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

Main IELTS Pages

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Comments

  1. Hello Liz,
    Is is good to add quotes, idioms and proverbs in essay?

  2. Kerolos Sameh says:

    Hello Liz ,
    May I ask if bad hand writing will affect my score ? I have heared before that candidate with unclear hand writing can not achieve band 7 in writing .

    Thanks in advance

    • If the examiner can’t read it, you will get a low score. The examiner must be able to read your writing.

  3. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for a great website.

    Regarding memorization, will IELTS compare my wordings and phrasing from previous exam attempts? I came up with a good introduction on my first attempt that I intend to reuse, if applicable, also on the succeeding attempts. After reading your scoring scheme I am afraid it might be taken as memorized. It will go with the style and level of the rest of the paper.

    Thank and regards,
    Hakan

    • How can you plan your introduction – you don’t know what topic you will get. If you plan to use a hook sentence to start your introduction, then it shows a lack of focus and relevancy which will lower your score. Do not memorise language (for example – a full sentence) to use in your essay.

  4. Hojiakbar Sobirov says:

    Is it possible to use BY AND LARGE insted of IN CONCLUSION?

  5. Gaurav Kaushik says:

    Hi Liz,
    I really find the blog useful. I have a query regarding the GT Writing Test2 and looking towards you for suggestion . Whether we should write ” its is being said by few people” or ”it is said by few people”. which one is correct or better to write
    Thanks
    Gaurav

    • Gaurav Kaushik says:

      Sorry there’s a typo in the query. “It’s being said by few people” or “It is said by few people”. Which one is correct or better to write ?

      Thanks
      Gaurav

    • It is best to say “It is believed (or thought) by some people that …”. If you write “few people” it means not enough people. If you write “a few people” it means just a handful (so to speak) – so avoid that and write “some”.

  6. Jean Chau says:

    Hi, I have a question regarding writing task 2. Say I have neglected to discuss both sides and only focused on one side, will this badly affect my score?

    Thank you !

    • If you don’t fulfil the task or the instructions, it will affect your score for Task Response which is 25% of your marks.

  7. Hi Liz,

    My ielts general score is L- b, R-8.5, S-8 unfortunately I mange to get on 6 in writing. I am feeling depressed and not feeling like giving exam again. Could you please help me with the writing section.

  8. hello Liz
    i just wrote me LRW test in south africa.
    Liz in writing task 2 , i think i deviated from the question been asked. Do you think i will be penalized for not understanding the task properly ?

  9. Shilan H. Shkur says:

    Hi liz
    Can you explan speaking test criteria for all part pleas ?

    • The speaking test is not marked on parts. The examiner decides your score at the end of your test. See the criteria on this page: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-band-scores/

      • Parneet says:

        Hi Liz
        I do extraordinarily good in my writing. i do not have problem with grammar or anything else. I filled around four pages while writing essay but still my overall Writing band score was 6.5. i am really disappointed. What to do?

        • I don’t understand about filling 4 pages. A long essay doesn’t give you a higher score. You should be aiming for between 260 and 280 words in writing task 2.

  10. Bishal gurung says:

    hy mam
    i practise daily by your website
    mam my exam is after 1 month
    i can do well in others but i cannot do good in readimg
    i become fery frustated while reading
    my answer become more wrong specially
    true/false and paragraph heading
    …so plz mam give me some useful technique
    so that i can do better in reading

  11. Hi..
    I want some question paper for Mauritius..

  12. hie i heard in academic writing task 1 specially in pie chart question , in exam will get only 1 pie chart no other graph associated with it,only in general u wer getting 2 combine graphs but in academic u wont.is it true?

    • Sorry, I don’t understand your English. You will need to write your comment again without mistakes so I can understand.

  13. Adikkappan says:

    Hello Liz – Why is that task 2 score counted twice in your calculation?

    Writing task 1 = band score 8
    Writing task 2 = band score 6
    Total Writing score = 6.5

    Why is it calculated as ((8 + 6 + 6)/3) as against (8 +6)/2?

