One of the most daunting things about IELTS writing is the limited time that is given and the fact that you will get incomplete score if you submit an incomplete writing task. But believe me, it’s totally possible to achieve that with proper time management. Let’s talk about that a bit.
IELTS General writing has 2 sections. A letter and an essay. The entire writing test duration is one hour. So, you need great time management skills to complete these 2 tasks on time maintaining high quality. In order to achieve this, you need to strictly finish the first one within 20 minutes so that you can get 40 minutes for the second one or vice versa. To help you decide which one to write first, I will try to give you an idea of Task 1 and Task 2.
Task 1 is a Letter which can be formal or informal. You don’t need to provide the recipient’s address and can start with the greetings. The letter should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The word limit for the letter is 150. So naturally, you don’t get a lot of opportunity to use vocabulary and syntactic variety and wide grammatical range. Also, structuring your thoughts for the letter is easier than the essay. Hence, instead of getting lost into thoughts, you should focus on not crossing that 20 minutes limit to complete the letter.
Task 2 is a 250-word essay. Because it’s longer and more points are allocated to it, you should give it maximum time which should not be less than 40 minutes. It gets difficult if you are working with compromised time here. The essay usually consists of an introduction, 4-5 or more paragraphs based on the topic and a conclusion. There is no harm if the word count goes little beyond what’s specified, but always make sure its not less than 250.
While working on these writing tasks, you should also keep some time allocated for planning and correction. 2 minutes for Letter and 3 minutes for essay to plan and 3 minutes for letter and 5 minutes for essay to correct should be enough.
Prepare to finish in time –
Take a lot of timed mock tests to get an idea of the time. Initially you will find it very challenging, but as you practice limiting your planning, writing and correction time, you will get a hang of it. You can start by writing one task at a time and gradually try to complete both in an hour.
Why practice is so important –
Practice tells you your weaknesses. By regular practice you will know where to improve. It will implant all the important ingredients in your brain that you will need to use during the test. If you forget to use a certain syntax, you will remember immediately, and you will be able to use that in the remainder of the writing task. If you have practiced using 10 good words, you will remember to use at least some of them in your actual test.
Also, when you practice, you should notice how many words you write in a sentence, so that you don’t have to waste time in counting words. Rather you can just count the lines and calculate the total number of words.
Don’t get intimidated by the essay topic –
IELTS essay topics are quite intimidating and needs methodical and logical thinking to articulate accurately. You should look up as many IELTS writing topics as possible from the last and running quarter of the year and practice planning what to write, again maintaining the 2-3 minutes rule. If possible, write at least 30 topics before appearing for the test. Always plan before writing, never start writing abruptly without any direction. As fast you start writing the more you have opportunity to think back and fix anything if needed.
On a final note, take care of everything that you can by practicing adequately, so that you can get a score that you thought you would get based on your preparation. Good Luck!