Taking IELTS: why it is important to look for errors in the essay

Everyone knows that time is the main enemy during the IELTS test, however, it is necessary to allocate a few minutes to check what is written. Searching for errors will help to increase your score: if you corrected the error, you made the essay a little better!

You can learn more about how to take IELTS at the Open Day on April 14.


It amazes me how many IELTS students (and other English learners) don’t check their texts for errors. When my students turn in papers, I always ask if they forgot to do a check. You won’t believe how often they tell me, “I don’t see the point of checking my own work. If I could find mistakes, I wouldn’t make them at all!” There is logic to this answer. Students believe that if they had enough knowledge to find mistakes, they simply would not make them.

Of course, this is not the case. I make mistakes myself – even in this article, and I’ll have to edit it when I’m done. I teach English, but I always check everything I’ve written. I have an extensive vocabulary and a high level of grammar. And in doing so, I make mistakes – and check my texts. And if I do, then IELTS students can not have any excuses: each essay must be checked for errors – and in the time allotted on the IELTS exam.

Everyone knows that time is the main enemy during the test. IELTShowever, it is necessary to allocate a few minutes to check what you have written. Searching for errors will help to increase your score: if you corrected the error, you made the essay a little better!

Before the exam

Some things that will help in checking the essay during the test, IELTS students can do before the exam – long before the exam, and not overnight!

1. Practice making a planYou should know what you want to say in each paragraph and how you will say it, for example, what times to use.

2. Determine how much time you will spend on different parts of the assignment: making a plan, writing an essay and checking. The second essay takes about forty minutes, how do you use that time? Only you know what you’re comfortable with, however, “experiment” before the exam. Do not do anything new on the day of the test. Many students prefer to take ten minutes to make a plan and five minutes to edit at the end. That isthere are 25 minutes left for the writing itselfIt is often more convenient for students to edit in the course of writingThey read the sentence they wrote a couple of times, and then move on to the next one. Personally, I prefer both options: edit in the process, and then re-read the entire text.

And do not change the type of pen on the day of the exam! Write the one you’re used to!

3. You should know in advance how much of your work will be, and what type of essay it will be. The second essay should exceed 250 words. How long will it take, given your handwriting? One of my students created a lot of problems for himself on the IELTS exam, because during the test he suddenly decided that his handwriting was not legible enough and began to write much larger. But he was so used to what his 250-word compositions usually look like that he ended up writing much less. At the same time, everything was in order with his old handwriting! You should know how much you wrote in the essay just by looking at it. Count the number of words before the exam. How many words fit in a line and on a page? Try to write 275 words on the exam: so you will fit at least 250!

4. Determine what mistakes you usually make in writing. Are you confusing the definite and the undefined article? Don’t you reconcile verbs with nouns or pronouns like I likes chicken (here, of course, it should be like)? Make a list with your teacher of your most common mistakes, and then practice finding them in the essay. Pay attention to paronyms.

5. Understand the structure of the essay.

 During the exam

Editing is only part of the essay writing process, but it is necessary if you want to boost your score for this section of IELTS.

1. Check spelling and grammar: be aware of your common mistakes.

2. Check the vocabulary you used: are there any repeating words? How do I replace them?

3. Make sure that you do not borrow expressions directly from the text of the question. Borrowed? Replace urgently!

4. You need to be sure that you have written enough, but, do not count every word.

5. Before you start writing, determine what the question is.

6. Constantly ask yourself if you are answering the question.

7. Use a variety of grammatical constructions.

8. Make sure the purpose of each paragraph is clear.

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