Published: Sep 14, 2023 | By: Lucas Weaver
Using IELTS writing samples for Task 1 and Task 2 is a great way to improve the quality of your essays and increase your band scores.
But you need to know what to look for in these sample essays in order to benefit from them.
By paying attention to the most important aspects of these essays, you can learn exactly what each essay is doing right and wrong. That way you can take these strategies into your own essays to write responses that will get you the 7.5 scores and above that you need.
(Want to get the score you need on your IELTS essays the FIRST time you take the exam? Check out my Master IELTS Writing course here.)
We start with some sample essays from the IELTS Writing Task 1 that will help you learn how you can write your own essays that will score highly in this section.
In these IELTS Task 1 sample essays, you need to focus on the following things unique to the Task 1 responses. These model answers will show you relevant examples of the vocabulary you'll need to use, the types of verb tenses you might use, and how you might structure your essays.
Here's a comprehensive list of previous essays submitted in past years.
How do the students in these sample essays highlight and talk about the main features of the graphs or diagrams? How do they compare the notable differences and similarities in their visual? How is their writing different in this first Task to your writing in your practice essays?
Pay attention to the IELTS sample essay topics instead of just the sample essays themselves. By looking closely at the topics, you can start to understand the types of questions you might have to write about in your essay when your IELTS exam comes.
Read through these sample essay topics for Task 1 from other students and see if they're topics that you feel comfortable writing about right now.
Do you understand the diagrams? Can you figure out what the charts or illustrations are trying to explain? Not only that, but can you explain them yourself to other students? And can you answer the question yourself at a similar level as the sample essay in just 20 minutes?
Answering these questions for yourself will help you later when you trying to get the band score you need on your IELTS exam.
Pay attention in Task 2 to the way the students in these IELTS sample essays structure their arguments and thoughts to respond to the essay topics. Notice how the organization of your thoughts and arguments in your essay is much more important in Task 2 because it's a longer essay.
How much did the student write in their writing Task 2? Do you think you could write that much in 40 minutes? Which parts of your IELTS Writing Task 2 are taking you the most time? What possible solutions can you think of to speed up your writing process?
Here you can access an exhaustive list of Task 2 writing pieces.
The British Council tends to use generally the same type of essay questions on the IELTS exams every year, so making yourself familiar with the topics they've used in years past in these IELTS sample essays will help you be ready when you see your actual IELTS Writing Task 2 topic on your real exam.
Pay attention to the types of topics they ask in their questions. Examine the subject matter and ask yourself if this is a topic you think you could discuss in your essay.
Will you be able to come up with a thesis statement for these types of topics and questions that will help you answer these types of questions in an academic essay format?
Read each example topic carefully and notice any patterns that the different types of topics have in common. You'll notice they're often about society, trends in today's culture, or sometimes related to the government or public health.
You should start reading other academic texts outside of just IELTS preparation materials to make sure that you're familiar with academic writing. This will help you to write in an academic way on your own when it comes time for your IELTS exam.
Remember, you only get one hour to complete both of the two tasks on your IELTS writing section. Make it count! Prepare as much as you can before the exam so that you won't spend too much time on one section or the other.
There's a great quote from 11-time champion basketball coach John Wooden that goes --
"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."
This is true when writing IELTS essays as well. You have to practice doing the proper techniques if you want to become skilled at those techniques.
When you start analyzing sample writing answers from previous students, you should use them to improve your writing process and techniques.
Consistently check your essays against these sample essays and see each time how the argument in your response compares to the argument in the writing in the sample essay.
Pay attention in these writing samples to the arguments students make. Before you start worrying about how many words are in your paper or how many points you're scoring on the band score scale, pay attention to making concise and clear arguments.
By looking at the arguments of the students in the sample essays, you can start to learn how writers can make good arguments and write their ideas clearly.
When you read your writing samples, ask yourself these simple questions as if you're the examiner:
Does the writer agree or disagree with the question?
What argument are they making?
What point are they trying to make?
What is the writer's opinion on this topic?
Does the writer feel positive or negative about this topic?
What were the 3 main advantages and disadvantages the writer listed?
If you ask yourself these questions, you can start to make a habit of identifying the type of information in students writing that the examiners are looking for. And then you can start to write in the same way.
If you want to make sure you get the score you need on your IELTS writing exam the FIRST time you take it. Check out my Master IELTS Writing course.
I've helped over 300 students pass their IELTS writing exams with the scores they need, and I can certainly help you too.
Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.