Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

How can you make sure you’re using the right amount of words on Task 1 and Task 2 IELTS Writing?

You don’t want to be wasting time counting words!

There are some tricks you can use to estimate the amount of words in your essay.

Additionally, there are some techniques you can apply as you write practice essays.

Implement today’s strategies in your study!

You’ll then be ready to write the perfect amount of words on test day!

Check out the video of this episode on YouTube

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Today’s podcast will be posted on YouTube, so check it out!

Jessica shows off the Christmas blanket James gave her.

She uses it year-round because she loves Christmas so much!

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The vocabulary and idioms we teach there are also helpful for IELTS.

It is also great listening practice!

Today’s question

This question was in a 3 Keys student’s progress survey.

These are surveys filled out at the end of every module.

In it, students:

  • Ask questions
  • Provide status updates
  • Confirm the strategies are working well for them.

I have been writing over 200 words for Task 1;

I am nor sure how bad it might be for me, but it’s kind of hard to put all the details I brainstorm in less than 200 words.

For the Task 2 essays, I’ve been writing over 300 words.

As I am aware that I am not supposed to do that, I’ve been trying hard to write less.

My last Task 2 essay practice I only wrote 290-ish words.

This is a great question, because writing too many words can lower your score.

What is the perfect amount of words for IELTS essays?

  • Task 1: 180 words

You should be able to completely respond to the topic in 150 words.

Aiming for 180 gives you a cushion.

  • Task 2: 280 words

Topics can be fully responded to in 250 words.

Writing 30 more gives you a cushion for Task 2!

Strategies Created by a Former IELTS Examiner

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Why should you avoid writing more than this?

You don’t have time!

You have only 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2.

This is not enough time to write more than 180 and 280 words.

If you write more than this, you won’t have sufficient time to brainstorm and check your essay.

#1: Don’t brainstorm too much

If you find that you can’t fit all your ideas into your essay, you’re brainstorming too many ideas.

It’s vital that you have strategies for IELTS Writing brainstorming.

You need to brainstorm just one reason per body paragraph.

If a question has a plural, you need 2.

  • Advantages
  • Causes
  • Problems
  • Solutions

Don’t brainstorm extra reasons!

Don’t spend time trying to think of a better one!

Choose one and spend the brainstorming time thinking of supporting details and examples.

#2: Create a model essay

You need to have a very clear idea of what 180 words and 280 words look like.

Write out a model essay that is the correct amount of words.

You will see about how many sentences each paragraph will be.

Post this model essay somewhere you can see it.

Then, refer to it while writing your practice essays.

This will keep you from writing essays that are too long without having to count words.

It will also make it easier on test day to have a clear idea of how long your essays need to be.


You don’t have time to write long IELTS essays!

Timing is crucial.

You must have time to brainstorm, write your essay and leave time to check it.

If you include extra ideas, you won’t have time to support them fully with details and examples.

Use today’s strategies and tips to make sure your essays aren’t too long!

For all the strategies you need, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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