IELTS Writing Penalty for Being Under Words

There is a penalty in IELTS writing if you write under the word count which is 150 words for writing task 1 and 250 words for writing task 2. How serious is this penalty?

Comments: Word Count Penalty

  1. The examiner will count the number of words if they think it is under the word count.
  2. You should aim to write between 160 and 180 in task 1 and 260 and 280 in task 2 to avoid receiving a penalty.
    • Don’t count the number of words, count the lines you have written instead – it will be quicker.
  3. Some IELTS teachers state it is possible to be a couple of words under the word count but don’t take this risk.
  4. If you write under the word count, you WILL receive a penalty. 

Will I get a lower score if I write under the word limit?

Yes. You will get a lower score as a result of not producing enough words and not completing the task, which is to write over 150 for task 1 and 250 words for task 2.

  1. Practice writing on the official answer sheet to judge the length of your writing on that paper. Follow the link to watch a video lesson about using the official IELTS writing paper.
  2. To learn how words are counted in IELTS writing, see this lesson: IELTS Word Count Advice & Rules

Other things affecting your score

  1. Your handwriting – if the examiner has problems reading your handwriting, your band score can be seriously affected.
  2. Memorised answer – if your essay answer is memorised, it will not be accepted and could result in a 0 band score.
  3. Limited answer – if you fail to answer the whole question and only answer half of it, you will not get above band score 5 in task response.

Is there a penalty for writing too much?

No, there is no upper limit. However, writing too many words does not mean you will gt a better mark. In fact, it might cause problems. See this page: How Many Words is Recommended for Writing Task 2?


For more answers to questions about IELTS writing task 2, follow the link.

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  1. Hi Liz,
    I got this question in writing part 2 : Some people support the developement of agriculture like factory farming and scientific creation , While other oppose.
    Discuss both views;-
    What I Wrote:-
    1 body paragraph:- development of farming for business purpose and greenhouse farming
    2nd body :- ehnacement of technology rather than farming is a better development.

    I know, i am off topic in second body. How much will it effect?? Can you please analayis

  2. Hi Liz,
    I had viewed most of your videos on youtube as my only aid for IELTS preparation. I was able to complete only 50% of writing task 1, I din’t have enough time to explain a few details on one category. I have written introduction, overview and the major difference, my word count is going to be definitely below 150. Could you give a ballpark figure of my score for this task?

  3. Manpreet kaur says:

    Some people think that there are important things in life and they can’t be bought. This is essay topic but i wrote about natural resources. I think i wrote irrelevant. Can i score low in the writing essay task. Please guide me.

  4. For my exam, I have used variety of sentence structure… But I have a habit of writing long essays which would be at least 400 words. Is that a big issue?

  5. Hello Liz.I just had my Ielts exam today and on the writing test I only managed to write Task 2. I started task 1 but I didnt even finish the first sentence in the introduction and the time was up!The essay question was a bit confusing so I struggled making a decision what type of essay it is .
    The topic went like this: Some people think that a country can benefit by hosting major international sport events. Other people think there are more disadvantages from hosting that event.
    Discuss both sides and give your opinion and supporting arguments and examples. So Im honestly confused if it was a Discussion essay or Does advantages outweigh disadvantages. Of course it is made to confuse us .what confused me was the words advantages disadvantages and my opinion.So I made a decision to go with the outweight adv.disadv.essay and in both body paragraphs I gave examples but suported the advantages with a few arguments and explanations for each.Whats the biggest score I can get if only one of the essays is written (if I chose the right typeof essay )
    hope you can give me some aproximate answer .

    • I think the instructions were very clear. Discuss both sides. This means you discuss both sides = a discussion essay. And give your opinion = with an opinion. So, you discuss both sides and give your opinion. It is a basic, standard discussion essay for IELTS. Writing task 1 is worth 33% and writing task 2 is worth 66% (more or less).

  6. Hi Liz,
    Thank you so much for your valuable suggestions.
    I have a small doubt. Can I write IELTS GT essay/letter in alternate lines? ( to avoid erasing nearby words for correction when written in pencil )

    • Don’t do that. It makes paragraphs difficult to see. Write each line and then leave one empty between paragraphs. If you plan your letter or essay enough, you will have less errors to correct.

  7. Hi Liz
    Ma’am I m really worried about my test could you please clear my mind… I did well in ielts writing task 1 but my task 2 wasn’t so good … Let me tell you what I have did … They asked that nowadays companies are using sports events to promote their product.some people think that it has wrong effect on sports. I wrote mostly about their company advertisements through sports events and I said a little about its wrong effects on sports… Could you please tell me to which extent it can effect my score???

  8. I gave my ielts exam yesterday. Listening and reading were fantastic. I think I might score 7.5-8 in these sections. In writing, task 1 was good. I’ve written more words than the word limit but however in the second task I was able to write around 180 words only. What do you think how much score will I get in writing for not completing the word limit?

