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    7 tips that will improve your IELTS writing

    It’s no secret that the IELTS exam is a complicated and taxing hurdle, and sometimes, getting the grades you need can feel like an impossible mountain to climb. But don’t panic! If you’re looking to improve your IELTS writing, you’ve come to the right place. Get your teeth into our IELTS writing tips below and you’ll be well on your way to exam success.

    Memorise some key phrases and learn when and how to use them

    Learning some key essay phrases is one thing, but being able to apply them to your writing is a whole other ball game. For example, learning a phrase such as “As discussed above” is a good idea – you could use it in a sentence such as “As discussed above, chocolate is an unhealthy, but widely marketed product”. But be careful – if you haven’t mentioned this idea previously in your essay, it becomes redundant. Choose your phrases wisely.

    Learn to understand the question. What are they asking you?

    As you are likely aware from your previous IELTS writing practice, IELTS writing questions, for both tasks, tend to follow patterns. Are they asking you for your opinion? Are they asking you to make comparisons, or maybe to describe a process? Learning to identify key words to allow you to recognise the purpose of the question is absolutely vital for IELTS writing success. It’s no use talking wholly about your opinions on a subject when they’ve asked specifically for the advantages and disadvantages.



    Learning complex and high-level vocabulary is one of the most obvious IELTS writing tips…and you’ve probably done a lot of work with adverbs as part of your IELTS writing practice. But there’s a good reason for this. For Task 1 in particular, using adverbs can make all the difference when it comes to grade boundaries. If you can see that a line on a graph has fallen, decide if it’s “suddenly”, “slowly” or maybe even “gradually” – do this and you’ll be en route to IELTS success.

    Learn the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs (and separable and inseparable phrasal verbs!)

    When you learn a new verb, it’s a good idea to find out whether it’s transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb requires an object, but an intransitive verb does not. Examples of these would be “produce” (transitive) and “sleep” (intransitive). Similarly, a separable phrasal verb is a verb where the verb and preposition can have an object sandwiched between them, such as “take your shoes off”. Learning these basic grammar rules will most certainly allow you to improve your IELTS writing.


    Focus on the quality of your language (as we say in English, variety is the spice of life!)

    To improve your IELTS writing, it’s a good idea to incorporate a variety of vocabulary and complex sentence structures. But it’s also important to avoid repetition and take extra care with grammar. For instance, if it’s appropriate, use “thus” instead of “therefore”, take an extra second to double check your conditionals (mixing “will” and “would” is a common mistake) or see if you can add in an adverb – see tip no. 3 above for more help with this. Using variety in your writing and language and polishing it so that it’s completely perfect are by far two of the most useful IELTS writing tips.

    Remember your basic grammar

    When under the pressure of an examination, students tend to make silly mistakes. This includes misusing “to be”, getting verb conjugations wrong and or mixing up sentence structures. Using complex vocabulary is fantastic, but if you miss out an “is” or use a “have” instead of a “has”, the quality of your writing will be dragged down. Perfecting your grammar and avoiding silly mistakes is one of the best ways to improve your IELTS writing and one of the most useful IELTS writing tips – not just for IELTS but for all English exams.

    It’s OK to lie

    Sort of. In Task 2, it may be necessary to exaggerate your ideas, or make something up for the purposes of your IELTS essay. Remember, the examiner marking your paper doesn’t know you and is only interested in the quality of your exam writing, not your honest opinions as such – they are not there to make judgements. Try and get used to being creative in your IELTS writing practice as much as possible and identifying where content needs to be changed or added.



    So, there you have it. Remember these IELTS writing tips next time you do some IELTS writing practice. With a bit of dedication and extra care, you can achieve your academic goals. 

    To find out more about the range of English courses that we offer at NCG, please get in touch – we’ll be happy to help.