Today, we are looking at ways to focus you on preparing to get a band 7 in IELTS Task 2 writing.
If you are getting band 6.5 continually and getting very frustrated and disheartened with your ability to reach your dream band 7 or 7.5, then follow this advice for 2 weeks and see what happens.
This IELTS 2 Essay preparation technique is proven
What I am describing here is exactly how I coach my students to prepare for IELTS Task 2 and if you look at the testimonials from students I’ve coached, they can only be described as ecstatic as a result of finally
getting their 7 or 7.5)
Step 1 IELTS Task 2 Writing Preparation
Firstly, choose the IELTS Task 2. I’ve chosen the following:
For some people shopping is not just about buying what is necessary
Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?
Give your opinion and examples from your experience.
You’ll see that the basic idea in the question is retail therapy but ideas can be linked to consumerism.
Step 2 Google your chosen topic
Having chosen your writing topic, Google it. I googled ‘retail therapy’ and found this article by Nick Fagge for The Daily Mail and another by Alexandra Posadski.
Read the texts and
A) list the main ideas
B) list useful phrases (these can be either for the topic retail therapy, or general phrases you can use in the task 2 writing.
Step 3 Plan your essay
In the IELTS Exam you should give yourself a few minutes to plan what you’re going to say. This makes your thoughts more controlled and easier for the examiner to follow.
A) Retail Therapy-an effective way to minimise sadness
B) May help a person feel in control of their environment
C) When shopping is motivated by a desire to repair mood,shoppers enjoy positive feelings when reflecting on purchases
A) Paying off the credit card bills every month
B) An addiction that is hard to control and causes many problems-Debt/Relationships
C) Hides an underlying emotional issue-not cured by retail therapy
Step 4 Include useful phrases from your “Library”
You should be assembling a range of useful phrases to help you across all aspects of the IELTS Test. In the following examples, I have chosen expressions which could be recycled in any task 2.
1. Far from being empty and superficial
2. To keep abreast of the latest +noun (fashion)
3. Motivated by a desire to…(plus verb)
4. The dark side of plus noun phrase (consumer behaviour)
5. The passage of time
6. To leave you saddled with plus noun (debt)
7. Not only does this prevent you from +noun/gerund), it also…
8. It is never going to solve the root problem
Step 5 Complete the IELTS Task 2 Essay structure
Now you have your basic ideas, you can decide how many paragraphs you are going to write.
As you only have 40 minutes, unless you are a quick writer, I suggest you write 4 or maximum 5 paragraphs, allowing yourself 9 (for 4 paragraphs)or 7 minutes per paragraph (for 5), remembering you have already used a few minutes to plan the basic format of your essay.
Write an introduction which explains your main idea (thesis statement) and a conclusion, which reviews the points you have made and here you can offer what you have concluded or remain neutral and also include 2 or 3 body paragraphs.
Writing the Introduction
Do not express your opinion about the question immediately. First rewrite the idea of the question by using paraphrases and then in the last line or two express your opinion on the question.
This is your ‘thesis statement/main idea’.
You can divide your essay into 4 parts, so between 65 words to 70 words a paragraph and more if you can write quickly.
Example Introduction (The Thesis Statement):
In our grandmother’s day shopping was for a practical purpose in that the family needed to be fed and clothed which was the main reason for an excursion to the shops and that can still be said to be true today.However, a quick foray into any of the new malls which are springing up everywhere nowadays highlights the fact that shopping is no longer solely practical rather it is a means of socialising with friends or retail therapy. (78 words)
Here the writer has used adverbs to express his opinion on the question to the examiner=however/no longer solely/ rather.
Writing the body paragraphs
The easier your ideas are to follow, the more marks the examiner will give you.
Using your main idea (thesis statement) in the introduction, you develop your thoughts in the body paragraphs (maybe 2, maybe 3) by breaking down your ideas into topic sentences (the main idea of the paragraph).
Example Body Paragraph 1
The topic sentence (a breakdown of ideas from the thesis statement). Here’s an example:
While buying what is necessary is something the whole population does without thinking, shopping as a concept has changed with the advent of not only the American style malls selling luxury goods and brands but also the growth of shopping online.
Developing the body paragraph
You need to have at least 2 ideas to support your topic sentence , with an example and a qualifying statement, or the opposite idea. Again, here’s an example:
One advantage of this is that not only are the shopping malls and online are easy way to keep abreast of the latest fashions but what might be seen as a daily chore, that is food shopping, can now also be done in a time saving way. An example of this is the busy working mother who has to look after the family as well as earn some money to pay the bills, so she uses her time fruitfully by food shopping online. Unfortunately, a drawback to this easy access to consumerism is that it has its dark side too, as a small minority of the population uses such so called retail therapy to improve their feelings if they are under the weather, leaving themselves saddled with debt and possibly a serious addiction, merely highlighting the negative development.
Think about linking expressions here, for the examiner to give you more marks.
Don’t forget the new expressions you have chosen.
Review what you have said and offer your opinion, which can be that this is positive, or negative, or your opinion can remain neutral.
Step 6 Rinse and repeat until ready for the IELTS Test
Continue to practise this until you feel comfortable with planning, preparation and writing a Task 2 essay.
If you use this approach for your preparation and if you cover as many of the possible IELTS Task 2 writing topics as you can during your preparation, it will help you to:
- Improve your vocabulary across many topics
- Develop quick essay planning skills for IELTS Task 2 Writing
- Increase range of “useful phrases” which can be used across the whole of the IELTS Test
- Focus on understanding what the examiner is looking for in the IELTS Writing tests
- Achieve higher IELTS Band scores.