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15 Tips to Help You Write a Stellar Essay
Essay-writing can be easier than you might think if you have a grasp of the basics and a willingness to engage with the subject matter. Here are 15 top tips for writing a stellar essay.
Do Your Research
This is one of the most important tips you’ll ever receive. Research thoroughly, even if it means you have too many notes. It’s better to have to leave stuff out than not have enough to write about.
Make an Outline
Without a properly structured outline (with an intro, a four- to five-point body and a conclusion), your essay may be hard to write and to follow.
While you might just be writing your essay for a teacher or professor that is paid to read it, it still pays to grab their attention. A “hook” like a quote or surprising statistic in your intro can make your reader want to read on.
Lay Out Your Thesis
The intro isn’t all about flair and grabbing attention. It’s also about laying out your thesis. Make your main argument clear in the first few sentences, setting up a question to answer or statement to prove.
Avoid Passive Voice
If you want your writing to be persuasive, passive voice should be avoided. (That sentence was full of it, by the way. For example, “You should avoid passive voice” is a more convincing way to say “passive voice should be avoided.”)
Avoid First-Person Voice
If you’re writing an academic essay, you should almost certainly avoid first-person voice. In other words, avoid saying “I” or “my.” Also restrict your use of the second-person voice (e.g., don’t use “you” unless it’s necessary).
Start With Your Strongest Point
In general, it’s a good idea to start with your strongest argument in your first body paragraph. This sets the scene nicely. However, this might not be appropriate if you are structuring your essay points chronologically.
Relate All Points Back to Your Thesis
Make it clear to your reader how each point you make relates back to your thesis (i.e., the question or statement in your introduction, and probably your title too). This helps them to follow your argument.
Contextualize Without Losing Focus
Add contextualizing information for a richer presentation of your topic. For example, it’s fine (or even desirable) to discuss the historical background for certain events. Just don’t get bogged down by irrelevant details.
Use Transition Phrases
Transition phrases, such as “furthermore,” “by contrast” and “on the other hand,” can also help your reader to follow your argument. But don’t overuse them at the cost of clarity. Read your essay aloud to gauge how it flows.
Conclude With a Return to Your Thesis
A conclusion can do many things, but it’s useful to think of it as an answer to the question or statement in your intro. It’s sensible to summarize your key points, but always relate back to your thesis.
Make Your Conclusion Seem Obvious
Restating your thesis in your conclusion (after having made all of your points and arguments in the body) can be persuasive. Aim to make your conclusion feel irrefutable (at least if it’s a persuasive essay).
If your spelling is sloppy, it’s natural for your reader to assume your approach to writing the essay was too. This could harm the strength of an otherwise persuasive essay.
Grammar is also important, for the same reason. It’s usually easy to pick up on dodgy grammar if you read your essay aloud. If you’re not a native English speaker, however, you might want to ask someone who is to check your essay.
To avoid harming your persuasiveness and authority, it’s fundamentally important to use the right words. Overly obscure language can detract from the clarity of your argument, but if you feel you have to use it, then you better know what it means.
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IELTS Writing Task 2: How To Write an Effective Introduction
Ielts writing task 2 introduction.
Did you know that a strong introduction can make the difference between a Band 6 and a Band 8 in IELTS Writing Task 2?
In the video above, I’ll show you how to write a Band 8 introduction and avoid the 7 biggest mistakes most people make when they introduce their essays.
This post will help you write better introductions in your Task 2 IELTS essays and show the specific sentences I advise all of my students to use when writing IELTS Writing Task 2 introductions.
The introduction is the first part of the essay the examiner will read, and it will give them a good first impression of what to expect in the rest of the essay.
Just like in person, first impressions last.
I often tell my students that a bad introduction in IELTS writing part 2 is the same as going in to the speaking exam and being rude to the examiner- no matter how good you are in the rest of it, the examiner won’t be happy, and unhappy examiners are more likely to give you a lower mark.
Despite this warning, many good students go on to produce introductions with a few common problems in them.
- Talking too generally about the topic.
Most of these essays start off with ‘Nowadays……’ or ‘In modern life….’ followed by general information about the topic. In my opinion, this is the worst start you can possibly make. Remember that you are supposed to answer the question, not write generally about the topic.
- Not giving your opinion
This is the most important sentence in the essay. Not including this will lose you marks in several different ways.
- Not supporting your opinion with main ideas
If you don’t do this, the examiner doesn’t really know what you think about the question. This will also lose you marks. I’ll show you how to write an outline sentence below.
- Trying to write a ‘hook’ or be entertaining
Remember, this is an IELTS exam, not a university essay. There are no extra points for being interesting; in fact, being boring will probably help you. This will help you avoid ‘flowery’ language.
- Using an informal style
Know your audience. You are expected to write in an academic style.
Good and Bad Examples
Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Rising global temperatures and human health and fitness issues are often viewed as being caused by the expanding use of automobiles. This essay agrees that the increasing use of motor vehicles contributes to rising global temperatures because of the production of greenhouse gases by vehicles and certain health issues are caused by the release of toxic chemicals by internal combustion engines.
