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English Essay Writing Tips For Ielts Exams

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Description

IELTS Writing Test

Exam English ✓ About the IELTS Writing test

The writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates.

Academic Writing

2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes

  1. In Task 1. candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
  2. In Task 2. candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem
    Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style
General Writing

2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes

  1. In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  2. In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay

Read these articles explaining how to answer the writing questions.

Other articles

Recent exam questions 1

Hello Simon, I have exam on the 9th Jan in London and I need average 7.5 with minimum 7 in each. I am following all your instruction and hope to do best. I am wondering do you suggest any specific Ielts exam centre in London where I can better marks. This is my 5th attempt and each time I got 6.5 in writing. I really need to overcome this time. Thank you.

Hi Simon, I have an exam on 9th of Jan in Sydney and I need overall 5.0 and am struggling with writing and speaking. Could you please send me some recent exam questions? I really need it for my migration process. Please help me out :)

Please share your number on ieltsgujarat@gmail.com to join IELTS FOREVER group.

hi friends.I appeared in ielts general on jan 9th in india new delhi and my speaking topic was-describe a conversation you had with someone and was useful.READING-was tricky and listening answers-johne smyth,flight,cheapest,110,bone,dark,sticks,distinctiveness,oil,wax,

hi, i had my ielts on 9 jan
my answers for listening are
SECTION 1
flights
johne smyth
april
110
cheapest
camel
desert
stars
cultural center
SECTION 2
cereal- cheapest one
bouncing ball- develop math abilities
tie dye- longer time
steam machine - too difficult
there was a diagram to label
SECTION 3
univ allowed- soil use
food market - workshop
govt allowed- use of green house
there was choose the correct ans.
one of the ans was old people were given free containers for gardening
SECTION 4
evolution
bone
feather
ink
strings.
hard
name
powder
oil
wax

flights
johne smyth
april
110
I wrote lower I know it was the cheapest but I missed some part here so I wrote like this
camel
desert
stars
culture center
SECTION 2
cereal- cheapest one
bouncing ball- develop math abilities
tie dye- longer time
steam machine - too difficult
there was a diagram to label

SECTION 3
univ allowed- soil use
food market - workshop
govt allowed- use of green house
there was choose the correct ans.
one of the ans was old people were given free containers for gardening
SECTION 4
Revolution
bone
feather
ink

hard
name
powder
oil

IELTS exam writing Tips

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IELTS exam writing Tips

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IELTS Essay

IELTS Essay

IELTS essay - Do young people today make good use of their leisure time?

Do young people today make good use of their leisure time? Or do they spend too much time watching television and playing video games instead of taking part in more productive activities?

IELTS Sample essay (IELTS Writing Task 2)

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

Anytime is TV time. When youngsters return from school they rush to the computer or TV screen. They are fascinated by the change to transform themselves into the bravest hero or saviour of the world. Aren’t they supposed to learn new skills and obtain more sophisticated knowledge?

The modern generation is fond of action and intensity and that’s something video games are associated with – stiff and monotonous tasks are set aside. One of the benefits of acting as a fictional superhero is that you may apply your creativity and quick decision making. No matter whether you have to find the correct combination or defend your team – the issue is urgent and any delays may lead to a fatal result. However, this cannot be achieved through passive staring at the “devil box”. Despite the fact that one can only observe and no interaction takes place, watching TV may sometimes be rewarding. An ongoing episode about ancient battles in Rome, exploration of wildlife in the tropical region or the latest technological gadgets can immensely widen the youngsters’ horizons.

On the other hand, if the teenagers are left to knock themselves out, this can result to a disaster. They will grow up depraved of normal communication and unwilling to face the real world. There are some cases when at this fragile age young people become nervous wrecks. This may be overcome by a sport activity and occasional visits to the countryside.

To sum up, the majority of the people are convinced that watching TV and playing video games is a waste of time. They would rather force the new generation to learn French or memorise algebra theorems. Nevertheless, encouraging a youngster to assess what is excessive and what within norms is crucial. Otherwise, everybody deserves the right for entertainment and relaxation.

