TIPS FOR HANDWRITING IELTS
Handwriting tips for your IELTS writing test. Many IELTS test centres now offer the option of writing on a computer, if you wish or need to write by hand you should take note of the following:
MINIMUM NUMBER OF WORDS TO WRITE
You must write 150 and 250 words for task 1 and 2, respectively. If you fail to do so there is a minus one penalty for task response.
REASONS TO NOT WRITE TOO MUCH
1. You might not finish both writing tasks.
2. You have less time to proofread your task and there is more to proofread.
3. You might struggle to summarise your ideas in the concluding paragraph.
4. The examiner might consider the total number of errors with vocabulary and grammar and not the percentage of correct versus incorrect writing.
5. The examiner might feel frustration from having to spend longer on your task and this might cause them to have a more pessimistic attitude towards your writing. Note that examiners usually get paid per task and not by time and if you write a very long essay it’s frustrating for them.
6. One of the four Cs of good writing is conciseness [the others are clarity, cohesion and correctness]
ESTIMATING THE WORDS YOU’VE WRITTEN
1. work out how many words per line you write
2. multiply the figure from step one by the number of lines you’ve written
For example: if you write 10 words per line and you’ve written 26 lines then you’ve written about 260 words and therefore your essays long enough
3. Make sure you practice using the official IELTS writing test paper for 2019, so that you can know how many words you write before you take the real test. You can download these here:
MESSY HANDWRITING AND ITS IMPACT ON YOUR GRADE
Your handwriting makes a very negative first impression, but shouldn’t have your score lowered as long as:
1. There is no strain to read the handwriting and words can be clearly read
2. Cross-outs and inserts can be easily followed without causing strain to the reader.
3. Note that messy handwriting still has a psychological effect and although you shouldn’t be penalised if your writing is messy the exam is human and they may subconsciously lower your score. In addition, the frustration from having to spend longer marking your essay may lead the examiner to have a more pessimistic view towards your score.
I offer a writing correction service. I assess your writing against all four grading criteria and can also assess your handwriting to check that it is legible and easy to understand: