In IELTS Task 2 Writing using a pre-learned essay is not a good thing but learning the structure of a typical essay and more complex methods of linking works.
You’ll get 0 marks if the examiner spots a pre-learned essay but learning the structure of a typical essay and more complex methods of linking your writing is definitely a good thing.
Try writing a few essays using this structure and the associated techniques and see if your marks improve.
We think they will.
Essay Organisation and Cohesion in IELTS Writing
There are several elements which help IELTS writing and, if used correctly, will increase the marks awarded by examiners. These include the way in which the author structures the writing, its organisation, how it maintains the reader’s interest and how the elements of the writing link together, its cohesion.
Cohesion in writing is how sentences and paragraphs flow from one to another. It ties together old information and new within the piece. Students who work hard to foster cohesion structurally in their writing will enhance a reader’s (the examiner’s!) understanding of their ideas. As a rule of thumb the more complex and natural sounding the linking words and phrases are, the higher the marks awarded will be.
Many IELTS candidates spend too little time planning what they are about to deliver in the writing Tasks. This is a critical failing as there are very few people who can write to a very high standard without thinking about what they want to write first. Good candidates who are aiming for very high band scores will almost certainly fail to achieve them if they don’t plan properly. Intermediate standard candidates hoping to lift their band scores into the 6.5 to 7+ region are possibly losing 0.5 – 1.0 from their scores by not planning properly.
How should candidates structure their writing?
In outline the first paragraph should include a thesis statement, which announces the main idea or argument of the paper. The rest of the sentences should lead up to or anticipate the thesis, either directly or indirectly. The body paragraphs, each containing examples, should support the thesis statement and be arranged in a clear hierarchy.
Readers should be able to understand how each paragraph relates to what has come before it. This can be accomplished by the use of transition sentences, linking words and phrases.
A template for this structure is provided at the end of this document. It has been successfully used by IELTS candidates to increase their band scores.
Repetition reinforces the message and helps to enhance a reader’s understanding of what has been written. Pointers are used as a tool in sentences to use repetition for clarity and better understanding.
Pointers are words, phrases, or ideas that appear in a sentence, and are repeated in the next.
Example: Active captions are placed below an image used to illustrate a feature or benefit in a report. Active captions include the figure title followed by a summary description of the interpretation the author intends the reader to take from the image. This clearly shows how…
In addition, to maintain the reader’s interest, authors could also incorporate elements from the following selection of techniques:
- Variations of the word (ride, rider, riding)
- Pronouns (dentists…they)
- Synonyms (simple, easy, straightforward, uncomplicated)
Transitional words and phrases, also known as tags, are used to hold a piece of writing together. They can be simple conjunctions, such as “and” and “but”, they can list or number (e.g. firstly, secondly, thirdly) or they be more complex. Below is a list of transitional devices accompanied by a simplified definition of their function:
|Addition||again, also, and, and then, besides, equally important, finally, first, further,
furthermore, in addition, in the first place, last, moreover, next, second,
|Comparison||although, and yet, at the same time, but at the same time, despite that,
even so, even though, for all that, however, in contrast, in spite of, instead,
nevertheless, notwithstanding, on the contrary, on the other hand,
otherwise, regardless, still, though, yet
|Concession||certainly, indeed, in fact, of course|
|Example/illustration|| after all, as an illustration, even, for example, for instance, in conclusion,
indeed, in fact, in other words, in short, it is true, of course, namely,
specifically, that is, to illustrate, thus, truly
|Summary||all in all, altogether, as has been said, finally, in brief, in conclusion, in other
words, in particular, in short, in simpler terms, in summary, on the whole,
that is, therefore, to put it differently, to summarize
|Time sequence||after a while, afterward, again, also, and then, as long as, at last, at length,
at that time, before, besides, earlier, eventually, finally, formerly, further,
furthermore, in addition, in the first place, in the past, last, lately,
meanwhile, moreover, next, now, presently, second, shortly,
simultaneously, since, so far, soon, still, subsequently, then, thereafter, too,
until, until now, when
|Place/direction||above, below, farther on, nearby, to the right|
|Relationships||therefore, so, consequently, for this reason, since|
A Format to improve your IELTS Writing Task Two
This template has been used successfully by students who had previously failed in successive IELTS tests to get the writing band scores they needed. The template is only part of preparation. Repeated use, together with the other elements described, will ensure that it becomes intuitive.
It is thought that <A PASSIVE GOOD GRAMMAR POINTS>(THEN DISCUSS THE FIRST PART OF THE QUESTION ) However, others believe
(AND DISCUSS THE SECOND HALF OF THE QUESTION) <REMEMBER TO PARAPHRASE THE WORDS OF THE POINTS OF VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THE QUESTION> But is this true? <RHETORICAL QUESTION-GOOD POINTS FOR LEXIS> I mostly agree with the opinion expressed and in the following I will explain my reasons for these views. <THIS LINKS THE INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST PARAGRAPH AND GIVES YOU GOOD MARK (Band 6 or lower). TO GET A HIGHER BAND SCORE (6.5 and higher) USE YOUR ENGLISH TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINION – NOT THE FORMAT e.g. The Government certainly should offer tax benefits to companies which use ways to make our air cleaner.>
The most important point with reference to (HERE REFER BACK TO THE POINT IN THE QUESTION )to be discussed is……. <GOOD LINKING BACK TO THE INTRODUCTION-EXTRA POINTS> (HERE PUT THE MAIN IDEA‐TOPIC SENTENCE). Not only …….< GOOD GRAMMAR POINTS FOR THIS PHRASE>(TALK MORE ABOUT YOUR OPINION) But …. Also <INTRODUCE ANOTHER IDEA THAT SUPPORTS WHAT YOU HAVE SAID>. An example of this from my own experience can be seen here where….. (GIVE THE EXAMPLE.<POINTS FOR A WELL ROUNDED PARAGRAPH>
A further point to be made concerning this topic (HERE YOU COULD ACTUALLY PUT THE QUESTION TOPIC AND THEN ADD YOUR NEW IDEA) is <EXTRA POINTS FOR LINKING TO LAST PARAGRAPH AND INTRODUCTION> (NOW ADD ANOTHER IDEA IN SUPPORT OF THE MAIN IDEA IN THIS PARAGRAPH) Only by +verb+ing can this situation be improved. I, for one, (ADD EXAMPLE FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE) might have +past participle <NEW WAY TO INTRODUCE AN EXAMPLE/EXTRA POINTS FOR USING A PAST MODAL>
Despite having agreed with such aforementioned ideas, however, these merely highlight the positive, whereas, in this case there are also alternative views. (ADD NEW OPPOSITE MAIN IDEA ) <GOOD LINKING INSIDE THE SENTENCE – EXTRA POINTS> which could have further …. For instance,…. (EXAMPLE FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE)
In conclusion, having carefully considered the opinions above, I feel …. <SAY CLEARLYTO THE EXAMINER WITH YOUR EXPRESSIONS THAT THIS IS THE SUMMARY> (CONFIRM YOUR ORIGINAL OPINION IN PARAPHRASE) (THEN SUMMARISE IN THE FINAL SENTENCE WITH A MIXED CONDITIONAL) Had I not +past participle, I would not +infinitive today.
Reflection: Writing Improvement Practise
When preparing for your IELTS Writing test try using the template above when answering questions. Write 2 or 3 different variations of your answers using different transitions and linking vocabulary.