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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Finding Ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2

Before your test, you need to find and develop your ideas for IELTS writing task 2 topics. Your ideas and the way you present ideas makes up 25% of your marks in writing task 2. So, you need to prepare ideas for common topics.

Follow the links to find a list of common topics for writing task 2 and also to get a list of over 100 IELTS essay questions. You can also follow the next link to see recent IELTS topics and questions posted by students after their IELTS test.

Using the Internet for Ideas

The video below was made by an IELTS teacher called Tony and looks at how to use the internet to find ideas for the topic of Clothing/ Staff Uniforms.

For more tips from Tony, see his site: www.succeedinielts.com

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IELTS Writing Scoring: Are task 1 and task 2 equal value?

Learn about how your IELTS writing test is scored. Many students ask me if writing task 1 and task 2 are worth the same points and how the examiner gives a final total score. This page will explain how your score is calculated for IELTS writing.

Will I get the same score for task 1 and task 2? Are they marked together?

No. Writing task 1 and writing task 2 are marked individually. The marking criteria are not exactly the same. The examiner will give you a band score for writing task 1 and a band score for writing task 2. After that, your final IELTS writing band score is calculated.

Are IELTS writing task 1 and writing task 2 worth the same points?

No, they are not. Writing task 2 is worth more than writing task 1. You get twice the points for writing task 2 than you get for writing task 1. In other words, writing task 2 is about 60% of your marks and writing task 1 is about 30%.

Example of IELTS Writing Scoring:

For example:

Writing task 1 = band score 8

Writing Task 2 = band score 6

Total Writing Score = 6.5

You can calculate your own score:  8 + 6 + 6 = 20/3 = 6.66. Take one task 1 score and two task 2 scores and divide by 3.  IELTS usually round the number up or down to the nearest half score which means it would go from 6.66 to 6.5.

Please note that these scores are only estimated calculations. I do not have access to the precise scoring used by IELTS. Your estimated score will be accurate within 0.5 band score.

Will IELTS tell you your score for task 1 and task 2?

No. It’s a shame but IELTS don’t release that information. So you won’t know what score you got for which task. You will only be told the total final score for all your writing.

Are writing task 1 and writing task 2 marked using the same criteria?

No. Each writing task 1 is scored using 4 assessment criteria. Each of the criteria is worth 25% of your marks for that task. 3 of those marking criteria are the same for task 1 and task 2. But one of the marking criteria is different See below:

  • Task Achievement (Writing Task 1 Only): Information, Overview, Key Features
  • Task Response (Writing Task 2 Only): Ideas, Addressing the Task, Conclusion, Developing Ideas
  • Coherence & Cohesion: Paragraphing, Linking and Referencing
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy: Sentence Structures, Tenses, Punctuation, Number of Errors
  • Lexical Resource: Vocabulary, Collocations, Spelling, Number of Errors

Differences between Band Scores 5 to 8 & How to Improve your Scores:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Scoring & Tips

IELTS Writing Task 1 Scoring & Tips

All IELTS Band Scores Explained

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Employment Competition Essay Ideas

This essay question was reported in April 2015. It is about the employment of older people and the problems this creates.

IELTS Essay Question

Nowadays, more and more younger people need to compete with older people for the same jobs.

What problems does this cause? What would you suggest as a solution?

This essay question focuses on younger people. The instructions ask for problems and solution. Always note whether you are asked to give the causes or the problems.

IELTS Essay Ideas

Problems caused by young and old people competing for work

  • young people will have to compete with older people who have more experience which might mean some young people fail to find work
  • with greater competition for jobs comes more unemployment
  • high unemployment in young people can cause unrest in society leading to problems such as crime
  • if old people are not able to compete with young people, they may not be able to get a job
    • without adequate financial means to support themselves, old people may be thrown into poverty
    • with a growing world population of elderly people, this can be a huge financial crisis

Solutions for young people competing for work

  • one effective solution could be to provide sufficient social benefits for older people to allow them to retire without loosing their standard of living
  • by fixing a clear retirement age over which no one can be employed, it will ensure that the young do not need to compete against older people for work
  • have a fixed quota of jobs set aside for people under a certain age and over a certain age to avoid so much competition
  • another possible answer is to offer a job share between elderly and young people so that both groups can gain some form of employment
  • alternatively, older people could be employed purely to pass on their knowledge and experience to the young rather than taking their positions at work

Alternative Essay Question

Nowadays, more and more older people compete with younger people for the same jobs.

What are the reasons for this? What would you suggest as a solution?

This essay question focuses on older people. You must provide the causes (reasons) why older people compete and also solutions for this situation.

Essay Ideas

Reasons why old people compete with young people for work

  • older people continue being fit for work for longer so wish to continue working
  • some older people do not have enough money put aside for their pensions so must work
  • some elderly people do not want such a long tedious retirement and wish to continue working
  • as older people work for longer, there are less jobs available for the younger generation
  • increased life expectancy raise the proportions of working elderly people

Solutions :

The solutions are the same as given above.

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Positive or Negative Development: IELTS Model Essay

An IELTS model essay for positive or negative development questions. It is common in IELTS writing task 2 to be asked to choose either something is a positive or negative development or trend. Your task is to answer the question in the introduction and explain your answer in the body paragraphs.

IELTS Postive &Essay Question

Nowadays, more people are choosing to socialise online rather than face to face. Is this a positive or negative development?

IELTS Model Essay: Positive or Negative Development?

An increasing number of people meet and talk to their friends online instead of in person. In my opinion, this is a negative development which can lead to isolation, potentially harmful situations and also problems later on in life.

One serious problem that can arise from people socialising online is that it can lead to isolation. Before the internet, people would frequently go out to meet friends, for example in cafes, bars or restaurants, whereas now people prefer to stay at home alone, chatting online. As a result, people are starting to spend the majority of their time alone at home in their room without meeting others. Isolation of this kind is not healthy and can sometimes lead to depression and other issues.

Another issue is that meeting people online can be risky. In other words, people can assume fake identities online as well as hide their true characteristics. This is particularly concerning for teenagers who are impressionable and can easily be led into dangerous situations. Furthermore, as this interaction is online, parents have no way of monitoring it and protecting their children.

Finally, socialising online can end in difficulties years later as conversations and shared photos that had been forgotten reappear. This situation is currently critical for many people, again especially for teenagers who do not think carefully before posting online. That is to say, information which is put online can remain there forever and while people may share intimate communications with close friends, these words can then resurface later on leading to much embarrassment.

In conclusion, although it has become more popular for people to socialise through the internet, it has brought about too many problems for this to be considered a positive trend.

Examiner’s Comments: This essay provides a clear answer to the essay question. The position is clearly presented in the introduction and also explained and supported throughout the essay. Linking devices are well used and ideas are organised logically. Language is flexible and accurate. This would reach band 9.

More IELTS Model Essays:

IELTS Agree Disagree Essay (Opinion Essay)

IELTS Discussion Essay

IELTS Direct Question Essay 

IELTS Solution Essay

All IELTS Model Essays, Tips & Free Videos for Task 2

IELTS Liz’s Online IELTS Course:

Learn how to write essays for IELTS writing task 2 on my online course: IELTS Liz’s Online IELTS Writing Course

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