IELTS Writing Time Management
IELTS Writing Time Management
6 COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WRITING TEST
“What happens if I don’t finish the writing tasks in the given time?”
You will be penalised because you will not have fulfilled the requirements of each task. It is therefore, most important to practise writing for speed a long time before the day of the test, so that you can be sure of finishing in the required time. It is wise to spend only the advised amount of time suggested for each task (20 minutes on Writing Task 1 and 40 minutes on Writing Task 2).
“If I complete only one task, is that better than two unfinished tasks?”
No. You will score very badly. Even if you write an extremely good piece of writing for, say, Task 2, by not attempting Task 1 at all, you will score badly. You must at least attempt both tasks. In addition, Task 2 is worth more marks than Task 1, which is one reason for the longer amount of time advised for Task 2. Another reason is, of course, the greater number of words required,
“How can I improve my writing
Practise with a clock. Copy paragraphs of well-written English as quickly as you can, and try to increase your speed gradually. This will help to boost the physical speed at which you write.
Also, use a pen which writes well. It is often faster to write with a pen than with a pencil. It is worth buying a pen with which you are personally able to write smoothly and easily.
It might be wise to look at the way you hold your pen. Do you grasp it too tightly, as if trying to squeeze out the ink with your fingers? Writing is physical act, but it should not too much physical stress. Your hand should flow easily across the page.
Practise writing smoothly and quickly. Cursive or “running” writing causes less stress than non-cursive writing, and enables the hand to move faster across the page. (See also Writing Hint 59.)
“Do I have to show my writing plans?”
No. Any plans you write are not taken into account when an assessment is made of your work. Therefore, you need not worry about how your plans look. However, you have to be able to understand what you have written. It is always preferable to be neat and tidy than messy.
“What should I do if I have no ideas about the topic?”
You should ask yourself “why not?” Both writing tasks are of general interest, and no special knowledge is required. It is essential that you read about current affairs in your own language as well as in English in order to keep up with what is happening in the world. Join your local library, read English language newspapers and magazines. Watch current affairs programmes on TV, and listen to current affairs programmes on the radio. Do everything you can to become well-informed, especially about the topics that people talk about in English-speaking countries.
“Does spelling count towards the IELTS Writing Band Score?”
Yes, and so does punctuation. All the requirements of good writing are taken into account. However, you should not worry greatly if you make a few spelling errors. Naturally, you should try hard to avoid all errors by leaving time at the end of the Writing Test to check your work for grammatical mistakes, spelling, and punctuation.
It is encouraging to remember that your work does not have to be perfect. A non-English-speaking person is not expected to write an essay, or describe a chart or table as well as a native-writer; unless he or she has been speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English for many years.