Is Cursive Writing Recommended for IELTS?

Many students have been asking me about cursive handwriting and the best style of handwriting to use in the IELTS test. So, I want to explain to you what the examiner is looking for in your essay and how your handwriting will affect your score.

Can you use cursive script in IELTS writing?

Yes, you can use any style of handwriting you want. It is completely your choice.

Is it better to use cursive writing?

It is neither better nor worse. It makes no difference to your score.

HOWEVER, if your writing is difficult to read, you might lose points. If the examiner can’t read it, he or she won’t be able to give you a high score. Your writing MUST be clear and easy to read at all times!!

More Hand Writing Tips:

See the following link for Tips on Using Pen or PencilIf you want to learn about practicing your hand writing on the answer sheet for IELTS writing, see this link: Official IELTS Writing Task 2 Paper & Tips

Should you indent your paragraphs? See this page to learn about indenting or leaving an empty line between paragraphs:

You can find more tips and model essays for writing task 2 on the Main Writing Task 2 Page.


  1. Carolina says

    Hi Liz,

    I would like to know if I can use Italics on my task 1 and 2, as sometimes italics are used to emphasize some words, to make the examiner to understand that word is important.
    Can I also ask you if I can paraphrase somebody’s else ideas, using next to it the APA method of paraphrasing which is: own words of the topic followed by the author and date between brackets.

    As well, the academic writing when you cite, says it is mandatory to put a reference list at the bottom, as every single cite or paraphrase should be accompanied with their respective reference list at the bottom of the page. Should I include this on Ielts to demonstrate I know how to paraphrase?. Thanks so much.

    • You should not be telling the examiner which word is important. That is for the examiner to judge. This is not an article that you are writing. It is an essay for a language test.
      Your second question is not about paraphrasing, it is about quoting using someone’s name. No, you are supposed to use your own language and create your own ideas. As long as the ideas are written in your own language, it doesn’t matter where they come from.
      Your third question about “referencing” is also not about a language test. The examiner is not a university professor who will check the sources of information. The examiner is a language expert training in IELTS who will assess your language and other aspects of writing for IELTS.
      Forget your Academic essays for university. Start fresh in your mind. This is a language test. Learn the marking criteria and learn how to approach IELTS. Go to the HOME page of this site and read the whole page carefully. Then start learning 🙂

  2. Thank you very much for you contriburion to the world

  3. Nazi Moeininia says

    Thank for valuable Tips. Could I ask you about british and american writing or spelling. which one we should use in writing and listening if there is any difference? If we are not sure about this word or spelling correctly is american or british , do we lose the score?

  4. Hi Liz,

    Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but since my cursive handwriting is atrocious would it be acceptable if i wrote the letter and essay in block letters? My guess is perhaps that would be acceptable but i would rather check beforehand, than be sorry later. Thanks in advance.

    • It’s a tricky situation. Using capital letters for writing is allowed but it makes punctuation difficult to see. Full stops are not prominent and other aspects of grammar can’t be checked. Why don’t you talk to someone at your local test center – that way you have checked with official sources. My other comment is that when you plan your essay full – that means each and every sentence – you can write with a calmer mind whilst paying attention to both your handwriting and English.

      • Makes sense. Thanks, Liz.
        Will share what they may have in terms of their opinion, on this.

        Thanks again!

        • Hello Liz,

          I was able to have a word with the lady at the testing center. She acknowledged the downside you mentioned of writing in caps. Could it affect the grading? As per her, ideally, it shouldn’t, but as you rightly stated some parts of the punctuation will simply not stand out; she agreed there could be some impact. Basically, its subjective. One point she did however make is the emphasis examiners put on structure e.g. paragraphing etc., in the event i chose to write in caps. She infact pointed out a native speaker who unintentionally wrote a whole essay making it look like one big para.

          I have a couple of weeks during which i am going to practice using your suggested approach. I wouldn’t want to knowingly sacrifice a mark incase there was any likelihood of me being able to avoid it. Lets see, how it goes.

          Thank you Liz, for all your help and advice! Appreciate every bit of it.


  5. Abhijeet says

    Dear Liz,

    If someone strikes few words and doesn’t present his/her work in a neat and clean form although his/her handwriting is easily decipherable, will it result in the penalty of grade?

    • If your writing is easy to read, it doesn’t matter. You can put a line though words or sentences. The most important thing is that your writing can be read and the examiner is clear which words are deleted and what the new ones are. There no penalty.

