It’s up to you. You can use whatever you like as long as it is legible.
Do I have to count my words?
No, but it is a good idea to know roughly how many words you usually write to a line. Then you can count the number of lines you write.
What will happen if I don’t write enough words?
If you have not answered the questions as completely as you should, you will get a lower score.
What will happen if I write too many words?
If you write far too many words, you might include irrelevant information and/or ideas for which you may be penalised. Also, if you write far too many words for one of the tasks, you may neglect the other.
Is spelling important?
Spelling is important, although the occasional minor mistake won’t matter.
Can I start with Task 2 first?
You can do the test in any order. Just make sure you keep to the times advised.
What should I do if I don’t understand the question?
You cannot ask the invigilator or use a dictionary. You will have to guess and answer as well as you can.
What’s the best way to correct any mistakes that I make?
The quickest way to correct mistakes is to cross them out and write the correction clearly next to or above the mistake.
Will I lose marks if my essay is very messy with lots of crossings out?
No, you won’t. But you must make sure that it is legible. Obviously the easier your essay is to read, the happier the examiner will be.
What do I do if I realise I have forgotten to include something important in one of my essays?
You can add it in afterwards, by writing it at the bottom of your essay and showing where it should go with an asterisk or an arrow.
What do I do if I don’t know anything about the topic in Task 2?
You will have to do the best you can. Take a few minutes to note down some ideas. Once you start, more details will almost certainly come. (See Step 2 in the Writing Section.)
If I don’t have enough time to finish, should I finish in note form, like a plan?
No. Anything written in note form will not be read. Just continue in sentences.
Should I memorise answers to a variety of general topics?
No. Anything that the examiner suspects is copied will not count towards the number of words, and you may also be penalised for copying.
Should I write on every other line?
If you have very large writing it might be a good idea. However, for average sized writing it is not necessary because there is still room to make corrections.
I can’t write very quickly. What should I do?
You don’t actually have to write a lot in the time allowed (400 words in one hour is less than 10 words a minute). However, you should practice writing to time as often as possible, to improve your speed.