How to write 150 words in the IELTS Writing Task 1?

ielts writing task 1

Difficulty in writing 150 words in the IELTS writing test?  It is often believed that getting a band of 7 or higher in the IELTS writing test is a very challenging task, but let me tell you that it is not so difficult if you follow certain instructions, and these instructions are going to help you in the main exam too.  But before we analyse what exactly you need to do in order to get a higher score, we should first understand some basic strategies and tips for the same.

There are four parts in the lELTS exam. 1. listening 2. reading 3. writing 4. speaking.

So, a very common problem which is reported by most of the exam takers is that they are unable to write 250 words for an essay and 150 words for task 1. This is mainly because they lack the proper guidance and they do not follow a good structure. Shall we have a look at give some tips to write a very good academic report and a letter in the case of the general training test?

Reasons for not being able to write 150 words in the task one of the writing test:

1. If the test takers are not familiar with the types of questions that they have to prepare, then automatically experience a difficulty in attempting the test and writing the minimum of 150 words. It is quite surprising to know that most of the candidates are not familiar with how many question types are there in the test.And even more surprising is that they do not know that the academic version of the writing task 1 is different from the general training task 1.

In the academic version of the IELTS test,  the candidates have to write an academic report this is based on visual data that is given to the candidates. All the need to do is interpret the graph and summarise the significant features that they would see. The report has to be concise  in order to achieve a higher band score.

There are various types of academic reports such as bar charts, pie charts, line graphs, tables, maps, processes, diagrams, flowcharts and combinations of these bar chart and Pie Charts and so on. As a test taker, you should know what is the significance of each of these reports and practice accordingly. Make sure that your report contains the information which is observed and is  summarised in such a way that all the significant features are well represented. This is the major factor for writing a hundred and fifty words.

In the case of a General training test, the task 1 is letter writing. At least 150 words must be written to ensure that the letter addresses all the parts of the given task. If the word count is 150 words, it would be considered as under length and it would be a factor for lowering your score. 

Basically there are three types of letters.1. A formal letter,  which is written to an unknown person and the issue is a formal one. Hence,  the tone of the letter also should be very formal. For instance, a letter which you write the local municipality for clearing the garbage in your area, or the one that is written to lodge a complaint about an electronic equipment that is not working properly.

2. Semi formal letter – this letter is often written to a known person on the issue which is a serious one. The tone has to be formal. Consider a letter which is written to your landlord. 

3. Informal letters or personal letters – these letters are written to friends and family and hence you can use contractions. The tone need not be so formal. 

2. The second most important factor why the candidates are not able to write 150 words for task 1 is because they are unable to understand the band descriptors.

So what exactly are these band descriptors? These are the marking criteria for giving a band score. The IELTS writing task 1 for both academic and general variants is given a score between 0 and 9 bands. There are 4 band descriptors for the task 1 in the writing test.

a.  Task achievement – This refers to the ability of a test taker write complete and developed the idea fully so as to meet the requirements of the task. This factor accounts for 25% of the overall score.

b.  Coherence and Cohesion – coherence refers to your ability to generate the relevant ideas pertaining to the task and Cohesion refers to the logical sequencing of Ideas one after the other in the form of sentences. If the sentences are logically sequenced and properly connected, then the score for coherence and Cohesion will be very high. Cohesion mainly refers to paragraphing. If the paragraphs are well organised then writing 150 words is very easy.

3. Lexical resource – This band descriptor is referring to the range of vocabulary that you need to use while describing a report or writing a letter. Always remember that a range of vocabulary is not just the commonly used words that we use in our day to day life, but it is the less common words that describe the given data in a very concise manner. The public version of these band descriptors clearly states that while describing any trend, it is advisable to use collocations ( words which are naturally used together ).

4. Grammatical range and accuracy – In order to write 150 words,  it is essential that you try to write a variety of sentence structures which includes Simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences, passive sentences,  conditional sentences,  compound complex sentences. Avoid giving any additional details such as your opinion.

Remember that even though the official word count is 150 words, to be on a safer side, it is advisable to write nearly 180 to 190 words. There is no upper limit on the number of words we can write. As long as the ideas are relevant for the topic and the idea is explained very well, the number of words is not a problem. 


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