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Task 1 and 2: Academic and General Test
I have been teaching English as a second
language for over fifteen years in Taiwan
and Australia, in language centers and
universities. My area of specialization is
teaching students how to pass the IELTS
exam. I particularly enjoy teaching IELTS
because I find it challenging to teach
students the necessary skills and strategies
that they need to pass, and I also find that
my students are highly motivated – this is
a joy for a teacher!
About the author
1.	 Introduction to the IELTS Writing test....... 6
2.	 Task 1: Academic Reports........................ 9
2.1.	 Overview.......................................... 10
2.2.	 Single time (static) task...................... 14
2.3.	 Change over time task....................... 26
2.4.	 Process diagram or flow chart............ 40
2.5.	 Map or floor plan.............................. 47
2.6.	 Common errors................................. 62
3. Task 1 General: Letters.......................64
3.1. Overview....................................65
3.2. Types of letters............................69
3.3. Requesting information................71
3.4. Giving information.......................74
3.5. Making a complaint.....................76
3.6. Making an apology......................78
3.7. Thanking someone......................80
3.8. Useful language for letters...........82
3.9. Common errors...........................83
4.	 Task 2: Essay Writing.............................. 90
4.1.	 Overview..............................................91
4.2.	 Opinion essay.......................................104
4.3.	 Model essay version 3: Outweigh.........114
4.4.	 Both sides and opinion essay...............118
4.5.	 Two question essay...............................130
4.6.	 Improving your score............................139
4.7.	 Improving grammar..............................151
4.8.	 Vocabulary for common topics........... 156
Contents
1.
INTRODUCTION TO THE
IELTS WRITING TEST
7
For the writing test you are given one hour to complete two written tasks.
The key difference between the two versions of the test is for Task One. For
the General Test you are required to write a letter, whereas for the Academic
Test you are required to write a report. Task 2 is essentially the same for both
versions of the test, but for any given test day there will be separate tasks for
each version of the test. If you have the option it is most likely better to take the
General Test because preparing for a letter is much easier than preparing how to
write reports for the wide range of visual information which occur in the tests.
General Academic
Task 1
Minimum 150 words
Write a formal semi-formal, or
informal letter in response to a
situation.
Minimum 150 words
Write a formal report to
interpret, describe, or
compare information
Task 2 Minimum 250 words
Write a formal style essay on a given
topic in response to a given question.
The three biggest mistakes when taking the IELTS writing exam
I have graded thousands of papers for the IELTS exam. The purpose of this article
is to tell you the three major mistakes that candidates keep making in order that
you may avoid them.
The first problem is poor time management. About 30% of my students who
write IELTS exams under timed conditions fail to complete both Task 1 and Task
2. In this case their score for Task Response (one of the four grading criteria) is
reduced, and to make matters worse their score is penalized for being under
length. Therefore, this is like a double penalty and so you should make sure you
can write sufficient words for both tasks by controlling your time. This means
150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2.
The second problem is rushing to start the task without properly reading the
question. Again, also about 30% of my students will write an essay that is off-
topic, which again not only lowers their score for Task Response but also makes
it difficult to score well in the grading category of Cohesion and Coherence
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
8
because often the essay does not make sense to the reader who is looking for
a response to the question. A common example of this is with a question like
“to what extent do you agree or disagree.” This requires YOUR opinion, and
therefore saying things like “some people believe that….” is off-topic, unless you
state whether you agree with them or not.
The final issue is the frequency of errors. Try to allow time to proofread what
you have written. In order to get above a six for vocabulary you may only produce
occasional errors in word choice, spelling and word formation. The biggest error
is the singular/plural form of words, so always check your nouns and verbs to see
if they should have an “s” ending. For a grammar score of 7 you must produce
frequent error-free sentences. The most common errors are with articles (a, an,
the), so look at each noun and think about whether it needs an article. In other
words if you can proofread your writing and cut-down the number of errors you
stand a better chance of getting over the 6 hurdle for vocabulary and grammar.
How to Improve
In order to improve and score well in the exam I recommend you focus on the
following aspects:
1.	 Learn how the test is structured and graded
2.	 Learn skills to improve your answers
3.	 Practice skills
4.	 Do lots of practice tests.
5.	 Receive feedback on practice tests
6.	 Use the feedback to improve your answers
9
2.
