If you are new to IELTS and want to understand,

  • what happens in the writing module?
  • writing test format,
  • and the types of questions one can expect,

then you have come to the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the Writing module of the IELTS exam.

The purpose of the writing test is to assess your English writing skills. No brainer, if you want to work or study in a country where English is the language of communication, then you ought to have these skills. Right!

The writing exam is designed to assess how you,

  • write a response appropriately,
  • organise ideas and
  • accurate usage of grammar and vocabulary.

Now, the most important question at this point would be – Which IELTS exam are you planning to take?

IELTS General or IELTS Academic?

This question is important because academic and general students will get different types of questions. While the format of the writing test is similar for both the exams, the content is considerably different.


  • The writing test has two questions or tasks – task 1 and task 2.
  • Both the tasks are related to general topics you encounter in day-to-day life. For instance: travel, environment, health, education, etc. No specialized knowledge is required to answer such questions.
  • Candidates are expected to write between 150 and 200 words in Task 1 and between 250 and 300 in Task 2.
  • Candidates are given 60 minutes (1 hour) to complete both tasks.
  • The recommended time distribution is 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2.
  • Task 1 and Task 2 are marked individually.

Now let’s see what these tasks actually are and how academic and general tasks differ from each other.


TASK 1 – For a general candidate, Task 1 is letter writing. You will be asked to write a letter on a situation.

The letter may be formal, semi-formal, or informal in style. All letter writing questions follow the same pattern.

This sample Task 1 question is an informal letter. You need to write this letter to a friend to ask for some help in finding a part-time job for you.

writing task 1

There are three bullet points, the information that you are going to put in your letter should be strictly around these three points. You can lose marks if your response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text. Therefore, it’s important to cover all the points separately and logically.

TASK 2 – In Writing task 2 you need to write a semi-formal/neutral discursive essay. Topics are of general interest, such as: how environmental problems can be solved or whether smoking should be banned in public places.

This sample Writing Task 2 is an opinion essay. You need to give your opinion on whether certain subjects such as Science and Mathematics are taught better using computers.

writing task 2

You should make sure to read the statement carefully and provide a full and relevant response. Make sure to support their opinion with relevant examples or evidence. You can draw examples from your personal experiences as well. That would make things easier for you.


TASK1 – For an academic candidate, Task 1 is a summary or report writing. You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and you have to describe, summarise or explain the information

In this sample task 1 a chart is given and you have to summarize the information given in the chart.

IELTS Academic

You should be able to identify the most important and relevant points in the diagram and give a well-organised overview of it in an academic or semi-formal style.

TASK 2 – Academic Writing Task 2 is also an essay but Academic essay questions are a bit tougher than the general topics.

Take a look at this sample task 2 question. It’s an advantage/disadvantage essay. The topic is about e-books becoming more popular than paper books.

IELTS Academic

Make sure you read the task carefully and provide a full and relevant response.


  • IELTS Writing Test is a 60-minute long test.
  • It has two tasks/questions of at least 150 words and 250 words.
  • For General Candidates, Task 1 is Letter Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing.
  • For Academic Candidates, Task 1 is Report Writing and Task 2 is Essay Writing.

That’s all!

We hope now you have a good idea of what happens in the writing test, its format and question types, be it Academic or General.

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