IELTS: IELTS Academic Writing Test Format and Description

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The writing sections of the IELTS general and academic training tests are often marked at the same level. The IELTS General Training part uses excerpts on broad topics from books, magazines, notices, company handbooks, and guidelines that you are likely to encounter on a regular basis in an English-speaking environment, in contrast to the IELTS Academic Writing test, which includes topics appropriate for the undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Here we shall only be discussing the format and description of the IELTS academic writing test which is up to some extent similar to the general test as well. So, you can have deeper insights into the different sections of the test that you will be attempting one day. Let’s get on with it.

Academic Writing Test Format

IELTS academic writing test
Format

Test takers beginning undergraduate and graduate courses or pursuing professional registration will find the topics of general interest and appropriate. Two tasks are involved:

  • Task 1 asks you to describe, summarize, or explain the data in a graph, table, chart, or diagram using your own words. You can be asked to explain some data, the stages in a process, how something works, or to describe an object or an event.
  • You will be required to respond in writing to a point of view, argument, or problem in Task 2. Both activities need responses to be given in a formal manner.

Description of Academic Writing Test

FeaturesDescription
FormatThere are TWO writing assignments, and BOTH of them must be finished.
Time60 mins
Number of Questions2 questions in total
Task TypesTest takers are required to explain a graph, table, chart, or diagram in their own words for Task 1 of the exam. They have around 20 minutes to compose 150 words. They reply to an issue, argument, or point of view in Task 2. They have roughly 40 minutes to compose 250 words.
AnsweringAll answers must be written completely and on the answer sheet. Answers cannot include notes or bullet points. Although notes can be made on the test paper, the examiner is not permitted to view them outside of the testing site.
Description of academic writing test

Details of Academic Writing Test

Task 1

Task format and type: Test takers may be asked to describe information found in one or more graphs, charts, or tables on a relevant topic in Writing Task 1, or they may be given a schematic of a mechanism, equipment, or procedure and asked to explain how it operates. The most significant and relevant aspects in the diagram should be included in their writing, which should be written in an academic or semi-formal/neutral tone. There can be a few small details or points missed.

This task shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes from test participants. They must write at least 150 words, and if they do not, they will receive a failing grade. Although there is no penalty for writing more than 150 words in Task 1, test-takers should keep in mind that they may run out of time for Task 2, which counts for twice as much of the Writing band score.

Additionally, test-takers should be aware that if their answer is irrelevant or not written as a whole, connected paragraph, they will receive a failing grade (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the answer, or note form, etc.). They will suffer harsh consequences for plagiarizing.

Answers must be entered in the answer booklet by test-takers.

Focus of the task: This activity evaluates a student’s ability to analyze a graph, chart, table, or diagram for the most significant and pertinent information and trends and to provide an accurate, well-organized summary of that information in an academic manner.

No. of questions: 1 question total

Task 2

Task format and type: Writing Task 2’s task type and format is an academic or semi-formal/neutral topic for test-takers to write on. Responses ought to be argumentative analyses of the pertinent problems. The job should be thoroughly reviewed by test-takers, and they should offer a complete and relevant answer. They should concentrate on this feature in their answer, for instance, if the subject is a specific aspect of computers. They shouldn’t just write in generalities about computers.

Participants should limit their time to 40 minutes for this exercise. They must write at least 250 words, and if they do not, they will receive a failing grade. While there will be no penalties for writing more than 250 words, if test-takers write a lengthy response, they could run out of time to proofread and edit it at the end, and some of their thoughts might not be clearly related to the topic.

Task 1 and Task 2 both count for half as much toward the overall Writing band score. As a result, test-takers who choose not to attempt to complete this exercise will significantly lower their chances of receiving a high band.

If a test taker’s response is irrelevant or not written as a whole, connected paragraph, they will receive a failing grade (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). If they plagiarize, they will suffer serious consequences (i.e. copying from another source). Last but not least, test-takers should be careful not to copy directly from the question paper because this will not be graded.

They must fill out the answer booklet with their answers.

The focus of the task: This task evaluates a student’s ability to provide an argument that is concise, pertinent, and well-organized while providing examples or supporting data to back up claims.

No. of questions: 1 question total

How is the IELTS Academic Writing Section Marked?

Each task is evaluated separately. The assessment of Task 2 is given more weight in the marking procedure than that of Task 1.

IELTS examiners with certification evaluate responses. All IELTS examiners are approved by the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia, have the necessary teaching credentials and are hired by the test centers.

There are complete and half bands for reporting scores. Written performance at each of the nine IELTS bands has been described in great detail by performance descriptors. These are given on the page explaining how the IELTS is scored. They are based on the following criteria and are applicable to both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training editions.

TasksMarking Assessment
Task 1Task achievement
Coherence and cohesion
Lexical resource
Grammatical range and accuracy.
Task 2Task response
Coherence and cohesion
Lexical resource
Grammatical range and accuracy.
Marking assessment

Descriptors of performance

Task 1

Task completion: This evaluates how well the response, which must be at least 150 words long, satisfies the task’s requirements in terms of appropriateness, accuracy, and relevance. Educational writing task 1 is a writing task that has a clear input and a fairly predictable outcome. It is essentially an information-transfer job limited to the factual information in an input diagram and has nothing to do with hypothetical interpretations beyond the provided facts.

Cohesion and coherence: This relates to the response’s general clarity and fluency: how it arranges and connects facts, concepts, and language. The term “coherence” describes how concepts are connected through logical ordering. In order to help make the conceptual and referential ties between and within sentences evident, cohesion refers to the diverse and appropriate use of cohesive devices (such as logical connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions).

A lexical tool: This speaks to the vocabulary’s breadth, correctness, and suitability for the given purpose.

Grammar range and precision: This is a reference to the variety and correctness of grammar used in sentence construction.

Task 2

Task response:  In Task 2, test takers must articulate and develop a stance in regard to a given prompt in the form of a question or statement. This requirement applies to both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training editions. Facts should back up ideas, and examples might come from test-taker’s personal experiences. The length requirement for responses is 250 words or more. Scripts that fall short of the specified word count will be penalized.

Cohesion and coherence: This evaluates how well the response organizes and connects language, ideas, and information, as well as its general clarity and fluency. The term “coherence” describes how concepts are connected through logical ordering. In order to help make the conceptual and referential ties between and within sentences evident, cohesion refers to the diverse and appropriate use of cohesive devices (such as logical connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions).

A lexical tool: This criterion focuses on the language employed, its precision, and how well it fits the job at hand.

Grammar range and precision: This evaluates the test takers’ sentence-level writing to determine the variety and accuracy of their use of grammar.

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