Note. “More productive activities” should be mentioned. Make sure you deal with all parts of the task.

Essay - Will computers take over the world v2

Nowadays, in the century of advancing communications and technology our life is influenced by the most recent and breathtaking invention – the computer. Its putting into practice is in almost every sphere of life and, in my view, there will come years when it will replace man. They spread out like mushrooms.

In the first place, the machine is very good at its functions. It does tasks faster, finds solutions to problems and saves time. One of the most important advantages of computers is that they never get tired and are efficient all day long.

Moreover, computers are an inevitable part of the modern world but they depend completely on man. They are man’s creatures and receive his commands. The most essential difference between the machine and a human being is intelligence. Computers’ development is in the hands of their creator.

It is a general truth that Internet is a good opportunity to make reliable communication with people from all over the world and dip into the depths of useful information. However, it is also a threat. The artificial, electronic world it presents alienates people from reality.

Computers are really important for big companies and in big factories they run most of the machines and control production. As a result, the unemployment rate is getting higher and higher. I think that gradually computers will replace people in many of their duties.

Furthermore, computers are a passion for a lot of children. Their childhood is burdened by the computer games that deprive them of playing outside.


To sum up, computers can’t really think about what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. But the programmer can unconsciously give them an opportunity to replace human beings and penetrate into human’s life of emotions. - See more at: http://examwriting.blogspot.com/2014/09/essay-will-computers-take-over-world.html#sthash.9dBJ1qZZ.dpuf

10 band score 8

10 practical tips for writing better exam essays

The key words in the title are practical and exam. Last week I ran a “competition” to write an essay on aid and poverty. The essays I received were spectacularly good and I do suggest you check them out in the comments section. My one worry though was were they really practical essays in an exam. My essay, which you will find below, is I think much simpler than almost all the essays I received – and perhaps a more practical model for exams.

I should add that these are mostly band score 8.0 writing tips and are written especially for candidates who are aiming high. The moral is:

the road to band score 8.0 often means doing the simple things well

1. Read – write – read – write – read – write – read – write – read – write – read

What does this mean? It means that you should go back and read the paragraph you have just written before you start the next one. You may think that this is a waste of time. If so, you’d be wrong.

  1. It’s important to link your paragraphs together – what more practical way to do that than just read what you have written?
  2. It helps you with words for the next paragraph – it is good to repeat some words as this improves your coherence. Look at my sample essay to see how I repeat/reflect language. In one paragraph I talk about the short term, this makes it easy to move onto the long term in the next paragraph.
  3. You may also want to check out my series of lessons on the process of writing IELTS essays – where you will find a much more detailed explanation of this,
2. Don’t be smart, be clear – select your best idea

One of my very first posts/articles on this site was headed “IELTS is not a test of intelligence ”. While the post itself now looks a little old, the advice is still good. You are being tested on the quality of your English, not on the quality of your ideas.

This advice is particularly important for candidates who come from an academic background where they are used to being graded on quality and quantity of ideas. IELTS is different: it is quite possible to write a band 9.0 essay and not include some key ideas, let alone all the ideas.

The practical advice here is to select your best idea and write about that. That means not writing everything you know – leave some ideas out. Don’t worry if it is not your best explanation, worry about whether it is your clearest explanation.

3. Write about what you know – relax about ideas

This is a similar idea. IELTS is an international exam (that’s the “I” in IELTS) and the questions are written to be answered by anyone around the world. Some people stress about finding ideas. They shouldn’t. The ideas you need are generally simple (eg”I disagree”, “This is not a good idea”).

The practical solution is to think about what YOU know and what YOUR experience is. If you look at the question, this is what it tells you to do. If you come from Bonn, write about Bonn; if you come from Ulan Bator, write about Ulan Bator!

4. Examples are easier to write than explanations

In an exam you are under pressure. You want to make things as easy for yourself as possible. One practical idea to achieve this is to focus as much on examples as explanations when you write. Why?

It’s simply harder if you only think “because”. Some of the ideas may be very complex and, under pressure, it can be difficult to explain these with reasons. What may happen is that your sentences become too long and the ideas confused.

