A screenshot of a Microsoft word count counter showing 249 words signifies changes to IELTS Word Count Rules

New IELTS Word Count Rules In the past, you automatically lost points from your Task Achievement / Response score if you wrote an under-length essay, report or letter. However, from mid-2018 the automatic IELTS word count penalty was removed. There has been no official announcement of this change and the information was supposed to be sensitive. However, as many people are now discussing this on various social media platforms, I thought it was time I addresses this issue to ensure students understand what this change means. 

A rocket on a space background symbolises the importance of practicing with these authentic 100 IELTS essay topics

100 IELTS Essay Topics for IELTS Writing Let me start by saying that by far the best resource for authentic IELTS essay topics are the Cambridge 1 – 13 books. These are real past IELTS exam papers and, therefore, provide students with the highest quality questions for all parts of the test. However, what do you do if you have finished the Cambridge books? Or you struggle with one particular type of question and want a lot of that specific type of practise?

A lone black sheep looks back at a flock of what sheep. The picture symbolises over-generalising, which is a problem for many IELTS students when they write.

How to avoid over-generalising in an IELTS essay In the writing exam, it can be easy to make claims that are generally true, but NOT always true. This can limit your score for Task Response to a 7.0 (which I know for most people won’t be a problem, but for some test-takers an 8.0 in TR can be the difference between a 6.5 and a 7.0!) So, how can you avoid over-generalising in an IELTS essay?!  HEDGE!!!