    • Writing task 2 is worth twice as much as task 1. Band 6 counts for 66% and band 8 only 33%. The total is 6.5 as a band score.

  14. sai ashish says:

    I have a doubt regarding ielts writing score criteria for example if i get writing task 1=7
    and writing task 2= 5.5. Overall how much band score i will get in ielts wrting section

  15. I would really appreciate some feedbacks on my writing, and, if possible, give it a band score. Thanks

    Topic: More and more people are relying on the private car as their major means of transportation. Describe some of the problems over reliance on cars can cause, and suggest at least one possible solution.

    Answer:

    The increasing preference of using private vehicles as the means of transportation has caused an array of issues in many parts of the world. This essay will examine some potential impacts that this trend has on society and suggest some feasible solutions to ameliorate such backlash.

    Predominantly, the rise of private vehicles has led to a number of issues which severely affect the quality of life of the people. To begin with, this trend is the root cause of traffic congestion in many metropolitan areas. More vehicles simply mean more traffic; road infrastructures are unable to keep up with such a sudden increase, thus lead to traffic jam. In addition, this malpractice is one of the contributing factors to pollutions which affect us day by day. For example, the amount of burning fossil fuels significantly increase in order to fire up the engines of the millions vehicles. This translates that the severity of the pollution to the environment are gradually rising due to the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted to the atmosphere. Apart from this, noise pollution is also derived, though partially, from the increasing number of vehicles, and it tremendously degrades the quality of life people used to have before the advent of the development.

    This, however, is not an impossible-to-solve issue if proper measures have been in place by the government and individuals. First of all, heavy tax can be introduced by the government in order to deter commuters from tempting to use their private means of transport, due to its high cost. At the same time, it also encourages people to start using public transportation. Individual people can also contribute to solving this matter. Carpooling, for example, is an effective solution to traffic congestion, and should well be adopted by many, so that, instead of one car for one person, a group of four or five can share if their destination is identical.

    In conclusion, although increasing number of vehicles poses some serious issues to the society, it can still be easily resorted if everyone joins hands and takes some serious steps to solving it.

    • Did you learn this sentence from a book or website? “This essay will examine some potential impacts that this trend has on society and suggest some feasible solutions to ameliorate such backlash.”. The examiner will not accept learned sentences.

      • Hi there, I have been using this kind of style for years. I was wondering if you could give me a score on the essay.

        Regards,

        • This is not about writing an academic essay. It’s about writing an IELTS academic essay. This means not using learned phrases. It is a language test so you can’t memorise language in such large parts. You really need to learn more about how the examiner marks your essay. Sorry, but I don’t offer free marking or free scoring.

          • Hi Liz,

            I don’t really get the point why you keep saying I used learned phrases. This is not that sophisticated that I need to incorporate in my essay. Honestly, this came out of my experience from years of writing. I am just so new to IELTS but I may take this as a bit offensive. I have followed your website as suggested by some of my friends who managed to score high in the test, so I decided to give a shot in writing and hoping to get some feedback, yet I came to this. Thanks for letting me know that I my own writing is an alleged learned phrase despite grounded evidence.

            • I am trying to help you, not criticise you. I have been trained as an examiner and know how the marking is done. This is not the way to write a thesis statement in IELTS. It is 100% correct as a thesis statement for other essays, but not for the IELTS test. It does not relate to the task and will definitely not help your band score. Let me show you a good thesis statement for IELTS:
              This issue can lead to both traffic congestion and increased pollution, therefore feasible solutions need to be considered to tackle the problem.
              In this thesis statement we are presenting the causes directly and mentioning solutions will be made. This is the right technique. Your introduction is not to tell the examiner what the essay intends to do – he/she knows this already – the examiner has the instructions. Your aim is to present your main points or position.
              While I can see you are upset, I rarely give free feedback on essays. I suggest that instead of getting upset about it, you learn from it. This is the main page for writing task 2 where you can find plenty of techniques explained: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/.
              However, this is your exam and your choice.

              • Hi Liz,

                I really appreciate for your continuous replies. It definitely sheds a beam of of light on how I should approach IELTS. I may end up following my style had it not for this comment of yours.