  6. Shijimol Joseph says

    Hi Mam,
    I did my Ielts test Today.I used running letter for listening as I directly wrote answers to the answer sheet by mistake.But at the end I asked about this to the supervisors.Then they told me to rewrite or correct after erasing them.I did it for some answers.But the others remain as running or cursive letters. But it’s readable.Please let me know whether it makes any problem in my score? Please reply.

  7. Hi Liz,
    I am your new student(GT).I just get to know today about your website Please tell me from where i can find answers of writing task.

  8. Dear Liz,

    I found your website 3 days before taking my exam, thank you very much it was very useful and I had a really good mark !

  9. amandeepwadhwa says

    HI Miss, How to get more and more Bands in reading Module thanks a lot

  10. Thanks, Mam

  11. Marisol Guzman says

    Hi Liz!!

    I did the IELTS test on November 19th in Mexico City, I’ve gotten band 7 in reading & writing and I want to thank you so much for all your support through your blog, YouTube videos, clear explanations & practical advise! You were my main mentor in this process of 15 days to prepare for the test! THANKS Liz!!! The world needs people like you!!!

    Warm greetings


  12. Hi Liz
    I want to ask about braistorming for ideas in the writing task 2. I face this problem of not being able to brainstorm good quality ideas for writing the essay. How can I overcome this problem. Any suggestions ?

  13. Please anybody tell me the topic of 26th November exam. Thanks

  14. Hi Liz,
    I have been following your videos and tips on Ielts exam from past one week and I wanted to ask you how i can improve my writing section and one of the major difficulty which i have been facing that how should i narrate my thoughts in the letter and in the essay and in which form of tenses.
    Should I have to explain everything in the past tense or i have to narrate something in present and future tense as well.

    I have my Ielts exam on 10th December.

    Could you please share some of your valuable tips for the above query.

    Best Regards,
    Shiv Sood

  15. Hi Liz, We just wanted to thank you for all your great ideas which you share with the world.
    We have just made our own website & have started an educational blog. We aim to share ideas for creative lessons for test preparation students & general learners.
    We would like to return the help & inspiration you have given us to be brave & start this project. May i share our next blog with you? It is a fun Christmas quiz?
    Thanks again

  16. hi, Liz
    First of all, i want to say what a wonderful teacher You are and how grateful i am. i have picked up much more from Your Advanced Video lessons, than i visited all these expensive courses. I am going to take an IELTS exam very soon and ,actually, i wanted to ask whether You have a two questions essay’s tutorial video like all your ADL. Looking forward to Your answer.

  17. Hi Liz,
    I have a question about the ‘advantage and disadvantage’ problem. For the question ” Do you think the advantages for charging people for admission to museums outweigh the disadvantages?”, Should I describe either Advantages or disadvantages which I want to support or I need to describe both sides, then I can clarify my opinion? Is it similar to ‘agree-disagree’ type problem?

    • You need to explain if you think the advantages are more important than the disadvantages. This requires you to decide your opinion and explain your opinion.

  18. Hey Liz . Yours IELTS tips really worked for me . Now that i got 7 in IELTS i just wanna tsay THANKS to YOU 🙂 . But i screwed my reading being nervous I just got 6 :'( .

  19. Good morning liz .. someone is defaming you .they are using your name in illegal work . .thay are earning money by using your name and saying that they will provide ielts certificates of require bands in return of money . When people ask about the source they always declare your name

  20. Santosh Nepali says

    thank you i have used it and got the expected result..

  21. Hi Liz
    I want to ask is there any way of knowing what were the scores in each task in writing module?
    Just curious, when we need to retake the test(Due to fulfilling requirements), which task we need to make improvements in.

  22. Victor Chidiebere says

    Madam, the useful links you provided in your website for all the text modules is highly educative. Thanks for such a wonderful job.
    My kind regards to your family.

  23. Fazil Peerally says

    Dear Miss Liz,

    Much obliged for all the lessons which you always forward me. I can`t thank you enough. I learn a lot from them. You`re indeed an experienced and top English teacher. Your lessons are worldwide, and surely, many students are grateful for your kindness. Hats off to you. May the Almighty God bless and grace you in your endeavours.

    All the best.

  24. Dr Nasarulla says

    Hi Liz,
    I am doctor by profession and my handwriting is horrible.I am at IELTS exam centre and just now finished my test.Essay topic was quite easy but I dont think they will be able to read and mark it .Essay topic was “Many of todays problems can be solved through international cooperation”.agree/disagree

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 Poor handwriting makes it difficult for the examiner. But hopefully the examiner will be able to read your writing. Lets wait and see your results 🙂

  25. Thanks from your, useful post, I appreciate your services against young generation

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