A piece of writing that employs a consistent form throughout is considered to follow parallelism. Parallelism is the basic idea that writing structures and patterns should remain consistent throughout an entire piece of writing.
For example, in the following sentence:
Russian natural gas was revalued to $330.84 USD in January of this year, up from three hundred and fourteen US dollars in December last year.
…we can see an instance of improper parallel structure. The student should have written the second monetary value as $314 USD, not three hundred and fourteen US dollars. Writing in this manner helps strengthen the piece stylistically.
Mistakes related to parallelism are all too commonly committed by IELTS students.
Another stylistic note I’d like to touch on in this blog post is shorthand. Shorthand is an unfortunate habit that IELTS students often exhibit in their essay response, most likely in an effort to increase their writing speed. Common shorthand notes and symbols that should never be included in your IELTS Task 1 or 2 response are:
… (This sign is formally called an ‘ellipsis’ and used to denote information the reader is to assume. Don’t let your examiner assume anything or they will only assume you don’t know how to write academically!)
– (A dash is often used in shorthand to allow the writer to jump quickly from one topic to another. It’s great for sending text messages on your mobile phone but not so great when you are expected to sound academic.)
e.g. / i.e. (Both symbols are often used to denote examples but neither will bring formality to your writing.)
@ (I am always astounded when I see students using the @ symbol in academic text!)
acronyms (I regularly suggest students avoid them on their examination unless they are acronyms that refer to countries or very established companies, such as the UK or IBM. As a basic rule, if you feel your reader won’t know what the acronym refers to, don’t use it.)