Is Cursive Writing Recommended for IELTS?

Many students have been asking me about cursive handwriting and the best style of handwriting to use in the IELTS test. So, I want to explain to you what the examiner is looking for in your essay and how your handwriting will affect your score.

Can you use cursive script in IELTS writing?

Yes, you can use any style of handwriting you want. It is completely your choice.

Is it better to use cursive writing?

It is neither better nor worse. It makes no difference to your score.

HOWEVER, if your writing is difficult to read, you might lose points. If the examiner can’t read it, he or she won’t be able to give you a high score. Your writing MUST be clear and easy to read at all times!!

More Hand Writing Tips:

See the following link for Tips on Using Pen or PencilIf you want to learn about practicing your hand writing on the answer sheet for IELTS writing, see this link: Official IELTS Writing Task 2 Paper & Tips

Should you indent your paragraphs? See this page to learn about indenting or leaving an empty line between paragraphs:

You can find more tips and model essays for writing task 2 on the Main Writing Task 2 Page. All other main pages for other parts of the IELTS test can be found below. For advanced writing task 2 lessons, see my online store: IELTS Liz Store

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Writing Task 2 Topics Oct 2016

Below are IELTS writing task 2 topics reported in the test this month. Which do you think is the most difficult?

October Writing Task 2 Essay Questions

  1. The advantages of English spreading as a global language will continue to outweigh the disadvantages. To what extent do you agree or disagree.
  2. The range and quality of food we can buy has changed due to technological and scientific advances. Some people believe the range and quality of food has improved while others consider it may be harmful. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.
  3. Do you think the care for elderly relatives should be with family or professional care?. Give your opinion.
  4. Some people think university education is important for success while others disagree.Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  5. Nowadays people research their family history, some people say this is useless and we should instead focus on present and future generations. Share your opinion.
  6. Major countries nowadays face traffic problems. Describe the situation in your country and discuss possible ways to overcome it. (GT test)
  7. In many countries, people are not taking care of their elderly relatives but seeking help of professionals to look after them. Do you think this is a positive or a negative development ? (GT test)
  8. It is generally discussed among the public that extreme sports such as sky diving and rock-climbing should be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

To see more essay questions and speaking topics for October, see this page: IELTS Recent Exam Questions

To purchase advanced training in writing task 2, see my: Advanced Writing Task 2 Lessons

For the main page of writing task 2 tips, follow the link.

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Background Statement Practice

A background statement is the first sentence of an IELTS essay. It is written to introduce the essay question by paraphrasing it. Below you will find an IELTS writing task 2 essay question with model background statements. Also watch the video lesson below to learn how to write an introduction properly.

Essay Question

GOVERNMENTS SHOULD NOT INVEST IN ARTS SUCH AS MUSIC AND THEATER. GOVERNMENTS MUST INVEST MORE IN PUBLIC SERVICES.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU AGREE?

 Background Statements
The background statement below is good and the techniques used are fine. However, it contains two errors. Can you spot the mistakes?
It is considered by many that government should spend more funds on public welfare rather than investing in art, for instance,music and theatre.
It contains two mistakes. Can you find them?
Answers: Click below to reveal the answers
Answers
  1. article “the” – it should be written “the government”. Missing “the” and “a” from sentences is one of the most common grammar mistakes that students make.
  2. Public welfare is not the same as public services. Public services relate to public transport and the health system. However, public welfare relates to benefits for unemployed or sick people.

 

Model Background Statement

Some people think that the government should spend more money on public services instead of using their budget to support the arts, for instance theater and music.

Full introduction

One Sided Approach

Some people think that the government should spend more money on public services instead of using their budget to support the arts, for instance theater and music. In my opinion, I fully agree that money should be spent on public transport and the health system as it is a waste of resources to fund the arts. (56 words)

Balanced Approach

Some people think that the government should spend more money on public services instead of using their budget to support the arts, for instance theater and music. In my opinion, although more investment is needed in public transportation and the health system, the arts play an important role in society and should not be ignored. (55 words)

How to write an Introduction for IELTS Essays

Watch this video to learn how to write both a background statement and a thesis statement for an IELTS opinion essay.

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Can I write a long introduction for my IELTs essay?

How long should your introduction paragraph be for IELTS writing task 2? Some students write two sentences (about 50 words) while other students write three or four sentences (about 70 words).

How long should my introduction be?

You should have two statements for your introduction. You should have a background statement which introduces the essay question and a thesis statement which introduces your position or main points. This means you will write about two sentences.

Can I write a longer introduction?

There is no reason to write a longer introduction. The only reason for the introduction is to introduce the essay topic and your position, any other information is unnecessary. Unnecessary information is a waste of time and shows a lack of focus for a short, concise essay.

The key to a good score for your IELTS essay is to write strong body paragraphs which each contain a clear, relevant main point that is extended and developed. So, don’t waste more time adding more to your introduction. You will be marked down if your essay includes unnecessary information or lacks focus.

What about a hook?

Many essays have a very general sentence at the start of the introduction to get the readers interest. For example “In the modern world, technology is playing an increasingly important role“. This is not needed in IELTS. You just need to introduction the essay question and then introduction your position or ideas. You must use your time wisely and spend more time planning your ideas and writing your body paragraphs.

How can I write a good introduction for IELTS writing task 2?