The practical bit is to concentrate as much on examples. This is a good idea as examples tend to be easier to write as you are simply describing situations. You should also note that the instructions tell you to use examples! All you need to do is make sure that your examples are relevant to the main idea.

5. Don’t write too much – the examiner is paid by the minute

There is no upper word limit I know of, but it really isn’t a good idea to write 350 words or more. Here’s why:

  1. Examiners will only spend so much time looking at any essay. Write too much and they will read what you wrote “less carefully”. It is easier to read/grade a 300 word essay than a 400 word essay!
  2. The more you write, the more likely you are to make language mistakes.
  3. The more you write, the more likely you are to go off topic. The examiner won’t read/grade anything that doesn’t directly relate to the question.
  4. If you write less, you give yourself more time to choose the best words – and that’s what you are being graded on.
  5. If you write less, you give yourself more time to go back and check what you have written.
6. Writer – know yourself

One of the most famous philosophical thoughts is “know yourself”. How does this apply to exam writing? Did Plato really have IELTS in mind when he wrote his dialogues? Well, no, but…

The idea is that you should check for your mistakes when you write. The practical part here is that you shouldn’t check for mistakes generally – that’s too hard and probably a waste of time in the exam. What isn’t a waste of time though is to look for mistakes you know you can correct – the ones you normally make!

The really practical thing is to have your own checklist in your head before you start writing.

7. See the whole essay in your head before you start writing

It’s very important that your essay is a whole – that all the bits fit together. If you don’t do that, you may lose significant marks for both coherence and task response.

This means planning of course. Planning bothers some people and bores others. There are different ways to do this, but at the very least have a map of your essay in your head .

8. Focus on the backbone of your essay

This is a related point. All the essay matters of course, but perhaps some bits matter more than others. I’d suggest the practical thing to do is concentrate on the backbone of your essay, the bits that help you write better and the examiner to understand better. The backbone is:

  1. The introduction. this should identify the question and outline your position. Don’t rush it as it is the first thing the examiner will read. First impressions count.
  2. The first/topic sentences of each paragraph. these should be clear and to the point. They should identify exactly what that paragraph is about and show how it relates to the rest of the essay. The practical tip is to keep the detail/clever ideas for the body of the paragraph. Start off general and then build towards the specific.
  3. The conclusion. this is the easiest part of the essay normally. Most often, all you need to do is go back to the introduction and rephrase it

Get these bits right and the rest of the essay tends to take care of itself.

9. Don’t just practice whole essays

The best way to learn to write essays is to write essays? True or false? My answer is a bit of both.

Yes, you do need to practise writing complete essays, but it may be a mistake to do only that. The different part of essays require slightly different skills. To write an introduction, you need to be able to paraphrase the question. To write a body paragraph, you need to be able to explain ideas. To write a conclusion, you need to be able summarise.

The practical suggestion is to practise writing introductions, body paragraphs and conclusions separately. Focus on skills.

10. Focus on the question and refocus on the question

I have left this one to last as it is for me the most important idea. Essays go wrong for different reasons. Some of these you may not be able to avoid: the quality of your English may not be good enough yet. The one mistake you can always avoid is that you didn’t answer the question. Too many essays go wrong because candidates didn’t read and think about the question properly.

The practical suggestion: before you write each paragraph, refer back to the question to remind yourself about what you are meant to write about.

It is very easy to get carried away in exams. You may start off on topic, then you have a “good idea” as you write. So you write about that. Sadly, that “good idea” may not fully relate to the question. Big problem.

My sample essay on poverty and aid

This essay which you can download below is intended to be an example of the ideas in this post.

  • It is fairly simple in structure.
  • It focuses clearly on the question
  • I left many of my best ideas out. I concentrated on what I could explain clearly.
  • It comes in at only just over 300 words.
Download the essay

This is where I catalogue all my writing materials. If you are looking for more specific advice, this is the place to start.

The ideas here are similar and you will find more general guidance on dos and don’ts in IELTS essays.

How to like it, share it and save it

Thank you for this informative and useful website. Superb!

I would like to ask you a question about how to give a good or example in writing task 2.

