The Top 10 Mistakes in IELTS Writing
Many IELTS students in Singapore find it very difficult to write essays. A number of them make a lot of mistakes which can cost them their band scores. Here are some of the common mistakes students make in IELTS writing:
1. Lack of time management
Some students spend a lot of time in Task 1 which results to not being able to finish the Task 2. Task 1 should only be done in 20 minutes while Task 2 should be done in 40 minutes. Make sure that you be conscious of the time and write quickly. Spend the last 5 minutes to check your essays for grammar errors and spelling.
2. No plan
One reason why students don’t know how to start their essays is that they don’t have a plan. As a result, their essays lack organization and coherence. You should spend the first minutes of your time to make an outline of your major points. This will lead to a more structured essay.
3. Repetitive vocabulary
Vocabulary is a major criteria in IELTS. Many students have limited vocabulary that’s why they just copy the words from the task question or they use the same words over and over again. Read books and newspapers to help expand your word power. Read through academic word lists and list them in your notebook. Try to know the synonyms of words so that you can paraphrase them.
4. Long sentences and paragraphs
Another common issue that is found in many essays are long sentences and paragraphs. Some sentences need to be split into two or some have redundancies that need to be removed. Avoid wordiness in your sentences. It is better to be economical by using one word rather than five words with the same meaning. Moreover, paragraphs should have only 3 to 5 sentences. A guideline is to have only 50-65 words per paragraph.
5. Multiple main points in one paragraph
Having two topic sentences in one paragraph is a major no-no. This results to lack of focus in your essay. The rule is one topic sentence, one paragraph. If you have a new topic sentence, there should be a new paragraph.
6. Examples in the first line of the paragraph
There are some students who write examples first before the topic sentence. Examples are specific while topic sentences should be general. Topic sentences should come first. Then the examples should come after your topic sentence since they are considered as support for your topic sentence.
7. One-sentence paragraphs
Some students write one-sentence paragraphs which lack supporting details and concrete examples. Paragraphs should have 3 to 5 sentences. Make sure that your paragraphs are well developed.
8. No transition words
Some essays are choppy because they lack transition words. Use transition words to help thoughts move smoothly. This will make your essay more coherent. Transition words are used for giving examples, summarizing, etc. Examples of them are furthermore, however, as a result, to sum up.
9. Many grammar errors
Grammar mistakes can really pull down your band score. Some of the common grammar issues are on subject-verb, tenses and use of articles and prepositions. Try to review the grammar rules on these topics. Spend the last minutes of your time to proofread your work for any grammar errors.
10. Off-topic essays
Make sure you read and understand the question so you don’t get an off-topic essay. Because the examiners won’t give you the score you deserve, if you write an off-topic essay.
There you have it. The top 10 mistakes that students make in IELTS writing.