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Whether you are sitting for the General Training or Academic writing test, the IELTS Writing part of the test is a challenge that many students struggle to score well in. 

With two different types of tasks with unique demands for each of them, you’ll need to put your best foot forward to ace the test to achieve an overall band score you desire. 

The IELTS Writing test assesses your ability to write not just for clarity and cohesion but for variation as well. 

Therefore you need to develop the skill of paraphrasing, which is simply rewriting a sentence using different words for greater clarity. It shows to the examiner that you have understood the source and idea enough to write it in your own words. 

And in this article, we will be going through six tips and tactics you can employ to help you master the art of paraphrasing to score better in your written test! 

Learning to paraphrase effectively: Six things to do

1. Start using synonyms

Synonyms are different words that hold the same meaning. For example, ‘money’ is a synonym of ‘cash’ or ‘funds’ while ‘lethargic’ is a synonym of ‘tired’ or ‘drained’. 

By using synonyms, you can effectively replace a series of words with others without changing the core meaning of the sentence. You need to use words that have the same meaning and not just something similar, which can be penalised during the examination. 

 Take the sentence: 

‘We are heading to Disneyland for a well-deserved holiday’ 

You can easily replace it with: 

‘We are travelling to Disney for our hard-earned vacation’ 

The key here is to ensure the meaning isn’t changed and you should only use words that you are entirely sure about to score well without the risk of being marked down. 

2. Changing the word order

Another essential paraphrasing skill you’ll need is to change the word order of a sentence. This means adding in a word, omitting a word or changing the word itself. 

Take the sentence: 

“We are famished and would like to quickly head to the Chinese Restaurant for dinner.” 

You can change the word order: 

“We are rushing towards the Chinese restaurant for dinner because we are famished.” 

When changing the word order, you need to ensure the sentence makes grammatical sense as well as being error-free. You can also combine this with using synonyms to make your paraphrasing even more effective. 

3. Changing word forms

A great way to paraphrase sentences is to change the form of the word. To do this, we can interchangeably swap nouns into verbs or verbs into adjectives. 

For example: 

“Many children are terrified of entering the spooky house alone during Halloween.” 

You can paraphrase the sentence by changing the word form of ‘entering’, ‘terrified’, ‘spooky’ and ‘alone’. 

“Many children are not brave enough to enter the frightful-looking house by themselves during Halloween.” 

By changing word forms, you are showcasing your versatility in the English language as well as your depth of vocabulary, helping you to score better in your Writing test. 

Two female candidates preparing for IELTS Writing test.

4. Change from active to passive voice

Because the IELTS Writing test involves writing a discursive essay and discussing various viewpoints, understanding how to switch between active to passive voice is a valuable skill. 

This can be easily done by identifying the sentence’s direct object and placing it at the beginning of the sentence, removing the action and then changing the verb’s form.  

For example: 

“Most of the students are reading the magazines.” 

You can rewrite this sentence into the passive voice by placing ‘magazine’ at the beginning of the sentence and removing the action of reading and changing its form. 

“The magazines are being read by most of the students.” 

5. Changing sentence structure

Another effective way to paraphrase is to change the structure of the sentence without losing its core meaning. 

For example: 

“Many students struggle in their tests because they do not put in the hard work and practice enough.” 

You can see that there are two clauses ‘many students struggle in their tests’ and the second being ‘because they do not put in the hard work and practice enough.’ 

All you need to do is to swap the order and change a few word forms to make it flow more naturally. 

“Not working hard and practicing enough are the main reasons why students struggle in their tests.” 

The meaning of the sentence is not lost but the structure has changed. 

6. Start paraphrasing with sample tests

The best way to start paraphrasing is to practice on the sample tests themselves! 

This will allow you to not just practice your skills on static sentences but allows you to master the art of paraphrasing.  

By writing under a time limit with real sample test topics, you’ll quickly understand how to paraphrase your own words as well as the information provided. This will accelerate your progress by leaps and bounds. 

You can access a wide range of our sample IELTS Writing tests here to start paraphrasing today! 

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