Nowadays, cars are a very popular way of getting around. Day by day many more people drive cars around but others feel that they cause global warming. Global warming is one of the most serious issues in modern life. They also affect people’s health and well-being which is also a serious issue.
As you can see, the bad example generally talks about the topic, copies words and phrases from the question, and doesn’t include a thesis statement or outline statement.
If your introductions look something like this, don’t worry. Most of my students write introductions a lot like this when they first start in my class and the structure below always helps them fix any problems and write very effective introductions.
Structure of a Good Introduction
If you use this structure, you will not only score higher marks but also save time in the exam. If you practice enough, introductions will become easy, and you will do them in just a few minutes. This will leave you lots of time to focus on the main body paragraphs, where you can pick up lots of marks.
An IELTS writing task 2 opinion essay should have three elements, and these should be:
- Paraphrase question
- Give opinion
- Support opinion with 2 ideas
That’s it. Simple!
Do you need me to correct your essays and give you feedback on them? Check out our essay correction service or email me at [email protected].
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My name is Christopher Pell and I'm the Managing Director of IELTS Advantage.
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Useful phrases for IELTS writing task two
Home » IELTS writing task 2 » Useful phrases for IELTS writing task two
This tutorial contains useful phrases and vocabulary for IELTS writing task 2 .
When students ask for general lines for writing task 2, they are looking for phrases that are going to impress the examiner but can be used flexibly.
Use these phrases for introductions, body paragraphs, and supporting sentences. Copy and adapt them . This is perfectly legitimate, however, you absolutely must adapt the phrases to your essay topic in the IELTS exam !
1. Useful phrase best for introductions
This essay will analyse this issue using the examples from… to demonstrate points and support arguments.
You will need to supply examples in accordance with your particular topic. For instance:
This essay will analyse this issue using examples from wartime countries and conflict zones to demonstrate points and support arguments.
This essay will analyse this issue using examples from Canada, Australia and Rwanda to demonstrate points and support arguments.
If you need further help to start writing your introductions, check our writing task 2 tutorial for examples of writing complex sentences.
Many students struggle with starters for writing task 2, but there is no need to memorise more than one or two. One of the best starting lines for writing task 2 is:
It is undeniable that ___(insert problem from question)___ is one of the most challenging issues in the western world.
You can adapt this slightly to become:
In the modern world… (insert problem from question)___ is one of the most challenging issues of our time.
2. A phrase best for body paragraphs showing opinions
When injecting an opposing thought, the best general line for task 2 is that instead of using only “However,” you can use:
However, it should not be forgotten (that)… and add the opposing point. Even if you strongly disagree, you must object in a proper way and using good vocabulary as practiced in higher education.
Same idea, much higher level of vocabulary.
3. A phrase best for body paragraphs showing examples
A great way to boost your IELTS writing task 2 vocabulary (lexical resource) score is to cite examples from research or studies made, using the phrase,
“For example, a recent study by _________ showed…”
“There are also studies being performed on a global level to discover the source of these important problems. One solution proposed by the _ (insert global organisation) ___ is to_________.”
Cite examples from research or studies made, using the phrase,
“For example, numerous studies by _________ showed that people support…”
“There are also studies being performed on a global level such as those concerning global warming, to discover the source of these important problems. One solution proposed by the _ (insert global organisation) ___ is to_________.”
For example, a recent study by the WTO (or U.K. government ) showed pressing issues… (then supply the details of the findings).
4. Best for body paragraphs
It is fairly easy to comprehend the arguments as to why this proposal has been made.
There would be at least two facets to this proposal.
There is also, however, a strong argument not to implement this proposal.
The issue of __X__ in western / African countries has grown in importance over the past few decades .
The issue of __X__ in most continents has fallen in importance over the past few years .
5. Best for supporting sentences
Instead of saying “There is proof that…” you can say, instead:
There is ample evidence to suggest that…
There is ample evidence to suggest that scientists will promptly discover…
There is ample evidence to suggest that local governments will be implementing …
6. Best for supporting conclusions
Give your findings a supportive introduction using the phrase:
Numerous studies have consistently found that …
Then provide your conclusion, for instance:
Numerous studies have consistently found that children from economically advanced countries…
Numerous studies have consistently found that students who learn three languages have a reduced chance of contracting Alzheimer’s.
7. A phrase best for strengthening an argument by being specific
It’s also useful to memorise some general lines for IELTS writing task 2 that can be used flexibly anywhere in the body paragraphs.
Instead of generalising, enumerate or cite samples. For instance:
Recent electronic gadgets have…
Electronic gadgets such as the smartphone, the laptop, and the 3D printer have drastically increased worker productivity.
Serious diseases are a recurring matter…
Serious diseases such as malaria, ebola and dengue fever bring about a considerable amount of expenses.
8. Useful phrase 8 -best for conclusions
As such it can be concluded that…
This phrase is specifically useful during a closing argument, it ties together every trail of thought. Example: As such it can be concluded that in the era and age of technology, globalisation and the need to be trendy, social media marketing can influence what consumers buy. Therefore, when it comes to starting your conclusion, there is no need to memorise several general lines for task 2 on different topics. This one works for every essay type and topic.
