Let’s now discuss how the last two stages can help produce a response that is both error-free and relevant.
On studying the essay question carefully, generating ideas and sequencing them, it isn’t uncommon for test takers to spend the rest of the time available on writing as long a response as possible. In a language test like IELTS, such an approach is hardly advisable. Instead, it’s best to write only what is needed to meet the word limit and the requirements of the task, and then use the remaining time to check your work for errors.
It’s a race against the clock to finish writing an essay in 40 minutes. You are likely to make grammar mistakes, omit punctuation, or misspell words, any of which could affect your writing score. Given the pressure cooker atmosphere of a test, even competent language users are known to make the occasional slip. Finding time to evaluate what you’ve written helps you to identify such errors and improve the accuracy of your response.
Revising what you’ve written forms the final stage of the POWER writing plan. Here you need to go through your response in its entirety and consider it in relation to the essay question. It’s worth remembering at this point that an essay will be penalised if it is tangential or completely off topic. The key is relevance. This means that you are now reading to make sure that all the paragraphs you wrote in stage 3 have come together to fully answer all parts of the essay question. If there’s any doubt that a point isn’t absolutely relevant, think of something more appropriate and write it in its place.
Now that you know what the POWER writing strategy is, practise using it so that your essays always stay on topic and never consume too much time.