TASK 1: ACADEMIC REPORTS
Model reports and how to
write them!
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
10
2.1. OVERVIEW
Writing Task 1 is designed to test your ability to write a report explaining
information shown in different types of graphs and diagrams. You must present
the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs.
You are required to write over 150 words, and the task should be completed in
about 20 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour).
Sample question:
WRITING TASK 1
task introduction
Write at least 150 words.
You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
The graph below shows information about the activities that New Zealand
and Australian children enjoy doing the most in 2007.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features,
and make comparisons where relevant.
requirementshow many words
you should write
What children enjoy doing?
how long you should
spend
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
Books Computer
games
DVDs Going to
the park
Sports
Autralians
New Zealanders
11
Grading of tasks
Criteria Requirement
Task Achievement 	write over 150 words
	satisfy all the requirements of the task
	introduce the task (rephrase the question)
	give a summary of the key features
	highlight key features
Coherence and
Cohesion
	sequence information and ideas logically
	use paragraphing appropriately
	make sure there is a clear progression throughout
	use a range of cohesive devices appropriately
	avoid unnecessary repetition of information
Lexical Resource 	rephrase vocabulary to show your range of
vocabulary
	use adverbs and adjectives to show precision
	use less common lexical items
	awareness of style and collocation
	avoid errors with word formation
	avoid errors with spelling
	avoid errors with word choices
Grammatical
Range and
Accuracy
	use a mix of simple and complex sentence forms
	produce error-free sentences
	avoid errors with grammar and punctuation
TIP!
You will only achieve a high overall score by focusing on all
four criteria for the writing exam.
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
12
Types of tasks
Task One of the IELTS writing exam includes different types of tasks. The most
common ones are: line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, tables, process diagrams,
flow charts, maps, and floor plans, which should all be looked at to be well
prepared.Then,taskoneoftheIELTSwritingexamcanbeseparatedintodifferent
time periods. Static tasks, which are tasks that have only one time period; and
change over time tasks, which have two or more different time periods. Finally,
with task one of the IELTS writing exam, different types of language is needed
depending on whether the task consists of numbers, percentages, steps in a
process, or describing a map. Therefore, there are three key dimensions of task
one of the IELTS writing exam:
Type of task
Task Dimensions
Type of data or visual information Time periods
TIP!
Before you start writing, make sure you are very clear about the
type of task, whether the task is about numbers or percentages,
and whether the task involves a single time period or many.
13
The names of common types of graphs and diagrams
Line Graph Bar Chart
Gold Silver Green
XXII Olympic Winter Games (Sochi)
Medal Counts for Top 10 Countries, Based on Total Count
Pie Chart Table
Purchases %
DVDs 5%
Books 10%
Going out 15%
Transport 15%
Food 25%
Process diagram Map
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
14
2.2. SINGLE TIME (STATIC) TASK
Task Instructions
The IELTS static task is designed to test your ability to compare and contrast in-
formation shown in a line graph, bar graph, pie chart, table, process diagram, or
map (the last two tasks will be covered in a separate section). You must present
the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs.
You are required to write over 150 words, and the task should be completed in
20 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour).
Requires
1	 comparison vocabulary to describe differences and similarities of data
2	 describing numbers and percentages
3	 past or present tense
Useful language for static tasks:
Adjectives: Comparing and contrasting
A static task requires you to compare and contrast information, and in order to
achieve this it’s important to use comparatives and superlatives. The following
provides guidelines on how to form comparatives and superlatives.
All one syllable words and most two syllable words that end in “y” add er and
est. All other two syllables or more words need to use more and most. Refer to
the chart below.
One syllable Comparative Superlative
cheap cheaper cheapest
large larger largest
Two syllables Comparative Superlative
expensive more expensive most expensive
modern more modern most modern
15
* NOTE:
There are also some exceptions, such as the ones below:
good	 better	 best
bad	 worse	 worst
Exercise: Comparatives and Superlatives
Complete the table with the correct comparative and superlative forms [The
answers are at the back of this section of the book.]
Word Comparative Superlative
1.	 accurate more accurate most accurate
2.	 certain
3.	 slow
4.	 fast
5.	 correct
6.	 dangerous
7.	 easy
8.	 modern
9.	 tiny
10.	new
11.	possible
12.	probable
13.	up-to-date
TIP!
