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

Today you’ll find out why writing Task 2 first is an IELTS fail, and can lead to lower scores!

This is a common IELTS ‘hack’ that students ask about,  starting with Task 2 instead of Task 1.

Basically, the message here is you can’t game the system on IELTS.

There’s no magic short cut to doing less work for higher scores.

Yes, Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1. However, if you still do very poorly on Task 1, your score still won’t be a 7 or higher.

Look at it from a cognitive perspective.

Task 1 is not creative. You’re just choosing important numbers, using high-level vocabulary to describe them in an organized way.

As it requires less mental effort, it’s a great warm-up for Task 2.

This happened recently on the exam, that a student started with Task 2.

They got caught up in the ideas and expression and effort, and lost track of time.

Then, they realized that they had less than 20 minutes left to do Task 1, and panicked.


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There were two graphs in Task 1. As time was short, they only gave numbers for the first graph, and none for the second.

This leads to getting below a 6 for Task Achievement.

Plus, it’s impossible to show a range of vocabulary, so that score drops as well.

Cohesion/Coherence is also negatively affected, because the organization is off.

I’m guessing that this student hadn’t actually sat down and practiced effectively for the Writing Exam, and, thus, tried to take a shortcut on test day.

You simply must sit down at least a few times and produce both tasks in the time allowed.

You have to carve out the practice time needed in your schedule, and stay motivated!

If you’re approaching your test preparation in a negative mood, take some time to find a positive way in to English- watch a sitcom, listen to a podcast, like All Ears English!

Don’t be afraid of challenging yourself- you must dig into the difficult skills in order to make progress.

What do you think of today’s advice?

Share your ideas and IELTS questions in the comments section below!


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