1. What makes a good hypothetical or generalization example.

2. Can we make up data for the example as in the report writing? For example, give specific organization name, data, percentage, etc. in order to make the example persuasive

Thanks in advance

1. hard question to answer without an example. But let me try. Let us imaging you’re writing about “happiness”. You could use a conditional such as

Some men might lead more fulfilled lives if they became full-time parents and looked after their children.

2. Yes you can. Don’t get silly about it though. Make sure the data is plausible and relates to the point you are trying to make,

Essay Writing Tips Ielts

As promised, today we are sharing Kathrine’s tips for writing a high scoring IELTS essay. Following these simple principles increased her Band score from 7 to 8.5.

IELTS Essay provides help with IELTS essay writing and strategies for Task 1 and Task 2 of the IELTS writing test.

If you have no idea what an IELTS essay looks like or need to improve your writing skills - you're in the right place. I add new essays almost every day -

10 top IELTS writing tips to improve your band score and to ensure you answer the question

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In both the Academic and General IELTS Writing sections, you need to write an essay of at least 250 words. This means that your essay will be about 4-5 paragraphs long.

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Hi Simon, Thank you for ur tips and advice, they are really helpful for study. By the way I just wonder about spelling mistakes in writing IELTS test.

hi simon, its a wonderful essay !can u please advice how can i improve my writing skills on everyday basis? before taking the exam,approximately how many essays.

Below is an example of a band score 9 IELTS writing task 2 model essay. The task is a direct questions essay which is quite common in IELTS. Read it carefully and pay.

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Useful IELTS Websites

Here is an annotated list of all the useful links I’ve found for helping students prepare for IELTS. I thought it would be a useful resource for anybody teaching IELTS (as this is what I would really have liked to find when I started! ) and I will soon be adapting it and posting it as a resource specifically aimed at students on the Independent English blog (I promised my current class! ). There were/are too many for all to be included in a ‘Top 10’ list but they are worth a look nevertheless; whether by you or your students! Let me know if you think there are any links that I should add or if any of the links are broken. I intend to keep adding links to this list, as I come across them.

IELTS! image taken from en.wikipedia.org via google search for images licensed for commercial reuse with modification

General

This website is very useful, containing sections on writing, reading, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, with advice and opportunities for practice, as well as a section that brings together all the material available for download e.g. sample tests, sample answers for the writing etc. It also boasts a useful collection of student writing, for Writing Part 1 and Part 2, together with feedback on this.

The British Council Learn English IELTS page bills itself thus:

‘In our IELTS section you can find practice materials and advice to help you prepare for the listening, speaking, reading and writing modules of the IELTS test.

You can watch learners from different parts of the world give views and opinions about IELTS. There is a series of videos focusing on the speaking module of the test, as well as online practice activities and mock test papers for the other three modules.’

A good starting point for students, the official IELTS website contains all the information students/test takers need to know about how to register, how to find a test centre etc. It also contains a test sample for each of the 4 components and a complex set of FAQ’s .

Regularly updated with quiz questions relating to the various components of the IELTS exam, typical grammar and vocabulary, this Facebook page is linked with IELTS.org.

A collection of freely accessible practice materials for all four test components, put together by IELTS Exam-Net.

Lots of material for IELTS preparation here, focusing on each of the components as well as on relevant grammar and vocabulary for both General and Academic IELTS (the latter based on the Academic Word list) and providing lots of opportunities for learning how to approach the exam, practising and, in terms of the writing, seeing what other people have produced.

This website contains daily IELTS lessons from ‘Simon’, an ex-IELTS examiner. For example, the latest lesson is ‘IELTS Writing Task 1: using words from the chart’. There are categories for each of the components, and with the writing divided up into Academic Part 1, Academic Part 2 and General. There is also a section for general advice and for relevant grammar and vocabulary.

Reading

From IELTS Buddy, another clear overview of this component of the exam, detailing the different question types and requirements, with some useful tips.

From British Council Learn English IELTS page, this is a reading text and some questions, together with an answer key for checking afterwards.

