Writing Section in the IELTS Test in the UAE: Strategies and Practical Examples

The IELTS exam is a highly popular English proficiency test used for admissions and immigration in the UAE. Both Academic and General Training modules are available at certified testing centers across major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, many of which allow online registration. Due to the UAE’s large expatriate community, the IELTS exam is taken by people seeking to immigrate as well as students planning to apply abroad. The format matches the global IELTS with sections for listening, reading, writing and speaking. In this article we will discuss  the Writing Section in the IELTS Test in the UAE.

The writing section in IELTS exam in UAE:

The writing section of the IELTS exam in the UAE, like in other countries, consists of two tasks: Task 1 (Academic or General Training) and Task 2 (Academic or General Training). Here’s a brief overview of each task:

Task 1:

  • Academic Module:
      • In the Academic Module, candidates are presented with a graph, chart, table, diagram, or map.
      • The task requires candidates to describe the visual information and identify trends, patterns, or key features.
  • General Training Module:
    • In the General Training Module, candidates are asked to write a letter.
    • The letter may be formal, semi-formal, or informal and may be addressed to a colleague, friend, or some authority figure.

Task 2:

  • Academic Module:
      • For the Academic Module, candidates are required to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem.
      • The essay should be somewhat formal and needs to be at least 250 words.
  • General Training Module:
    • In the General Training Module, Task 2 also involves writing an essay.
    • The essay is often more personal in style and can be more loosely organized than the Academic Module’s essay.

Examples for writing questions in IELTS exam ;

It’s important to note that the specific writing questions in the IELTS exam are determined by the IELTS test administrators and can vary from one exam session to another. Therefore, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the IELTS official website or consult reliable IELTS preparation materials for the most up-to-date information on writing questions and practice materials.Here are examples for writing questions in IELTS exam ;

IELTS Task 1 questions:

  1. You have had a bank account for a few years. Recently you received a letter from your bank stating that your account is $200 overdrawn and that you will be charged $30 as a penalty. Write a letter to the bank manager explaining why your account is overdrawn and ask him to waive the penalty charge.
  2. Your local newspaper published an article about how air pollution in your area has increased over the past few years. Write a letter to the newspaper editor explaining why you think air pollution is a problem and make suggestions for how it can be reduced.
  3. You are planning a four-day guided trek in the mountains and have seen an advertisement for ‘Mountain Adventures’ trekking company. Write a letter to the company asking for more information about the treks. Include details of the type of holiday you want and the information you need.
  4. A relative is coming to stay with you while she attends a week-long conference for work. Write a letter to your relative, welcoming her and providing helpful details about how to get to your apartment, getting around the area, things to do when not at the conference, etc.
  5. Your local library is asking its members for book recommendations to order for the library’s collection. Write a letter recommending some books and explaining why you think these books would be good additions.

The key with IELTS task 1 is to fully address the specific prompt, organize your letter appropriately, and use level-appropriate vocabulary and grammar. The tone should be fairly formal.

IELTS Task 2 essay questions:

  1. Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
  2. Many universities and colleges these days offer distance learning programs as an alternative to on-campus full time study. Do you think the advantages of this approach outweigh the disadvantages?
  3. Some people think that the main purpose of schools is to turn the younger generation into good citizens and workers, rather than to benefit students as individuals. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  4. An increasing number of people change careers during their working life. What are the reasons for this? Do advantages of changing careers outweigh the disadvantages?
  5. Some people believe governments should spend money on measures to prevent crime directly. Others, however, believe that factors such as better education and improved living standards are more effective in reducing crimes. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  6. It is suggested that everyone in the world wants to own a car, TV and fridge. Do advantages of this trend outweigh disadvantages for the society?
  7. Many developing countries have welcomed foreign companies setting up factories and businesses that create jobs and wealth. However, others feel exploited. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

The key for Task 2 is to coherently address the specific requirements in the question, organize your essay logically, and provide relevant examples and arguments to support your position. Leave time to proofread.

