IELTS WritingTasks 1 & 2

The IELTS writing test is 60 minutes long and comprises two tasks. The tasks are different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General modules. They are:

Each of these tasks is described in more detail below.


Task 1 - Academic

In Task 1 you need to describe visual information which is given in the task. You need to write at least 150 words and are recommended to spend about 20 minutes on the task. This time is recommended because this task is shorter in length than Task 2, and because it has less value in your IELTS writing score. This visual information will be one (or more) of the following:

  • graph
  • table
  • chart
  • diagram
  • map

You should describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. Comparisons will often be necessary, and your answer should be written in a formal academic style. Often there will be more than one piece of information, e.g. two graphs or two maps. These may show different aspects (e.g. a graph displaying cigarette consumption and another graph showing number of deaths from lung cancer) or change over time (e.g. a map of an area in 1980 and a map of the same area in 2010).


Task 1 - General

In Task 1 of the general module you will be given a situation and need to write a letter asking for information or explaining the situation. You need to write at least 150 words and are recommended to spend about 20 minutes on the task. This time is recommended because this task is shorter in length than Task 2, and because it has less value in your IELTS writing score. There will usually be three bullet points and you will need to include information on all three in your letter. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.



Test Tip
Task 2 has a higher weighting in your score than Task 1. Many students therefore prefer to write Task 2 before Task 1 to make sure they complete this to the best of their ability. This is especially important if you think time management will be a problem: it is better to spend too long on Task 2 than too long on Task 1.

Task 2

In Task 2 you are presented with a point of view or argument or problem. You need to write at least 250 words and are recommended to spend about 40 minutes on the task. This time is recommended because this task is longer in length than Task 1, and because it has more value in your IELTS writing score. This task is more difficult than Task 1, as you need to organise your answer more clearly and give reasons or examples to support your ideas.



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Sheldon Smith

Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 07 September 2019.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.



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