Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today we answer one student’s question about writing. He’s an engineer, and feels this makes IELTS more challenging.

Here’s his question:

My number one overall fear is writing, because my mind is set to think like an engineer, which means bullet points and short phrases, one paragraph explanations. The fear is a general issue in my other languages, but English has turned out to be very important because I’m trying to immigrate. I already booked my fourth try on IELTS. I always get a 6.5 but I need a 7. I’ve been practicing my writing but the institutions that offer prep courses for IELTS are too expensive and I can’t follow the schedules.

Issue #1: Not being able to break through to a 7

At this stage, you are probably upper-intermediate or higher, you can communicate basically anything you want to say.

This makes it difficult to challenge yourself to improve, and change small things to satisfy exam requirements, like on the Speaking Exam for example.

Issue #2: Communicating too directly and concisely

This will affect your vocabulary score, because you won’t be describing the numbers in Task 1 with interesting adjectives and adverbs.

You need to have a one page cheat sheet for Task 1 in which you write all the interesting synonyms for words like increase, decrease, big and small.


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This issue will also lower your Cohesion Coherence and Task score in Task 2. You might not have enough words. Also, you won’t communicate enough details for a strong Task score.

If you are a General Training candidate, bullet points are considered an informal format in the letter (and Task 2, for that matter), and that will lower your score.

Issue #3: Lack of imagination

In General Training, you have to be very creative for the letter.

To improve here, read more fiction, especially science fiction!

Issue #4: Not having time for expensive classes

Study online! This is flexible and it fits into your busy schedule.

Plus, it’s more efficient instruction and more affordable.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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