  9. Sukhvinder singh says:

    Hi ,i gave my ielts test on 14th oct. i had write 210 words in task1 and 300 word in task 2 will my score reduce? For over limit

    • There is no upper limit. But you will be marked down for lack of focus for task 2 and adding too much detail in task 1.

  10. Hi Liz, I gave my Ielts exam today, my task 2 was good. I completed it with more than 250 words. But I didn’t get sufficient time to complete my task 1. I might have written just 100 words. How much score should I expect?

    • Your score will be reduced for task 1 due to lack of words. However, the total score cannot be predicted.

    • Prerna Saxena says:

      Hi ,
      Same thing happened with me. I wrote around 100 words in task 1. Awaiting for results. How much did you score in writing then?

  11. Hi Liz,
    I have been following your blog and it is very helpful! Thank you.
    I am fairly new to the IELTS test. I am planning to take IELTS General Training by mid of October 2017. The responses to IELTS questions have to be given on a paper is it? I was under the impression that our responses will be typed on a computer.
    Thanks for your response.

  12. Mam i have written 385 word in task 2 but this is only written on only one sheet, can my score get effected due to this over writing

    • If you have written a long essay, it usually means it is less focused and includes unnecessary information which will lower your score. Your aim in task 2 is between 270 and 290 words.

  13. DEAR LIZ,
    The question for ielts writing task 2 was

    my answer were mainly 2 point in 2 different body paras
    my opininon- agree with this with parental collaboration
    para 1- topic sentence- school is responsible because a teacher can highly influence her students character
    para 2- topic sentence- parental collaboration is equally important because children try to copy parents.
    my doubt is whether para 2 about parental influence is relevant.
    is it relevant to question

    • This essay question is not about parents at all. It is only about the role of schools.

      • Is it 100% necessary that we should use examples in our body paragraphs?
        I messed up with time and I totally forgotten about writing examples.. can it effect band?

        • It is not necessary to have examples. As long as you explained your points clearly, that’s enough.

          • Lokesh chawla says:

            Thanks so much because i was very tensed following the exam. I have explained my points clearly but the question read that give examples from own experience. So then also they won’t penalise me right ?

  14. Hi
    In my mock tests I write more than 300 words in task 2 and still manage to save some time. I think my answer is good but I get 5.5/6 only. Is it because of exceeding word count??

    • There is no upper word limit. But writing 30 0 words isn’t recommended. Your aim should be to produce a focused, highly relevant essay with no unnecessary information and an essay which is accurate in language. Writing 300 words means you will have made more mistakes. You should aim for between 260 and 280 more or less. See my advanced lessons if you need training:

  15. hello , in task 2 wrote 200 word only ! task one was really nice , however task 2 was 70% good but I ended up with 50 words less 🙁 please tell me what do you think about it?

  16. Felicita Argaña says:

    Hi Liz!
    I’m Felicita, from Paraguay, South America.
    I have a query related to the format of the writing skill.
    I took the test last week and while I was reviewing my task 1 I realized that I had made a mistake. Therefore, I corrected it, but I left some extra spaces between words.
    For example:
    “The most common vehicle in UK was the railway”
    The reason why I mistakenly used extra spaces was because I had to erase some words and write others instead, but I had not time to use all the space of the line before the start of next sentence.
    Would this affect my marks?

    • Felicita Argaña says:

      When my comment was posted the “extra spaces” of my examples didn’t appear.
      The error was to write extra spaces between words in one sentence. I am worried that this will affect my marks.

    • It depends if the examiner understands the full sentence. There are no set rules. If the examiner can see the problem, it’ll be fine.

  17. Hello mam,
    My test was on 6 may. In writing task 1, I mentioned only percentage but did not mention percentage of GDP. I forgot to use word GDP, will it affect my score.

    • It might affect your score for Task Achievement which is about presenting the right information. But there are still plenty of other things being assessed which you can still do well on in task 1.

  18. Hamza Sheikh says:

    Hey Liz,

    I want to get my writing task 1 & 2 marked. What is the procedure?

    Thank You

  19. Hi Liz, I just gave my ielts test. In task 2 of the writing section I only had three paragraphs. An introduction, body and conclusion. Will I get lower marks for not adding another paragraph to the body?

    • Yes, your marks for coherence and cohesion will be lower as you didn’t dived your main ideas into body paragraphs. Hopefully you did well in the other marking criteria. Don’t think about it for now.

  20. Hi liz,
    My husband took his ielts yesterday. He did both his task 1 and 2 really well. However, he dint have enough time and the examiner snached his paper away. So he had just written 1 sentence in his conclusion and his paper was taken away before he could finish the next sentence. How badly will this affect his band score.?

  21. I write out of the topic in ielts academic writing task 2.
    So how many band around i get?
    If there are any chances to get very low band around 3 to 4?

  22. Jagjeet singh says:

    Hello liz,
    Is all helping verbs such as is am are was were are counted as word in Ielts writing.

  23. hello liz,
    Today I gave my ielts exam. But I had some spelling mistake in writting task 2 I wrote “vehical” instead of ”vehicle” I used this word 3 times. will my band score decrease due to this?