Use comparatives and superlatives to compare data and
increase your score for task achievement. It also helps
increase your score for vocabulary.
Answers: Comparatives and Superlatives
Comparative Superlative
1.	accurate more accurate most accurate
2.	certain more certain most certain
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
16
3.	slow slower slowest
4.	fast faster fastest
5.	correct more correct most correct
6.	dangerous more dangerous most dangerous
7.	easy easier easiest
8.	modern more modern most modern
9.	 tiny tinnier tinniest
10.	new newer newest
11.	possible more possible most possible
12.	probable more probable most probable
13.	up-to-date more up-to-date most up-to-date
Describing numbers and percentages
When writing your report you must carefully identify whether the information
that is given involves countable data (trees), uncountable data (water), or
percentages (15%). This is because the language used with the three types is
different. If you use the incorrect language the examiner will easily identify it
and your vocabulary score will be lowered.
Countable numbers
The number of trees was 100.
The quantity of trees was 100.
Uncountable numbers
The amount of water used was 100 litres.
Percentages
The rate of water usage was 15 per cent.
The proportion of water usage was 15%
The water usage was fifteen per cent.
The water usage increased by 15 percent.
The percentages of water usage (15%) and power usage (16%) were about the same.
The water usage and power usage were 15% and 16%, respectively.
17
Exercise: Describing numbers and percentages
Circle the correct word. The answers are on the next page.
1.	The number/amount of cars was over 1,000.
2.	The rate/ number of electricity usage was 15 per cent.
3.	The amount /percentage of power was 15%.
4.	The number/amount of trains was 100.
5.	The number /proportion of lamb consumed was 15 percent.
6.	The percentage/amount of lamb (15%) and chicken (16%) were about the
same.
7.	The number/amount of beer consumed was 100 litres.
8.	The proportion/ amount of water usage and power usage were 15% and 16%,
respectively.
9.	The number/percentage of apples was 10 on Fridays.
10.	The number/amount of oil produced was 100 litres.
Answers: Language with numbers and percentages
1.	The number/amount of cars was over 1,000.
2.	The rate/ number of electricity usage was 15 per cent.
3.	The amount /percentage of power was 15%
4.	The number/amount of trains was 100.
5.	The number /proportion of lamb consumed was 15 percent.
6.	The percentage/amount of lamb (15%) and chicken (16%) were about
the same.
7.	The number/amount of beer consumed was 100 litres.
8.	The proportion/ amount of water usage and power usage were 15% and
16%, respectively.
9.	The number/ percentage of apples was 10 on Fridays.
10.	The number/amount of oil produced was 100 litres.
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
18
Deciding on the tense
In order to decide whether to use the past, present, or future tense you should look
at the title of the chart. The title will help you determine the tense you should use:
Example 1: Present tense
The chart below has no time period mentioned, so you should write it using the
present tense. Note also that the words in the title: “spend monthly” is written
in the present tense and it involves a reoccurring event so you should use the
present simple tense.
The chart below shows
how much people spend
monthly on four types of
food in four cities.
Example 2: Past tense
The time is in the past, 2010, and so you must use the past tense.
The chart below shows the sales
revenue in dollars at three
branches of a bank in 2010.
Example 3: Future tense
The pie chart below refers to the future and so we’ll need a future tense to
describe the information in it.
(Note that I’ve never seen future tense required for a static task. I have only seen
for a change over time task. For this reason, future tense is covered in the next
section on change over time tasks).
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
New Yorrk BostonL os Angeles San Diego
Bars Crackers Snacks Snacks
$ (million)
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
64
3.
TASK 1 GENERAL: LETTERS
Model letters and how to
write them!
65
3.1. OVERVIEW
Writing Task 1 of the IELTS general exam is designed to test your ability to write
a letter. You must present the information in your own words as complete
sentences within paragraphs using a letter format. You are required to write
over 150 words, and the task should be completed in about 20 minutes (both
part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour).
