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
- The examiner will count the number of words if they think it is under the word count.
- 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.
- Some IELTS teachers state it is possible to be a couple of words under the word count but don’t take this risk.
- 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.
- 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.
- To learn how words are counted in IELTS writing, see this lesson: IELTS Word Count Advice & Rules
Other things affecting your score
- Your handwriting – if the examiner has problems reading your handwriting, your band score can be seriously affected.
- Memorised answer – if your essay answer is memorised, it will not be accepted and could result in a 0 band score.
- 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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