Assessment Criteria for the writing section in the IELTS exam in the UAE:

The writing section is assessed based on four criteria: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource (Vocabulary), and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Each criterion is given equal importance, and your performance is evaluated based on how well you meet the requirements of each criterion. You are given a total of 60 minutes to complete both Task 1 and Task 2. It is advisable to allocate approximately 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. However, the exact time distribution may vary depending on your writing style and proficiency.

Scoring Criteria for the writing section in the IELTS exam in the UAE:

Task 1:

In both the Academic and General Training Modules, Task 1 is scored based on the following criteria:

  • Task Achievement (for Academic) or Task Response (for General Training):
      • This criterion assesses how well you have addressed all parts of the task. In the Academic Module, it evaluates how accurately and appropriately you’ve described the visual information. In the General Training Module, it assesses how effectively you’ve conveyed the purpose of the letter.
  • Coherence and Cohesion:
      • This criterion examines the organization of your writing. It assesses the clarity and logical flow of your ideas, the use of linking devices, and the overall structure of your response.
  • Lexical Resource:
      • This criterion evaluates your vocabulary usage. Examiners consider the range, accuracy, and appropriateness of the words you use to describe information or convey the purpose of the letter.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
    • This criterion assesses your grammatical skills. Examiners look at the variety and accuracy of your sentence structures, as well as your ability to use grammar appropriately.

Task 2:

The criteria for Task 2 are similar to those for Task 1, with some additional considerations for essay writing:

  • Task Response:
      • In Task 2, this criterion evaluates how well you have addressed the essay prompt. It assesses the development of your argument, the organization of your ideas, and your ability to present a clear position.
  • Coherence and Cohesion:
      • As in Task 1, this criterion examines the overall structure of your essay, including the logical progression of ideas and the use of cohesive devices.
  • Lexical Resource:
      • This criterion considers the range and appropriateness of vocabulary in the context of essay writing. It assesses your ability to use words and phrases effectively to convey your ideas.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
    • Similar to Task 1, this criterion evaluates your grammatical skills, focusing on the complexity and accuracy of your sentence structures.

Overall Band Score:

After individual scoring for Task 1 and Task 2, the scores are averaged to calculate the overall band score for the writing section. This overall band score contributes to your total IELTS band score.

It’s important to review the official IELTS scoring criteria and practice writing essays and task responses to improve your performance in the writing section. Understanding the specific expectations of the examiners in each criterion can help you tailor your responses effectively.

The needed writing skills in the the IELTS exam in UAE:

Developing strong writing skills is crucial to perform well in the IELTS exam in the UAE. Here are some key areas to focus on:

  1. Understand the Task Requirements: Read the writing prompts carefully and ensure that you understand what is expected of you. Identify the type of essay (e.g., opinion, discussion, problem-solution) and the specific instructions provided.
  2. Plan and Organize: Before you start writing, spend a few minutes planning your essay. Outline your main ideas and supporting points. This helps you maintain coherence and structure in your response.
  3. Introduction: Start your essay with a clear and concise introduction that introduces the topic and presents your thesis statement or main argument. This helps set the tone for your essay and gives the reader a preview of what to expect.
  4. Body Paragraphs: Develop your ideas in the body paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a single main idea and be supported by relevant examples, evidence, or explanations. Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph and ensure a logical flow between them.
  5. Vocabulary and Language: Use a varied and appropriate range of vocabulary to express your ideas effectively. Avoid repetition and strive for precision in your word choice. Additionally, demonstrate a good command of grammar and sentence structures to convey your message clearly.
  6. Coherence and Cohesion: Ensure that your essay has a clear and logical progression. Use linking words and phrases (e.g., however, in addition, moreover) to connect ideas and create smooth transitions between sentences and paragraphs.
  7. Task Response: Stay focused on the task and address all aspects of the prompt. Provide relevant arguments, examples, or explanations to support your points. Avoid going off-topic or providing excessive information that is not directly related to the task.
  8. Time Management: Allocate your time wisely during the exam. Remember to leave enough time for proofreading and editing your essay for any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or unclear sentences.
  9. Practice Writing: Regularly practice writing essays on a variety of topics. Familiarize yourself with different question types and practice completing timed essays to improve your speed and efficiency.
  10. Seek Feedback: If possible, have your essays reviewed by a qualified instructor or a native English speaker. Their feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and provide valuable insights into your writing skills.

