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

The student that we are talking about today got a 7 overall but a 6 in writing.

He made some very specific mistakes:

“My mistake during my last exam was: #1 I did my task 1 essay in more than 20 minutes. It took me 30 minutes to complete it. #2 I didn’t have enough time to re-check both of my essays. Guys, please make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake that I did.”

“Don’t forget to use all of the speaking tips given by Jessica and Lindsay. My examiner was quite shocked when I answered one of my speaking questions using “super cool and awesome.” The examiner smiled when she heard me say that. I think that set the tone of the speaking test and I got a 7 in speaking.”

-3 Keys IELTS Student



For Task 1 you cannot spend more than 20 minutes.

In our course we help you practice timing.

Two weeks before the exam you must sit down at least 3 times per week for 1 hour and practice the timing.

If you don’t learn how to do the timing correctly during your practice then you won’t be able to do it on test day.


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You have 2-0 minutes for Task 1 but:

  • 3-4 minutes to plan. If you are doing the General Exam letter for Task 1 you need specific ideas for each bullet point (4 minutes). In the academic exam make sure you look closely at the numbers and choose the important numbers to put into your essay. We show you how to do this in our course.
  • 12 minutes of writing
  • 3-4 minutes to check


Writing Task 2:

  • 5 minutes for brainstorming
  • 30 minutes to write the four paragraphs (if your teacher tells you that you should write five paragraphs then they don’t understand IELTS. Find a new teacher.)
  • 5 minutes to check your work to get the highest vocab and grammar scores


Each step is important because each step is linked to part of your score.


What should this student do?

Go through our strategies again in our course.

Sit down and practice timing using our strategies.

You should know what it feels like to produce an essay in 12 minutes.


What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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