These may be little additions of 3-9 words per phrase but many little phrases go a long way toward a complete error free essay. Using the phrases above are going to be much more useful than searching for a ‘phrases for IELTS writing task 2 pdf’ or ‘common lines for IELTS essay pdf’ because we have worked hard to make sure these phrases can be used with any essay type.
Warning! When using these useful phrases for IELTS writing task two…
- Make sure you have adapted them to your specific essay topic. General lines for task 2 are all over the internet and if you just write them down as a list you will not get credit for them.
- To improve your grammatical range and accuracy experiment with these same structures but using different verbs and nouns.
- You can find more structures by reading academic material and copying phrases you think you could adapt in your essays. Academic material is easily found by searching in Google like this: Your topic (crime) + .edu + pdf -this will usually pull up academic reports about your given topic. You may also find some new phrases to expand your writing task 2 vocabulary.
- If you need need more sentence structures and don’t know how to organise all these sentence structures then have a look at the online IELTS course here .
- We also have a useful resource of IELTS Writing task 2 questions to help you prepare which contains even more phrases for writing task 2.
A quick guide on how to find useful phrases for IELTS writing task two (60 seconds!)
Now you need to take notes and exercise using the relevant examples and phrases in your own sentences for better retention. Note that these phrases need not necessarily be copied. Merely copying can cause you trouble in the future. You must make sure that the way you use the phrases and other words fit your essay perfectly to maintain coherent thought and correct grammatical structures as you would find in an English-speaking country.
If you have questions about the IELTS writing exam don’t hesitate to send me an email at struggling -at sign- ieltspodcast.com.
As I’ve always said, “The important thing is to take action, do something every day, and little by little, you will get there.” To master the IELTS essay, IELTS Exam test takers need to practice writing skills such as our IELTS writing tasks, essay writing, opinion essays and IELTS test.
For an introduction to how to start IELTS Writing task 2 click here .
For Band 9 IELTS writing samples, click here and boost your band score!
IELTS writing task 2 vocabulary
If you think that you can get through the IELTS without bumping up your vocabulary a few notches, you might find yourself disappointed. To avoid this, check out our list of IELTS vocabulary .
Audio tutorial about useful vocabulary for Task 2
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Tutorials and Tips to Prepare for Task 2
- How to Get Ideas for Task 2
- Band 9 Sample Essay
- Extremely Useful Sentences for Task 2
- Five Powerful Sentence Structures to use in your IELTS Writing test
- How to use comparisons in Task 2
- Concession Paragraphs for “do I agree/disagree essays”
- How to write an IELTS Essay Conclusion
- IELTS Cohesion and Coherence
- 3 ways to paraphrase for your Task 2 introduction
- Marking Criteria for IELTS Writing
- Topics Sentences for Your Essays
- 7 Ways to Improve your Sentences in Your IELTS Essays
- Grammar for IELTS Writing
- Academic Collocations for Task 2
- Nine Band 9 Verbs For IELTS Writing
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IELTS Writing Task 2: How to write a good introduction
Introductions are an important part of a Writing Task 2 essay. They let your examiner know what to expect from your essay. That’s why we have put together a quick list of tips you can use to write an effective introduction for Writing Task 2.
On this page
Tip 1: stop to read and analyse the question, tip 2: begin with a general statement and then focus in on the details of the question, tip 3: use your own words, tip 4: state your position, tip 5: explain how you plan to develop your essay, review your introduction, sample question, sample introduction.
An introduction is important to the essay because it creates an initial impression in terms of the quality of your writing. A clear, well-organised and relevant introduction will most certainly create a positive first impression on the examiner. So, what makes up an effective introduction? Let’s take a look.
In Writing Task 2, you need to address all the parts of the question or task in a relevant way. Because your introduction is the first step towards achieving this goal, you need to introduce your answer to all the different parts of the question. This is why it is important to take some time to read and analyse the task before you start writing, so you know exactly what you are being asked to write about.
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Writing Task 2 questions usually begin with a general statement before focusing in on more specific points or questions about the topic. Using a similar model in your own introduction is a great way to start your essay, but make sure that your general statement is clearly related to your topic and is not too broad.
While it is perfectly acceptable for you to use the task as a guide for your introduction, make sure you do not copy material from the task.
Copying the task word-for-word shows the examiner that you have a limited range of language, which can affect your band score. Instead, change the order of the information, use synonyms, and explain more complex ideas in your own words.
It is also important not to use a memorised introduction where you insert words related to the question topic. Examiners read thousands of responses so can recognise memorised scripts.
In Writing Task 2, you will need to develop a position while exploring the different parts of the task. It is then important that you clearly state your position in your introduction.
Even though this strategy can be considered as optional, briefly explaining how you plan to develop the topic can help you better organise your writing. It is also a good way to let the examiner know what you’ll be covering in the essay.
Don’t forget to re-read your introduction once you’ve finished writing your essay. It is common for test takers to begin their essays thinking about a specific argument, or a specific way to organise their writing but change their minds as they develop the topic. So, after completing your Writing Task 2, make sure that your final draft still matches your introduction.
Now that we have gone over some important strategies for writing a good introduction for Writing Task 2, it’s time to look at a sample introduction. Start by reading and analysing the prompt, as mentioned in tip 1. Then, carefully read the sample introduction and notice the different strategies used, which have been highlighted for you.
