Let’s face it. Many people are not born writers. Some are gifted and some are not. But all is not lost. Good writing can be learned and it takes a lot of practice to become proficient in writing elusive IELTS essays. Here is a checklist for you to remember so that you will write effective essays.

Checklist for successful IELTS writing

  1. Content quality. When writing IELTS essays, make sure that you have time to check your work. Have you addressed all points from the task question? Is my essay clear and not off-topic? Are all the points relevant to the task question?
  2. Check grammar. You are writing an essay to show how efficient your English is. So don’t let the small things mar the shine of your beautiful ideas and strong vocabulary. Did you use the right tenses? Is your subject-verb agreement correct? Did you use articles and prepositions accurately?
  3. Use linking words. Linking words help thoughts move in an orderly fashion. They help in connecting paragraphs so they have a smooth flow and are not choppy. You can use transition words to show examples, give reasons and summarize main ideas.
  4. Use a lot of vocabulary words. Avoid repeating the same words or copying the words from the task. Use a lot of descriptive words and topic-specific vocabulary to make your essay more interesting.
  5. Give concrete examples. Don’t write only main points in one paragraph. Make sure your paragraphs are well-developed. Avoid one-sentence paragraphs as well as long paragraphs. Paragraphs should be at least 3-5 sentences long.
  6. Develop a definite point of view. Make sure that you have clearly stated your stand on an issue. Don’t be neutral. You can weigh both sides but you have to specify your opinion.
  7. Use a range of sentence structures. Don’t write too many simple sentences. Try to use different sentences such as compound sentences, complex and compound complex sentences. Use also relative clauses to improve on sentence construction.
  8. Organize your ideas. Make a plan of your essay. An essay should always have an introduction, body and conclusion. Brainstorm ideas for your essay. Have three main points to discuss in your essay.
  9. Write a good introduction. What makes a good introduction? A good introduction should give a preview of what you will discuss in your essay. Give a general statement about the topic in your introduction. Then follow it with a supporting statement. You can opt to give your stand on the issue or you can give the plan of your essay.
  10. Summarize your main ideas. The conclusion should not give new ideas but it can still give your opinion. It should only summarize the main points that you have discussed in the body. It should provide a definite point of view about the topic.

So there you have it. You have your list of things to consider when writing your IELTS essay. Focus on the quality of your ideas rather than the quantity of words. It’s not the length of your essay that matters but the richness of your ideas. Then, you’ll be rewarded with a band score that you deserve.