General Training Writing

IELTS General Training Writing description

 
Paper format There are two Writing tasks to complete.
Timing 60 minutes
No. of questions 2
Task types In Task 1, test takers are asked to respond to a situation, for example, by writing a letter requesting information or explaining a situation.
In Task 2, test takers write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.
Answering Answers must be written in full in the answer booklet. Notes or bullet points in whole or in part are not acceptable as answers. Test takers may write on the question paper but this cannot be taken from the test room and will not be seen by the examiner.

IELTS General Training Writing in detail

A detailed look at the paper with links to related resources.

Task 1

Task type and format In Writing Task 1, test takers are presented with a situation and required to write a personal response in the form of an informal, semi-formal or formal letter of at least 150 words in the answer booklet provided. The situations they are asked to write about are common, everyday ones such as: writing to a college accommodation officer about problems with accommodation, writing to a new employer about time management problems they are having, writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport, writing to a renting agency to sort out problems with the heating system in their house.

Test takers are told what kind of information (in the form of three bullet points) they must include in their response. They may be required to request or give information and/or explain a situation. To do this, they may need to do some of the following: ask for and/or provide general factual information, express needs, wants, likes or dislikes, express opinions or complaints, make requests or make suggestions/recommendations.

The style of writing that test takers use depends who they are asked to write to (i.e. the audience) and how well they are supposed to know them. They need to write in a style that is appropriate for their audience and that will help them to achieve their purpose for writing, e.g. writing to a friend (informal) or writing to a manager (semi-formal or formal). Test takers do not need to include any addresses at the head of their letters.

Test takers should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. They are asked to write at least 150 words and will be penalised if their answer is too short. While test takers will not be penalised for writing more than 150 words, they should remember that a longer Task 1 answer may mean that they have less time to spend on Task 2, which contributes twice as much to the Writing band score.

Test takers should also note that they will be penalised for irrelevance, if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). They will be severely penalised for plagiarism (i.e. copying from another source).

Task focus This task assesses the ability to follow English letter-writing conventions (i.e. what order to put information in, what style to use, how to start and finish a letter), to use language accurately and appropriately and to organise and link information coherently and cohesively.
No. of questions 1

Task 2

Task type and format In Writing Task 2, test takers write a semi-formal/neutral discursive essay of at least 250 words in the answer book provided.

The task instructions give information about a point of view, argument or problem. They then tell test takers how to discuss this, which may involve providing general factual information, outlining and/or presenting a solution, justifying an opinion, evaluating evidence and ideas.

Topics are of general interest,  – such as: whether children’s leisure activities should be educational, why families are not so close as they used to be and how they could be brought closer, how environmental problems can be solved, who should pay for the care of old people, whether smoking should be banned in public places.

Test takers should make sure that they complete the task carefully and provide a full and relevant response. They should organise their ideas clearly and make sure to support their argument with relevant examples (including from their own experience where relevant) or evidence. For this task, test takers need to be able to communicate more abstract and complex ideas and use a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. Task 2 contributes twice as much to the final Writing band score as Task 1. Therefore, test takers who fail to attempt to answer this task will greatly reduce their chance of achieving a good score.

Test takers are asked to write at least 250 words and will be penalised if their answer is too short. They should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task.

Test takers should also note that they will be penalised for irrelevance if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). They will be severely penalised for plagiarism (i.e. copying from another source).

Task focus This task assesses the ability to follow English discursive writing conventions (i.e. what order to put information in, what style to use, how to start and finish discursive writing, how to paragraph), to organise and link information coherently and cohesively and to use language accurately and appropriately.
No. of questions 1

IELTS General Training Writing – How it’s marked

Marking and assessment

Writing responses are assessed by certificated IELTS examiners. All IELTS examiners hold relevant teaching qualifications and are recruited as examiners by the test centres and approved by the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia.

Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.Scores are reported in whole and half bands. Detailed performance descriptors have been developed which describe written performance at the nine IELTS bands. They are available on the How IELTS is scored page. The descriptors apply to both the Academic and General Training versions and are based on the following criteria.

Task 1 responses are assessed on:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Task 2 responses are assessed on:

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Performance descriptors

Task 1

Task achievement
This assesses how appropriately, accurately and relevantly the response fulfils the requirements set out in the task, using the minimum of 150 words. General Training Writing Task 1 is a writing task with a largely predictable output in that each task sets out the context and purpose of the letter and the functions the test taker should cover in order to achieve this purpose.

Coherence and cohesion
This assesses the overall clarity and fluency of the message: how the response organises and links information, ideas and language. Coherence refers to the linking of ideas through logical sequencing. Cohesion refers to the varied and appropriate use of cohesive devices (for example, logical connectors, pronouns and conjunctions) to assist in making the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences clear.

Lexical resource
This refers to the range of vocabulary the test takers have used and the accuracy and appropriacy of use in terms of the specific task.

Grammatical range and accuracy
This refers to the range and accurate use of grammar, as manifested in the test takers’ sentence writing.

Task 2

Task response
In both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions, Task 2 requires test takers to formulate and develop a position in relation to a question or statement. Ideas should be supported by evidence, and examples may be drawn from the test takers’ own experience. Responses must be at least 250 words in length. Scripts under the required minimum word limit will be penalised.

The other three assessment criteria (Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy) are the same for Task 1 and Task 2.