The Writing Module


The Writing module of the IELTS consists of a 60 minute module with two tasks.

Task 1: A diagram or table will be presented to you and you must write out approximately a 150 word discussion on it within approximately 20 minutes.  You must evaluate the diagram or table, organize your ideas, and develop them into a cohesive and coherent explanation.

Task 2: A topic will be presented to you and you must write out approximately a 250 word discussion on it within approximately 40 minutes.  There is not a “correct” answer to the topic.  You must evaluate the topic, organize your ideas, and develop them into a cohesive and coherent response.

You will be scored on how well you are able to utilize standard written English, organize and explain your thoughts, and support those thoughts with reasons and examples.


Spend the first three to five minutes brainstorming out ideas. Write down any ideas you might have on the topic or table.  The purpose is to extract from the recesses of your memory any relevant information. In this stage, anything goes down. Write down any idea, regardless of how good it may initially seem. You can use either the scratch paper provided or the word processor to quickly jot down your thoughts and ideas. The word processor is highly recommended though, particularly if you are a fast typist.

Strength through Diversity

The best papers will contain diversity of examples and reasoning.  As you brainstorm consider different perspectives.  Not only are there two sides to every issue, but there are also countless perspectives that can be considered.  On any issue, different groups are impacted, with many reaching the same conclusion or position, but through vastly different paths.  Try to “see” the issue through as many different eyes as you can. Look at it from every angle and from every vantage point. The more diverse the reasoning used, the more balanced the paper will become and the better the score.


The issue of free trade is not just two sided.  It impacts politicians, domestic (US) manufacturers, foreign manufacturers, the US economy, the world economy, strategic alliances, retailers, wholesalers, consumers, unions, workers, and the exchange of more than just goods, but also of ideas, beliefs, and cultures. The more of these angles that you can approach the issue from, the more solid your reasoning and the stronger your position.

Furthermore, don’t just use information as to how the issue impacts other people. Draw liberally from your own experience and your own observations.  Explain a personal experience that you have had and your own emotions from that moment.  Anything that you’ve seen in your community or observed in society can be expanded upon to further round out your position on the issue.

Pick a Main Idea

Once you have finished with your creative flow, stop and review it. Which idea were you able to come up with the most supporting information? It’s extremely important that you pick an angle that will allow you to have a thorough and comprehensive coverage of the topic or table. This is not about your personal convictions, but about writing a concise rational discussion of an idea.

Weed the Garden

Every garden of ideas gets weeds in it. The ideas that you brainstormed over are going to be random pieces of information of mixed value.  Go through it methodically and pick out the ones that are the best.

The best ideas are strong points that it will be easy to write a few sentences or a paragraph about.

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