    • Spelling mistakes do count as a vocabulary mistake. But band scores are not calculated just by counting errors. You will need to wait for your results.

  24. Hi Liz! Thanks for the resourceful website you have to guide the IELTS examination takers. I wrote my IELTS (academic) module a couple of days ago. Task 2 in writing was about whether criminals released from jail are safe to be in society or not and suitable solution for the problem. Due to lack of time, I managed to squeeze out only one sentence in conclusion. However, I wrote the sentence in a way, it summarized what I wrote in two body paragraphs of the essay and meaning complete. So writing such one sentence summary affect my scores?

    • A lot of teachers recommend having just one sentence for your conclusion. I personally recommend either one or two sentences. It’s completely up to you and won’t affect your score. As long as you have a conclusion and there are main points or a position summarised. Good luck with your results 🙂

  25. Rohit kumar says:

    What happened if count the word and write at bottom, it is good or bad ? Please tell me

  26. will the punctuation and numbers get count as words ?

  27. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for this terrific site and it is really helpful for all the IELTS aspirants like me.

    Is there anyway, I can validate my writing skills with a band score (ofcourse, for FREE)? In that way, I can learn my mistakes and improve my band.

    Your earliest response would be highly appreciated !!

  28. Thanks a lot Liz .In my standpoing You are one of the best teachers throughout the world.I want to ask a question.I got 6 from writing a month ago.Can you give me suggestion to improve my writing skill.Thanks in advance.

  29. Hello Liz,

    Thanks for your very helpful website.
    My question is: could you be more precise about the penalty for an under word count writing task?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Your words are counted by the examiner. If you are under the word count you will lose a band score. How much you are penalised, depends on how many words you are under the word count. So, if your score was 7 but you were under the word count, your score will drop from that point, depending on how much you failed to achieve the word count. The most important thing to remember is to aim for between 160 and 180 words to be sure of avoiding this.

  30. Dear Liz,

    Thank you for existing 🙂
    And, also I do appreciate your work.

    Renctly I finish my IELTS exam, and in the Writing skill, I didn’t achive the word number for task 1.

    Can you please tell me, in the best situation, If hipotheticaly, I did well for every thing else, what band score may I have?

    Thank you in advance,


    • Your writing score is calculated with both task 1 and task 2. Your score for each is determined by 4 criteria. If you were under the word count in task 1, your score will be lowered slightly but no one can predict the final outcome. Task 1 is worth only around 33% of your total writing marks.

  31. matteo de paola says:

    Hi liz! thank you for your terrific website, it’s really helpful.
    I would to ask you one question: in writing task, abbreviations like It’s, there’s, I’m and so on are counted as 1 word or 2? thanks in advance for your response! Wish you the best

  32. Hi
    I had written over 300 words in writing task 2 in ielts in British council. How much penalty for these?

    • There is no upper word limit. However, if you add unnecessary information you will get a lower mark. Also a longer essay means you might have made more grammar or vocab mistakes which will also lower your score.

  33. The topic for task 1 is the problem I faced when I use local public transport . I forgot the word local . I written all about the bad services I hv received when I travelling a flight from mel to Malaysia . Izit there is going to be a serious problem ? Thx u

    • It might affect your score for Task Achievement which is 25% of your marks but the other three marking criteria should be fine.

  34. I have repeated a word of household many times in Task many many marks im gonna lose because of that.

  35. Please reply

  36. george km says:

    hi, I wrote the answer for task 1 on task 2 answer sheet and answer of task 2 on task one answer sheet. Will it effect my band score?

    • I can’t tell you for sure but hopefully the examiner will understand what has happened and not penalise you.

      • hey Liz,
        i just finished my exam and made a mistake in task 1. i thought the letter was for Manager while it supposed to be for employee. could you plz tell me that i will be marked zero for task 1 or still can get marks for my good use of vocabulary, cohesion and lexical resource.

        • You will get a lower mark for Task Achievement which is only 25% of your task 1 marks. You can still pick up good marks for the other three criteria as well as task 2.

  37. Hi Liz,

    Your website has been very helpful to me and to other IELTS test takers as well.

    Could you advise me on how to improve my writing skills? I believe it is my weakness compared to the other parts of the exam. Are there any books that you can recommend for me?

    Thank you very much and keep up the good work!

  38. Hi, Liz! Is it okay to write more than 200 words in academic task 1 of writing ? My lecturer from an IELTS review center in our country gave me a penalty for it.

    • There is no penalty given by IELTS for writing over the word count. However, it is not advisable to write over 200 words. You are being marked on your ability to select information, not to give it all. You must also focus on key features – don’t give too many small details. So, aim for between 160 and 180 words and keep your report focused and well selected.

  39. Hi Liz!

    I just finished my exam earlier but I failed to finish my writing task 1. I only wrote the introduction (paraphrased) then in the 2nd paragraph is my overview (which i think is strong) then the 3rd paragraph was the problem because i only wrote until the first sentence. Do you think until what band score will it only be in task 1? Thank you!

    • You will be marked down on task 1 if you wrote under 150 words. However, task 1 is only around 33% of your writing marks, so hopefully you can still do ok.