How to improve your letter writing
1.	 Learn how to structure different types of letter
2.	 Learn vocabulary for different types of letters
3.	 Learn skills to improve your answers
4.	 Practice these skills
5.	 Do lots of practice tests.
6.	 Receive feedback on practice tests
7.	 Use the feedback to improve your answers
Grading criteria
Criteria Requirement
Task Achievement
[Task Response]
	write over 150 words
	respond to each bullet point
	use an appropriate tone and level of politeness
Coherence and
Cohesion
	sequence information and ideas logically
	use paragraphing appropriately
	use a range of cohesive devices appropriately
	avoid unnecessary repetition of information
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
66
Lexical Resource
[Vocabulary]
	use of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision
	use less common lexical items
	awareness of style and collocation
	avoid errors with word formation
	avoid errors with spelling
	avoid errors with word choices
Grammatical
Range and
Accuracy
	uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms
	produce error-free sentences
	avoid errors with grammar and punctuation
Task sequence for writing a letter
In order to complete your task efficiently and within about 20 minutes you
should complete the task in the following manner:
1. Read the question and identify the purpose of the letter. (Asking for help,
requesting information, apologizing, complaining, or thanking someone)
2. Underline key words to help you understand the purpose better and also so
you can rephrase these words when you write your letter.
3. Brainstorm how you will answer the task You always need to respond to
three bullet points. In some cases this may require you to “invent” information.
For instance, you will need to think of a piece of equipment if you are asked to:
describe a problem you had with a piece of equipment.
4. Write the letter
5. Proofread your letter
TIP!
Practice writing you letters using the same sequence over
and over so that you have it perfected before your test.
67
Parts of letters
There are six main parts to an IELTS letter.
* NOTE:
[You do NOT need to write any addresses or dates]
Greeting
Opening of the letter
Body of the letter
Closing of the letter
Farewell
Your name
Greeting: Dear Marie, Dear Ms. Smith, Dear Sir or Madam, 
The greeting should be appropriate for the type of letter you are writing. If you
are writing to a friend or family member, it is most appropriate to just write that
person’s first name. If you are writing a more formal letter to someone you know
- such as your boss, you should use that person’s last name. Do not use Dear Sir
or Madam in this instance because that is only for letters to people who you do
not know. Dear Sir or Madam is only for instances where you do not know the
person you are writing to.
Opening of the letter: It was great to see you last weekend; I am writing with
regards to…
With a formal letter you should go straight to the purpose of the letter. With
a personal letter to a friend or family member it is usually appropriate to start
with a warm comment and then the purpose of the letter:
Formal letter
I am writing with regards to…
I am writing to inquire about…
Informal letter
I hope you are enjoying your new home. Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you is
because I have some good news to share with you…
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
90
4.
TASK 2: ESSAY WRITING
Model essays and how to
write them!
91
4.1. OVERVIEW
Writing Task 2 is designed to test your ability to write an academic style essay. You
must present the information in your own words as complete sentences within
paragraphs. You are required to write over 250 words, and the task should be
completed in about 40 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour).
Types of Topics
There are many different topics for essays in the exam, but typical topic areas
include: education, crime, media, technology, social issues, technology and the
future, and the environment. In this case it makes sense to build up vocabulary
in these key areas in order to have sufficient language to write an essay well.
Types of Questions
There are three main types of essay questions that are included in the IELTS
writing exam. It is important to learn how to structure each of these types. Each
of these will be described more fully in the sections that follow. Briefly, they are
an opinion essay, where you are asked to give your own personal opinion on a
topic; a both sides and opinion essay, where you are required to discuss both
sides of an argument and then give your own personal opinion on the topic;
and a two question essay, which involves responding to two different questions.
TIP!
Read the task carefully and make sure that you clearly
understand the topic and type of question before you
start writing. This is absolutely essential to score well in
the writing test.
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
92
Sample question
WRITING TASK 2
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
Some people believe that the fast pace and stress of
modern life is having a negative effect on families.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from
your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Note that most of the parts of the task are standardised. For instance, you
are always advised to spend about 40 minutes on the task and you are always
required to write at least 250 words. In addition you are always advised to
include relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Note that
this is not a requirement, and you do not lose marks for not giving examples.
Giving examples is only one way of supporting your main ideas.
The only part that changes for each task is the part shown in larger letters in the
box in the middle of the task [see above]. This consists of a topic and a question.
