IELTS writing

The IELTS writing section is the third section on the IELTS. This section takes 1 hour. Individual tasks on the writing test aren’t timed, so students can allocate their time as they see fit. The IELTS writing test may be the last section of the IELTS you take on your test date, because the fourth section, speaking, can be taken on the same day or on a different day.

Test structure

The IELTS writing test is different on the Academic and General Training versions of the IELTS. In both cases, there are two tasks to be completed and the length requirements are the same, but the tasks themselves will be different.

On the Academic IELTS writing test, the first task is a graph or chart which the student must describe in his own words. Students are advised to spend 20 minutes on this task, but you can spend as much time as you choose. The text must be at least 150 words. The second writing task on this version of the IELTS asks you to discuss a problem or present an opinion about a subject, writing a text of at least 250 words.

On the General Training IELTS writing test, the first task is to write a letter. The subject and recipient of the letter will be non-academic, for example writing a letter to your landlord or to your boss. As on the Academic test, you must write at least 150 words on the first task and are advised to spend 20 minutes doing so. The second writing task is an essay. You will be given a familiar subject and must present your opinion in a structured way, using at least 250 words.


The IELTS writing section is hand written. Your handwriting is not part of the scoring, but if the reader cannot read what you have written, it will count against you. Spelling does come into the scoring. You are required to use American or British spelling throughout your writing and misspelled words are marked.

The IELTS writing section is graded by trained scorers on a scale of 0 to 9. The writing section is weighted equally to the other sections in calculating your overall IELTS result.