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General Training Writing: What is the IELTS Writing test?

Click the items below to find out more about the General Training Writing test.

The Writing test takes 60 minutes. There are two tasks to complete.

The suggested time allocation is based on the number of words test takers are required to write:

  • Task 1: about 20 minutes to write at least 150 words
  • Task 2: about 40 minutes to write at least 250 words.

Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score.

Responses must be given on the Writing Answer Sheet and must be written in full.

Notes are not acceptable as answers.

Test takers may write on the Question Paper but this cannot be taken from the test room and will not be seen by the examiner.

In Task 1, test takers are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.

Depending on the type of task, test takers are assessed on their ability to engage in personal correspondence in order to:

  • elicit and provide general factual information
  • express needs, wants, like and dislikes
  • express opinions (views, complaints etc.)

In Task 2, test takers are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The topics are more familiar and commonplace than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.

Test takers are assessed on their ability to:

  • provide general factual information
  • outline a problem and present a solution
  • present and possibly justify an opinion
  • evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence and argument.

The topics are of general interest and relate to general issues.

Each task is assessed independently. Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.

Assessment of writing performance is carried out by examiners trained and certified by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia or IELTS USA.

Scores are reported as a whole band or half band. The examiners work to clearly defined criteria and are subject to extensive and detailed quality control procedures.

The same assessment criteria are used to grade both Academic and General Training writing responses.

Responses under the required minimum word limit are penalised.

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