Does handwriting matter in the IELTS exam?

This is a question that is often asked by my students. While there are no marks given for good handwriting, you will be at a tremendous disadvantage if your handwriting is not legible. When we say legible we mean, your handwriting should be in a manner that it can be read by the examiner. If the examiner cannot read what you have written, how is he or she going to evaluate your paper?
Now take a look at the original test paper. This is the original test paper. Here at the bottom, you can see that there is a box called, illegible. If this is ticked, by your examiner, it means your paper is not being evaluated. If they cannot read what you have written, there is no way there are going to evaluate and give you any marks.
So what are you going to do if your handwriting is bad? There are no shortcuts. You have to work on your handwriting. You have to improve your handwriting and bring it to a level where it becomes legible. It does not have to be beautiful, it does not have to be cursive, but it should be legible. People should be read and make out what you have written. The extreme alternative that I would suggest is that you can write the entire exam in the upper case. No problem but it will take a longer time for you to do that. The second alternative is you can take the computer-based test. In the computer-based test, you solve the issue of bad handwriting. Just go there and type your essays or you type your Task 1 report. So these are the two ways you can counter your bad handwriting handicap. Or improve your handwriting. There is no way of getting around that.
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