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Ielts essay academic writing tips

The opposite extreme is to use none of the typical linking words. In last week's lesson I showed you an example of this. I called it "the art of linking without linking". The only problem with this way of writing is that you need to be an advanced user of English to do it well. It's the kind of thing that a native speaker or band 9 candidate might do. Most candidates should aim to be somewhere between these two extremes. Try to use linking words in a natural way.

It makes sense to use 'Furthermore' when you're adding to an idea, and it makes sense to use 'For example' when you're giving an example. In short, linking words are useful, but you shouldn't rely on them; they are not going to impress the examiner or magically give you a high score. Most people learn linking words like firstly, furthermore, moreover, however, whereas. There's nothing wrong with this type of linking; I use it myself. Another way to link ideas between or within sentences is to use pronouns and determiners like it, they, which, this, that.

And perhaps the most 'advanced' form of linking involves no linking words at all. Instead, you rely on the topic vocabulary itself to create cohesion. I call this "the art of linking without linking".

Here's an example:. The trend towards people living alone is perhaps even more damaging because of the psychological effects of reduced human interaction. Individuals who live on their own have nobody to talk to in person , so they cannot share problems or discuss the highs and lows of daily life.

They forgo the constant stimulation and hustle and bustle of a large family , and are left to their own devices for extended periods of time. The lack of human contact in the home is necessarily replaced by passive distractions , such as television, video games, online chat rooms or Internet surfing.

IELTS Writing task 2 - Essay

This type of existence is associated with boredom, loneliness, and feelings of isolation or even alienation , all of which are factors that are known to increase the risk of mental illness. I've used different coloured highlighting to show which phrases are connected. So, for example, the phrases in blue all develop the idea of 'reduced human interaction'. Can you see how the vocabulary itself holds the paragraph together? This is probably how you write in your own language. Here's a list of some of the good collocations and phrases from the essay that I shared last week.

I hope you can see how much excellent 'topic vocabulary' the essay contained. In many countries today, people in cities either live alone or in small family units, rather than in large, extended family groups. Is this a positive or negative trend? It is true that cities are seeing a rise in smaller families and one-person households, while the extended family is becoming a rarity. In my opinion, this is a negative development. As families become smaller, the traditional family support network is disappearing, and this can have a negative impact on children as they grow up.

IELTS Essay Sample Question (1)

In a nuclear family or single-parent household, childcare becomes an expensive and stressful part of daily life. Without the help of grandparents or aunts and uncles, busy parents must rely on babysitters, nannies and after-school clubs to take care of younger children, while older children may be left alone after school and during holidays. It is no surprise that the decline of the extended family has been linked to a rise in psychological and behavioural problems amongst young people.

Individuals who live on their own have nobody to talk to in person, so they cannot share problems or discuss the highs and lows of daily life. They forgo the constant stimulation and hustle and bustle of a large family, and are left to their own devices for extended periods of time. The lack of human contact in the home is necessarily replaced by passive distractions, such as television, video games, online chat rooms or Internet surfing. This type of existence is associated with boredom, loneliness, and feelings of isolation or even alienation, all of which are factors that are known to increase the risk of mental illness.

In conclusion, I believe that individuals thrive when they are part of larger family groups, and so it is worrying that many people are choosing to live alone or in such small family units.

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Put the five sentences below in the correct order to create a paragraph. You'll need to think about the best logical order for the sentences. B As families become smaller, the traditional family support network is disappearing, and this can have a negative impact on children as they grow up. C It is no surprise that the decline of the extended family has been linked to a rise in psychological and behavioural problems amongst young people. D In a nuclear family or single parent household, childcare becomes an expensive and stressful part of daily life.

E Without the help of grandparents or aunts and uncles, busy parents must rely on babysitters, nannies and after-school clubs to take care of younger children, while older children may be left alone after school and during holidays. Tip: If you need help, look at the essay plan in this lesson. If you put the numbers 1 to 5 next to the ideas that you have for each main paragraph, your only task when writing the essay is to turn those 5 ideas into 5 full sentences. Practise doing this, and you'll find that paragraph writing becomes much easier. Here's my essay skeleton using the plan that I wrote here :.

Introduction It is true that cities are seeing a rise in smaller families and one-person households, while the extended family is becoming a rarity. Paragraph 2, topic sentence As families become smaller, the traditional family support network is disappearing, and this can have a negative impact on children as they grow up. Paragraph 3, topic sentence The trend towards people living alone is perhaps even more damaging because of the psychological effects of reduced human interaction.

Conclusion In conclusion, I believe that individuals thrive when they are part of larger family groups, and so it is worrying that many people are choosing to live alone or in such small family units. Note: It's a good idea to practise writing essay 'skeletons' because they force you to produce a very clear, coherent essay structure.

If you look at the official band descriptors for writing task 2, you'll find this phrase in the band 9 description for 'coherence and cohesion':. So how do you connect your ideas cohesion without attracting too much attention? I think there are 2 possible ways:. There's a simple reason why topic sentences are important in IELTS essays: Examiners want to see a "clear central topic within each paragraph" band 7 descriptor for coherence and cohesion.

So if you start your main paragraphs with a topic sentence, you can make sure that the "central topic" of each one is clear. Task: Have another look at the essay plan that I wrote for last week's lesson. Can you write a topic sentence for each of the two main paragraphs? By the end of the course, you will understand the band descriptors and how examiners use them to score your writing. You will be able to use this understanding to analyse and improve your own essays.

