Top 7 Common IELTS Writing Mistakes: How to Avoid Them, Top 5 Preparation Tips, Best Prep Books

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common mistakes in ielts writing

Conquering the IELTS writing section requires more than just mastering grammar and vocabulary. Navigating the intricacies of the test format, effectively addressing the prompts, and showcasing your analytical and persuasive skills are equally crucial. However, many test-takers inadvertently stumble upon pitfalls that can significantly impact their score. This guide uncovers some of the most common mistakes encountered in IELTS writing, equipping you with the knowledge to avoid them and confidently demonstrate your language proficiency.


Common IELTS Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

To maximize your performance in the IELTS writing section, familiarize yourself with these common mistakes students usually tend to make during the actual test. By understanding what to avoid, you can approach the exam with greater confidence and clarity.

Understanding these frequent missteps made by test-takers can equip you with a robust understanding of what NOT to do, setting you on the path to success in the actual test.

NOT Understanding the Test Format

In the IELTS writing section, knowledge is power. One of the most common pitfalls is venturing into the exam without a thorough grasp of its format. This lack of familiarity can significantly hinder your chances of achieving a top-notch score. Conversely, familiarizing yourself with the exam’s structure offers a distinct advantage. It grants you a clear understanding of the question types, time allotments, difficulty levels, and other essential details, empowering you to navigate the test with confidence and precision.

NOT Writing Enough Words

Underestimating the IELTS word limit can be a costly mistake. Many test-takers fall short of the recommended length, jeopardizing their overall score. This can create a negative impression on examiners, suggesting both a lack of test preparation and an inadequate understanding of the task.

Failing to reach the desired word count implies an inability to articulate your thoughts and feelings comprehensively. It paints a picture of limited vocabulary, shaky grammar, and a struggle to convey your message effectively.

NOT Sticking to the Topic 

This is a common mistake that can hamper your overall scores. It’s especially detrimental in comprehensive essays, where a well-developed conclusion is crucial for a cohesive and articulated response. Remember, the examiners are looking for direct engagement with the topic or question, not an indirect roundabout approach. If the question seems unclear, don’t hesitate to take your time – read it through several times to ensure you fully grasp what’s being asked before diving in.

Repeating the Question

Reiterating question prompts or answers during the IELTS writing test is a detrimental practice. Overly repetitious language not only consumes valuable time but also risks jeopardizing your score. Remember, examiners seek concise and relevant responses, not redundant rephrasing of the task.

Making Too Many Grammatical Mistakes

This is a no-brainer. You simply cannot make too many grammatical mistakes in an English proficiency test, that too in a major test such as the IELTS. Grammatical accuracy is paramount in the IELTS writing section, a cornerstone of the English proficiency assessment. Before test day, diligently refine your grammatical skills to ensure your writing shines. Remember, many tasks within this section explicitly evaluate your understanding of grammar.

Overusing Cohesive Devices

While transitional words and phrases play a vital role in crafting a cohesive essay, their excessive use can be counterproductive in the IELTS writing section. Remember, examiners seek natural flow and clear organization, not an overreliance on linguistic crutches. Moderation is key to ensuring your transitions enhance, rather than hinder, your essay’s readability and comprehensibility.

Including a Personal Opinion or Reason

Keep your opinions in check during your IELTS essays. Steer clear of injecting personal biases or unsolicited viewpoints. Remember, the examiners are evaluating your ability to analyze and articulate information objectively, not your personal beliefs. Stick to the facts presented in the prompt and build your arguments using relevant evidence and examples. Densely packed, information-rich content will demonstrate your grasp of the topic and impress the examiners with your analytical skills.

Conquering the IELTS Writing Section: Top 5 Tips to Ace Your Score

The IELTS Writing Section might seem like a formidable mountain to climb, but fret not! With the right preparation and consistent practice, you can reach the summit and achieve stellar scores. Here are the top 5 IELTS preparation tips to expedite your journey to IELTS success:

a) Engaging with a diverse range of sample papers constitutes a comprehensive preparation tool for IELTS writing. Through this simulated testing environment, individuals acquire a robust understanding of the section’s structure, the nuances of question formats, the anticipated level of difficulty, and the strategic allocation of time, all of which are crucial for optimizing one’s performance.

b) Prioritize purchasing resources that reflect the latest test format and come from reputable experts. Look for those packed with practice tests and loaded with insightful strategies to propel your scores. 

c) Implement self-imposed deadlines for your studying to enhance both your speed and precision. Structuring your preparation with time constraints will optimize both your efficiency and execution.

d) Transcending the confines of textbooks, effective IELTS preparation embraces a holistic immersion in the English language. Reading captivating novels, immersing oneself in compelling films, and engaging with the multifaceted voices of podcasts and news channels not only fortifies one’s linguistic foundation but also expands vocabulary horizons and refines grammatical precision, thus equipping candidates for the intricacies of the IELTS examination.

e) The bedrock of IELTS success lies in dedicated practice. For optimal preparation, construct a meticulous schedule, designating specific time blocks for each exam section. Through consistent engagement with practice tests and meticulous cultivation of your skills across all domains, you will feel poised to confront even the most formidable questions with unwavering confidence.

Best IELTS Preparation Books in 2024 

Individuals preparing for the IELTS Exam can refer to the following table to go through the list of the best IELTS  preparation books. 

Name of the BookAuthor/PublisherPricePurchase Link
The Official Cambridge Guide To Ielts Student’s Book With AnswersPauline CullenINR 594Click Here To Buy
R*barron’s Ielts Practice ExamsLin Lougheed INR 448Click Here To Buy
IELTS Graphs from the past examKiranpreet Kaur MakkarINR 287Click Here To Buy
Cambridge IELTS Academic 16 Student’s Book [paperback] CambridgeCareer Zone INR 130Click Here To Buy
Word Power Made Easy Including Latest Word List Norman LewisINR 149Click Here To Buy
IELTS WRITING ACADEMIC 2023Karamveer SinghINR 299Click Here To Buy
Cambridge IELTS 18 academic with authentic papersCambridge PressINR 234Click Here To Buy

This concludes our breakdown of the top IELT writing mistakes. We encourage you to apply these valuable tips and strategies to ensure your best possible performance on the test.


Q1. What are the best books for IELTS Preparation? 

Ans. “The Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS Student’s Book With Answers”, “Barron’s IELTS Practice Exams”, and “IELTS Graphs from the past exam” are some of the best books for IELTS preparation. 

Q2. What are the most common IELTS writing mistakes? 

Ans. Repetition of questions/answers, overuse of cohesive devices, and inclusion of personal biases are some of the mistakes that must be avoided while attempting the IELTS writing section. 

Q3. What is the total duration of IELTS writing? 

Ans. The IELTS writing section lasts for 60 minutes. 

Related Reads:

IELTS Syllabus 2023 & Section-Wise Exam PatternIELTS Marking Scheme | IELTS Scoring System & Grading
IELTS Sample Tests: PDF (Download), Exam PatternIELTS Eligibility: IELTS Exam Age Limit & Qualification
IELTS Preparation Tips: General Tips and Section Wise …IELTS Exam 2023 Dates, Registration, Result, Preparation

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