  40. Kewal Maharjan says:

    Hey Liz!
    Today I’ve given IELTS test. I wrote 65 words less in writing “Task-2”. My hand-writing is understandable, and the answer also matches with what the question has asked.
    Could you please tell me how much marks could be reduced (minimum)?

    • I can’t say what your score will be but you will receive a penalty for being under the word count. 65 words are a lot of words to miss out. But you can still do well in task 1.

    • Would you mind sharing your writing scores? I am really tensed , I think even I wrote an underlength essay. But I did write well. . I spent a lot of time on task 1 and just couldn’t write more than 200 words in task 2

  41. Hi liz, today i given writting test. major issue is that i didnt wrote writing -1 because of lack of time and also unable to complete my writing task 2. So can u tell me how much score i will get.. Please tell m very worried about it

    • Writing task 1 is worth 30% of your marks so you will lose that if you didn’t write task 1 at all. What your final score will be, I can’t predict.

  42. 10 words under? Really? In the Cambridge exams you lose marks if you are more than 6 words under, but I was told by an examiner that in IELTS you lose marks if you are even a single word under!
    So much conflicting information on the Internet 🙁 I wish IELTS would release their REAL marking criteria, instead of the paired down public one, it is really no use at all.

  43. Hi Liz,

    Thank you very much for your lessons. You are a blessing.

    I am an English teacher and your lessons helped me and my friend. He achieved his goal of getting at least 6.5. I am also planning to take IELTS by the end of this year.

    • Well done to your friend. I’m sure you can learn a lot from him 🙂

      • Dear liz,
        I was out of time in writing exam and missed writing word count at the end of task 1 and may be a line short in the ending paragraph how mich marks can be deducted

        • If you are under the word count, you will get a penalty. It will affect your score for task 1. However, how it will affect your overall writing score, I can’t say.

  44. Dear Liz,
    thank you for your lessons.
    They are really useful!!!
    I have two question about the writing test, I need a score of 6.5.

    I think to be a good writer, but in my last test I got 5.5 because I didn’t write enough word in task 1. Is it possible that the penalty takes off 0.5/1.0 point?

    The second question is: can I write my writing answers in capital letters? My hand writing it is not so clear…

    Thank you


    • You will definitely get a lower mark for being under the word count. Yes, you can write your essay in all capital letters if you want – but it is often slower to do so.

  45. hy i wrote my little bit personal view in conclusion of task 1 would i be having less bands for thatg nd also i stopped in th last 10 sec of the speaking module but i spoked a bit thb examiner said it its fyn how much should i expect the score mam

    • There is no conclusion in task 1 and you don’t offer opinions in task 1. Your speaking is score is marked based on your overall performance, so I can’t predict your score. Fingers crossed!

  46. Hlo liz,
    Yesterday was my exam, i done one mistake
    I wrote ‘the rendered tabular provides’
    instead of ‘the rendered tabular chart provides’
    Will it effect my band score?
    Is it wrong to write only ‘tabular’ ?

    • A table is a table – it is not “a tabular chart”. This counts as using inappropriate vocabulary.

  47. Navjot Singh says:

    Hey Liz !
    I took my exam today and am concerned with writing module. I am confident that my writing skills are efficient enough to score 8 band.
    But the question I want to address is, is it possible to score 9 bands even if I have a spelling mistake?
    There is only 1 spelling mistake in the both the tasks. (to my mind)
    I wrote :
    “The tabular chart JUXTAPOSTS the variation………”
    instead of
    “The tabular chart JUXTAPOSES the variation………”

    • The problem is not just spelling but also use of language. I would never recommend using the language you have mentioned. A table is a table – don’t complicate your language. The more you try to impress, the more mistakes are made with word choice. Lets see how your results are.

  48. Hii liz
    How many time we can use a same word in writing .

  49. Manjot Gill says:

    Hello Liz!! I want to ask you that, is there a sample or an example of a WT1 and WT2 that you can provide?
    I want to know how the ideas are centered in each paragraphs, so with that I can get to know how to write a good WT1 and WT2.
    Thank you!!

  50. Hi Liz,
    As you have said that under-length essay gets penalized. Can you please tell me by how much does it affect the band score? For example if I have written an essay deserving band score 8.0. But I have written only 220 words instead of 250, how many band score points would be deducted? Is there a percentage ?

    • You will receive a lower score for task 2 due to the lack of words. IELTS have not released information regarding how much the score will be reduced by but 30 words is quite a lot to miss. Hopefully your task 1 will help boost your score.

    • Do you mind sharing your writing score here with us?

  51. What do I have to do if I am not aware of a word in question in writing task?

  52. thank you very much for your contribution to IELTS success. may i ask you to publish in your webpage easy IELTS essay templates. I think it will ease writing

  53. hii liz…i wanna ask is yesterday was my exam..nd in task 1 i write it in present tense becoz i overlook the intriduction nd forget to see that the year they gave was it would b in past tense bt by mistake i wrote it in present…so how much bands will be cut for this??

