Secondly, don’t get clock fever.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you’re looking at a page that doesn’t seem to have much text, there is a lot of blank space further down, your mind is full of random thoughts and feeling confused, and the clock is ticking down faster than you would like. You brainstormed first so that you don’t have to keep coming up with ideas. If you’re running out of time and you have a lot of ideas that you haven’t expanded upon, don’t be afraid to make some cuts. Start picking the best ideas that you have left and expand on those few. Don’t feel like you have to write down and expand all of your ideas.
It is more important to have a shorter paper that is well written and well organized, than a longer paper that is poorly written and poorly organized. Remember though that you will be penalized for answers shorter than the required minimum limit. Don’t keep writing about a subject just to add words and sentences, and certainly don’t start repeating yourself. Expand on the ideas that you identified in the brainstorming session and make sure that you save yourself a few minutes at the end to go back and check your work.
Leave time at the end, at least three minutes, to go back and check over your work. Reread and make sure that everything you’ve written makes sense and flows. Clean up any spelling or grammar mistakes that you might have made. If you see anything that needs to be moved around, such as a paragraph that would fit in better somewhere else, cut and paste it to that new location. Also, go ahead and erase any brainstorming ideas that you weren’t able to expand upon and clean up any other extraneous information that you might have written that doesn’t fit into your paper.
As you proofread, make sure there aren’t any fragments or run-ons. Check for sentences that are too short or too long. If the sentence is too short, look to see if you have an identifiable subject and verb. If it is too long, break it up into two separate sentences. Watch out for any “big” words you may have used. It’s good to use difficult vocabulary words, but only if you are positive that you are using them correctly. Your paper has to be correct, it doesn’t have to be fancy. You’re not trying to impress anyone with your vocabulary, just your ability to develop and express ideas.
If you’re taking the IELTS on the computer, spend some time on your keyboard getting familiar with the shortcut keys to cut, copy, and paste. It will help you to quickly move text around on your paper. First highlight the text you wish to move or copy and then type:
Ctrl+C = copy
Ctrl+X = cut
Ctrl+V = paste
You must hold down the ctrl key and then tap the “c”, “x”, or “v” key to perform the desired function.
Depending on your test taking preferences and personality, the essay writing will probably be your hardest or your easiest section. You are required to go through the entire process of writing a paper very quickly, which can be quite a challenge.
Focus upon each of the steps listed above. Go through the process of creative flow first, generating ideas and thoughts about the topic or table. Then organize those ideas into a smooth logical flow. Pick out the ones that are best from the list you have created. Decide which main idea or angle of the topic or table you will discuss.
Create a recognizable structure in your paper, with an introductory paragraph explaining what you have decided upon, and what your main points will be. Use the body paragraphs to expand on those main points and have a conclusion that wraps up the topic or table.
Save a few moments to go back and review what you have written. Clean up any minor mistakes that you might have had and give it those last few critical touches that can make a huge difference.
Finally, be proud and confident of what you have written!