8 Things Keeping You from a High IELTS Writing Band Score

In the IELTS test, you’ll be given two topics and 60 minutes to write a letter, analyze a graph, or write an essay that includes expressing your opinion and answering some questions.

The Writing section tests your ability to express ideas fluently and clearly in standard written English. It also evaluates your ability to understand and respond to ideas presented in written form.

Many IELTS candidates fail to get their desired score in writing because they are not familiar with the structure of the test, they can’t manage their time efficiently, or they don’t know what is important for the examiners.

In this article, I will cover 8 fundamental issues that often keep candidates from achieving the band score they deserve on the IELTS writing test.

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1- Under-length essays

One of the most common reasons candidates fail to score highly in this section is that they don’t write enough. This can happen if you try to rush through the essay or if you get too focused on one part of the essay and forget to finish it. You need to be very careful to make sure you complete each essay in the time allotted. The markers must stop the clock when you are finished, so if you go over the time, your essay will be under-length. The best way to tackle this problem is to practice writing under timed conditions and improve your time management skills.

2- Bad time management

If you have never taken the IELTS Writing test before, it can be helpful to practice with IELTS sample questions so you can get familiar with the style and structure of the questions. You’ll also need to get used to the timing for each part of the test to ensure you don’t run out of time for the exam.

There is the first task of the IELTS Writing Test that you should finish in 20 minutes, and there is the second task that should be written in 40 minutes. Therefore, you should make sure to allocate enough time for each task.

When you practice with sample questions, note the time you spend on each one, and write down any issues or problems you have. This will help you in the long run when you take the actual exam.

3- Overlooked task requirements

All IELTS essay topics have specific requirements that must be included in the essay. It’s essential to read through the topic carefully and ensure you include all of the required elements. Otherwise, your essay will be marked down. Here are some of the most common elements that you can have in your essay based on the requirements of the task:

Background information – This is usually a description of the situation or context that brought about the topic question you are answering. It also describes relevant points that need to be clarified or explained.

Your Opinion – This is the central part of your answer. You need to state what you think about the topic clearly.

Analysis of Data – In many essay questions, you will be given some data you need to analyze and interpret. You must provide an analysis of the data, which includes assessing its significance, validity and limitations.

4- Lack of logical progression in ideas

Your essay must be well-organized and have a clear and logical progression of ideas. Make sure that each paragraph has a topic sentence that clearly states the main point you want to make. Your paragraph should also include examples and details that help develop that main point. If your essay is messy, jumbled up, and unorganized, make sure you allocate some time to edit. When you edit, rearrange the ideas logically and put supporting details in the appropriate place.

5- Grammatical mistakes

The first step toward making your writing more effective is ensuring it is grammatically correct. This means using the appropriate tense, verb form, and sentence structure for your subject matter. When practising for the IELTS Writing test, proofread your work carefully and have someone else look at it as well. While familiar with your writing, you may miss mistakes that others will notice immediately.

6- Poorly structured essays

Each IELTS writing task has a suggested structure. Knowing how to structure your IELTS Writing essay is an important skill that can be the difference between getting and not getting your desired band score.

I’ve seen many good essays that didn’t achieve a high band score because their structure was faulty or sub-par. That’s why it’s important to learn the best structure for each task and practice it as much as possible. For example, the most common IELTS Writing Task 2 structure is like this:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1
  • Body paragraph 2
  • Conclusion

7- Lack of topic-essay relevancy

Your essay should address the topic in a relevant and thoughtful way. This means that you must have a thorough understanding of the topic and the question that accompanies it. This will help you write an essay that directly addresses the topic.

Your essay should also be thoughtful, meaning it should respond thoughtfully to the topic. In other words, your essay should be more than a simple restatement of the topic. It should go beyond the topic and express your own thoughts and ideas.

8- Lack of fluency

Your essay should be written fluently and engagingly. This means that you must maintain a certain pace and rhythm in your essay. You must also avoid confusing your readers by using too many complex words and long, complicated sentences.

On the other hand, if you write with many simple words and sentence structures, you might get a low mark on Grammar and Lexical Resource band descriptors. Therefore, it’s essential that you keep a balance and use enough complex words and sentences but don’t overuse them so that your essay is still fluent.

If you write fluently, your examiner will have no problem reading your essay and understanding the thought procedure and ideas you presented.


The best way to prepare for the IELTS writing test is to practice. But practising alone is not enough unless you have your essays assessed by someone trained to evaluate writing exams. That’s why most IELTS candidates take IELTS mock tests to be evaluated by certified IELTS examiners.

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