A lot of students really struggle to achieve a band 7 in IELTS Writing Task 2. This is due to the fact that many studnets don’t know how to properly answer the question, or do not always know how to plan effectively. To be successful involves planning properly and using your time well.
So imagine yourself in the exam, ready to answer Writing Task 2… What should you do?
STEP 1. Do you Understand the Task?
Before you start writing, it is crucial you fully understand the task/question before you try and answer it. If you do not understand, you will find it extremely difficult to answer the prompt fully. The first thing to do is look for key words in the question, especially words that can show you who, what, when, where or why. These can help you identify the type of question.
If you can give the examiner what they want to see, this is the first step to fully addressing the task. Failing to do this means you are not fully answering the question, which may result in a Band 5 or a 6 at best.
STEP 2. Taking time to plan.
Fail to plan? Then plan to fail. Spend the first 5-10 minutes of time writing an effective plan that covers the requirements of the task. Planning is essential as it helps you clearly organise ideas and provides a solid structure for your Task 2 response. This will save you time later, and will make sure ideas are clear and connected when writing your 4-5 paragraph response.
Even as a ‘native speaker’, I still took time to write a plan for my Task 2 response, as this helped me to clearly lay out my ideas and the main points I would cover in my essay.
STEP 3. Building your essay with a clear introduction.
The introduction is key for your essay, as it lets the reader (the examiner) know exactly what to expect. A strong introduction clearly lays out the Topic, Controlling Idea and has a thesis statement that drives the rest of the essay. A good introduction paragraph could include:
- A Hook – A statement, question or fact to interest the reader.
- A Topic sentence – Clearly identifying the Topic and Controlling idea for your essay.
- A Thesis Statement – What your essay will cover (2-3 main points).
STEP 4. Building with body paragraphs.
The body paragraphs are where you start to build your essay further, and start to cover the main ideas you talked about in your thesis statement. You should aim to write 2 or 3 body paragraphs, and might want to make sure each body paragraph has:
- A Topic Sentence – Outlines the main idea/reason and why it’s important.
- Supporting Sentences – Definitions of key terms, explanations or examples.
- Concluding Sentence – A short summary of the main idea, which connects to the next paragraph.
Strong, balanced body paragraphs which cover your main ideas will ensure you score well in the Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion sections of Task 2.
STEP 5. To Sum up…
So in the last paragraph, you should first connect back to your thesis statement, before then summarising main ideas talked about in your body paragraphs. A successful conclusion links back to the thesis statement, and paraphrases it well. You can paraphrase by using synonyms, changing word order or word/verb forms. When summarizing the body paragraphs, what was the main point, or main argument in each body paragraph? You can then finish by offering a suggestion, an opinion or a prediction.
STEP 6. Check your work!
This sounds simple, but spending the last 5 minutes to check your work can make the difference between achieving an overall Band 6 or Band 7 score. This means checking your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Taking time to check your work is not only a great habit to get in to, but also helps you to improve your writing in the long run.
So what do you think? Did you find these steps helpful? Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.