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Saturday, July 23, 2016


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Thank you for your sharing. I'm really into your way.

Why do the IELTS organizers allow this fundamental misunderstanding to continue? It is so widespread across the internet and presumably among teachers too. To allow such a wrong impression to continue is almost deliberately misleading.

The British Council website states that "academic" IELTS should be written "in a formal style"; it does not say this for the "general". They do not say "academic", although Task one is plainly of an academic nature.
Writing so more than is required may well just expose more errors, which is not good.

ielts.org details about academic writing:
"While test takers will not be penalised for writing more than 250 words, if they write a very long answer they may not have time for checking and correcting at the end and some ideas may not be directly relevant to the question. "

They state:"They should write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style." The Brit Council state:"in a formal style" for academic writing but not for general.

As to what "formal style" is, reputable sources (like Cambridge Univesity) seem to focus not on format, but on language specifics such as no contactions and pronoun ellipsis , and using Greek/Latin-based vocabulary. Would it be fair to say "semi-formal/neutral" is the sort of language used in an opinion piece in a quality magazine like "Time" ? Or what exactly is it?

I notice that ielts.org state that academic Task 1 is designed to test the academic register

Brit Council state "in a formal style"; IELTS.org state "in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style" for Task 2 academic. Why and what is the difference?

Thanks for sharing the feedbak. so helpful.

ielts.org says that Task 1 (academic) is a test of academic register, and the academic writing as a whole should be written in an academic style or semi-formal/neutral - whatever that means?


As some of you have pointed out in your comments above, it's hard to know exactly what style is required: formal, academic, semi-formal...? Furthermore, there are many different types and levels of formal writing and academic writing. For example, high school writing can be formal and academic, and so can university writing, a newspaper article, a letter, a business proposal etc.

So, to avoid this confusion, just try to match the style of my essays. Use my writing as your model.

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