ielts writing tips



Exam Preparation 

Revising for a test involves more than just memorizing learning materials. Since there is no time for structured preparation at the end of the session, it is better to revise as you go. You’ll be asked to apply what you’ve learned in class to new scenarios.

Previous papers

Examining previous papers prepares you for the types of questions you will be asked, and the amount of time you will have to answer each question. If there has been a significant change in the test format, you would have been informed about it in the course materials.

Never attempt to revise questions selectively.

It would be best if you were prepared to answer questions on any of the main topics covered in a course before taking the test. And if your expected topics appear in the test, there is no assurance that you will answer the specific questions on these topics. 

Always answer all of the questions.

Some students fail an exam or get a lower grade than they merit when they skip questions. They couldn’t answer any of the questions (usually because they didn’t practice enough), so they focus all of their attention on the ones they can.

If you can only answer three of the four mandatory questions, you cannot receive more than 75 per cent of the total marks for the test.

Even if you believe you know nothing about a subject, you can still gain a few points by making some thoughtful remarks, which can be the difference between a passing grade and a failing grade. 

The same approach applies to questions that require you to answer several parts – each part of a question has its own set of marks, and if you leave one out, you will not get marks for it.

Top exam success tips on Better Time Management

If you have a 3-hour exam with four essay-style questions, that translates to 45 minutes per question.

You can, however, allow yourself:

Five minutes in the beginning – to read the questions and choose which ones to attempt.

Then 15 minutes in the end for you to return to any questions you need to finish.

That gives you 40 minutes for each question.

Following this strategy will increase the odds of success. You should have enough time to answer all of the questions, and you have some time set aside.


read carefully

Make notes

Make rough notes at the beginning of a question to help you organize your thoughts. Then begin your proper answer. Almost definitely, you will be instructed to cross out the rough notes. Anything crossed out cannot be marked, so if you leave your rough notes, the examiner can go through them briefly. Maybe you made a point in your notes that you failed to include in your proper response.


Never answer more questions than are necessary.

You will only receive points for answering the appropriate number of questions. Every marker strictly adheres to this rule to be fair to all candidates, including those who did exactly what was expected.

Read the question carefully.

Read the question carefully, underline all appropriate terms, and strictly adhere to the question as specified.

 Answer the questions as they are posed.

Examiners carefully consider the wording of each question and expect your response to be precisely on that subject.

 For example, if you are asked to write about the structure of bacteria’s walls, you will receive no credit for considering other features of bacteria such as the membrane, the genome, and so on.

 Stop writing after a few minutes for each issue and re-read the question. Checking in regularly to see if you’ve strayed from the topic will keep you from being “irrelevant.”


make notes

Put yourself in the shoes of the examiner.

If the examiner cannot understand your writing, they will become irritated. If a poorly written answer cannot be read, it will not be graded.

Don’t use illegible writing to conceal a lack of information (for example, a scientific name or a technical term). 

Highlight important words or phrases. After reading the entire answer, an examiner returns to the number of ticks they made or the number of keywords or phrases you found. If you highlight these, the impression will be favourable – the key points will be covered, and you will receive high marks.

Never repeat information, even in a concluding paragraph. No matter how many times you repeat the same point, you can only get the marks once. 

Learn the Latin names of species and other technical words. It may be inconvenient, but it impresses examiners and demonstrates your competence.

How to Answer Various Types of Exam Questions

Long Essays

Some examinations can require you to write ‘long essays.’ This does not imply that you must write full-time. It means you have enough time to gather your thoughts and carefully build your answer. The response itself should not take the whole time allotted to write.

Essay-type questions 

The essay-type questions in all other exams are much shorter. These questions necessitate a substantial amount of relevant factual details as well as an understanding of the topic.

You will not, however, be asked to write a polished and grammatically correct essay. The essential thing is to write down as much appropriate information as possible while answering the question.  

Short answer questions 

SAQs typically have 8-10 minutes time allocation, but check this carefully because the time allocation varies.  

The best strategy for these questions is to write short notes with as much relevant information as possible in the time allotted. If you know the subject and answer the question being asked, you could get full marks for these questions by following our top exam success tips.