    • It counts as one grammar mistake and grammar is 25% of your marks. I can’t predict your score.

  54. Lovepreet singh says:

    Hey Liz, My IELTS test was held on 18 Feb,2016. I got 6.5 in writing.Here, I’d like to admit that I am not very good at punctuation and also make spelling mistakes sometimes. And at the end of the test, I did not have any time left to revise my writing. I spent over half an hour on W T1 and had only 25 minutes to write on task 2. How can I increase my band score from a 6.5 to a 7 in writing? I hope that you respond to me at your earliest and give me some valuable advise on how I can improve my writing.
    with regards,
    Lovepreet Singh

  55. Hey Lizz,
    hi recently i was appeared for an Ielts test and unfortunately i got overall 5.5 bands. i made some blunders in writing task . I wrote almost 370 words in Part-2 and i was expecting that i might get 7 bands .

    • Writing over 300 words mean that your essay might contain irrelevant or unnecessary information and also it provides more chance of mistakes in vocabulary and grammar which can lower your score. You should be aiming for around 270 words in task 2.

  56. Hi Liz,
    Just recently I did my IELTS Exam,I wrote 267 words in task 1 and in task 2 I ran out of time I wrote about 230 words so what you would think that can I get 6 bands in writing task.

    Best Regards,
    Walid Raza.

  57. Hi Liz,
    I’ll like to say thank you. These free lessons actually helped me achieved my dream score in IELTS. Of all the online lessons I surfed through, yours was the best. Continue the good work.
    L-8.5, R-8.5, S-7.0, W-7.0
    P.S- I was really worried about the writing score after the exams. So glad, I got a 7

  58. Hello liz,
    If you don’t mind clarify for me if one doesn’t write a conclusion in task 2,will this effect the score?
    I’ll appreciate your reply
    Kind regards

  59. Hi Liz,
    If you don’t mind clarify for me if one doesn’t write a conclusion,will this lower the score?
    I’ll appreciat your reply
    Kind Regards

  60. Hi Liz! Just finished my written exams.I’m so worried aboit my writing because I did not finish the task 1 because I ran out of time,had only 10 mins left for the task. There were two graphs.The intodruction i wrote is i think acceptable because i was really in hurry.I think i described all the main parts in graph 1,however i did not have time for the graph 2 and i just ended my conclusion with a summary of only graph 2.I was really panicking. Whatdo u think will be my score in taskm1?I finished my task two and I think It was okay. I am also concer mn about my speaking test because it just lasted for almost 11 minutes only.Does it mean my english is bad?

    — thanks Liz

    • Sorry I can’t predict scores for writing that I haven’t seen. You will need to wait for your writing results to see the impact. For speaking, the test lasts between 11 and 14 minutes – this is for all students. It is not longer or shorter. The actual length does not reflect the final score.
      All the best

  61. Dear Liz,
    There are two questions in the writing part I wanted you to ask you if you please:
    The first question is: Do you know what the penalty for writing task 1 on a writing 2 sheet is when you properly notify the examiner about it during the test? I wrote my task 1 on a task 2 paper and was able to notify the examiner, so she stapled my task one with a blank task 1 sheet and signed on it.
    My second question is what the maximum band score for overall writing you can possibly obtain if you completely miss your task 1? I think there is a chance my task 1 sheet was misplaced and therefore has not been graded towards my final writing score.
    Thank you in advance for you response

  62. Hey Liz,

    I just found out about your site and let me tell you – it’s a treasure of great information!
    I want to ask if there is a penalty for writing more than 150 words in Task 1 (and 250 for t.2 I guess). I don’t ask this in order to brag, it’s a legitimate concern of mine. I start analysing all the points in the bars, charts, tables etc in fear of omitting anything that is considered important. I know that I have to practise pointing out the features that stand out the most and give less details on the other information, but, let’s say that I do emphasize the proper features and that I am on time, but my words exceed the limit, would that have any negative impact on the grade?

  63. can we write more than 200 words in task 1 if we are given a complicated task?

  64. On 20 jan a i done my speaking and 23 jan I done my listening, reading,writing so when a my result will declare on which day in February

  65. Does your first language affects the ielts grading?

  66. Crunchy Soul says:

    Dear Liz, first I really enjoy your blog and appreciate your help to all of us, thank you. I recently participated the January 09th academic test in China and checked my results literally hour ago, I’v been shocked by the results, well, 8/8/5.5/8, as you may guess, 5.5 for the writing. Honestly, writing has always been my short slab, but 5.5 is no way near my anticipation, shamelessly speaking, after the test, I thought writing should archive 7 as minimal. What would be the possible reasons contribute to such a huge gap between my expectation and reality, would you kindly share some of your experiences and insights to this, sincerely thank you.

    • There is a big difference between your writing and other skills. You clearly have a very good level of English. However, IELTS writing is only based on 50% English and the rest is writing technique. You need to understand more about what the examiner is looking for to get a high score. See my advanced lessons for very detailed lessons:
      Good luck!

