There is a myth floating around that you should write at least 300 words to score a Band 7 or higher on the Writing Task 2 portion of the IELTS exam. Not only is this unnecessary, but it could actually hurt your score if you go too long on the essay. This article gives some reasons why this is so.
First of all, time is a resource you cannot afford to waste when writing your essay. Once you reach the minimum 250 words, you need to focus on quality instead of quantity. You can score a Band 9 with only 250 words. More words do not increase your chances for obtaining a higher score. Quantity is only important up until you’ve reached the minimum 250 words. After that, quality is what you need to keep in mind as you write.
Second, the quality of your IELTS essay may suffer in your concluding paragraph if you find yourself running out of time. You may feel rushed, and many test-takers who have written quality introductions and body paragraphs let quality slip in the conclusion because of the need to finish in the allotted time. If you keep your essay between 250 and 290 words, not only can you write a quality conclusion, but you will also have time to go back and check your work.
Third, if you go long on the IELTS essay, you may not have the time to go back and check your work. This can make a difference in the score you want and the score you get. You should give yourself around five minutes at the end for proofreading your essay. You have a much better chance at a good score if you keep your essay between 250 and 290 words and have the necessary time for checking your work. Remember, after 250 words, it is quality rather than quantity that you are striving for.
Here is a rough guide for the number of words for each paragraph:
Introduction – 40 words
Body Paragraph 1 – 90 words
Body Paragraph 2 – 90 words
Conclusion – 30 words
You stand a better chance of achieving the score you want on the IELTS Writing Task 2 essay when you put greater attention on quality rather than quantity. As I said, it is possible to score a Band 9 with 250 words, and many test-takers have done this. Going long on the essay is not a strategy for increasing your score. It is the quality of your essay and not the length which will give you the success you desire to achieve.