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How to prepare for the IELTS Academic Writing Task-2?

ielts academic writing


We are going to make a generalized discussion of how you have to prepare for the IELTS writing Task 2 for the Academic version. Whether you are studying under a coaching center or studying alone is not our subject of discussion. The IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 is without argument the toughest part of the all four sections of the ‘Academic Test’ and the ‘GT Test’ as well. In this test, a candidate’s ‘Proficiency in Written English’ is put to ultimate test. So, it’s a prerequisite that, you are good enough in written English.

In the writing test, task 2, you would be given an ‘Opinion/Argument’ and would be asked to express your own opinion in the form of an essay and reach a conclusion executing adequate and justified reasons or arguments. Your writing should be in ‘Rich English,’ showcasing your strength to construct complex sentences using excellent and suitable vocabulary and correct grammar keeping the lucidity of the written piece. Whatever may be the topic you have to write down the essay within not less than 250 words and preferably not higher than 270/290 words.

You must keep in mind that writing an essay executing ‘Your Ultimate Skill-Set’ within 40 minutes is not a child’s play. By writing essays repeatedly, following every given instruction, you would have to master the art of writing within the specified word limit. Therefore, you should take a smart step. First, you should download an ‘IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Answer Sheet’ from the Internet and practice writing strictly in ‘Not Less Than’ 250 Words’ on a photocopy of a Task 2 Answer Sheet. This is extremely important because, during the test, you can’t afford to lose your valuable time by counting words at every step and then continue writing.

A very important and a must-have skill for you is ‘Paraphrasing.’ You would have to paraphrase more than often during writing. So, you have to have a very strong and suitable vocabulary to enable you to paraphrase successfully in the test. If you are not acquainted with word ‘Paraphrasing,’ or you want to have a clear notion of what exactly paraphrasing is, let’s provide a brief detail.
Paraphrasing is writing an expression using different synonymous words, with keeping the meaning of the expression unaltered. For mastering paraphrasing, you have to have a great vocabulary with a clear idea of using the synonyms suitably.

The IELTS mainly ask to write 3 types of essays. 1) Agree/Disagree-type essays 2) Write your opinion-type essays & 3) Advantages/disadvantages-type essays. In any case, the essays are ‘Argumentative’ by nature. So, to stay ahead in the race, you should practice a lot writing argumentative type essays.

Now, the question is, ‘Why would you have to paraphrase?’, ‘Why it is so important?’. Well, let’s explain in a bit details as below.

When you have asked to write in favor or against an opinion, you would need to write, sentences like:

1) There are enough reasons to talk in favor of/ against this age-old faith/belief.
2) There exist quite a number of reasons to support this concept (or notion/idea/faith or belief).
3) There are numbers of reasons to talk about this misconception (or wrong notion).
4) Let us analyze this point of view and establish why it is an absolutely prejudiced/discriminative point of view.

You would need to write sentences like the above ones to avoid repetition of same words in questions. So, hopefully, you have understood the importance of paraphrasing. Also when you are expressing your opinion, you might need to write like:
1) Well, to be honest, my opinion is that, this idea/notion is too backdated…
2) Till date, I believe firmly that.
3) Sorry, I beg to differ with the statement…

In the above sentences, usage of paraphrasing is clearly shown. Note down; you have to apply the technique of paraphrasing in the ‘Reading Test’ and the ‘Listening Test’ as well. In addition to these, if you can write a few suitable idioms/phrases here & there, it would be surely better for your score.

A few suitable idioms you might apply are like:

Okay, we agree with you, but ‘who will bell the cat?’.
Though there are feasible solutions to the problems, though none of them is ‘a piece of a cake.’
Yes, certainly you are trying to solve the issue, but still, you are yet, ‘to hit the nail on the head.’
Some very common but sweet ones are like:- ‘Oh! It’s certainly a blessing in disguise; we are perplexed at first’, ‘So finally he has got a nice job, well its’ better late than never.

In this discussion, you must have noticed mentioning me of having ‘Suitable Vocabulary.’ Why the word ‘Suitable’ is used, might have raised your eyebrow. Let me make it simple. While preparing for the test, you must have been enriching your vocabulary; you are learning word meanings and synonyms as well. Learning synonyms is important but using them randomly might land you in trouble.

Say, you are using a synonym of the word ‘Conception.’ If you go by the dictionary, the meanings of the word ‘Conception’ is given as ‘Concept/Construct/Design/Fiction/Idea’ and a few more. Now, you are going to write a sentence: ‘He had no conception of how to adjust himself in a foreign country.’ You want to replace the word conception with a synonymous word, and you choose to use construct. So, the sentence becomes: ‘He had no construct of how to adjust himself in a foreign country.’ Does it make sense at all? No, because it is not a suitable synonym. Instead, if you use the word ‘idea‘ it fits rightly and does make sense. So, the use of the word ‘Suitable’ is clear now, right?

While you write during the test, you would have to follow some strategies, so you must practice those strategies during preparation. Apart from practicing:- paraphrasing, using suitable synonymous words, writing complex sentences maintaining the contextual meaning transparent, etc. there are some more to be mentioned, like:-

Strategy No.1: When you must use synonym?
At first, read the question minutely and try to understand the question. You may underline the keywords to avoid reading repeatedly. Now choose suitable synonyms for replacing the keywords.
Example: Thick Population is the serious-most problem in most of the underdeveloped countries.
Suitable synonyms: Thick=Dense. Serious-most=Gravest, Underdeveloped=Developing.

Strategy No.2: Transforming the verbs when needed.
Example: Say the question is: How to control rapidly growing population in underdeveloped countries?
Control=Check or Curb. Growing=Increasing

Strategy No.3:
Restructuring of sentence-To control rapidly growing population in underdeveloped countries, the government should….
After Restructuring: To curb the fast-increasing population in underdeveloped countries, the government should….
Now, let’s talk about managing time during the test. You can’t waste time for thinking about managing time in the exam hall. You have to make and take a plan well ahead and practice accordingly. So, you can divide the stipulated time of 40 minutes (given for writing your task 2 essay) this way:

Devote maximum 5 minutes for planning your essay.
Devote maximum 25 to 30 minutes for planning your essay.
Now you have 5 minutes in hand to check for any correction.

If you can reduce the time spent on the first two steps, you can get more time to check and edit your writing which is extremely important.

During your preparation for the IELTS Test, while you practice writing an essay, practice cutting down the time you consume. If you can make a plan for writing the essay within 3 minutes, you get 2 minutes extra in hand, and you can spend that time for writing. Planning is important, but the execution of a plan is most important. So put stress on planning as fast as you can. Then, do concentrate on writing within 25 minutes, as during the test most candidates are found to use more time on writing and eventually cannot manage to check for errors, that’s dangerous.

So, how to prepare for the ‘Writing Task-2’ in short? Point-wise they are:

1) Make your vocabulary as strong as possible with a collection of good and suitable synonyms for common words.
2) Practice writing rich English, using complex sentences, using a wide range of suitable vocabulary.
3) Acquire the art of paraphrasing.
4) Practice planning your essays and managing time simultaneously.
5) Practice writing essays within 250 words, try not to exceed the word limit by 20 to 30 words.
6) Practice writing your essays on a photocopy of ‘Downloaded Task 2 Answer Sheet’ from the Internet.

Remember, it’s not most important how hard you work for preparing yourself, rather, it is more important how smart you work and prepare yourself with right strategies.

Originally posted 2018-03-10 04:22:54.

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