The Road to Successful IELTS Writing
Dear IELTS Students,
When you are studying English you will encounter writing for many purposes. For example when you are completing assignments and projects you may need to write a report. You may keep a journal which is a great way to improve your writing skills and obviously there is also essay writing which can also often be called timed writing. This is a popular way for most institutions to quickly assess your writing abilities.
Funnily enough essay writing is often the most feared component of any studies for students. They often say “it’s the hardest aspect of learning”.
Essay writing does not however need to be feared. In fact it is really the easiest form of writing as there is a set structure to follow and lots of guidelines. If you follow the simple steps to writing a good essay you can’t go wrong.
Turn the Topic into a Question and Answer that Question
Firstly it is important to understand what an essay is. The dictionary defines an essay as ‘a short piece of writing on a particular subject’. As you are given the topic you don’t need to spend time thinking about what to write — that has already been decided for you.
It is also important to remember that generally you are answering a question.
Initially when you begin essay writing you are often given a topic that asks if you agree or disagree with the statement made. It is always important to keep that question in mind when you are formulating your response or answer. Later as your writing improves and essay topics get harder you may be asked to present both side s of an argument.
So the important thing to remember is that fundamentally you are answering a question which is why we suggest that the first step is to turn the topic into a question, then each paragraph consists of an idea that either agrees or disagrees with the question. This is your topic sentence and usually the first sentence of the paragraph.
Also included in each paragraph is the explanation for your idea. This is called the supporting sentence. The supporting sentence or sentences should explain WHY. You also need to provide an example, to show how this applies.
As we have discussed many times if you follow the essay structure of:
- INTRODUCTION: which includes your general statement about the topic follow by a specific statement then your thesis statement, which side of the argument you are presenting.
- BODY: the paragraphs with your main ideas or topic sentence followed by your supporting sentences and an example.
- CONCLUSION: summary of your main points and your thesis statement restated
then with some planning and brainstorming before you begin this writing process essay writing becomes easier and easier.
Once you understand the structure and follow the steps, all you have to do is focus on the planning and brainstorming. The actually writing is simple and doesn’t take up much time at all.
Planning is really the most important aspect of good essay writing. Good planning really makes a difference to successfully writing.
Lastly I am also often amazed at how many students don’t plan their writing just rush forward and secondly how many students don’t CHECK their writing. They are so happy to be finished that they don’t take that extra few minutes to read through what they have written.
Reread the topic and check you have answered the question. Also look for spelling mistakes, check your grammar and punctuation. This takes only a few minutes and could make the difference between good writing and successfully getting the score you want.
Why not share some of your writing triumphant with us and help other students along the way. Remember the best way to learn is to connect, communicate and share.