The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy.
The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Nuclear technology has been around for many years.
Whether this technology is used for weapons of mass destruction or as a source of energy, many are of the belief that the use of nuclear energy has more advantages than disadvantages.
In my opinion, nuclear technology can indeed be a very efficient energy source. However, nuclear weapons possess such enormous destructive power that any benefits that this technology may offer to humankind are not enough to counter its potential devastating effects.
This essay will address why the drawbacks of nuclear technology outweigh the benefits and will include relevant examples to support this position.
Just as an effective introduction will let the examiner know what they can expect from your essay, a good conclusion will remind them of the main points presented and will summarise what you want your examiner to remember from your writing. Check our blog for our post on strategies for writing a good conclusion!
IELTS Writing Task 2: How to write a good conclusion
Ielts writing task 1 and 2 - how to organise your response, ielts writing task 2: 7 mistakes preventing you from getting a band 7.
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How to Write an Introduction for IELTS Writing Task 2
Posted by David S. Wills | Jul 8, 2021 | IELTS Tips , Writing | 0
The following is an excerpt from my 2019 book, How to Write the Perfect Essay for IELTS . It is all about how to write an introduction to an essay and I felt it was important enough that I would include it here for everyone to read. If you want to see the rest of the book, you can find it on sale here .
Writing an Introduction
An essay’s introduction is incredibly important because it is the first thing that an examiner will read. In this short paragraph, you will attempt to address the topic and give a basic overview of your essay. If this is clear and relatively error-free, the examiner will be impressed and they may view the rest of your essay more favourably. Note that this is not a conscious decision and an examiner will always try to be fair. However, human nature is such that first impressions are important.
In our examples and rules above, I have explained the basics of writing an introduction. However, you might be wondering a few things:
- Do I always have to follow the same rules for writing an introduction?
- Will every essay require the same sort of introduction?
- Do I need to outline my essay in the introduction?
- Does each part of the introduction really require just one sentence?
- Is there an ideal number of words to write in an introduction?
The answer to all these is: NO. There are many possible ways to write a good introduction, and different teachers will tell you different things. What I have done so far is give you some helpful advice about writing essays. My advice is intended to give all IELTS students the best chance of scoring band 7.0 or higher by offering simple, practice advice, but there are different ways of writing a great essay.
Essentially, what you do need to do is:
- Introduce the topic.
- Assert a position and/or explain the purpose of your essay.
To do this, I think that the best way to write an introduction is to paraphrase the question and then write a thesis statement. Let’s look at these in detail.
Introducing the Topic
You should write one or two sentences at the very beginning of your essay that explain the topic. If you begin with a very general topic, you might need to write two sentences as the second one will focus on the key issue. Some teachers will tell you that you need to paraphrase the question, but while this can be helpful, it is not the best approach .
In Section II of this book, we talked about analysing the question. If you have fully analysed the question, then writing the first sentence of your essay should be pretty easy. You just need to find what the main idea is, and explain it. Let’s look at an example:
Some people say that now we can see films on our phones or tablets there is no need to go to the cinema. Others say that to be fully enjoyed, films need to be seen in a cinema. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
My introduction to this essay would be:
In recent years, mobile technology has improved to the point that people can now watch movies in HD almost anywhere by using a phone or tablet. This development has caused some people to speculate that cinemas will soon be obsolete. However, this essay will argue against that viewpoint.
In analysing the question, I noted that it contained two contradictory statements:
- It is better to watch movies on a phone or tablet.
- It is better to watch movies in the cinema.
There is a more focused point hidden within the question:
There is no point in going to the cinema anymore.
My first sentence is extremely broad. I have started with a phrase (“in recent years”) that sets this topic within a time context then stated the main idea: the improvement of mobile technology has changed the way we view movies. Rather than make one very long, complicated sentence, I have added a shorter one that expands upon and qualifies my first. The second sentence focuses my essay by introducing item #3 from above. It states that because of these technological developments, there is no reason to go to the cinema. Essentially, my first two sentences say the same thing as the question. However, I have not exactly paraphrased it. I did not attempt to copy the question with new words. Instead, I let the idea of the question develop in my head, and then wrote down the general idea of it. I think that this is the best way to handle writing an introductory sentence.
Here’s a video about how to write a great first sentence:
Asserting a Position and/or Explaining the Purpose of the Essay
What do I mean by “asserting a position”? In Section II of this book, I talked about maintaining a clear position throughout the essay. This is important for scoring highly in Task Achievement . There are different perspectives on what this requires, with some people claiming that you only need to make your position clear in the conclusion. Others, however, say that it should be stated in the introduction. The safest and most sensible option is to state your position in the introduction, support it in the body paragraphs, and then reaffirm it in the conclusion.
Of course, not all questions require a position. Some of them just ask to explain something, like a problem and a solution. In this case, you would not need to give an opinion in the introduction. You should instead write one or two sentences announcing what you will do in the essay. In the guide to structures, I referred to these as “thesis statement” and “essay outline”. You don’t always need to give both, but they are good ways of scoring highly for Coherence and Cohesion because they help clarify the structure of your essay.
