Category: Writing Techniques

IELTS Writing Task 2: How to Organise Your Answer

See below for an easy-to-follow guide to planning, organising and paragraphing an essay in IELTS Writing Task 2. This advice applies to both General Training and Academic Writing modules, but there are different ways of organising an answer depending on the question type.

First paragraph: Introduction

Key technique: Don’t begin with your thesis statement.

Never begin an essay with I believe, I agree, or In my opinion. These indicate your thesis statement and should go at the END of your introduction, after you have introduced the topic and problem to be discussed. As a rule, start generally and take several sentences to build to your main idea. Note that the style of thesis statement will vary depending on the question type. Study the question carefully first to determine if you should give your opinion in the introduction or in the conclusion.

  • Introductory sentence: What topic is to be discussed? Recently, there have been…
  • Narrow the focus: What issue concerning the topic is to be resolved? However, some people argue that…
  • Thesis statement (opinion essay): What is your opinion on this issue? This essay will argue that…
  • Thesis statement (argument essay): What will happen in this essay? This essay will look at both sides of the argument before stating my own opinion.
  • Thesis statement (problem/solution essay): What are you going to write about? The main problems are X and Y and I will propose solutions to both in this essay.

Hint: You can choose either to write in the first person (I believe...) or third person (This essay will…). The third person sounds more objective and academic.

Hint: Don’t include your main reasons or arguments in the introduction, these should go in each of the body paragraphs.

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IELTS Writing Task 1: How to Organise Your Answer

Here’s a quick guide on how to organise an IELTS Writing Task 1 answer into paragraphs. This applies only to the Academic module. Note that the organisation of the answer may change depending on the question type.

First paragraph: Introduction

Key technique: Be direct.

When writing an introduction to Task 1, get straight to the point as you only have 20 minutes to write your answer. One or two sentences are often sufficient. Two things you should try to include in the introduction are:

  • Paraphrase of the question: What does the diagram show? (Don’t describe the results yet!)
  • General description: Are the differences great or small, many or few? Is there one very obvious trend or feature that stands out?

Hint: Many people make the mistake of continuing with all the details. Stop here and begin your first body paragraph.

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