Where can you plan your essay for IELTS writing?

Hi guys,

A lot of students have asked me if they can get extra paper to write a plan for their IELTS writing task 1 and writing task 2. They want to know what paper they can use for planning.

Planning is an essential part of your writing. 50% of your marks is based on choosing information, deciding how to present it and planning organisation. This means all ideas need to be planned in full before you start writing. See this page about Tips for IELTS Essay Planning.  You can find the marking criteria for writing task 2 on this page: IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Score

Where can you plan your essay?

The answer is that you use your question paper to write your plan.

At the end of your test, you will hand in your question paper. BUT the examiner will not see it and it will not be marked. So, you need to use the question paper to plan your writing for task 1 and task 2.

Please share any of your tips or experience for essay planning in the comments box below:


  1. Hi, can examinators see my question paper or they just dont assess it?

    • The examiner who marks your writing will receive only your answer sheet. For this reason, you plan your essay on the question paper – as explained on the page above.

  2. Kristel Carollane Reclusado says

    Is it incorrect if I write the plan in the official test paper?

  3. Thanks

  4. jaskaran Thiara says

    Thanks so much ♡

  5. jaskaran Thiara says

    Thnku So Much ♡

  6. Good information.Thanks.Please I need more reading passages to practice.How can I get it?

  7. hi Liz
    thanks for all your advices

  8. memoona amin says

    Thanks Liz ma’am you are really a good teacher of ielts…your work iz appreciable…

  9. Hlo Liz can u tell me how to generate more ideas in task 2 ???? Plz

  10. Dear Liz,

    I must begin with thanking you for the rich resource your website is for all IELTS aspirants.
    May I ask then of the format in which we must write on Answer sheet? I am aware about one line gap between two paragraphs and no indents but could you please share a picture somewhere of the format we can safely use?


  11. Ketsalinh Lamphaiphanh says

    I’d love to improve my ideas for brainstorming before starting to write as I cannot brainstorm or think of supporting details quickly for some topics. Although I have never taken the real IELTS exams, I need to know further strategies and make sure that I understand and have good ideas in that area. Thank you very much for being a great source of help!!!

  12. Karamjeet kaur says

    Yes mam, I have lot of problem in writing module, specially in task 2 . So how can I improve.

  13. I am a great fan of yours ma’am. I used your website for my practice while preparing for IELTS. I wrote my IELTS Gt exam on the 19th of August, 2017 waiting for my results.
    I am very pleased with the way I did my speaking, listening and reading. But for the writing section I am some what scared… Bcos I did not practice the later well before jumping into the Hall. My problem was with the conclusion I remembered you said it’s like 25% of the mark. Although I started out with the phrase “In conclusion” and proceeded to using an adage ” not all that glitters is gold” be proud of who you are. In this I failed to make my position clear as advised by you. So I am scared I might loose a valuable point for my conclusion.
    I will encourage future test taker to take time out to practice the writing well before taking the exam. If possible they should subcribe to Liz writing advance class.. it’s well worth the price.
    Thank you.

    • I did not say that the conclusion was 25% of the marks. I said the conclusion is part of Task Response (TR is 25% of your marks). The conclusion MUST be written but it has little value otherwise. The marking criteria for task 2 are explained on this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2-band-scores-5-to-8/. On my main writing task 2 page there is a link about using idioms (such as “not all that glitters is gold”) and I explain they are not good to use in formal essay writing for IELTS: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/. It sounds like you still have a chance to do well with other aspects of your writing but that you didn’t prepare fully for your writing. Good luck with your results !!

  14. Hi Liz, I took my IELTS exam this weekend and I did my best, thanks to you. I will let you know about my results 🙂

    See you
    Ozge, from Turkey

  15. Hi Liz,

    Good day everyone.
    Thanks Liz for the useful lessons and tips on your website. Honestly everything needed for ielts is right here on this site. But I took my ielts test last Saturday and I must apologize to you because I failed to follow some of the candid advices that you have been giving here. You have overfloghed the issue of planning before writing, but I think I was drowned in tension during the exam! Immediately I received my Writing Question paper I started writing Task 1, and just as I finished writing the first body paragraph I got stuck! I didn’t know what to write in the second paragraph because I had not taken time to group the data properly. So I had to erase everything I’ve written all over again!! This really wasted my time and when I got to Task 2 I did not have enough time to also plan my ideas!!! This really affected me psychologically.

    I advise everyone that wants to write the ielts to be psychologically calm because tension can ruin you. And please follow the Liz tips religiously and you’ll never go wrong. I allowed fear to get to me and I succumbed to tension of exam. I don’t want anybody to make the mistake I made.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! It is really important for students to learn from your experience. In the test, there is so much tension and pressure both from the time limit and because the test is so important to you all. As a result, students often skip the planning stage because they feel they are wasting time. But it is essential to plan and do one thing at a time. Planning helps prevent problems later in your writing.

      You are also right about the psychological effects of getting stuck in the test. It can really affect you. Even more reason why planning is important.

      I wish you luck with your results 🙂

  16. Hi. Liz

    Yes i also want like this

  17. Helo ma’am
    A huge fan of ur teaching aids…
    Keep updating….
    God bless 🤗

  18. I would like to appreciate you for your helpful lessons and tips … Really worthy.. I just subscribed on your site two days before my exam last Saturday…it helps me too much,, sure I will share you my results as it’s built on what I got from you.

    Here I would like to say that I couldn’t get time enough to plan for my essay… I started immediately planning and writing one time… It’s needs practice and practice…
    Thank you again

    • Yes, it needs practice. That is right. Part of your practice for IELTS is:
      1) time management – this must include both writing and planning task 1 and task 2 in under 1 hour (I have written under 1 hour because you must also allow time for checking and proof reading)
      2) practising planning essays. There are over 100 essay questions on my website. You don’t need to write them all. Write some in full and with other essay questions just practice planning ideas: https://ieltsliz.com/100-ielts-essay-questions/

  19. KOMAL GUMNANI says

    Hello Liz,

    Your lessons are really appreciable.Keep on updating


  20. thanks 🙂

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