How many words for IELTS Writing Tasks?

IELTS writing tests comprise of two tasks.

In IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, you are provided with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You need to describe, summarize or explain the information in your own words. This may include describing different stages of a process, an event or an object.

In IELTS General Training Writing Task 1, you are presented a situation. You need to respond to that situation by writing either a formal or an informal letter depending upon the target audience. This might include making a request or suggestion, explaining the situation and providing all the necessary details.

In Task 2 for IELTS Academic as well as General Training, you are provided with a point of view, argument or a problem. In response, you need to write an essay that presents a solution to the given point, express your views and ideas, justify your opinions and evaluate your arguments with evidences or illustrations. You must write in a formal style.

For task 1, you are supposed to write 150 words and for task 2, you need to write 250 words.

There is a penalty if you write under the word count.

What will be the penalty for under word count?

You will get a lower score as a consequence of not writing enough words. This, in turn, indicates that you haven't completed the task.

The examiner checks and counts the words. So, to avoid writing less words you must practice writing on official writing answer sheet. This will help you judge the length of your writing. You can then save time by counting just the number of lines you have written instead of counting each word.

Some other factors that diminish your score…
  • Handwriting: If the examiner finds difficulty in reading your answers, your band score will get affected.
  • Writing Memorised Answer: If you write an essay that is memorised, you will receive 0 band score for it.
  • Incomplete Answer: If you fail to answer the whole question or provide only half response, you would lose your score.
What if you write more than required words?

There is no set upper limit for both the tasks. But, writing too much doesn’t mean you would achieve high score. Instead, focus on writing quality content.

In how many paragraphs will you divide your essay?

The examiners also mark the number of paragraphs in which you divide your essay for Task 2.

Every essay has an introduction and a conclusion - this constitutes two paragraphs. Then comes the body of the essay which must be divided either into two or three paragraphs. In total, your essay must comprise of four or five paragraphs. The number must not be less or more.

Quick Tips for IELTS Writing Tasks
  • Aim to write 150-170 words for Task 1 and 250-270 words for Task 2
  • Organise the information properly while writing an essay
  • Make use of excellent English i.e. avoid spelling mistakes, incorrect use of grammar or sentence structures that are not understandable to the examiner
  • Avoid copying the information provided in the question for writing introductory paragraph of your essay. The copied information won't be counted by the examiner and thus you might be under word count. Instead, use paraphrasing
  • The body part of the essay must not be divided into more than 3 or less than 2 paragraphs
  • Don't waste time on counting the number of words you have written. Prefer counting number of lines

IELTS writing samples and free IELTS writing tests will be of great help to ensure a good score in this test. You can even seek assistance of Writing Correction Service available online and be sure of achieving desired score.