When Should I Write My Opinion?

IELTS Essays: Giving your opinion.

Updated: April 29th 2021

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 marks, so it is very important to understand when your direct opinion needs to be included.

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.

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Personal Pronouns in IELTS Essays

Can you use personal pronouns in IELTS Essays?

This is a question I have been asked quite a few times and there is some confusion even among IELTS teachers about this. The quick answer is that it is fine to use some personal pronouns in IELTS essays but not all. There is nothing in the marking criteria that says you should not use them either. As long as they are kept to a minimum.

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How to use cohesive devices effectively

A guide to linking and cohesion in IELTS writing.

Updated: December 2023

One of the most important skills for getting a good score in the IELTS writing exam, is the way cohesive devices or linking devices are used. In the marking criteria for task 2 essays and Writing task 1 reports, Coherence and Cohesion accounts for 25% of your marks. So it is important to have an essay that flows naturally and is easy for the reader to understand. A key component of this is cohesive devices, however, use them correctly and sparingly.

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Before writing anything, analyse the question

ielts analyse the questionSpend a couple of minutes analysing the task.

Updated: March 20th 2022.

One of the most important things to do before planning and writing is to first analyse the essay question so that you know exactly what to write about. Even students who have a higher level of English often have trouble with this as they think they are wasting time and want to get straight into writing the essay. As a result, they often end up losing marks because they missed a key issue from the task.

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IELTS Grammar: How to use complex sentences

Writing Complex Sentences in IELTS.

It is important to use some ‘complex sentences’ in IELTS writing task 2 otherwise you are unlikely to get a band 6.5 or above. However, not all of your sentences have to be  ‘complex’ you need to use simple sentences too.

Remember that grammar accounts for 25% of your marks in the writing tasks but there is some confusion in IELTS about what a ‘complex sentence’ actually is.

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10 mistakes students make in IELTS Writing task 2

These mistakes can stop you getting Band 7 or more.

In my experience when teaching IELTS writing classes, I noticed a lot of my students making at least one or two or more of these mistakes. The IELTS examiners are marking your paper based on an official IELTS marking criteria so there is no guesswork here.

See below about the 10 most common problems students have when dealing with IELTS Writing task 2 essays.

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How to write an IELTS thesis statement.

ieltsIELTS essay introductions and thesis statements.

updated: July 27th 2022.

When writing the introduction of an IELTS essay there are two steps that need to be taken. Paraphrase the task question and write a Thesis Statement. If the question asks for an opinion then it must be in the thesis statement. It depends on the type of essay you are writing as they are not all the same. It is advisable to write a thesis in the introduction for every type of essay. A good thesis statement can help you get a good band score in task response in the writing section.

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Are you having trouble thinking of ideas?

IELTS thinking of ideas

How to quickly think of ideas in IELTS writing.

Updated: August 2022

A common problem many IELTS students is that they find it hard to think of ideas for their essays, especially when they are under pressure in the exam.

This is because of stress and creativity. If you have trouble thinking for yourself and have gone through an education system where memorisation is the main way of learning, then you will have real trouble getting ideas and you will need to find an approach to developing your imagination.

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IELTS paraphrasing practice

IELTS paraphrasingIELTS Paraphrasing lesson and practice exercise.

Updated: April 29th 2021

One of the most important skills in IELTS writing is the ability to paraphrase. In IELTS Writing Task 1 and Task 2 you are marked on your ability to use vocabulary effectively. Therefore, if paraphrasing is done accurately it can demonstrate to the examiner that you have a good grasp of vocabulary. Paraphrasing means changing the words so they have the same meaning.

This can be done by using synonyms or changing the grammatical structure. However, this takes a lot of practice because inaccurate paraphrasing will lead to a lower score. For more information on how to paraphrase the introduction in essays check out the links below.

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IELTS Grammar: Instead / Instead of / Rather than

How to use instead / instead of / rather than.

When writing essays in IELTS task 2 (it also comes in handy for the speaking test) you will need to use ‘instead’ or ‘rather than’ to show preference, changing trends, opinions or facts. Here are some sentences based on the topic of technology and internet use.

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