IELTS WRITING MODULE ACADEMIC vs GENERAL TRAINING

Candidates who sit the Academic module are the ones who are applying for admission for higher education or for professionals who are looking to get further training in English speaking countries. Academic version of the IELTS Test is also required by the government and private institutions be it ministeries, banks or companies.

The General Training module is, however, for people applying either for migration or for general work experience and training programs. The General Training module checks whether your English skills are sufficient in a broad social context rather than a specific study related arena.

The writing section forms an important part of the exam as it judges the candidate’s ability to communicate in the written form. It evaluates how well the candidate is able to structure and frame his thoughts and how clearly he is able to express them.

IELTS Writing Test  consists of two tasks named Task 1 and Task 2 and this applies to both General Training and Academic Writing modules. Experts recommend the candidates devote  20 minutes to Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. Besides timing, the word count is also the same for both modules: 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2.

TASK 1

Academic Module:

For the first task of the academic module you are asked to write a report based on information presented by means of a visual. This visual can a bar chart, line graph, pie chart or table which provide numbers and statistics for you to compare and elaborate on the changes in the direction of the data. This visual can be a diagram asking you to explain the various stages in a particular process or to explain how a particular object works. This visual can also be a map where you are asked to  elaborate on the changes or compare the information for the best option.

You should show your knowledge of academic vocabulary & synonyms, paraphrasing & paragraphing skills. You should also show how well you decipher & organize the data while giving the utmost importance to cohesion & coherence.

General Training Module:

For the first task of the general training module you are asked to write a letter in 150 words & in 20 minutes on any given topic. The tone of this letter could be formal, semi-formal or informal. The type of the letter will probably either be a complaint, request of information, job application or a business letter. You could also be asked to write a letter to your friend.

As in an essay, divide the content of your letter into three parts: introduction, body and conclusion.

TASK 2

As seen in the chart, Task 2 of both modules (Academic Writing Module & General Training Module) asks you to express your views on a particular subject or respond to a given point of view or argument. You are advised to complete this task in 40 minutes. The length of the essay has to be at least 250 words. Generally speaking, you are to outline a logical discussion and put forward your views on the given subject. A well supported discussion with ample details and examples will win you marks.

A good use of your vocabulary is a must. Make sure you show your knowledge of synonyms and paraphrasing skills to the markers. Another important criterion of a well written essay is your spellings and grammar; make sure they are accurate. You will also be judged on the organisation of your thoughts and the amount of coherence and cohesion in your essay. There should be an order to your essay. In other words, sentences and paragraphs should be well linked. Above all, examiners look for task response; meaning, they want to see how well you answer the question and whether you cover all main points of discussion. With this in mind, you should divide your essay into four paragraphs: 1 introduction, 2 body paragraphs and 1 conclusion paragraph.

That said, TASK 2 of the Academic Writing Module does differ from General Training. To begin with, Academic essay question is slightly more difficult. You could be asked to elaborate your opinion on a subject, state the reasons, results and solutions to a problem. You are usually asked to justify your stand point by letting the reader know how much you agree and how much you disagree, a somewhat objective view supported with details and examples.

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