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British Council

Understanding IELTS: Writing

British Council via FutureLearn


Prepare for success in your IELTS Writing test

The four courses in the British Council’s Understanding IELTS ExpertTracks give you a complete guide to everything you need to know as you prepare for the IELTS test.

This 3-week course focuses on the Academic Writing test. You’ll explore the test format and develop strategies for each type of task.

Understanding the IELTS writing tasks

We will begin with an introduction to the IELTS Academic Writing test format, where you’ll receive tips on how to get the most out of this course. You’ll then discover how the assessments work.

You’ll gain an introduction to charts and data, where you’ll learn how to write about numbers and compare numerical data. This part of the course will also involve you learning the proper language to describe dynamic graphs and tables.

Improve your essay writing skills

Next, you’ll be tackling essay writing, which is an important part of task 2 of the writing exam. In order to answer the question at hand, you’ll learn to generate, develop and organise your ideas into a clear plan.

Using your plan, you’ll discover how to create an effective and organised essay, with a strong introduction and conclusion. Finally, we’ll discuss how to write in a more formal style, and go over how grammatical range and accuracy is assessed.

This IELTS preparation course is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their English writing skills in preparation for the IELTS Academic Writing test. It will also be helpful if you’re preparing for the General Training test or the writing section of other English proficiency test.

The course might also be useful for IELTS teachers. There are no formal entry requirements.


  • Understanding the test: task achievement
    • Getting started
    • Understanding charts and data
    • Writing about numbers
    • Writing about trends
    • Bringing it all together
    • Round up
  • Brainstorming, planning and organising your ideas
    • What does Task 2 involve?
    • Answering the question
    • Saying what you think
    • Building a strong essay
    • Putting it all together
    • Round up
  • Starting and finishing strongly
    • Getting ready for your test
    • Lexical resource: the vocabulary you need
    • Starting and finishing
    • Grammatical range and accuracy: what to think about
    • Putting it into practice
    • Review of the course

Taught by

Chris Cavey


4.8 rating, based on 481 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at FutureLearn based on 489 ratings

Start your review of Understanding IELTS: Writing

  • Anonymous
    Aruna mentions the Covid-19 situation and test centes being closed around the world. While that situation continues, IELTS have introduced an online test in some countries to support and help test takers move forward with their plans and application…
  • Anonymous
    It's wonderful experience to listen to the very authentic speakers and reading very well organized and well structured English during the course.Initially I thought it would be difficult to continue but it is not at all. Videos are captured keeping different speakers which hooks in the reader and keep on generating curiosity. The material inform of skript is also provided so if some times we are less active with our receptive organs we may read means this course tries to inculcate English language in our routine by all hooks and by crooks. Which you start feeling in you The English language!.Thank you it's really great to write such responses like this our motivations and enthusiasm is shone.
  • Alison Wearden
    I am a TESOL teacher. I did the course in 3 days and found it very helpful and informative. As a retired University Professor, I obviously have a lot of experience of academic writing and also of marking students' work. However, doing the course tau…
  • Anonymous
    There is no doubt that we are living these days in  a different world, there are a lot of things that may be effect of our children's development such as ,television ,friends and music. I'm believing that the major factor influencing a child's deve…
  • Anonymous
    Firstly, kudos to the course makers and providers, lead educators and other staff involved in making this understanding IELTS course such a grand endeavor to aid its learners in their pursuit of a good band score in their IELTS exams, and I am not h…
  • Anonymous
    I have enjoyed getting acquainted with the structure of the IELTS Writing exam, it will definitely make my work at school more systematic. Teachers who work with students studying English çan offer them different ways to express views and opinions.…
  • Anonymous
    I have enjoyed getting acquainted with the structure of the IELTS Writing exam, it will definitely make my work at school more systematic. Teachers who work with students studying English çan offer them different ways to express views and opinions.…
  • Anonymous
    A very exciting course, where new skills and techniques of writing have been reflected.

