When writing an IELTS essay it is very important to be able to extend your ideas and explain your main points. This can be done with supporting points and most importantly, specific examples. This is necessary to get a good band score in task response and helps with overall cohesion of the essay. By using examples the examiner can clearly see how you are developing your main idea in the main body paragraphs. However, the examples given must be specific to the task question and your main idea, they should also be clear, easy to follow and concise.
One of the biggest concerns for people doing the IELTS exam, particularly in the writing section, is timing.
Many candidates who are doing IELTS get to the writing section and start stressing out because their time management becomes an issue. You only have around 40 minutes to write a 250 word essay, so straight away this tends to create anxiety. Then there is writing task 1 which should only take 20 minutes. That’s 1 hour in total for the writing section. It is easy to feel pressure in this situation.
What is the difference between a Causes Solutions and a Problem Solutions essay?
Problem solutions and causes solutions essay are very similar but there is a subtle difference, one type asks about the problems and the other type asks about the causes.
It is very important to spend a couple of minutes analysing the task question so that you know what to write about in the essay. I have seen many good essays lose marks in Task Response because the writer did not find the issues in the task question, or did not fully understand what to write about.
There are some IELTS teachers out there who tell students to write an outline statement after the thesis statement. To be honest, this is not a good way to structure the introduction. Outline statements are only for true academic essays that are many pages long, like you would write at university (IELTS essays are short discursive essays)
Another reason why I advise not writing them is that they look like they have been memorised. The examiner is looking out for memorised statements and sentences. You could lose points on this in task response and lexical resource. To put it simply, you have to use your own words. The IELTS examiners are looking at how you can use language naturally and coherently.
5 steps you should take when planning your IELTS essay.
Planning is extremely important before writing an essay in writing task 2. (also for writing task 1) Most teachers have different advice for this, some say 2 minutes others say 5 minutes and yet others say 7 to 10 minutes of planning time.
I believe that you should take at least 10 minutes to plan. Why? because I have had students before with good English skills who did not take the time to plan, they ended up with a Band 5 even though they were capable of a Band 7. Those students did minimal planning and just went straight into writing, lost track of what to write about, went off topic, didn’t structure the essay well and so on. This is where problems can arise when writing an essay. However, with the right steps in place you can go into the exam feeling confident of writing a good essay.
How to show the other side of the argument in an opinion essay.
In an opinion essay you need to clearly state your opinion, back it up with details and give examples. I usually advise my students to choose one side, either agree or disagree, and stick with that. You do not actually get a higher band score for a balanced approach so it is safer to choose one side and stick with that view throughout the essay. Remember that your opinion must be in the introduction, body paragraph and conclusion.
However, something that will showcase your language ability is to show the other side of the argument, this helps to balance the essay. This can give the essay good coherence and you can demonstrate your grammar skills if you have strong grammar. However, this should be done carefully, because you still have to maintain your own opinion and not contradict yourself.
Below is an IELTS question for writing task 2 and my model answer. It is on the topic of Education. After analysing the question, I can see that it’s about whether homework is a good idea or not in helping kids in their educational development. It asks me to discuss both views and also asks for my opinion.
In this case you must state your opinion in the introduction, the body and conclusion.
There is some confusion among IELTS students about when you have to give an opinion in an essay and when not to give an opinion. If you are asked for a direct opinion and you don’t write it you could lose a band score, so it is a very important to understand when an opinion needs to be written.
Actually, all IELTS essays ask for your position. Some directly ask an opinion but others may ask something like: ‘What are the problems and what solutions can you suggest?’ this is actually asking for your position on the issue or suggestions for solutions.
This is a question I have been asked a few times and there is some confusion even among IELTS teachers about this. The quick answer is that it is fine to use personal pronouns in IELTS essays. There is nothing in the marking criteria that says you should not use them either. As long as they are kept to a minimum that is ok.