In my previous example, I only wrote “…this essay will argue against that viewpoint.” This is a sort of thesis statement. I could have expanded it to say, “The first paragraph will look at reasons why it appears that cinemas will become obsolete, while the second will explore the continued relevance of cinemas in the digital era.” This is an example of an essay outline . However, there is a slight problem with this sort of sentence. While it undoubtedly adds value to an essay, it also adds to the word count, and to the length of time taken to write an essay. It is important to finish your essay within 40 minutes and also to spend time checking for errors. As such, writing an extra sentence or two could cost additional time that could be spent elsewhere. If you struggle with finishing in time, you should probably write a shorter introduction and ensure that you finish the whole essay. Advanced students, who can easily finish in time and wish to improve their score to a band 8.0 or 9.0, would do well to consider incorporating essay outlines for an improved structure.
Another reason why we may choose to include a thesis statement or essay outline is that it improves the register of an essay. In other words, it makes it more formal . Whilst a question may ask for your opinion on an issue, writing “I think…” is less formal than writing “This essay will argue that…” By getting into the habit of writing this sort of sentence, you can reduce the number of personal pronouns and increase the formality of your essay, thereby improving its tone.
Here is an example from a problem and solution essay, which would not require a thesis statement, but would require an essay outline:
Despite the growing number of gyms and fitness centres, more and more people are leading a sedentary lifestyle in the modern society. What problems are associated with this? What solutions can you suggest?
In the twenty-first century, an unprecedented number of people are living sedentary lifestyles due to changes in our work and social habits. [DW1] This is a seriously dangerous phenomenon and greatly threatens our health and happiness. [DW2] This essay will look at the problems and solutions. [DW3]
I could have expanded it slightly:
In the twenty-first century, an unprecedented number of people are living sedentary lifestyles due to changes in our work and social habits. This is a seriously dangerous phenomenon and greatly threatens our health and happiness. This essay will first look at the problems and then explore some solutions.
By adding these small extra details, I am giving a slightly more advanced guide to the essay. However, the difference is pretty minimal. This is something to consider for people aiming to make improvements and score band 7.0 or higher.
[DW1] I have written a single sentence to introduce the topic, which essentially paraphrases the question.
[DW2] This sentence develops the idea further.
[DW3] Here, I outline in the most basic terms the function of the essay.
About The Author
David S. Wills
David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural Cambodia and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. David has worked in many different countries, and for several years designed a writing course for the University of Worcester. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing and he has since written two other books about IELTS. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.
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IELTS Writing Task 2 introduction: a better way to start your essay
By ieltsetc on May 12, 2020 2
The IELTS Writing Task 2 introduction causes a lot of controversy. Many teachers recommend that you simply rewrite the question in your own words.
Although this has some benefits because it is very easy to do, I believe that it will not help you get a Band 7+ score and I will outline my reasons below.
Get my Essential Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 Introductions.
The ‘template’ IELTS essay option (Band 6)
Here is what I see many teachers recommend as a ‘magic’ formula for writing the introduction:
1) Neutral background statement:
[Any topic] is a controversial issue.
2) Paraphrase/rewrite the question.
[Some people think X while others think Y].
3) Say what the essay will do:
‘This essay will…’
- [discuss both sides]
- [examine the advantages and disadvantages]
- [explain the causes]
- [provide solutions]
Problems with the ‘template’ IELTS Task 2 introduction
While this ‘template’ is a useful guide for people who are just starting to develop their IELTS writing skills, it may not be the best option if you are aiming for a higher score (Band 7+).
The 3-sentence template introduction is a clear and safe way to start an essay.
But it has some drawbacks .
Look at the question below.
‘Some people say that cars are the best way of travelling around cities while others think that bicycles are better’. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
Now look at a student’s response. Can you see what the problem is?
‘Cars and buses are a topic of heated discussion. Some individuals argue that motor vehicles are the best way of getting around cities, but others believe that travelling by bus is better. This essay will discuss both sides and give my opinion.’
It simply repeats the question, uses mostly memorised language, tells the examiner what they already know and does not show the writer’s opinion.
It tells the examiner that you rely on templates because you don’t have enough of your own language.
Of course, if you then go on to write some excellent main body paragraphs, the introduction is not the most important part of the essay.
But the introduction IS important for making a good first impression.
The dangers of paraphrasing IELTS Task 2 essay introductions
Look at the student’s example below. What is the problem here?
‘The optimum method of meandering in a metropolis is a debatable issue. Some people promote four-wheeled automobiles , but other people utilise two-wheelers . This essay will discuss both sides.’
The language here is very unnatural.
Synonyms are rarely exact synonyms , so if you simply replace words with similar words, your language will sound unnatural.
Paraphrasing is a skill which many high-level writers struggle with, even at University.
Unless you are very good at paraphrasing, I would not recommend this strategy.
Your job is to ANSWER the question , not to repeat it.
Examiners mark large quantities of the same essay – they do not need to read the question over and over again . They want to see what you can do with language.
How to write an IELTS Band 7 Task 2 Introduction
The best way to write an outstanding introduction is to address the question very specifically.