The topic tells you what you need to write your essay about, and the question
tells you what you must say about the topic.
How long you
shoud spend?
Topic
Question
How many words
you shoud write?
93
Task sequence for IELTS essay writing
In order to complete your essay effectively and efficiently within the set time
and conditions of an IELTS exam you need to have a very clear and systematic
approach to writing your essays. From my experience as an examiner and
teacher I recommend the following approach. You may wish to modify this a
little for your own personal style.
1. Read the Task.
This is a critical step that is often underestimated. Missing a single word in the
instructions might result in an essay that doesn’t focus on the topic. For instance
if the topic is about young people and you only write about people in general then
you will have a weak score for task response. I also suggest you underline key
words. This will help you to focus on them and will also assist with the next step.
2. Rephrase keywords in the task instructions.
You need to rephrase the keywords that are given in the topic for two reasons.
The main reason is because if you do not, the examiner will put brackets around
the words you have copied from the task and these words will not be included in
your word count. This may lead to your essay being under length. As well as this,
you should rephrase the keywords to show your talent with vocabulary.
3. Establish the topic and the question type (there are three different types of
questions).
You must focus on the topic and question to score well for task response.
4. Plan the structure of the answer
A good plan helps you to reduce the amount of time you need to write your
essay and also leads to a suitable structure. If you structure your essay well you
will score well for cohesion and coherence. As well as this it will be easier for the
examiner to see the quality of your task response.
5. Write your answer
If you have made a solid plan then the writing stage will go more quickly and
smoothly. Make sure you stick to your plan while writing. Also, do not think
of additional points for your essay while writing. Instead, utilise all of your
brainpower on writing correct sentences using correct language, so that you will
have an essay that will score well for vocabulary and grammar.
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
94
6. Proofread your answer if time permits
If you have any time at all left at the end of your exam, you should use it to
proofread your essay, so that you will have fewer errors with vocabulary and
grammar. Focus on looking for the common mistakes you make with your
writing. Common ones are errors with subject verb agreement, articles [a, an,
the], and the “s” endings of words.
TIP!
Making a plan saves you time when you write your
report and ensures you cover all the key points using an
appropriate structure.
Grading of tasks
Criteria Requirement
Task Response
This criterion assesses how
well you have focused on
the topic and answered the
question.
	write over 250 words
	satisfy all the requirements of the task
	cover all parts of the topic
	cover all parts of the question
	develop main points
Coherence and Cohesion
This criterion assesses
how well you have
structured your essay,
used paragraphing, and
connected your ideas.
	sequence information and ideas logically
	use a range of cohesive devices appropriately
	use paragraphing appropriately
	Have a clear progression throughout
	avoid unnecessary repetition of information
Lexical Resource
This criterion assesses
your vocabulary in terms
of errors and also ability
to use more advanced
language.
	use of vocabulary to allow some flexibility
and precision
	use less common vocabulary
	awareness of style and collocation
	avoid errors with word choices
	avoid errors with word formation
	avoid errors with spelling
95
Grammatical Range and
Accuracy
This criterion assesses your
grammar in terms of errors
and also ability to use
more advanced sentence
structures.
	uses a mix of simple and complex sentence
forms
	produce error-free sentences
	avoid errors with grammar and punctuation
Comparing the three types of essays
Key question words
Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay
What is your opinion?
Do you agree or
disagree?
To what extent do you
agree or disagree?
Do you think the
advantages outweigh
the disadvantages?
Discuss the advantages
and disadvantages
Discuss the advantages
and disadvantages and
give your own opinion
Discuss both sides of
this argument and
then give your own
opinion.
Whatproblemdoesthiscause?
What are some potential
solutions?
Do you agree?
What are some other
solutions?
What are the causes of this
problem?
What are some potential
solutions?
Example question
Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay
Computers are being
used more and more
in education and some
say there will soon be
no role for the teacher
in education.
To what extent do you
agree or disagree?
Computers are being
used more and more in
education. Some people
say that this is a positive
trend, while others
argue that it is leading to
negative consequences.
Discuss both sides of this
argument and then give
your own opinion.
Alcohol abuse is becoming
more and more common in
many countries.
What are some of the
problems it causes?
What are some of the
possible solutions?
