How to speed up your IELTS writing – Time Management IELTS Writing

How to speed up your IELTS writing – Time Management IELTS Writing

How to speed up your IELTS writing - Time Management IELTS Writing

How to speed up your IELTS writing – Time Management IELTS Writing

• Start your paragraph with a general statement and then support and explain it.

• Make sure that you do not write a series of general statements.

• When you start to write, develop your main idea by asking yourself questions to guide you. Use the list of functions above. For example:

– What is my focus statement?

The main measure is …

– What do I mean by this?

By this I mean…

– What is the result of this?

This will …

– Can I give a specific result?

First of all, it will …

– Can I give a general example?

For example at the moment, …

– Can I give a specific example?

However, … could …

How you combine them is up to you, as long as they make sense.

• Practise combining the functions in different ways.

• Widen the range of sentence types that you use. For example, think of sentences in pairs. Then think what would come after the second function in the pair and so on. Practise this until it becomes a fluid and automatic technique.

• The more organized you are in your writing, the more fluent and flexible you will be. So make sure you know and can use a wide range of connections and functions.

• The more organized you are, the fewer mistakes you will make. If you do not have to think about the organization of a question in the exam, you will be able to concentrate on avoiding repetition and expressing your ideas.

• Mark out the end of each paragraph before you write an essay and aim for that point. It helps you to focus your ideas and stops you from rambling.

• Revise efficiently. Take a blank sheet and then write down everything you know about a specific aspect of Writing Task 2: what you know about introductions; what common sentence functions you use; what common connecting words and phrases you know for but, and, so, etc. This will show you what you know and what you don’t know. It will help you organize your thoughts and increase your confidence and hence your speed.

• Above all know yourself, your strengths and your limitations and your common mistakes. Then push your limitations and correct your mistakes.

Common mini sequences of functions

• As you become more confident you can build these sequences and as you write and learn to combine in whatever way suits you.

– measure/result/reason, general example; specific example

– condition (if/unless); result; real example

– problem; cause; solution; reason; general and specific example

– opinion, explanation; reason; general example; specific example; my opinion

• Try and think about these sequences without writing them down. Try to combine and recombine.

• Developing your flexibility helps develop the fluency in connecting text and prevents over-generalizing.

• The following checklists are only guidelines and can be adapted in many different ways. You can combine information in endless different ways.

• You can take parts from one checklist and add them to another.

Checklist 1
Checklist 2
statement/focus – specific measure
explanation by examples
real example – example of what is already happening somewhere now hypothetical example – example of what you think could happen if the measure were adopted
Checklist 3: Measure
statement/focus – specific measure
general result/benefit
specific result/benefit
accompanying result
reservation: Having said that however,
additional evidence/reason
general conclusion – So…
own conclusion – Nevertheless
Checklist 4: Cause/effect
statement/focus – problem
explanation by examples
effect 1
effect 2
solution: real example – example of what is already happening somewhere now
solution: hypothetical example – example of what you think could happen

How to express your opinion

• There are many ways to express your opinion. If you find it difficult, use the frame below to check and guide.

• Practise writing your own statements of opinion. Then practise supporting them. Use reasons, results, explanation, contrast, effect, condition, etc.

• Each time you write a sentence, qualify what you have said.

Checklist 5: Opinion
state your opinion about a situation/problem
explanation – general example: Every year/in many countries …. In the past …, Now …, etc.
specific example: for example, etc.
specific example: moreover, etc.
suggestion: should/could …
counter argument: However, some people …
restate opinion: Nevertheless, I feel…
Opinion expressions
I think/feel/ believe …
Personally I feel…
As far as I am concerned, ..
From my point of view, …
Don’t overuse these. Make a statement of opinion.

How to link your sentences

• Below are common words and phrases you know, but which you often forget to use when linking your writing. Check how they are used.

• Match the expressions below with the function checklist. While practising for the exam, try to use these expressions.

• Before you write and before the exam, read through the expressions again.

• Avoid overusing connecting words, especially too many addition words.

• Revision tip: On a blank sheet of paper, write addition, comparison, etc. at the top of the page and then list the words you remember. Check against the list on page 39.


– Adverbs: moreover, what is more, furthermore, further, in addition. (to that), additionally, likewise, similarly, besides, equally, as well as, also, on top of that

– Conjunctions: and, which/that/whose, etc. for explanation/adding additional information


– Conjunctions: if, unless, whether, on condition that, provided that supposing, as/so long as, otherwise


– Adverbs: for example, for instance, such as, as, like

– Expressions: take … for example, a (very) good example the best example, in many countries/every year/now/in the past, etc.


– Conjunctions: because, as, since, for

– ing (present) … knowing I’d be late….

– ed (past)… warned about the problem…

Concession and contrast

– Adverbs: however, nevertheless, though, even so, but, (and) yet

– Conjunctions: although, even though, though, while

– Prepositions: despite/in spite of the fact that)

Concession and contrast

– Adverbs: however, nevertheless, though, even so, but, (and) yet

– Conjunctions: although, even though, though, while

– Prepositions: despite/in spite of the fact that)


– Adverbs: as a result, as a consequence, consequently, accordingly, therefore, so, on that account, for that reason

– Conjunctions: and, so, so that, so + adjective that

– Other forms: – ing, which … this will …


– Conjunctions: as, as if


– Conjunctions: as, as soon as, after, before, since, until when, whenever


–  Adverbs: so

– Conjunctions: so, so that, to, in order (not) to, in order that, so as (not) to

Making generalizations

– Adverbs: Generally speaking, overall, on the whole, in general, by and large


– Adverbs: hence, thus, therefore, consequently

– Explanation: by this I mean, which, this

• Practise making your own checklists.

General writing hints

Writing in English follows some basic principles:

• The basic pattern of an English sentence is: Subject/Verb/Object.

• The connecting and reference words generally come at the beginning of the sentences and/or clauses: words like moreover/he/they/such/this/these/another measure is, etc.

• English sentences are organized around the principle of old and new information. The reference words refer to the old information and the new idea in the sentence is generally at the end. For example: An old man entered a shop. The shop had a wide range of food. The food …. Sometimes the structure is reversed for emphasis. Compare: Another measure is educating the general public. (old/new information) with: Educating the general public is another measure. (new/old information). The impersonal phrase: There is/are, is used to introduce new ideas: There will be many implications if this policy is introduced.

• Always check your work as you write. Look backwards as well as forwards.

• Remember what you bring to the writing when you do the exam. Your mind is not a  sheet!

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