important to structure your answer clearly in the IELTS test’.

LEXICAL: (adjective) Talking about vocabulary (words). For example: ‘He has a good lexical ability – he knows a lot of words’


How much do you know already?

Before watching the video below, see what you know about writing a Task 2 essay.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should write the title of the essay at the top of your answer sheet.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. There is no need to write the question again. It does not count towards your 250 words and you do not have time to waste.

You do not have time to plan your essay.


Click here for the answer.

This is false. With practice, you will have time to plan before you write. If you start writing without a clear plan you can find that your essay is not logically and clearly presented.

You should write your plan on the question sheet, not the answer sheet.


Click here for the answer.

This is true. The examiner will not mark your plan (although it helps you to write a better essay). It also does not count towards the 250 words. By writing it on the question paper you do not have to keep it tidy and your essay is presented more clearly for your examiner to read.

You can request extra paper to write on if you need to.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. In the examination room, if you find you need extra paper to write on then simply raise your hand.

There are two choices for each Task 2 essay.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. You are only given one Task 2 and one Task 2. You have no choice and have to write on whatever topic you are given.

Articles (a/an/the) do not count towards the word limit.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. All words written in your essay are included in the word count, unless they are copied directly from the question title.

Video 1 of 3

Narration:

There are two sections to the IELTS writing test – Task 1 and Task 2. Each comes with a different set of instructions, telling you how you should complete the Task. IN Task 2 you are given four different instructions as well as the essay title.

The first instruction is that You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. The writing test takes one hour in total – 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. This is because Task 2 is more heavily weighted – meaning that Task 2 is worth more to your final result than Task 1.

The second instruction is that you should Write about the following topic. After this, of course, comes your essay title.

The third instruction is that you should Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples or evidence from your own knowledge and experience. This means that you whatever comments or opinions you put in your essays, they must be supported with examples.

The final instruction is You should write a least 250 words. This is very important as writing fewer than 250 words is a certain way to lose points.


Now you’ve watched the video, answer the questions below.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should spend about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. The IELTS writing test takes one hour for Task 1 and Task 2. You should spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Task 2 is worth more points than Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. Task 2 is two thirds of your final result; Task 1 is only one third.

In Task 2, you are giving information. You will not be expected to give and support opinions.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Task 1 essays ask you to transfer information. Task 2 essays ask for opinion, as well as evidence & examples to support your points.

You should write up to 250 words.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. It’s a little bit of a trick question – the statement says ‘up to 250 words’, whereas the correct statement should read ‘at least 250 words’.

You have to start the writing test by completing Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Because Task 2 is worth more points, it’s actually better to start with this task and then finish with Task 1. If you run out of time, you lose fewer points!

Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2

Task 1 the basics (General Training) Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, we have looked at the aims of Task 1, what you need to do and why you should avoid writing too few or too many words. On this page, we will look at what the examiner is looking for in your Task 1 answer.

Video 3/3

Narration:

The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task achievement (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you written at least 150 words but not more than about 170? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have given an accurate description of the graph. Transferring information incorrectly will lose marks. The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together.

You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure. For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title. The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now check your understanding by answering the following questions.

Which of these four marking criteria would the aspects below be related to?

Task achievement
Coherence and cohesion
Grammatical range and accuracy
Lexical resource

Linking your ideas

Show answer

How you link your ideas will be assessed under ‘Coherence and cohesion’.

Avoiding using words from the question

Show answer

Avoiding using words from the question will improve your result for ‘lexical resource’.

Using a variety of different grammar structures

Show answer

That one was easy! Using a variety of different grammar structures will improve your result for ‘Grammatical range and accuracy’.

Writing at least 150 words

Show answer

Writing at least 150 words is essential for getting a good result under ‘Task Achievement’.