Just follow this link to a free video lesson on how to write an introduction for writing task 2.

Is the introduction the same for GT writing task 2?

Yes, the technique and aim for the GT essay is the same as the academic essay. That means all tips, models and lessons given on this blog can be used by ALL IELTS students.

 

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Should I Indent my Paragraphs in IELTS Writing?

Many students ask me if they should indent the first sentence in a paragraph for IELTS writing task 1 and task 2. Let me explain …

In the old days, before the days when most people used computers, it was common to leave a space at the start of each paragraph. This helped the reader to know which sentence is part of a new paragraph and which is not. Nowadays, however, we don’t use this practice.

Currently, when writing by hand or typing on computers, you should leave one line empty between each paragraph rather than indenting. So, when you write your IELTS essays or your writing task 1, just start your sentences at the beginning of the line and when you have a new paragraph, miss one line.

Leaving one empty line between paragraphs is the easiest way for examiners to see your paragraphs. If the examiner can’t see your paragraphs, you will get a lower score because 25% of your marks (Coherence & Cohesion) relates to the use of paragraphs.

Can I indent and leave a line between paragraphs?

It is not necessary. Just aim to leave one line empty and don’t indent.

Will I lose marks if I indent my paragraphs?

No. It’s not wrong to indent but it’s better to leave one line empty instead. The key is making your paragraphs very clear for the examiner and having one empty line is much clearer.

Do I need paragraphs?

Yes, you need paragraphs. Your score will be reduced if you don’t use paragraphs.

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IELTS Writing Questions July 2016

Here are some IELTS writing task 1 and task 2 questions for July 2016. These questions and topics have been reported by students who have recently taken the IELTS test. You can follow Recent IELTS Exam Questions by clicking on the link.

Writing task 2 Questions July 2016

1. Many people regard films as a less important form of art than literature and painting. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

2. Studies have shown that children are spending more time watching television and less time doing active or creative activities. Explain why this is the case. Suggest possible measures that can encourage children to participate in active or creative activities.

3. The responsibility to prevent and reduce global environmental damage is for politicians rather than individuals. How far do you agree or disagree?

4. Some believe children should have activities organised for them during their free time, whereas others think children ought to plan their own free time. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Writing Task 1 Question July 2016

1. A table giving information about the number of students in 6 departments (Maths, English History, Modern Languages, Chemistry and Physics) in an Australian University in 2009.

2. A line graph showing the difference in incomes between men and women from 1978 to 2008.

3. A table giving information about the weekly expenses of retired single people and couples in terms of housing transportation, clothing, food etc.

4. A line graph and table: a line graph about the min and max temperature over a year, and a table about the amount of rainfall (cm) and sunshine (h/day) in every month. Both relate to Glasgow.

Both are for the academic test

Advanced Training for IELTS Writing Task 2: Liz’s Advanced Writing Lessons

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Relocating businesses outside cities: Essay Ideas

Here are some ideas for questions and essays about relocating businesses outside city centers to regional areas. This is a common IELTS topic in writing task 2 and also speaking part 3.

In some countries, the government is encouraging businesses and industries to move outside city centers and relocate to regional areas.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

Advantages of businesses being outside urban areas

  • Land prices are cheaper and more available in rural areas which is beneficial to businesses. Many overheads will be cheaper.
  • Workers in regional areas can be hired for a lower salary.
  • Industry and business can often produce pollution so locating them away from residential areas is sensible.
  • Raw materials are located in rural areas so it makes sense for many businesses to be situated nearer their required resources.
  • Local communities usually support the arrival of new businesses as they bring jobs. This local support can be beneficial for businesses.

Disadvantages of relocating businesses

  • The infrastructure is sometimes less developed in rural areas which can be a problem for businesses.
  • Internet connection may not be reliable and this can adversely affect companies.
  • Workers in rural areas may be plentiful but they might not be as skilled as those in urban centers. A lack of skilled, experienced workers can be a problem for some companies.
  • For many companies, their customers are in city centers so moving away from their customer base is not beneficial.

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IELTS Tips: How words are counted

Learn how your words are counted in IELTS. This page explains about counting words, numbers and symbols. You need to know how words are counted for IELTS listening, reading and writing. If you make mistakes with the number of words, you can lose points which can affect your band score.

How words are counted in IELTS

1. Numbers, dates and time are counted as words in writing. For example 30,000 = one word  /  55  = one word  /  9.30am = one word / 12.06.2016 = one word. In listening, 30,000 is counted as one number and 9.30AM is also counted as one number.

2. Dates written as both words and numbers are counted in this way: 12th July = one number and one word.

3. Symbols with numbers are not counted. For example, 55% = one number (the symbol “%” is not counted as a word). However, if you write “55 percent” it is counted as one word and one number.

4. Small words such as “a” or “an” are counted as one word. All prepositions, such as “in” or “at” are also counted. All words are counted.

5. Hyphenated words like “up-to-date” are counted as one word.

6. Compound nouns which are written as one word are also counted as one word. For example, blackboard = one word.

7. Compound nouns which are written as two separate words, are counted as two words. For example, university bookshop = two words.

8. All words are counted, including words in brackets. For example in IELTS writing, “The majority of energy was generated by electricity (55%).”. This sentence is counted as 9 words. The number in brackets is counted.

Tips

Advanced IELTS Writing Lessons: Liz’s Advanced Lessons

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