Remember, consistent practice and focused preparation are key to enhancing your writing skills for the IELTS exam.

The role of ELmadrasah.com in preparing for the IELTS exam:

Elmadrasah.com offers resources to help students prepare for standardized tests like the IELTS exam. Some possibilities of how it might assist with IELTS test prep include:

  • Providing practice test materials – Such as sample listening tracks, reading passages, writing prompts, etc. similar to the actual exam. This gives students a chance to experience and improve on the various IELTS test sections.
  • Tips and strategies for performing well on the IELTS – For example, techniques for pacing yourself on reading comprehension or managing your time effectively while writing. Advice from test prep experts can give useful insight.
  • Explanations of the IELTS format and structure – Detailing and demystifying how scoring works, the types of questions asked in each section, how difficulty varies across parts, etc. Familiarity with the test can reduce anxiety.
  • Online instructor guidance and support – Students may be able to submit their responses or essays for personalized feedback from experienced IELTS teachers/tutors. Targeted critique helps identify areas needing improvement.

Tips for success in the writing section in the IELTS exam in UAE:

Success in the IELTS writing section in the UAE, as in any other location, requires a combination of language skills, strategic approach, and effective time management. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

1. Understand the Task Types:

  • Be Familiar with Task 1 and Task 2:
    • Understand the specific requirements of Task 1 (Academic or General Training) and Task 2. Know what is expected in terms of content, structure, and word count for each task.

2. Manage Your Time Wisely:

  • Allocate Time Effectively:
    • Task 1 should take around 20 minutes, and Task 2 around 40 minutes. Plan your time so that you have sufficient time for planning, writing, and reviewing.

3. Practice Regularly:

  • Write Practice Essays and Task Responses:
    • Regular practice is essential. Work on a variety of essay topics and task types to improve your ability to express ideas clearly and coherently.

4. Develop a Plan:

  • Plan Your Writing:
    • Take a few minutes to plan your essay or task response before you start writing. This can help you organize your thoughts and create a well-structured response.

5. Be Mindful of Word Count:

  • Meet Minimum Word Count:
    • Ensure that your responses meet the minimum word count requirements. In Task 1, aim for at least 150 words, and in Task 2, aim for at least 250 words.

6. Understand Formality:

  • Adapt Your Writing Style:
    • Adjust your writing style based on the formality required. Task 1 in the General Training Module, for example, may require a more formal or informal tone depending on the scenario.

7. Work on Grammar and Vocabulary:

  • Use a Range of Grammatical Structures:
    • Demonstrate a variety of sentence structures to showcase your grammatical range.
  • Expand Your Vocabulary:
    • Work on expanding your vocabulary. Use a mix of common and more advanced vocabulary appropriately.

8. Review and Revise:

  • Check Spelling and Punctuation:
    • Before submitting your answers, take a few minutes to check for spelling and punctuation errors.
  • Review for Coherence and Cohesion:
    • Ensure that your ideas are logically organized, and there is a clear flow between paragraphs.

9. Understand the Scoring Criteria:

  • Familiarize Yourself with Scoring Criteria:
    • Understand the criteria used by examiners for assessing your writing. This includes aspects such as task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy.

10. Seek Feedback:

  • Get Feedback on Your Writing:
    • If possible, have your essays or task responses reviewed by a teacher, tutor, or native English speaker. Constructive feedback can help you identify areas for improvement.

11. Stay Calm and Focused:

  • Stay Calm During the Exam:
    • Manage test anxiety by taking deep breaths and staying focused. Read the instructions carefully, and approach each task with a clear strategy.

Remember that success in the IELTS writing section comes with consistent practice, understanding the exam format, and implementing effective strategies. Tailor your preparation to the specific requirements of the Academic or General Training Module, depending on the IELTS test type you are taking.

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