The IELTS Writing Test – Word Count Tips

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I meet a lot of students who are confused about the IELTS writing test. One problem students have is knowing how much to write. Another problem is worrying about time management in the test.

Read on for some advice that should help with both of these problems…


1. How much to Write in the Writing Test

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In the IELTS test it is not a good idea to write too much, but it is also not a good idea to write too little.

In Task 1, you should write AT LEAST 150 words. This means you must write 150 words or more.

In Task 2, you should write AT LEAST 250 words. This means that you must write 250 words or more.

If you write fewer than 150 words in Task 1 or fewer than 250 words in Task 2, you will lose marks. So make sure you write more!

However, some students think that this means the more they write the higher their score will be. This is NOT TRUE.

As long as your writing is over the minimum number of words, the amount you write does not matter. In fact, if you write too much you may run out of time or you may have a lot of mistakes.


2. How to get it right

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My advice for this is to:

1. Go to the IELTS official website and download the answer sheets for task 1 and task 2. (Or just click on these links.)

2. Print out the answer sheets (you may need more than one copy)

3. Find an example question for Task 1 (such as this one here ) and an example question for Task 2 (such as this one here).

4. Plan your answer to Task 1.

5. Write your answer to Task 1 on the answer sheet.

6. Count your words.

7. If you have more than 150 words, that’s great! If you have fewer than 150 words, you need to rewrite your answer to include more words.

8. When you have over 150 words, count how many lines on the answer sheet you used to get to 150 words. (For example, 150 words in my writing is about 20 lines on the IELTS answer sheet. What about yours?)

9. Do the same for Task 2 with 250 words.

10. Practise this again with some more practice questions at a later date.

11.When you finally do the IELTS writing test, you should therefore know how many lines of the answer sheet are filled with 150 words of your writing.

(For me, for example, I would write 22 or 23 lines for Task 1.)

This means that you will not need to count your words in the exam! Just your lines!

This is great as you do not have time to count your words on exam day! Counting lines is much quicker!

I hope you found this advice useful.

Please let me know if you did by wrting a reply below!

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Good luck with your IELTS writing preparation!

If you need help with your IELTS writing, send me an email at with your questions and I will do my best to help you!

Have a great week!

Charlotte XX