    I feel I have gained a lot of confidence in my writing skills.
  • Anonymous
    Hello! I am currently taking the ¨Understanding IELTS:Writing" online course and I have found it very helpful so far. The few lessons I have been through had clarified many questions I had regarding the IELTS writing exam. Some of the things I have learn are: the number of tasks you need to answer and what kind of writing you will have to do. Also, they provide you with the criteria used to evaluate your writings so you can identify the areas you need to work on to achieve the band score required for your studies or your work. Another aspect that I liked is the tips, they give you simple, easy-to-follow tips to improve your writing skills and you can put them into practise every day. Thanks Future Learn.
  • Anonymous
    I would like to thank all educators who gave us this opportunity for practicing, learning, developing skills for better essay writing. It was great fun and we accumulated more knowledge into our writing skills. In the meantime, we also learned from our classmates. According to the resources that you and our friends shared, they were all helping a lot for our practice and improvement.
    I took many different courses from FutureLearn and I was so pleased that I did take the course each time. Because I learn a lot of various ideas by involving these tasks. Writing down your ideas and sharing them with your friends also help self-improvement.
  • Anonymous
    It's a fantastic course that guides you across all the essential aspects of the IELTS Writing test. The educators are highly knowledgable professionals, who share their expert advice as well as a whole bunch of helpful resources. I also appreciate the way the course is organised, everything is clearly presented and well-srtructured. I particularly enjoy that comment section at every single step encouraging you give your opinion, complete a task relating to the material, or simply read and reply to your peers' comments - all of those make you keep practising your writing skills throughout the course. Truely helpful and engaging!
  • Anonymous
    Even when I have already taken this course four years ago, I realized that I have forgotten how to write an essay. Now, after I've taken this course I remembered the correct use of words in Coherence and Cohesion in the academic writing. Also, I can say that practicing here was really helpful for me since students from all over the world are expressing their own ideas so that I can learn from them. Furthermore, educators are always here giving students feedback and guidance through the whole course. So, don't be shy and try to do your own here. (=
  • Anonymous
    IELTS is an exam taken by lots of people across the globe. There are various websites and videos available online who claim and teach about the IELTS and some of them are actually very good. However, the course by British council is the best because it is authentic and we believe that we are given true guidance along with the segregation of the course in different weeks was too good, each week focusing on specific point.
    so, to summarize, the best course and thank you very much for all the teachers and organizers for giving me the opportunity to have this course.
  • Anonymous
    It was absolutely one of the courses which has benefited me the most.My fears faded away thanks to this course.In addition, my knowledge on writing academic essays has significantly increased as well as my vocabulary.
    The resources, which were provided within the course, are considerably useful for those who are seeking for ways on how to improve their English.
    Lastly but most importantly, the feedbacks of educators on comments were carrying an utmost importance for me as they are really essential in terms of increasing writing quality.
    Thanks for everything you put in the course
  • Anonymous
    Hello! I am a test taker from Africa, I started Future Learn about three weeks ago, each week was different in tasks and knowledge. I am delighted to have reached at this stage of the course. It has been a helpful and interesting journey. The advice, the tips, the approaches and techniques were altogether very useful.

    I am very grateful and I would like to thank all the educators and all those who made these online courses possible for us candidates. I have learnt a lot and would highly recommend Future Learn to anyone willing to take the IELTS test in future.

    Stay safe and well!
  • Anonymous
    I haven't been able to make up my mind on whether or not I want to write the test because I didnt know how to prepare. I didnt even know from where to start. What books to read, where to get them. I had downloaded an app for IELTS, but it wasn't long before I lost interest.
    After completing a course on HSS, I saw that there was such a course and signed up for it not knowing what to expect.
    Now, I am still taking the course and I dare say I have learnt a lot. I am going to take the exam and I am know I will excel.
    .Thanks to the tutors and IELTS team.
  • Anonymous
    The course covers the most important requirements focusing the participants' on the essential skills that wilt help students to pass and try to get the planned band score at the exams. The complicated materials are explained in plain and understandable manner that increases the attractiveness of the course to a wider range of participants. Every step is concluded by very informative summary of the tutors which along with participants' comments based on practical experience of implementing the task makes the really interesting and valuable.
  • Anonymous
    It's a gradual, complete and effective course, suitable for an average English level of competence as a start, but that then strengthens one's skills as it develops. The quality of material and advice is really good and items are often recalled at different steps in a circular process. The links provided are also very useful to improve exercises and the the test practice. I enjoyed it very much.
    I would suggest to introduce some reports of people who have already passed or tried the test: maybe they can add some interesting point
  • Anonymous
    As I'm on the verge of finishing this wonderful course, I would like to recommend it for those who are still in two minds whether to begin it or not. You should definitely do it! First of all, it's free of charge, secondly it's extremely helpful for practising your writing skills, with experienced educators ready to help and clear explanations. At last, you will surely achieve your set objective if you keep practicing. Practice makes perfect.

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