5 things to avoid when taking the IELTS writing test

Avoid in IELTS writing test
This examination has very specific requirements, and students must understand what they are before they sit down and start writing.

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This examination has very specific requirements, and students must understand what they are before they sit down and commence writing

The most important part of the examination is Task Achievement or, in other words, “answer the question in detail and don’t put in any irrelevant information”. The most common mistake is “paraphrasing the question”. Obviously, it is important to demonstrate a wide vocabulary, but this should be in context and appear in the essay’s body rather than as an artificial first paragraph. Paraphrasing as “a lone exercise” does not earn points and should be avoided. The IELTSNavigator system teaches you how to avoid this common error, as it gives you immediate feedback and puts you on the right course. For example, you could have a question like “Many people believe that reading books is a waste of time and youngsters would be better served doing something useful. Agree/Disagree”. To write a response such as “young people should do something good for themselves, and many people think that reading is bad” is just the question in a different form and earns no marks at all.

It is worth exploring the subject of Task Achievement in a little more detail. The mantra is “Begin to answer the question in the first sentence and develop your ideas in a logical, understandable manner. Don’t use words that you are not sure of — a simpler one that you are happy with will always work better. Regularly checking your work as you write is a good habit to develop. Make sure that every word is earning you marks. As an examiner of many years standing, I assure the reader that lucid and well-argued responses will always earn high marks. Just get to the point, and don’t repeat yourself.

A response to the abovementioned question, “Many children enjoy reading”, is not a focused answer and is unlikely to earn you much in the way of marks.

I remember taking an examination in German and having to write an essay about traffic lights (one wonders sometimes where they find these questions!). I wrote a standard-length piece taking account of the appropriate grammar, and when I had finished, I sat back with a contented smile. As I left the examination hall, the truth dawned. I had not answered the question but had written a broadly irrelevant response. Of course, I failed and had to do a re-take. The advice here is to read the question very carefully and make sure your response is focused. A machine-based teaching system can train you how to do this. The simple fact is that IELTSNavigator, designed for IELTS, gives you instant feedback, gets rid of any bad habits you may have and keeps you “on the topic”

Many teachers tell you to write an Introduction and a Conclusion. In IELTS, this is not necessary — start answering the question in the first sentence and don’t describe what you are going to say — just do it!

Your final paragraph should just broadly sum up your ideas. Never introduce new ideas in your final paragraph, as you won’t have time to explain them in detail. In this examination, clarity is king, and everything must be explained in detail as you go along. Never assume the examiner will “know what you mean”. He or she might, but it is not their job to guess. IELTSNavigator helps you to develop the best techniques, and it also awards accurate IELTS points to provide real feedback on your progress. A good summary of the example question (assuming it is part of your main argument) might be, “It is important that children are not just educated but also learn to educate themselves, and reading might or might not be a way for them to do this. Every situation is different!”

It is worth just saying a few words on grammar. When you want to use a “comma”, see if you can replace it with connectors such as “and”, “although”, “because”. Avoid using connectors at the beginning of sentences, but move them somewhere in the middle. Check your usage of punctuation marks, and don’t be afraid to use the occasional “semicolon” (it is always worth a mark!). Allow the IELTS Navigator system to check your usage of definite and indefinite articles. The subject is complex, and you won’t always get it right. Occasional errors will not lose your marks if everything else is good. The advantage of a computer-based teaching portal is that feedback is instant, whereas face-to-face teaching cannot do this. Remember that IELTS is not a grammar test but a communication test, but working diligently through a machine-based system will improve your grammar effortlessly and accurately while mastering other aspects of the examination.

Learning a foreign language is always a challenge, and the system we have discussed, IELTSNavigator.com, aims to “lessen the burden” and make the journey to IELTS success as speedy and pain-free as possible.

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