What is meant by under length? How to avoid it in the IELTS writing test?


In this article, we are going to learn what is the meaning of under length and how to overcome this factor while writing the essay and the task one of the writing test.

First and foremost, parts in the IELTS test and these are the listening test, the reading test, the writing test and the speaking test respectively. The listening test and speaking test are the common ones for both the IELTS academic version and IELTS general training version, whereas there is a difference between the reading test and the writing test of the academic and the general training test.

Talking about the specific features of the IELTS academic test, in section, there are two tasks which are the report and the essay. In the general training writing test, there are two tasks just like a the academic writing. These are the report and the essay. The topic that we are going to discuss is about under length.

What is meant by underlength?

As the name indicates, this word underlying has something to do with the length of the essay and the other writing task that are the report and letter. It is very interesting to know that there is a minimum word count for these writing tasks. The minimum word count for task 1, whether it is a report a letter 150 words. The minimum number of word that you have to write while writing the essay is 250 words.

If the minimum word count is not met, which means that the candidate did not write the required number of words, this condition is called under length. When you are preparing for the IELTS test, many people advise you to look at the factors which decide your score. These factors which evaluate your score are called band descriptors.

The band descriptors are lexical resource, coherence and Cohesion, grammatical range and accuracy, and task achievement in the case of the writing task 1. For the second task, instead of task achievement, there is a bad descriptor which is known as task response.

There is a connection between the task response and the length of the task. When you look at a table which describes these band descriptors, it will be understood that in order to satisfy and get good marks for this factor called task response, you should attend the question completely and you should understand and focus on each and every element of the question.

This is related to the length. In order to explain this, let us consider an example. Suppose the essay is about the problems and solutions of an issue, you should analyse the question like this. First, write about the problems, and if you observe this word carefully, it is in the plural form. This means that you have to address not just one problem but a minimum of two problems. This is called task response.

Similarly, you have to talk and explain about two solutions for the problem. If you make sure that these things are done well by proper planning before writing the exam, then you will satisfy this criterion is called the length of the task.

Likewise, when you are writing a letter you should take into account the person to whom you are writing, and this person is called the receiver of the letter or the recipient. Depending on whom you are writing the letter to, the language and the tone should very. Similarly, if you are writing a report, you should ensure that there is a proper introduction followed by an overview and then by the body paragraphs. Following the structure would ensure that the link is properly followed and maintained.

What happens if the essay or the writing task 1 is under length?

Generally, the positive factors called band descriptors are the ones which are studied carefully by the test takers. Often, the negatives or the factors which lower the Test scores are overlooked by most of the candidates. But underestimating these factors would be serious cause for getting lower scores.

What are the factors which lower the score in the writing task?

The factors which are listed below are the culprits for getting lower band scores in writing.

1. Underlength

2. Memorized essays, reports, letters.

3. Illegible handwriting

4. Spelling mistakes

5. Using too many Simple sentences while writing

6. Not using proper lexical items.

7. Lack of punctuations or the inappropriate use of punctuations.

8. Inappropriate sentence formation

9. Inaccurate choice of words

10. Lack of Subject verb agreement.

11. Repeated words

12. Repeating the same ideas.

13. Lack of paragraphing.

14. Overuse or underuse of linking words.

If you commit the above mentioned mistakes, there are high chances that your score would be lower and you don’t achieve your desired test score. If you observe, under length is one of the significant errors be avoided and it can be avoided by taking certain measures.

What are the steps to ensure that the writing tasks are not below the minimum length?

It is very easy and very simple to ensure that the length of the essay is accurate and appropriate. Follow the below mentioned steps and you will see an improvement for yourself in terms of the length of the task.

 1. Understand the way in which you have to write the task. This is a key in overcoming the problem of underlength. For writing the essay, you should start by paraphrasing the question then by writing the appropriate thesis statement in which you give your opinion clearly.

 In the case of a letter, start by addressing the person properly and then proceeding with the main purpose for writing the letter and explaining the given Bullet points briefly. When you are writing a report, highlight the main points that you see on the graph or the diagrammatic representation.

2. Use good vocabulary. This is called lexical resource. Using the vocabulary related to the topic will not only ensure that the length of the task is satisfied but we’ll also ensure that you get a good score for lexical resource component.

3. The Writing answer sheet will be ruled paper and will not be a plain sheet. Hence, when you are practicing for the exam, it is highly recommended to practice on the main IELTS sheet which can be available in a downloadable format on the internet.

4. As and when you complete writing one paragraph, count the number of words so that this minimum word count can be taken care of. Alternatively, you can also count the number of words you write in one line and then estimate the word count.


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