                Also, the word counts is about 350, which is quite a lot. I am not sure if this is commonly suggested, or I should try tightening it up a bit. Also, I would be more than grateful to learn some comments of yours regarding my body paragraphs and conclusion. I actually aim for 7 in writing.

                Thanks again 🙂

                • It is not recommended to write over 280 words for your essay. Some students with strong English and focused ideas (your level is strong) can get away with about 300 but not more. There’s no upper limit but you are marked on your ability to write a focused, relevant essay. Also more words might equal more mistakes with grammar and vocab which will definitely lower your score. You certainly have the ability to hit 7 in terms of your language skills. If you take the exam twice you can play around with techniques and see what happens.

  16. Hi!
    Today was mine ielts test I ran out of time in task 1. I wrote that table about half but unfortunately I ran out of time and didn’t write it’s conclusion I only wrote it’s information and paragraph 1 in task 1. However I had completed my task 2. Would it affect my band score?

  17. hi miss,
    I took ielts exam today and the topic was that you discovered a website , write a letter to your friend that how that website could be useful for your friend in his or her studies??
    by mistake , I wrote that I made a website in my study ND I told her about that , how it could be useful for her ?
    Do I have written off topic ?

    • You have done off topic as you have not written about a website you have discovered and instead you wrote about a website you made. However, you did complete the prompts as you explained how it could be useful. So, it means you will be penalised for Task Achievement but don’t worry too much as you did partially complete the task. I can’t tell you how you will be scored as your score depends on many other factors. Good luck!

  18. Abdullah Ali Ibrahim says:

    My dear
    Thank you very much, actually your manner teaching is strong.
    I wish you be success in the life.

  19. plz tell me how i can improve my reading .also i face problem in writing task 2 becz i get confused in sentence formation when i have to use has/have/had/been .i know about their active and passive rule even thn it becoming mine weakest point in writing .plz solve this problem.

  20. Dear Liz
    I really want to thank you for your help and I want to tell you that I got 6.5.

  21. hello teacher , thank you very much for the videos you really helped me espicially in writing .Yet , i would like to ask you one question in writing task 2 I gave my own opinion in conclusion responding to the question that I did in the introduction . is it correct or not ?

  22. Hi, I have one doubt about the marking….if task 2 is worth twice that of task one then task one should be worth 33.33% ?? And task 2 66.66%?? As x+y = 100% and if y=2x then x+y=3x=100. Therefore, x = 33.33 and y = 66.66!!! But in your description, task 2 and task 1 is worth only 60% and 30%, respectively. But this will total to 90% only

  23. Hi Liz!

    I’ve got a question that may sound silly…
    When writing my answers on the answer sheet, I capitalised the first letter of my answers.

    Eg: 1. Capital
    2. Letters

    Is that likely to be an issue?

    Thanks,
    Kunal

  24. Jaloliddin says:

    Hello lady Liz can I ask question?Today I had ielts exam everything was allright but Icould not write task1 at all but Iwrote task2 completely.Coud you tell me will I be able to get at least 5 from writing

  25. Hello my dear unique teacher ,
    Thank you is the least thing that I can say in your dignity , talent and your generousness.
    The god of the goodness bless you .
    Sincerely yours .The mathematic teacher Saleh .

  26. Roberta says:

    Hello Liz..could you correct one of my writing task 2?

  27. Hi Liz,

    I have just completed my IELTS. I didnt do very well on the writing section. Task 1 was was good. However, I ran out of time for task 2 and didn’t measure up to the word limit. I wrote only 22 lines averaging 9 words per line (total word count should amount to 198). How would this could affect my score?

    • Your score will be reduced for writing task 2 if you are under words. I can’t tell you how many points you will lose. Wait and see your results. At least you will know the reason for any low score.

  28. vishal sharma says:

    hello Mam,
    I have a question. can i write “I” or “we” in task 2.
    plz reply.

    thanks.

