In the IELTS written test, task 1 requires a minimum 150 words, whilst task 2 needs 250 words. It is important to organise the data and present your ideas in a clear, logical and coherent manner using a wide range of vocabulary and grammatical accuracy. Whilst there is no maximum word limit, many students believe, incorrectly, that the way to improve their band score is to write as much as possible. Remember you need time to analyse the question, brainstorm ideas, outline the structure of your report or essay, then writing and checking your grammar.
Planning is the key to better writing because it forces students to focus on quality rather than quantity. If your writing is poor, adding more words is likely to lead to a worse score. So what do you need to do in the planning stage?
For task 1, spend about five minutes preparing before you start to write. In the introduction, paraphrase the question statement in order to explain what the chart shows, then decide what are the most important features to include in the overview. Finally, what specific details should be contained in the two main body paragraphs? An important skill here is the ability to describe numbers correctly and make accurate comparisons, so think about the structures you should use.
For task 2, spend up to ten minutes planning. Firstly, read and understand the question and decide what kind of essay is required. Outline what each paragraph should contain: the first paragraph should contain a sentence to introduce the topic followed by a basic answer to the question, making sure you mention everything contained in the question. The conclusion should be short, simple and clearly state your opinion. Then, make notes of the main arguments and ideas you will use in the main body paragraphs.
Be sure to spend enough time planning your reports and essays and learning from your mistakes. This will lead to an improvement in quality and higher band scores!