This is a comprehensive page from DC IELTS which includes links to tutorials focusing on each of the reading question types, tutorials focusing on increasing your reading speed, tutorials focusing on the necessary reading sub-skills, a band calculator and some exam tips.

Listening

IELTS Buddy gives a clear overview of the listening component of the IELTS exam, as well as a selection of practice tests.

Students can do listening test practice on this part of the British Council Learn English IELTS page.

From the DC IELTS website, this page gives a clear overview of the listening component of the IELTS exam, together with links to 10 lessons that focus on various sub-skills that students need to be confident with in order to do well in this component. It also boasts a Band Calculator that students can use to translate their listening scores into IELTS bands.

Independent English is a site that was set up by DoS and teacher trainer Sandy Millin, with whom I have just entered into collaboration regarding this site. Its goal is to help learners learn independently by publishing posts that both offer a range of ideas and guide students through carrying them out. I haven’t posted any content yet (watch this space! ) but Sandy has published this post on IELTS friendly podcasts, which brings together links to a range of podcasts on IELTS style topics e.g. science and global problems, and offers suggestions for using these effectively.

Speaking

Students can look at the assessment criteria for the speaking component of the exam here.

A series of videos put together by the British Council, giving advice on how to approach the speaking component of the IELTS exam.

A comprehensive overview of the speaking component, this DC IELTS page contains a map of the speaking exam, tips for success, training videos, practice questions, focus on the exam format, on how to use preparation time, speaking component tutorials e.g. on pausing language, and ideas for practice, amongst others.

Writing

This post from the IH London Blog helps students prepare for the IELTS writing component, by focusing on how to structure a Part 1 and a Part 2 piece of writing.

Writing Part 1

‘IELTS Buddy’ provides sample Writing Part 1’s for all the possible task types and analyses the process of producing an answer to a Writing Part 1 task.

Again from ‘IELTS Buddy’, students can look at other students’ work together with feedback on it.

This is a link to the criteria used for marking Part 1 of the writing component of the IELTS exam.

A blog post from TEFL Reflections, of a podcast focusing on the Task Achievement category of the assessment criteria for Part 1. NB: This blog has other useful posts relating to the IELTS exam including focus on writing and on speaking.

This article on Exam English explains how to approach an IELTS part 1 with two sources of data within a single task, e.g. a graph and a table.

Writing Part 2

This blog post on the IH London blog focuses on how to improve your writing score by planning more effectively. NB: This blog contains other useful IELTS-related articles in its exams category.

In this section of IELTS Buddy, students can look at example part 2 essays written by other students, together with feedback.

And here is the criteria used for marking Part 2 of the writing component of the IELTS exam.

From Exam English, this is a detailed explanation of what examiners are looking for in the introduction and conclusion of a Writing Part 2 essay.

Another article from Exam English, this time explaining how Part 2 questions work and how to make sure you have answered them fully.

From DC IELTS, this page contains a wealth of material to help students with IELTS essay writing. It looks at the different types of essay, structuring an essay, the process of writing an essay, some sample essays, vocabulary for essay writing, a focus on each portion of the essay (introduction etc.), and guidance on how to review your essay effectively once you’ve written it.

Vocabulary and Grammar

This is a link to all the lessons on the IELTS Simon site that focus on IELTS grammar and vocabulary-related topics, for example ‘IELTS Grammar: natural answers ‘ and ‘IELTS Vocabulary: Band 7-9 words ‘.

Quizlet

Quizlet is a useful website that allows you to review and memorise vocabulary, while having fun at the same time. Registration is free and can be done by setting up a new account or by using a Facebook or Google account. Students can access sets of flashcards that other test takers have made, or create their own. Quizlet can be used on both smartphone and tablet devices (Apple and Android) as well as your computer.

Here are some sets relating to IELTS that students can use:

Quizlet sets relating to IELTS speaking component.

Quizlet sets relating to IELTS writing component.

Quizlet sets relating to IELTS reading component.

Quizlet sets relating to IELTS listening component.

Here are some materials I wrote, which take you through the process of using Quizlet .