  67. Hi liz!
    I did my written tests today and im really anxious about my writing. I finished my task 2 well but i messed up with my task 1. I was out of time and i mislooked some of the informations by writing “the number of Asian people ages 18-25” when it was written “ages 18-25 in the Universities in four countries in Asia”. Do you think i have a chance to get an overall writing score of 7. Thank you.

  68. hi dear
    can you count the number of words in below sentence ?
    A good idea for passing exam would be practicing more .

  69. harsh khaira says:

    hi..this is harshdeep.
    i wrote just 122 words in my task 1 .task 2 was totally fine….
    nd task 1 was such that one cannot elaborate it too there is a problem in that task.exam was on december 19 . can i score still 6 .any idea??? Mam/Sir

  70. mam,

    on 19th dec exam.i wrote roughly 254 i have to face any penalty for dat.plz tell me mam bcoz i m so tensed about that and my essay was about taxation.

  71. Hey, Help me Please! Is It possible to get more than 6 for the writing task 2 as I wrote less than 250 words!?

  72. Hello Liz, thank you very much for all the information, I just wanted to ask you if it’s possible to get more than 5 in the writing test if you write less than 250 words. I’ve taken the test yesterday, I think it went quite well in terms of grammar, structure etc but I’m quite sure I’ve written about 230-240 words, even if I didn’t manage to count them.

    • You will get a reduced score if you write under 250 words (although they usually start this penalty at about 240 words). Your final score will depend on how you scored in each of the main marking criteria so it is impossible to predict your score.
      All the best

  73. Munkhtsetseg says:

    Hello Liz,
    I’m applying Master degree and English Academic course in one of the Australian University. They asked me any of English test result. They will process, how many weeks i must study in EAC, based on this result.So i planning to take IELTS on this saturday. And I want to know if i get 4, how much weeks i must study? Just want to know how long i will be in australia.
    Thank you,
    Best regards!

  74. Hi ,Liz!

    Do you think I will still be able to get a band 5.5 in writing task even of I wasn’t able to write a conclusion for task 2( I’ve written more than 250 wordds ,though)?

    Hope you can answer me on this.just had my exam this morning.

    Thank you!

    • I can’t predict your score. You will get band 5 or 5.5 for Task Response in task 2, but I don’t know what you will get for the other three criteria or what you will get for task 1.
      All the best

      • Thanks for answering! I’m just a bit disappointed with myself because I skipped writing a simple conclusion.I was so engross into writing a good body, but I hope to get atleast an over all band of 5.5 for writing test.

        By the way, I’ve watch your youtube videos and they were very informative.

  75. Hello Liz,
    Sorry to bother you again,
    May I know what do you mean with “memorized answer”?
    I meant, your examples are really easy to be applied and memorized, and I have a plan to apply the same of structure on my writing. Of course the topic or question will be different but how they know if we memorized the answer?

    Thank you for your help,

    • The examiner can see when you put in one perfect sentence which is high band score and the rest of your essay contains mistakes. Also students tend to memorise the same sentences which they learn from the internet or from their teachers. It’s very easy to see when students are using memorised language instead of their own words.

  76. Hello teacher Liz.

    I just finished my exam today.. i know i did well in all the subtests but i have a problem with writing section. I was not able to finish my task 1.. i wrote the intro and body but i was not able to finish the conclusion i only wrote the first half of the sentence and also I think the word count’s below 150.. however, i know i did well on task 2.. i wrote more than 260 words and had a strong argument. But i am really worried as my task 1 might pull me down to fail :'( I am so frustrated and scared. I really wanted to pass but my task 1 was a real mess.

  77. Hi,today was my Ielts test and I am really worried about my writing task two because I only managed to write about 200 words and not even the conclusion because I ran out of time.
    However,I did well in writing task 1.
    Can I get 4.5 bands score for task 1?
    Please help.

  78. Hi liz, In my last exam i have got less score in writing.. I used some phrases such as ” It is true that, it can be undeniable that, its quite significant that” Do they consider all these as memorised sentences to lessen the score?? I am confused..

    • They won’t lessen your score but they also will not help your score. They have no value. Just use natural language and avoid fulling your essay with phrases which won’t help your score.
      All the best

  79. Hi Liz,
    I have done my exam today. I felt quite confident in speaking, reading and listening but not in writing 🙁
    I didn’t write 250 words on task 2, my introduction was good and also my paragraphing (i included a conclusion too) but I think I wrote a maximum of 220 words… which is the highest band I can aspire to?

    Hope you can help me!

  80. Hi,
    Today I had my ielts test. My task 1 was above 150 words, and apparently I didnt manage my time well so I only manage to write 230 words in task 2, but I know my points were answering the questions very well approximately how many points will I lose from task 2?

    • Yes, you will get a lower score for task 2 because you write under the word count. I can’t predict what your score will be though.
      All the best

      • Hi again,
        I have been studying from your website and the part, how to use the last 5 minutes helped me so much. When I saw the time it was exactly 5 minutes left and immediately I start writing my conclusion in writing task 2. Is it better to write the conclusion with 230 words or write 250 words but can’t write the conlusion?