Look at the example below (in favour of cars ) – what do you notice?
‘Modern cities suffer from several problems related to car use, and recently many people have suggested that bicycles are a better option for travelling around congested town centres. However, getting around by bike has some drawbacks. This essay will argue that despite the many health and environmental benefits to cycling, cars are far more practical and convenient for most situations.’
In this example, the student
- examines/refers specifically to the issue behind the question
- gives specific examples
- gives a clear opinion
It still follows the 3-sentence system:
- Background statement = what’s the issue ?
- Analysis = what’s the question ?
- What’s your opinion ?
- there is no band criteria for paraphrasing – it is not a skill that is assessed in IELTS Task 2
- There is a BAND 7 criteria for your opinion . It must be ‘clear throughout’, so you MUST include it in the introduction, no matter what the question is.
This 3-sentence structure can be used to address any question, and it relates more closely to what you will argue in the main body paragraphs.
The example below shows how you can still use the 3-sentence structure to answer any question (this example is in favour of bicycles ).
Modern cities suffer from several problems related to car use, because many people choose cars over bicycles as the most practical and convenient means of transport. However, people are beginning to realise that bicycles are a far better option for travelling around congested town centres, for both environmental and financial reasons. This essay will argue that more should be done to encourage this positive development.
What do other IELTS teachers think?
Most of the IELTS experts that I consider to be trustworthy agree with me.
Here you can see what David Willis of TED IELTS saying exactly the same thing in his article Paraphrasing in IELTS.
David states the main disadvantages as:
- Paraphrasing causes grammatical flaws
- Paraphrasing causes unnatural language.
To see more examples of how to paraphrase the question effectively, I would strongly recommend this video from Oxford Online English (watch from 09.13).
- You CAN use a 3-sentence introduction, but make sure you address the question specifically and give your opinion.
- You CAN paraphrase the question, but don’t just replace words with similar meanings.
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November 16, 2022 at 9:07 am
Hi Nguyễn Trung Hiếu
That’s a lot of questions! Perhaps you’d like to book a coaching hour with me or join the Academy where we have regular Q&A sessions. Best wishes Fiona
October 12, 2022 at 1:09 pm
Dear Ms. Fiona, I want to ask you some questions about IELTS Writing. 1. One problem I faced when a person said to me “You can find contradictions in both different dictionaries and English professors. That is why English is both an art and a science” This statement give me a scenario that show the unclearliness to evaluate which languages is formal or informal, OR which ones is suitable for IELTS Writing for IELTS Speaking. Can it suffer IELTS Candidate’s score in IELTS Speaking and Writing? * Further one I see is related to the usage of ‘proverbs’ and ‘rhetorical questions’ in IELTS Writing Task 1 (even in writing models of some IELTS real reliable expert and ex-examiner) Example to clarify my problem – First example with the usage of “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” – a proverb “However, the look of the building is also important because of the role of art in everyday life. Architecture is often considered one of the original and purest forms of artistic expression. I am reminded of a quote from Pablo Picasso who said ‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’ Imagine a city filled with ugly, utilitarian structures like many Soviet-era buildings. These buildings will not lift people’s spirits or encourage them to contemplate the intended message. Contrast this with a city where architects have been given free rein to be artists. As long as the buildings are also functional, you will find a city filled with beauty and provocation that enhances life for its inhabitants. The outward appearance does not have to be beautiful, but it has a responsibility to contribute something to enrich the lives of everyday people.” (This text is derived from a sample answer of former examiner) – Second example with rhetorical questions “In some types of work, qualifications are less important. With manual jobs, such as cleaning and laboring, there is very little theoretical knowledge required. Thus, employers are more likely to seek people with a good working knowledge of the job and what it entails. However, even in these jobs it is important for people to have a minimum level of education, especially if they want to rise above the lowest working level. How can a person without good writing and mathematical skills balance a budget, or deal with legal or safety issues? Therefore, qualifications matter even in more practical types of work.” (This text is from a model answer of an IELTS test writer) 2. I have some questions about your Members Academy. – You mentioned when attending your academy, I can 2-minute speaking recording every week to hand in to receive your feedback. It’s similar to 8 x Fiona’s Speaking & Pronunciation Analysis and Correction, isn’t it? If yes, do you offer feedback and correction about a member’s IELTS Speaking full test (15-minute test) to give an estimated score. – If becoming a member of Coaching & Course, in addition to fixed courses you give, can I access any new lessons or new practices every week? – Do you offer any live lessons about IELTS Writing or Speaking? I always know more about it? – Can I ask you the extra costs if I want to receive more Writing feedbacks besides 8 fixed full writing tasks in Members Academy?
My questions are too long, but I really hope you will answer them. I look forward to seeing your answer. Yours Sincerely,
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- IELTS Writing Task 2
- IELTS Essay Introduction
Writing an IELTS Essay Introduction
In the writing for task 2, you must write an IELTS essay introduction , but you only have 40 minutes.
In this time you need to analyze the question, brainstorm ideas to write about, formulate an essay plan, and then write your response. Even for a native writer of English, this is a lot to do in 40 minutes!
