My approach to IELTS writing task
I understood my weakness. I am in haste. This is detrimental to the entire IELTS endeavour. Anxiety-related hasted KILLS! I wanted a systematic (mindful may be) approach to the task which would help me relax as well as use maximum time allotted.
So here is what I did:
I practice on the writing answerscript template that my trainer shared with me. I printed about 25 copies of this and bound it into a workbook. I keep an extra dark pencil, sharpener and eraser handy. I haven’t decided between the test formats. So I continue to practice with paper. Here’s the plan:
- Take a deep breath and read the first question. And glance at the second to be sure that it is there. I choose not to read the second question at this juncture for two reasons: (a) I want the 15 minutes dedicated to task one. I don’t want to get a riot of thoughts leading me nowhere. (b) I want to rule out any possibility of relative anxiety and excitement.
- I make use of a rough sheet or empty space to jot down the skeleton structure of task 1. I take about 2 minutes for this. Every pointer in this skeleton draft serves as the guide to develop my work on the answerscript. This way I would have my thoughts gathered and documented on the rough sheet. With a short attention span and anxiety, I may forget what I brainstormed. Further, each pointer helps me recall what I thought of. I am able to ensure coherence and cohesion. I take a maximum of 13 minutes to complete task 1 including counting the number of words.
- Then I move to task 2. I read the question carefully. I try to comprehend the question. Both tasks require persuasive writing. As advised by my tutor, I don’t jump into the stand I wish to take. I brainstorm and jot down pointers for both views/stands. I review which perspective has more valid points and I go with that.
- In this stand, I mark what is my main idea 1, supporting idea 1 and an example. I also identify main idea 2, supporting idea 2 and may or may not give an example.
- Once I have identified my stand, I develop a skeleton structure for task 2. I roughly think about the introduction and jot it down. Then for para 2 and 3 respectively, I write the pointers for the main ideas, supporting ideas and corresponding examples. Finally, indicate the conclusion. I also indicate certain discourse markers because my tutor often tells me that I need to connect my statements using such connectors which I fail to do. Using discourse markers adds to the persuasive tone.
- I start writing the essay using the pointers as a guideline. Before I write the conclusion, I do the word count to check for any deficiency and prepare the conclusion accordingly.