Memrise

Memrise is another site dedicated to learning while having fun. Registration is free and can be done by setting up a new account or using a Facebook account. Memrise can be used on both smartphone and tablet devices (Apple and Android) as well as your computer.

Here is a selection of the courses that have people have made to prepare for IELTS:

A selection of courses relating to IELTS. Memrise courses relating to IELTS

Other vocabulary resources

Exam English have made a timed quiz relating to words from the academic word list.

Also from Exam English, here students can find the academic wordlist and related tests.

From the DC IELTS website, this is a comprehensive set of activities linked with the Academic Word List, including activities that allow students to see the words used in the context of IELTS writing answers. Includes daily activities and review activities as well.

Wordandphrase.info is a tool for corpus analysis and the academic version enables one to search an academic corpus for words or phrases and generate concordances of examples showing how they are used, as well as definitions, synonyms, collocates and frequency information. Here are some materials I made, which guide you through the process of using www.wordandphrase.info . These materials focus on the general part of the site (www.wordandphrase.info) rather than the academic but the principal is the same. (Creating materials specifically focusing on the academic portion is on my list of things to do!)

Grammar-related links

Exam English have put together a twenty question grammar quiz for IELTS test takers.

This link, from the IELTS-exam.net website, offers offers “concise yet comprehensive coverage of the grammar necessary in order to be successful in the IELTS test.”

Exam strategies, techniques and tips

Put together by the British Council, students from all over the world give their opinions and tips for the IELTS test.

From IELTS Buddy, this is a collection of lessons relating to each of the four components of the exam, containing lots of tips for how to approach these most effectively.

This is a set of exam tips from the Exam English website.

The top five fears of IELTS test takers and how to overcome them.

Knowing the exam well is a key strategy, and this is a quiz from the DC IELTS page for students to find out where they are with this.

10 Tips to help students succeed in the speaking component, from DC IELTS.

If you are inclined towards the world of tablet and smartphone, as many are these days, here are a couple of apps that might be worth looking at:

This app was developed by Sam McCarter, writer of the Macmillan Ready for IELTS coursebook. It works on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. For free, you get access to a wide range of interactive activities to practice essential IELTS exam skills, and for £3.99 or five dollars, you get that plus ‘take the test with an interactive video examiner’, detailed hints and tips on all the different parts of the exam and an interactive ‘can do’ statement section with which you can score yourself. If the course book is anything to go by, then I would imagine that this app will be worth the small outlay. But even what’s available for free is already a jolly good start and surely worth downloading!

This is a free app developed by the British Council, which enables students to work on building up their IELTS-relevant vocabulary, through doing lots of quizzes and fun activities. There are different topics, typical to IELTS, such as ‘The Environment ‘ and ‘Work and Business ‘.

In the Classroom

Lesson plans and materials for helping students to prepare for each of the components, including some plans that require minimal materials/preparation.

More material ready to deploy in the classroom, together with advice on how to use it effectively.

For more resources that are useful for teachers (but also including books that are suitable for self-study), you might like to look at my recentTop 10 Resources’ list !

Again, If you know any other useful sites, please comment on this post so I can add the links to this collection!

IELTS Essay Writing Tips - Репетитор английского языка - авторский сайт

IELTS Essay Writing Tips

Writing essays can be fun. It is a creative process that engages your thinking and allows you to express your opinion on various subjects. Strong writing skills are especially necessary for potential students because many professors will request essays as home assignment. Strong writing skills will definitely stand in good stead if people write articles for websites or blogs.

How could a person develop writing skills for IELTS exam? First of all, consider taking an online preparation course IELTS-online. It is a great opportunity to train your writing in a systemic way and to develop the strategies you need to achieve the best possible score in the IELTS.

In addition, here are some tips for your self-study.

1. Read various articles every day

Attentive reading will not only help you to get ideas about the topics you don't know much, it will enrich your vocabulary and writing style. For instance, if you read BBC. the Economist and Forbes articles on distant education, you will learn many controversial facts about this phenomenon. In addition, you can pay attention to some interesting grammar structures, collocations and connections between the ideas.