        • Fulfilling the task relates to the marking criterion called Task Response and it is 25% of your task 2 marks. If you fail to write a conclusion, you will immediately get band 5 for this criterion. If you write under words, your score will be reduced but how much depends on the number of words you have missed. You did the right thing to get your conclusion written but I hope you wrote over 230 words.
          All the best

  81. Hello liz…i am following ur lessons since 6 months and i have done my exams 3 times ..all the time i got 7.5-8 in all the 3 module except writing….i practised every day before my exams ,still not getting….wht should i do?pls help me..! Thank a lot

    • Thank u liz…i will buy it to know more about techniques….my exam is on end of this month so i dont think i can wait untill your offer starts….

  82. Hi, Liz

    I just had the test yesterday, I’m worried about the writing part now.

    Topic: Is hard working and determination more important for success in life or other factors? Disduss the both sides.

    My structure:
    Paragraph 1. : Paraphase and show my opinion(we should have a balance of all factors)
    Paragraph 2. : Working hard and determination are both important( hier i missunderstood the meaning of determination, i thought it is a soft skill to decide sth. quickly)
    Paragraph 3. : other factors, which are also important in order to succeed, including leaderships or other interpersonal skills for business and a tertiary degree(i think a degree may count as off topic)
    Paragraph 4. : conclusion

    Are the problems i mentioned serious? Can I get above 5.5?

    Thank you

  83. Hi Liz
    what do u mean by (memorized answers) is not accepted?

    • If you memorise a whole essay, you will get band score 0. If you memorise sentences or long phrases, the examiner will ignore them and not count them towards your score.

  84. Hello Liz! I know you are expert in English and I think you are the best person to enlighten me about academic writing task 1. Is it ok to categorize variables? For instance, the graph compares the four countries- japan, usa, thailand and philippines. though not stated in the legend as developing (philippines,thailand) and developed countries (usa, japan), can i use these words in reporting the information?

  85. Good afternoon, i prepare to take IELTS within two months, so if i will send you a writing2 task question and my answer, could you please send me your assessment, notices and advices?

  86. Neeraj Mehra says:

    Undoubtedly, your lessons are guiding lights for IELTS preparation.

  87. Hi Liz,

    I took the IELTS 3 times. I’ve got band 8 and over in all skills but writing which was 6.5 in all three exams. As writing is quite subjective, I am struggling how to improve more. would you give me some advise about that?


    • Hi Pardis,

      I understand your frustration.

      You will first need to get your language assessed for accuracy. If you are producing a large number of errors in vocabulary or grammar, that will be the reason for your results. I have met many students who know a wide range of vocabulary but are not able to use it accurately. Secondly, you will need to look at the your exam techniques and the requirements for band score 7 and above. You must have the right paragraphing and linking, you must be able to fully address the task and present relevant, well delivered, well supported ideas and also you must understand the different types of questions in task 1 and task 2. For understanding the band scores, please see my band score pages under each of the writing sections. Don’t just look at the requirements for band 7, look at the lower scores too to see if there any reason for your score to go down. The more you understand about what the examiner is looking for, the easier it will be for you to deliver.

      If you want to post a piece of writing on this blog, please do so. But remember to add all the above information as well as the full essay question – then I will remember who you are and make sure I give you some comments.
      All the best

      • Hi Liz,

        Thank you for your quick respond. I just wrote a writing task 2 on Microsoft Word. Can I email it to you as I can not copy and paste it here.

        I really appreciate your help and comments.

        Best wishes

  88. Hello Liz, your lectures on YouTube and website are very helpful i wish i knew about it a month ago :). I am here in kabul Afghanistan I took test last month and i got overall 6 (speaking 6.5, reading 6. Writing 5 and listening 6.5) and i am required to have 6.5 for study at UK university. So i am will take IELTS test on 14 March 2015 and now i am practicing your videos and website lectures which are very interesting and helpful. And hey guys if any one interested to discuss IELTS SKILL and tips with me add me on Skype Esmatullah2000.

    • Hi,

      Your reading and writing scores are not high. This is a concern. Doing well in IELTS is not just about learning tips and techniques. You also need to have the right level of English to get the band score you want. If your English level is too low, this might be reason you are getting these marks. If you don’t get the band score you want in March, I highly recommend that you get your English assessed before you book another test. Anyway, I wish you luck for your coming test and if you have any questions about IELTS, let me know.
      All the best

      • Thanks alot Liz for the comment, my English level is not that bad in 5 years study at university all subjects (engineering) were in English language. In last test I felt I knew all but i found out that time is my enemy I was well prepared, so I realise I need to practice more and master the skills so I search and luckily end up on your video’s and website. I will practice and digest ur lectures . I will let you kniw about my test result and will wait your advice

        • Hi Esmat,

          Yes, time is the enemy without doubt in both reading and writing. Feel free to post an essay for me to check. I usually try and give some comments within 1 to 4 days, depending on how busy I am.
          All the best

  89. Hello!
    I want to know about the differences between Academic and GT writing?

    • Hi,

      The differences are in reading and writing only. Listening and speaking are the same for both GT students and academic students.