So you need to use your time carefully . You need a good IELTS essay introduction, but one thing you do not want to do is spend too long writing it so that you end up rushing your paragraphs. Your paragraphs are the most important thing as they contain all your supporting arguments and demonstrate how good you are at organizing your ideas.
The Two Elements of an IELTS Essay Introduction
You therefore need a method to write your IELTS essay introduction fairly quickly. When you write an introduction, you should make sure you do two things:
- Write a sentence (or two) introducing the topic and giving some background facts about it
- Tell the reader what you are going to be writing about (thesis statement)
How you do this will vary depending on the question, but here is an example:
Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. Blood sports should be banned.
To what extent to you agree or disagree?
Sample IELTS essay introduction:
Despite the fact that killing animals for sport is popular in modern society, it remains a contentious issue. I believe that blood sports are cruel and uncivilized and so should be banned as soon as possible.
This does the following things:
- First sentence: consists of the topic plus some background facts on the topic which have been taken from the rubric.
- Second sentence: gives the writers opinion and tells us that in the essay the writer will be arguing the reasons why it is cruel.
The topic does not have to be in the first sentence, but it should be made clear somewhere in the introduction. You must always have a thesis.
Another important point - don't copy from the question! You must paraphrase (put it in your own words). To do this you can use synonyms and move the order of the sentence around.
Using some of the same words is acceptable, but don't copy whole phrases .
You can see how the question above has been paraphrased. All the information is from the question, but it has been written in a different way and has not been copied.
You can also check out a short video on this lesson:
Further IELTS Introduction Examples
Science and technology have helped the world make many advances. The Arts, such as painting, theatre and dance, to name just three examples, however, are also valuable.
What things do the Arts provide to the world that Science and Technology do not?
Societies have developed rapidly over time due to the many advances in science and technology. However, the arts are also very important and provide our world with many things that science and technology cannot.
According to a recent study, the more time people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings. Some people say that instead of seeing the Internet as a way of opening up new communication possibilities world wide, we should be concerned about the effect this is having on social interaction.
How far do you agree with this opinion?
A recent study has shown that as people use the Internet more, they are spending less time with human beings. I believe that although this has increased the communication around the world in positive ways, it has also led to negative effects on the day-to-day social interaction of human beings.
Unemployment has become an increasing problem in the recent past.
What factors contribute to an increase in unemployment and what steps can be taken to solve the problem?
Over recent years, the level of unemployment has been increasing at an alarming rate in many countries around the world. This essay will discuss the reasons for this increase and consider what practical solutions are available.
Some people think children in secondary school should study international news as part of the curriculum. Others think that this would be a waste of time as there are already too many subjects for children to concentrate on.
Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
While some people are of the opinion that it would be useful to include international news as a subject in the school curriculum, others believe that this is a waste of students time because they are already overloaded with subjects to study. This essay will examine both sides of the issue.
More Task 2 IELTS Lessons:
Requirements for IELTS Band 7 in Writing
Getting to an IELTS Band 7 is a struggle for many candidates. This lesson explains exactly what you have to do to reach this band score.
IELTS Music Essay: Understanding a Complex Question
An IELTS essay about music is used to show you how to answer a more complex IELTS essay question that does not have a clear 'task' given to you.
IELTS Task Response - 25% of your essay grade
The IELTS Task Response criteria in the scoring makes up 25% of your band score for your essay.
IELTS Problem Solution Essay Strategies and Tips
In IELTS problem solution essays you have to discuss a particular issue and present ideas to solve that problem.
Tips on How to Score IELTS Band 8 in Writing and Speaking
To score IELTS Band 8 you need to understand exactly what is in the IELTS Band Descriptors for an 8 for writing and speaking first.
Writing an IELTS Essay Conclusion
The IELTS essay conclusion is the final part of your IELTS essay. This lesson guides you on how to write a conclusion quickly but effectively.
Improving Writing Coherence for IELTS essays
25% of the writing grade is on how you organise your essay so this lesson shows you how to improve your writing coherence.
Generating ideas for IELTS essays for writing task 2
Generating ideas for IELTS essays for writing task 2 can be difficult but complex ideas are not expected.
Paragraph Writing for IELTS: Building strong arguments
This paragraph writing lesson provides tips on constructing the best paragraphs for your IELTS essay.
How to Identify the Topic of an IELTS Essay Question
In IELTS you must identify the topic of your essay as this is a key to making sure your essay is on topic.
How to use brainstorming and planning to generate essay ideas.
Brainstorming and planning is a key step in developing your IELTS essay. This lesson has tips on how to coming up with ideas and organising them.
The 3 Types of IELTS Opinion Essays in IELTS
IELTS opinion essays in IELTS can be placed into three types. This lesson explains the different types and how to analyse these essay questions.
IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essay Tips and Strategies
An advantage disadvantage essay is one type of essay that you may get in the test. This lesson shows how to write a pros cons essay.
How to Write an IELTS Essay: The key steps
Learn key steps on how to write an IELTS Essay. This guides you on how to write a great essay plus other lessons to improve your writing skills.
Using Pronouns to Improve IELTS Essay Coherency
Find out how to use pronouns to improve your coherency for IELTS task 2 essays.