2. Learn less common vocabulary as collocations

Reading will be more beneficial for you if you take notes. The best way to enhance your vocabulary quickly is to copy phrases or even grammar structures in a special file and learn them later. There is at least one way to check if a word is a less frequent one: if you use Macmillan online dictionary, you can check the colour of the word. If it is black, there is some chance that IELTS examiner will consider it less common. If it is red, it belongs to 7500 most frequent English words. The dictionary is only a guiding line, IELTS assessors most probably use another system which is not disclosed to public.

3. Plan

A good plan is 50% of your successful essay. At first you can spend 10 or even 20 minutes planning your ideas. Later you will gradually decrease the time of planning to three minutes and stick to them during the real exam. The best way to plan is to draft the main idea of each body paragraph and use 2-3 phrases (NOT sentences, just ideas) to present your arguments and examples.

You plan should also take into consideration all parts of the task. If the assignment is to give your opinion, then it is one part only. If the assignment is to discuss two points of view and give your opinion, then there are three parts.

4. Use a reliable structure

Any essay needs an excellent introduction (better specific than general), a balanced body and a summarising conclusion. The body can comprise 2 or 3 paragraphs, so the whole essay will have 4 or 5 paragraphs.

Each body paragraph requires a strong topic sentence. It should be simple and precise, giving the main idea of the paragraph. All other sentences should develop that idea; that way you will easily adopt "one paragraph-one idea" approach.

An opinion essay, a discussion essay and a cause-and-effect essays will have slightly different body structure, but all essay types need introductions and conclusions.

5. Choose ideas carefully

Before planning each paragraph, make sure to read and reread the assignment. This way you can avoid the common mistake: when people shift away from the task and write about something else. Try to find valid arguments asking yourself the question "Why" and use vivid examples to illustrate your ideas.

6. Use correct connectors

Just as your paragraphs are connected by logical structure, your sentences need to be connected by special devices. Look through the file with Essay cohesive devices to learn any linkers that you don't know. You can also read essay samples and see how the authors used connectives. When students first learn about connectors, they are tempted to overuse them. So, just check that you neither underuse, nor overuse the linkers.

7. Practice referencing

One excellent strategy to kill two birds with one stone - to avoid both the overuse of connectors and vocabulary repetition - is to use referencing devices. Those include words like "it, do, they, the former, the latter, which, this, that, these, those ". A tricky thing about connectors is not to use them in ambiguous situations. While checking students' essays, sometimes I can encounter wrong referencing such as: "Parents should communicate more with their children. They need love and attention. " Here it is not clear who needs love and attention, parents or children. One way to avoid such mistakes would be to use "who ", then we would have: "Parents should communicate more with their children, who need love and attention. "

8. Check your grammar

A good IELTS essay will have a variety of grammar structures: different types of complex sentences (with who, that, when, while, although ), conditional mood, inversion, participial constructions, etc. It doesn't mean that you can't use simple sentences, on the contrary, they add more variety to your style. After writing your essay, calculate the number of various structures and think how you could improve the variety.

Punctuation is a common stumbling block. You can lose the whole point or even two points for Grammar criterion if you make several punctuation mistakes. So, the best strategy is to learn punctuation rules in great detail and then use one minute to review punctuation in your essay every time you write.

Another widespread difficulty concerns articles. Again, you can study articles chapters in several grammar books and use one minute to review the articles in your essay.

9. Monitor your time

Most students complain that it takes them too long to write their first essay, sometimes even four hours. It is okay. During your first attempts use as much time as necessary, you will train to write quickly later, when you feel more confident. But, if you can't write an essay in 40 minutes, it may be wise to postpone your IELTS exam till the time when you have practiced enough.

You will need to write on IELTS answer sheets in order to estimate time correctly.

10. Use essay correction service

Even if you have no time or money for regular individual lessons with an experienced IELTS tutor. you can still benefit from IELTS essay correction service. You can get comments about a couple of essays and identify your areas of improvement. Then, several essays later, you can order essay correction again and check your progress.

Finally, students get maximum efficiency if they practice writing, at least, three times per week. Those who practice every day learn even quicker and make it a habit to organise their thoughts in writing.