      In reading the passages are different. GT reading passages are much easier. You will find some more information on my reading FAQ page:

      For writing task 1, GT students must write a letter only. For writing task 2, the essay question is usually more simple but the techniques for learning are the same as for the academic paper.

  90. Hi, Liz!
    Could you make me clear about the penalty?
    How much mark is deducted and with how many words?

    And more, how is the mark of task one and task two is combined for 9 band?

    • Hi,

      IELTS does not reveal the exact band scores relating to being under the word count. However, the fact that you will get a lower score is enough to ensure you MUST aim for over the word count.

      Writing task 2 is worth twice the marks of task 1.

      • Hello Liz,

        I stumbled into this thread just now, after my IELTS exam! I’ve had a serious problem, actually a mix-up! Upon the writing tasks, I noticed the available number of lines was very limited, thus I got very worried and started squeezing in everything to make it fit before reaching the bottom limit line. I think I got it right for task 1, but it took me longer than expected and surely handwriting was not fantastic. Then there was no way I could get all the way up to 250 words on task 2, for I wrote in the text directly to save time already trying to save up space and squeezing things in!.. I think I got only a bit further than 180 words!..
        Then, to my deep frustration, when I delivered the exam answer sheet I finally found out there was *more available space* on the other side of the answer sheet!!.. I got confused, probably as a result of being already tired from the previous parts of the exam. Moreover, I should say that I am pretty sure nothing was mentioned about the possibility of using the other side of the sheet (disclaimer: instructions delivery was, uh, not exactly great).

        Now I am very upset, for I think I’ve done very well in the rest of the exam. This is the second time I’ve taken IELTS, had no issues on the first time, and very much wished to attain a better grade than the previous one. Which surely will not happen this time…

        Have you ever heard of similar mishap? Thanks!
        P.S.: love your online material!

        • I’m sorry this happened and it’s a shame that you didn’t watch my lesson about using the writing paper with a link to download and practice writing using the official paper. You must practice a completely real test before you do the real one. Unfortunately, it will affect your score because you wrote under the word count. I can’t say I’ve heard this happening before but I’m sure it does from time to time. Before you take your next test, make sure you download the real answer sheet and practice using it. Here’s a link to my lesson:
          All the best

          • Dear Liz,

            Yes, I am afraid I will have a lower score because of this mess. I am just not sure how bad it is going to be. In fact I basically concentrated on practicing for the other exam parts, as I had done well in writing on my first IELTS venture. It’s been many years, but I cannot remember any confusion with the answer sheet, thus I assume the explanations given upon the test were much better. This time the responsible person could not really speak good English, thus I am sure some details were missed. I asked around and others also claimed not having understood how much space there was for answering but they found out about extra space behind by fortunate accident. Turning the page to check simply slipped my mind!..
            Well, many thanks for your link and tips, will surely look into them. Will probably come back here to update on how things turned out in the end…

            • It’s just bad luck that you didn’t think of turning the page. I wish you well with your results! It would be great for you to share your results and your experience of the answer sheet because it will prevent other students having this issue.

  91. Hi, Liz!
    Could you help me giving feedbacks to my essay?
    Thank you!

    • Hi,

      You are welcome to post an essay if you wish but I can’t promise to have time to give feedback. You can encourage other students to give a comment and if I have time I might give a comment too.
      All the best

  92. Can you explain to me “Memorised answer”, what does it mean ?
    how can my answer be Memorised answer and how did they know?

    • Hi,

      A completely memorised answer is when a student memorises someone’s essay and then writes it down word for word in their exam. No IELTS exam uses exactly the same essay question so a memorised essay will be very easy to spot because it won’t answer the essay question directly.

      • ok I got it. but if I use key words or some phrases that I have read it before in other essay and I memorised is that okay?

        • Why don’t you give me an example and I will let you know – it needs to be put in a fully paragraph. If the language is used exactly correctly in the right context, then it’s fine. But many students can’t do it correctly and they put a learned sentence or phrase in their essay to get a higher score. The examiner has read most of these learned phrases before and can see if that phrase reflects the level of a student’s English or if it is just memorised.

  93. Hey liz,
    I need to know how ielts people check the structure of ideas in writing task 1 and 2? I mean what is the crietria for marking?
    And also can you please give me handful of ideas relating to introduction to essay type question?
    Thank you

    • Hi,

      Click here to see the band scores from 5 to 8 for writing task 1: See the section on coherence and cohesion – it will explain more about the paragraphs. There is also the same page under writing task 2 on the navigation bar on this site.

      Band 5 – no clear or logical paragraphs
      Band 6 – uses paragraphs but not always well
      Band 7 – good use of paragraphs and each paragraph contains a central topic
      Band 8 – all aspects of cohesion are well mangaged

      To see examples of introductions for each type of essay, please see the model essays. You will be able to see how the background statement and thesis statements are written:

  94. Crystal-clear recommendations ,
    Thank you very much

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