Some positive feedback from people who took the course:. Here's an exam question that a student sent me. We'll work on it over the next few weeks. If the question asks "To what extent do you agree or disagree? I hope most of you know that the answer is NO. This is the big mistake that so many people make - they write a "discussion" essay instead of an "opinion" essay. When the question asks "To what extent do you agree or disagree? The whole essay needs to be about YOUR views, not the views of other people. Today is the final day for joining my new writing course.

I'll remove the sign-up link at 10pm UK time. My new writing course starts on Monday 10th June, but the final day for signing up to the course will be Wednesday 5th June. So, there are just four days left if you want to join. Of course, I'll use examples of good writing to demonstrate everything, and we'll score and rewrite a student's essay so that you can see exactly how I use the band descriptors.

For more information or to sign up, click here. It surprises some people when I tell them that they only need to write 13 sentences for writing task If you look through my lessons here on the blog, you'll see that I usually manage to write words or more in this way. I think it seems a lot less scary if you think that your task is to write just 13 sentences!


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Please note: It is not a 'rule' that you must write 13 sentences. This is just my approach or method. Here's a quick example of what I'll be looking at on the writing course next month:. How does your introduction paragraph contribute to your score? How does it help you to meet the criteria shown on the band descriptors document? The two phrases above come from the 'task achievement' column of the band descriptors table.

Notice how they match the advice that I've given many times in my lessons:. I'll talk about this in more detail on the course. Let's review some of the good topic vocabulary from the three media essay that I shared recently. Title: Using the band descriptors to improve your writing score task 2. How exactly do the writing band descriptors work? What are the most important things to focus on if you want to improve your writing score?


  1. elements and features of descriptive essay?
  2. How to Write an IELTS Essay?
  3. Free IELTS lessons signup!
  4. Online course;
  5. three main parts of an essay.
  6. How do you write the kind of essay that examiners want to see? There will be no secret tricks or techniques, just a proper explanation, and plenty of examples, of how to write with the scoring criteria in mind. Did you notice the two unusual things about the essay that I shared in last Wednesday's lesson? If you have time, compare my 'three media' essay with any other essay that you find here on my blog.

    I wrote almost all of the other essays using my normal method. The course will be in June and it will last 7 days, with daily lessons delivered by email and video. I'll also check one of your essays at the end of it. I'll tell you more on Saturday. Today I'm attaching my full sample essay for the "compare three media" question that we saw in a recent lesson.

    Download Three media essay. Here are some sentences that people wrote below last Wednesday's lesson. Each sentence is 'awkward' in some way, so can you rewrite and improve them? I almost always write 4 paragraphs, but sometimes the question requires a different approach. I wrote a couple of lessons about this topic back in , but we didn't finish the full essay.

    Compare the advantages and disadvantages of three of the following as media for communicating information. State which you consider to be the most effective. Here are my three main body paragraphs. Can you add the introduction and conclusion? The main advantage of books is that they are usually considered to be reliable sources of information.

    People tend to refer to books when they want to research a subject in depth, and for this reason they continue to play an important role in education. On the other hand, books quickly go out of date, and therefore they are not the best medium for communicating news stories. Radio is a much more effective medium than books for the communication of up-to-date information.

    We can listen to news broadcasts about events as they happen, and a key benefit of radio is that we can listen to it while doing other activities, such as driving or working.

    Tips to achieve + bands in IELTS Writing module ( Academic & General) - World of English Exams

    The main drawback of radio, when compared to books or television, is that there is no visual element; we cannot see what the broadcaster is describing. In my opinion, television is the most effective of these three media because it brings us closer to reality than a book or radio programme ever can. For example, we can watch events as they take place on the other side of the world, or we can see the body language of a politician who is being interviewed. The disadvantages of television are that programmes tend to be short and interrupted by advertisements, meaning that information is presented in limited depth.

    I suggest taking some notes, and perhaps quickly making a mind map of your ideas. Once you have some ideas written down, choose the ones that you think give the best argument, that you know the most about, etc. Then consider how you will support those ideas with details, examples, etc.

    To help keep your writing organized and easy to follow, be sure to use paragraph structure. Please note: do not write in point form, and do not use bullet points. For the Task 2 essays, use an essay-style format: an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introductory paragraph, briefly introduce the topic and the main idea s of your essay. In your body paragraphs usually 2 or 3 paragraphs make your key points.

    Support the points with examples, details, etc. Finally, your concluding paragraph will briefly summarize the points made in the essay. A quick word about the format for Part 1 of the exam. For the General Training test a letter , include a greeting, information about why you are writing, and then the details from the question. Be sure to read the question very carefully so that you include all key points in the letter.

    End the letter with a short closing. Include a short introduction, highlight key points and trends and their relevance. Finally, include a short conclusion. To ensure your writing is organized and your answers are complete, you must manage your time throughout the exam. Remember you have 60 minutes to complete both parts of the writing exam, so plan accordingly. You should also build in some time at the end to quickly re-read your answers and make any necessary adjustments, corrections, and so on.

    Cohesive devices are words that help keep our writing organized and easier to follow. They connect our ideas, and ensure our writing flows, helping the reader move from one point to the next. Some examples include, on the other hand, therefore, so, furthermore, first, next, then, etc. These are just a few examples of cohesive devices, so be sure to study the proper use of these words as they will help keep your writing organized. I suggest spending some time online to review some sample questions and answers for the writing exam to see the format, the types of questions and possible answers.