In order to prepare for IELTS thoroughly, you need to go through the IELTS material which is based on the four sections of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening sections of the test. With regard to the writing tasks for the General Version, there are two tasks which are to be covered in one hour. The task 2 requires the student to write a minimum of 250 words and is usually a discussion of a subject of general interest. You are normally asked to present your view or opinion on a subject and justify it with reasons and examples, provide a solution to a problem, or make a comparison of different views regarding an issue.
There are four areas of consideration while awarding marks for this part of the test. You will be marked from 1 to 9 for the task response, lexical resource, cohesion and coherence as well as accuracy and grammatical range. The average of these four will be taken as the marks for this section. The content of the essay is important while going through the IELTS material, and the student should have addressed it fully. You have to provide support and back-up for your opinions and you can even relate your own personal experiences in order to support your view.
Cohesion and coherence are taken together and this has to do with the logical flow of your argument. Coherence means making yourself clear to the examiner and the reader should be able to clearly understand your argument. This also involves proper use of paragraphs for introduction, body and a conclusion while preparing with the IELTS material. For instance, if you say – We went out to the beach because it was raining – this would be considered incoherent as it does not make sense. You should probably have used ‘although’, ‘though’ or ‘in spite of’ which would have brought out the meaning more correctly.
Lexical resource means that you must use the correct vocabulary and the right words in the right time and place. Your language should be wide ranging with good word choices but also natural-sounding. For instance, if you say – the death of my mother ‘effected’ me very badly – this would be the wrong choice of the word as what you meant was ‘affected’ not ‘effected’.
Grammatical errors are also considered for penalizing and hence one must use the proper grammatical structure while preparing with the IELTS material. But effective communication is more important than grammar accuracy.
Separating your essay into specific paragraphs is very important and it contributes a lot in clarity. There is no point in presenting a sea of information all put together into one huge essay. You have to separate the relevant points in separate paragraphs and also indent them giving space between each new idea. This shows organization and also makes it easier for the examiner to understand your views. An introduction, two paragraphs for the body and a concluding paragraph is ideal.
While going through the IELTS material, the student must remember that Task 2 of the General writing section contributes more to the band score and hence requires more time allotted to it. You must spend approximately 40 minutes on this task. Sometimes, there are many aspects to the question. You must take care to answer them all and these too can be separated into different paragraphs. Your answer should have a persuasive tone to it and point towards a particular conclusion which answers all aspects of the situation, problem or argument presented.
There is no upper limit for your words but it would be better to write more than 250 words and less than 300 words. There should be no numbered list or bulleted list or points. Reading the question properly and thinking for a few minutes is a good idea. You can even jot down some of the ideas you are going to incorporate in the essay. Keeping the above tips in mind, one can prepare with the IELTS material and achieve a high band score.