IELTS General Writing: Things you need to concern

6 common mistakes that will affect your score (i.e. band 7 or 8 or even higher) in General Training module are:

1. The beginning and ending of the letter don't match.
E.g. you start your letter with "Dear Sir," and end your letter with "Good Luck, + your last name"

2. The main purpose of the letter isn't clear.
E.g. Here is a sample question:
       You are about to go on vacation for a month. A friend from another town will come and stay in your apartment.
       Write a letter to this friend. In your letter: 
          – explain where your friend can get the key to the apartment
          – give your friend some instructions about using your apartment
          – recommend some places to go

In your introduction paragraph, if you write "…. Can I ask you to do me a favor to look after my place while I'm on a week long business trip?" Then you are not making a clear or accurate purpose of the letter. Obviously, the purpose is not asking your friend come and look after your place. Your friend should have already agreed to come and stay in your apartment. your purpose is "tell your friend a few things that he'll need to know about staying in your house"  (NB. This will affect your score A LOT!!)

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IELTS Writing Academic Task1: Common Mistakes

Let's look at the following paragraph. It consists of the most common mistakes, where some of them are not related to grammar.

In 1980, the US produced 131 millions of tonnes of waste. Japan was in second place with 28 millions, while the figures for Poland, Portugal and Ireland were less than 5 millions. In 1990, the US was 151, and in 2000 it rose to 192 millions.

  1. When there is a number we say "131 million tonnes". Only use "millions of tonnes" when there is no number.e.g. Millions of people travel abroad each year.
  2. Don't write "in first/second place". It's not a competition!
  3. Don't write "the US was + number"

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IELTS General Writing: things to avoid

Here are some mistakes that you should avoid in writing task 1 of the GT test:

  1. The beginning and ending of the letter don't match.
  2. The main purpose of the letter isn't clear.
  3. You didn't cover all of the points.
  4. You wrote too much about one point, and neglected the others.
  5. You didn't separate your paragraphs clearly.
  6. You didn't get the 'tone' right (formal or informal).
  7. The letter doesn't 'flow' well because ideas are badly organised.

Avoid these mistakes, and you are on the way to writing a good letter!