How to Identify the Task in an IELTS Essay
Learn how to identify the task in an IELTS task 2 essay question. This is one of the most important steps in responding to an essay question.
Using Substitution in IELTS to Improve Writing Coherency
You can use substitution in your IELTS essays in order to improve coherency and coherence.
Thesis Statement Tips for IELTS Essays
Your thesis statement in an IELTS essay should be written quickly and concisely. Use these tips to do that.
Can you use Personal Pronouns in Essays for IELTS?
Learn how to use personal pronouns in essays for IELTS correctly. Can you use "I", "we" and "you"?
Transitional Phrases for Essays
Learn transitional phrases for essays to get a band 7 or higher in your IELTS writing for coherence and cohesion.
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IELTS Writing Task 2 Introduction and Vocabulary
- What to do and what not to do for the introduction to Task 2
- Opening/paraphrasing vocabulary terms
- Vocabulary words for stating an opinion
- Overview words and phrases
Do’s and Don’ts of Writing the IELTS Task 2 Introduction
- Write at least 60 words in your introduction
- Be as specific as possible
- Plan before you write
- Paraphrase the topic
- Clearly state your opinion in a thesis statement
- Give an overview of the essay
- Write too much—you need to save time and energy for the body paragraphs! Aim for a maximum of 80 words
- Restate the task question exactly as it appears in the prompt
- Try to take “both sides” in your thesis statement
- Spend more than five minutes writing the introduction on test day
- Forget to use formal language
IELTS Writing Task 2 Introduction Vocabulary
Though IELTS Writing Task 2 topics can vary widely, you can still use the same basic IELTS Writing Task 2 introduction vocabulary to introduce your ideas. Here, I’ll use the following sample prompt to show words you can use for all types of prompts, as well as examples of how you could respond to this prompt specifically.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Opening: Paraphrasing the Topic
First, you’ll need to restate the topic. Be careful! You want to make sure that you use different words than the original prompt.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Introduction Vocabulary That Works For Many Prompts
- Experts have hotly debated the issue of X.
- It appears that…
- It may seem that…
- Some people may think that…
- People have very divided opinions about X.
Examples for This Prompt
- Experts have hotly debated the issue of social media’s effect on human psychology.
- It appears that social media may, in some cases, have detrimental effects on human emotions.
- It may seem that social media websites, like Facebook and Twitter, have an overall negative influence on our psychology.
- Some people may think that using social media sites and apps is a benign hobby.
- People have very divided opinions about how social media affects the brain.
Stating an Opinion
Next, you need to give your opinion clearly!
- I/This essay will show that…
- I/This essay agree/s that…
- I/This essay disagree/s that…
- I/This essay will argue that…
- As I/this essay will show/argue,
- I will show that the overuse of social media can have harmful effects on how we feel and act.
- This essay agrees that using social media can negatively impact our emotions.
- I disagree that spending time on social media has any unfavorable effects on our psychology.
- This essay will argue that , in moderation, social media does not harm us, but in fact provides extensive mental health benefits.
- As I will show , use of social media sites has very little effect on human psychology, either positive or negative.
Overview of the Essay
- This essay will first…before…
- To examine this issue, this essay will examine both….and…
- Firstly, this essay will…and secondly, it will….
- To discuss this issue, this essay will both…and…
- This essay will first examine how social media affects our emotions before discussing how it affects our actions.
- To examine this issue , this essay will examine both personal and social effects of social media use.
- Firstly, this essay will discuss social media use in teenagers and secondly, it will discuss social media use in adults.
- To discuss this issue, this essay will both use examples and provide reasoning to support the point that social media use has little to no psychological effects.
Let’s look at a whole introduction now. Here’s what an introduction could look like for the prompt:
Experts have hotly debated the issue of social media’s effect on human psychology. I will show that the overuse of social media can have harmful effects on how we feel and act. To examine this issue, this essay will examine both personal and social effects of social media use.
More Resources for IELTS Writing Task 2 Vocabulary
Want even more resources for IELTS Writing Task 2 introduction vocabulary? First, check out Eliot’s top tips in this video!
- Then, brush up on IELTS Writing Task 2 general vocabulary and advanced vocabulary . Or, take a look at Advantages/Disadvantages essay vocabulary if you need word ideas for this essay type.
- Make sure that you’re fully prepared to tackle all aspects of Writing Task 2 by looking at the IELTS rubric .
- Finally, take a deep dive into IELTS vocabulary for Writing Task 2 with Eliot!
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Eliot Friesen-Meyers is the Senior Curriculum Manager for Magoosh IELTS and TOEFL. He attended Goshen College (B.A.), New York University (M.A.), and Harvard University (M.T.S.), gaining experience and skills in curriculum development, ESOL instruction, online teaching and learning, and IELTS and TOEFL test prep education. Eliot's teaching career started with Literacy Americorps in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and later, taught ESL programs at Northeastern University, University of California-Irvine, and Harold Washington College. Eliot was also a speaker at the 2019 TESOL International Conference . With over 10 years of experience, he understands the challenges students face and loves helping them overcome those challenges. Come join Eliot on Youtube , Facebook , and Instagram . Recent blog posts Complete Guide to IELTS Writing Task 1 Complete Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2
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