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7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Writing


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a crucial examination for those looking to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries. The Writing module, in particular, demands precision, clarity, and coherence. However, many test-takers commit common errors that can hinder their chances of obtaining a high score. In this blog, we will explore seven common mistakes in IELTS Writing, providing examples and solutions to help you improve your writing skills and ace the exam.

7 Common Mistakes to Avoid in IELTS Writing

Not Enough Paragraphs:

One of the most frequent errors in IELTS Writing is the lack of proper paragraphing. A well-structured essay typically consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Failing to organize your ideas into coherent paragraphs can lead to confusion and lower your score. Let’s consider an example:

Example: “In my opinion, technology has both positive and negative impacts. Firstly, it helps in connecting people worldwide. Secondly, it can lead to addiction.”

Solution: To avoid this mistake, ensure you have a clear topic sentence for each paragraph and support it with relevant examples and evidence. Aim for at least three to four well-developed paragraphs in your essay.

Incorrect Format:

Another common pitfall is not adhering to the appropriate essay format. IELTS essays usually follow the Introduction-Body-Conclusion structure. Some test-takers might write in bullet points or list format, which is not ideal for IELTS Writing. Let’s look at an example:

Example: “Advantages:

  • Save time
  • Convenient Disadvantages:
  • Expensive
  • Addiction”

Solution: Stick to the traditional essay format with an introduction, where you provide background information and a thesis statement; body paragraphs, where you present your arguments with supporting evidence, and a conclusion, where you summarize your main points.

Partially Addressing the Question:

IELTS essay questions are designed to assess your ability to discuss a specific topic comprehensively. A common mistake is providing a partial response, failing to address all aspects of the question. Let’s see an example:

Example (Question): “Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using social media.”

Example (Partial Response): “Social media is popular, and people use it to connect with others.”

Solution: To avoid this mistake, ensure you analyze all parts of the question. Take time to understand the question thoroughly and make a plan before you start writing. Create a checklist to ensure you cover all required aspects of the topic in your essay.

Unclear Position:

IELTS essays often require you to take a stance on a particular issue and support it with evidence. Failing to establish a clear position can weaken your essay. Let’s consider an example:

Example (Question): “Do you agree or disagree with the statement: ‘Animal testing is necessary for scientific research?'”

Example (Unclear Position): “Animal testing has its merits, but it also has drawbacks.”

Solution: Clearly state your position in the introduction and reinforce it in the subsequent paragraphs. Provide compelling arguments to support your position and anticipate counterarguments, addressing them appropriately.

Correct Example: “Although animal testing has its merits, I opine that it has more drawbacks.” Because “I opine” was used here along with “more”, the writer’s position(opinion) is clear.

Spelling and Typos:

Spelling and typographical errors may seem minor, but they can significantly impact your overall score. Such errors can make your essay difficult to read and undermine your credibility. Consider the following example:

Example: “The goverment should take strick actions to reduce pollusion and protect the enviorment.”

Solution: To avoid spelling and typo mistakes, allocate some time at the end of your writing to proofread your essay. Use spell-check techniques, and read your essay carefully to catch any errors you may have missed.

Inappropriate or Memorized Phrases:

While using advanced vocabulary can enhance your essay, relying on inappropriate phrases, clichés, metaphors, or overused expressions can negatively affect your score. Let’s examine an example:

Example: “In a nutshell, it is a well-known fact that the pen is mightier than the sword, and it is imperative to think outside the box.”

Solution: Instead of memorized phrases, focus on using appropriate and varied vocabulary that fits the context. Show your language proficiency by accurately expressing your ideas using your own words.

Correct example: ” In my perspective, entertaining a formal dialogue, which considers different thoughts and aspects, would be better than indulging in silly bickering.

Using Surveys and Research:

Some test-takers attempt to impress examiners by incorporating surveys or research data into their essays. However, IELTS Writing does not require outside knowledge, and using such information can be counterproductive. Let’s look at an example:

Example: “A recent survey shows that 80% of people believe in climate change.”

Solution: Stick to your personal knowledge and experiences when writing your essay. Use hypothetical examples or general observations to support your arguments instead of relying on external data.


Avoiding these common mistakes in IELTS Writing will undoubtedly improve your chances of achieving a higher score (a band 7 or higher). Remember to structure your essay correctly, address the question fully, maintain a clear position, proofread diligently, and use appropriate vocabulary. With dedicated practice and attention to detail, you can develop your writing skills and perform exceptionally well in the IELTS exam. Good luck!

Daily writing prompt
What do you listen to while you work?

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