Time’s Up! What to do if you run out of time in the IELTS writing exam
Imagine this – there are five minutes left in the exam and you are only halfway through your second body paragraph! What do you do?!
WRITE A CONCLUSION!
Why are conclusions so important?
You absolutely HAVE TO write a conclusion to save your Task Response score. Without one, you are almost certain to receive a 5.0 for TA as the examiner will decide that even though you have presented a position, there have been “no conclusions drawn”. And for most test-takers, a 5.0 for TA means kissing goodbye to any hopes of a 7.0 overall. So, if you realise that you are running out of time in the exam, this is my advice:
5 steps to save your score when you run out of time in the IELTS writing exam!
- Quickly finish the sentence you’re writing in the second body paragraph (NEVER leave an unfinished sentence)
- Leave 3 or 4 lines space (so you can come back later to finish this paragraph if you have time)
- Go and write your conclusion (remember to give an opinion if you have been asked for one)
- If you still have some time, go back and complete the second body paragraph (but only start a sentence if you are sure you have time to finish it!)
Also, if you spend too much time on Task 1 and realise that you probably won’t have time to finish your essay, then it is MUCH BETTER to write a shorter first body paragraph (especially in a Discuss Both Sides essay as this will NOT be your opinion) and a more extended second body paragraph.
Examiners expect to read your strongest arguments just before the conclusion and by having a more detailed 2nd paragraph you will be hopefully able to rescue your C+C score as well as your mark for TA. Of course, you are going to manage your time properly so this definitely won’t happen to you – right?! Good luck!