  29. Hello Mam I Want to Improve My Score in Writing Task. I Never Get More Than 6 Band What Should i Do?

  30. Hi Liz, i just took my ielts exam and i think i did quite badly in writing task 1. I was rushing time with only 10 mins to finish task 1, spent too much time in task 2. I think i didnt really fully explain the graph, paragraphs are well-structured but lack in tenses and a good conclusion. By how much band score will it affect?

  31. sajjad hossain says:

    hi, i am sajjad hossain. i have been planning to take ilts test shortly.however,your lesson help me a lot which you have been uploading in youtube in terms of every sectors. but,i m facing problems about reading module and i m trying my best according to ur suggestion.in addition,i m worried about my writing quality.i don’t have such opportunity to check it . Is there any way to check my script ??? just only knew my writing quality . could u hlp me??? OR if you give ur mail id

  32. KALEEMULLAH says:

    From where, i can check writing task 1 and task 2 free.
    And the another thing that i don’t know that where i should use commas.

    • Sorry, I don;’t know anywhere you can get your writing checked for free. To learn about punctuation, just google grammar and punctuation online.
      All the best
      Liz

  33. I found free essay correction service: http://ielts-up.com/ielts-writing-correction.html
    It’s just great!!

  34. Hi Liz. Can you help me to know my task 2 score if i post essay here ? or how can i send you essay in order to you read it and tell my score ?

  35. Behnam masoud zahedian says:

    Hi Liz;
    First of all thank you for your lessons for us;☺️☺️
    And appreciate you so much🌷
    I have a question:
    If my writing task 2 will be less than 250words what happen???
    I want to know is it a terrible problem?!?😔😔

    • You will be marked down if your writing for that task is 10 words below the limit. I can’t predict what your final score will be.
      All the best
      Liz

  36. hey Liz
    please can you help me
    my Reading skills are so poor
    I got only 20 answers from passage
    its not increase And I want 6.5 bands
    How it will be improved???

  37. Hi Liz, thank you for the useful information which you post here. I have question about listening section, on the andwer sheet in some words I wrote the letter “I” instead of small “i”. Will it affect my score? Maybe it is foolish question, but It really worries me.

  38. Hi Liz! I am taking my exam tomorrow. I am taking the time now to thank you whether I pass or fail. Your site has been a great great help to me. More power and God bless!

  39. Hey Liz,

    I have a few queries on the listening test. In one of the sample tests I gave, below are my answers and the answers as per the answer key:
    1. My answer: “4 PM”, Key: “4”
    2. My answer: “Every second day”, Key: “Once in 2 days”
    3. My answer: “22nd October, 1998”, Key: “22 October”
    4. Is there any difference between writing a number ‘5’ or in words ‘five’?

    Appreciate your help,
    Sharan

    • Question 1: If the question was “he arrived at …….pm” then you should only give a number because the letters “pm” are given in the question. For other issues, you must write only the words you hear – not the meaning, the exact words. For dates, you write what you hear and can write using either American or UK methods. If you write the year or not, depends on how many words and numbers you can have in your answer. All numbers should be written as numbers.
      All the best
      Liz

  40. Hi Liz,

    Have a question on listening text. A few sampkes I checked required to fill up time li,e 7:30 pm, when I checked response it was mentioned as 7.30 pm , now does this : and . Make a difference if you can advice please?

  41. Hey liz…how can improve listening and understanding skill??coz while reading i forget the things that are given firstly

  42. Madam!how could I improve my reading and listening skills

  43. hi liz! May I ask if it’s true that the one who checks the writing tests are the trained locals and not those that are in Cambridge? If it’s true, how reliable and accurate are they in checking the answers?

    • IELTS examiners are people who have been accepted and trained by IELTS. They may be local people who have been trained and have passed the training or not. The training is intensive and all examiners are able to score accurately. They are also checked regularly by IELTS. So don’t worry – all examiners are experts at marking.
      Liz

  44. Everything looks clearer with your explanation! Thank you very much.

  45. Thank you so much for shares, Liz!
    Regards.

  46. Madam, how could I improve my reading skills

  47. Heyy, do you think It is better to start from Task 2 and after that come back to Task 1?

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