How to Distribute Your Time in IELTS Writing?
Managing time properly while doing the IELTS test is one of the toughest and essential skills to learn.
This is particularly true about the Writing section, where in only 60 minutes you are expected to complete two tasks.
In this article, IELTS Game will discuss how to approach IELTS writing tasks in terms of time distribution.
Since Writing Task 2 has a larger minimum of words (250 words) and is worth more points, it is recommended that you spent more time on it than on Task 1.
You should do fine allocating 20 and 40 minutes for the first and second task respectively.
IELTS Writing Task 1
You will have 20 minutes to complete Task 1 in both modules. You can distribute your time in the following way:
- First of all, you must spend about 3-4 minutes on planning what to write:
- Familiarize yourself with the task noting the kind of data presented: diagram type, measurement units, the categories involved. These will be reflected in the introduction.
- Think of the general trends that will be described in the overview paragraph.
- Make a mental division of the data into two body paragraphs that will describe it. If you are quick enough, you can take notes on your question paper.
- Once you have made the plan, move on to write an introduction and an overview for about 2-3 minutes each.
- After writing your introduction and overview, you can describe the details in the two body paragraphs dedicating 4-5 minutes to each paragraph.
- Finally, spend one or two minutes that you have left proofreading your report for grammar, spelling or any other errors.
Similarly, while working on Task 1 for the general module, read the task carefully and plan your letter considering all the details that need to be included.
Think of how you will organize the information into different paragraphs.
Begin to write only with a clear understanding of your outline.
Time management for IELTS writing Task 1
So, try to practice the following time management for Task 1:
- 3-4 minutes – planning;
- 2-3 minutes – writing an introduction;
- 2-3 minutes – writing an overview;
- 4-5 minutes – writing body paragraph 1;
- 4-5 minutes – writing body paragraph 2;
- 1-2 minutes – proofreading.
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IELTS Writing Task 2
It is recommended to spend 40 minutes on Task 2 as it is more difficult and it’s worth more points.
Here’s the plan of how you can manage your time to write an essay:
Again, you must spend about 5 minutes for planning your essay structure. Make sure to take brief notes of a clear outline you are going to follow:
- Read the question carefully, pay close attention to what you are asked to answer.
- Come up with a direct answer to the question.
- Think of arguments, explanations and examples to support your point of view.
After planning your ideas you can start writing.
The first thing you will write is an introduction with a thesis statement answering the question of the task. You should spend about 3-4 minutes on it.
Then you can spend no more than 10 minutes writing each of the two body paragraphs. Mind the cohesive devices to make your ideas easy to follow.
Finally, write a conclusion for 5 minutes by repeating your viewpoint and summarizing supporting ideas.
If you have some time left, proofread your writing for possible mistakes and omissions in the final minutes.
Sometimes, students are recommended to proofread the essay before writing the conclusion as it helps to look through what has already been written.
It is also helpful to read out loud in soft-spoken whispers to spot mistakes that are not noticeable while reading silently.
Keep in mind that this kind of time management in writing is possible only with sufficient amount of practice.
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How to write an essay in short time?
Ideally, you should tackle one writing task a day (on a writing answer sheet!) for about a month before your test day.
Don’t worry about timing at first: improve your writing skills and speed up as you go.
By practicing a lot, you will:
- learn to take notes in an organized and clear manner;
- get a feel for 20/40-minute writing;
- know how much space it takes you to write a minimum number of words required;
- be able to learn and follow all the steps of the writing process without forgetting or omitting anything.
It is essential that you do not skip the planning and proofreading stages.
Otherwise, you risk having to change many parts of your already written essay as well as overlooking mistakes in your writing that could have been corrected.
The key to mastering any skill including time management is practice, which does make perfect; and even if it doesn’t, it will definitely help you gain the band score you need.
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