To score highly for IELTS writing tasks, you need to impress the examiner from the very first sentence. This lesson will show you how.
In it you’ll learn:
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Beginning your IELTS writing tasks well will immediately start stacking up the marks for both Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion which together carry 50% of the marks.
A good introduction does several things:
A good introduction has a simple 3 part structure:
This structure can be used for any type of question. It should:
Before I show you how to write good introductions to Task 2 IELTS writing tasks, I want to flag up some common errors students make to help you avoid them.
It’s tempting to start your essay with a general statement about the topic of the question. Don’t do this. You need to be very specific. Here’s an illustration of a poor opening sentence.
Bad first sentence:
These days, many people are worried about their health and changing their diet is one way that they try to improve it.
This is not a question about health in general but one specifically about becoming a vegetarian for health reasons.
A good first sentence will paraphrase the question, that is, it will state the same information using different language and often, a different sentence structure as well.
We’ll be looking at paraphrasing and an example of a good first sentence later in this lesson.
A thesis statement is a summary of the main idea of your essay. When the examiner reads it, they will instantly know whether or not you have understood the question correctly. It also acts as an outline for the rest of your essay.
This makes the thesis statement the most important sentence in your essay. If you get it right, you will have got off to the perfect start.
There’s an easy to remember formula for writing thesis statements which we’ll be studying below. For now, here’s an example relating to our sample question.
Thesis statement: This essay agrees that the world’s population should stop consuming meat due to the related health risks.
Note the use of synonyms to paraphrase the question.
Task 2 IELTS writing tasks generally require you to give your opinion. Usually, this will be clearly stated in the question. For example, the instruction might say,
In other questions, it won’t be so clear that this is what you should do. For example,
However, your opinion – the main idea of your essay – is still required. If you always include it in the introduction, as well as throughout your essay, you won’t go wrong.
For Task 2 essays, you must use formal language. Most students understand this.
However, many candidates make the mistake of trying to use clever or complex language to add interest or to show off their high-level language skills.
Keep tight control of your language. This is a very short essay and you don’t have the time or space to get carried away with elaborate words and phrases.
Get the information across quickly and succinctly using everyday language that includes topic words and their synonyms.
Most importantly, use the language correctly. The more complex you make it, the more errors you’re likely to make.
I show you how to write essay introductions for each of the 5 question types on their individual pages where I go into everything in much more detail.
For the rest of this page, I’ll go through just one example to illustrate some of the points I’ve made.
Here’s a reminder of the 3 part structure you should use for all task 2 IELTS writing tasks.
Start your introduction by paraphrasing the question.
Paraphrased question: The
migration of the younger generation to urban areas is leaving many rural
locations populated predominantly by the elderly.
Note the use of synonyms for many of the keywords. For example,
You don’t have to replace them all but do so where possible without making the sentence sound awkward.
It’s fine to repeat one or two words. Don’t spend too much time trying to think of synonyms or use ones you are not 100% sure are correct.
The thesis statement states your opinion on the topic. In most instances, you simply need to decide whether to agree or disagree with it and to reiterate the main idea of the statement. For example,
Thesis statement: This
essay argues that the loss of young people from the rural landscape has problematic consequences.
This thesis statement states the opinion of the writer and paraphrases the question again in a way that makes this view clear.
Finally in the introduction, you must outline the two main points that you’ll cover in the rest of the essay. This acts as a guide to the examiner and also helps to keep you focused and on track as you write.
Do it in one sentence, or you can add them onto the end of the thesis statement if appropriate.
Outline statement: The two most serious are, the depletion of the rural workforce and the loss of local education facilities.
These two ideas will become your two main body paragraphs.
So now, let’s pull the whole introduction together.
sentences exactly follow the 3 part structure I showed you for creating introductions
to task 2 IELTS writing tasks and also avoid the common mistakes I outlined above.
This short paragraph would be an excellent introduction to an essay on this topic.
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IELTS Writing Task 2 – The format, the 5 question types, the 5 step essay writing strategy & sample questions. All the key information you need to know.
The 5 Types of Task 2 Essay – How to recognise the 5 different types of Task 2 essays. 15 sample questions to study and a simple planning structure for each essay type.
Understanding Task 2 Questions – How to quickly and easily analyse and understand IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.
How To Plan a Task 2 Essay – Discover why essay planning is essential & learn a simple 4 step strategy, the 4 part essay structure & 4 methods of generating ideas.
How To Write Task 2 Main Body Paragraphs – Learn the simple 3 part structure for writing great main body paragraphs and also, 3 common mistakes to avoid.
How To Write Task 2 Conclusions – Learn the easy way to write the perfect conclusion for a Task 2 essay. Also discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.
Task 2 Marking Criteria – Find out how to meet the marking criteria in Task 2. See examples of good and poor answers & learn some common mistakes to avoid.
The 5 Task 2 Essay Types:
Step-by-step instructions on how to plan & write high-level essays. Model answers & common mistakes to avoid.