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
96
Structuring the three types of essays
INTRODUCTION
Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay
Rephrase question
Position = state
whether you agree
or disagree and the
extent (how much):
Rephrase question
“This essay discusses…”+
[both sides] and [opinion]
Rephrase question
“This essay discusses…” +
[question 1] and
[question 2]
BODY
Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay
reason 1
reason 2
reason 3/concession
(argument against
your main opinion)
Side 1 advantages
Side 2 advantages
[Note: keep your opinion
out of the body. It is only
about what people in
general may think.]
question 1
question 2
Final paragraph
Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay
Restating of your
position + summary
of reasons
Your Opinion
State that both sides are
important/have merits
State which one is more
important/better
Summary of question 1
and 2
97
Essay Structure
Body
Topic sentence (Topic + Point)
Supporting sentence
Supporting sentence
Supporting sentence
Topic sentence (Topic + Point)
Supporting sentence
Supporting sentence
Supporting sentence
[An opinion essay may have a third paragraph]
Conclusion
Summary of
main points
Final Statement
1
2
Introduction
General Statement
Specific Statement
Point 1 above:
The diagram above shows how the last part of the introduction functions to
influence the main points of each body paragraph. These main points are usually
given in the topic sentence.
Point 2 above:
The diagram shows how the main points from the body get summarised in the
conclusion of the essay
Parts of the essay
Further discussion is provided below on the structure of the essay, using the task
below as an example:
TOPIC:
Computers are being used more and more in education and some people say
there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.
QUESTION:
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
IELTS Writing: Step by Step
98
INTRODUCTION
You only need two sentences for your introduction. You may have learnt from
other teachers that you should include aspects such as a background to the
situation, but you need to bear in mind that this is a very short essay of only a
little over 250 words and so you want to keep your introduction brief. I suggest
you just write a general statement and specific statement as explained below.
General statement
The general statement is the topic that you need to write about. You can write
this very easily by just rephrasing the topic you are given. This is the best way to
do this. Do not try to be creative here, as you will not be rewarded for this and
you risk lowering your score for task response if you misstate the topic: with
reference to the topic above:
Computers are being used more and more in education and
some say there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.
GOOD REPHRASE: Some people believe technology may be used to replace
teachers in the future.
BAD REPHRASE: Due to the rising prevalence of advanced technology computers
are becoming more useful. This misstates the topic because it is not about
whether computers are useful it is about whether they will replace teachers.
Too long a rephrase: Ever since the dawn of time, mankind has been finding ways
to improve their lives. More recently education has emerged as a very important
aspect of human lives. Therefore it is worthwhile to consider whether technology
offers any advantages in the classroom and whether they are more useful than
the people who have trained for many years as academic experts. Too long!
It is like a history lesson, and this also makes the topic a little unclear. If the
writing is less clear then coherence is lowered. My key point here is that big long
introductions do more harm than good. In addition, it is better to spend more
time on the body of the essay, in order to show your ability to develop your main
ideas which increase your score for task response.
Specific statement
The specific statement comes from the question part of the task. What you
write will depend upon which of the three types of questions are asked. If the
99
essay asks for your opinion you should give this here. If the question asks for
anything else you should start this statement with this essay discussing and
then rephrasing what you are asked for. Both of these approaches are explained
further below.
Specific statement for an opinion essay
QUESTION: To what extent do you agree or disagree?
This type of question needs to be responded to very precisely in the introduction.
You need to have made a plan for your essay and have a clear idea of what your
opinion is. To fully respond to all words in the question you need to mention the
EXTENT or how much you agree or disagree. Some choices are:
Totally agree
Somewhat agree
Equally agree and disagree [this is a risky choice that I think should be
avoided]
Somewhat disagree
Totally disagree
So the sentence will look something like:
I totally agree with this opinion [good and safe choice]
I totally agree that teachers should be replaced with computers [better as there
is a fuller sentence]
I totally agree that teachers should be replaced with computers because they are
cheaper and more convenient for students [best because it gives the examiner a
clear idea of what the essay is about. Paragraph 2 should be about cheaper, and
paragraph 3 should be about being more convenient].
Specific statement for a non-opinion essay = “this essay discusses” + rephrase
of the question
QUESTION: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using computers in the
classroom.
This essay discusses the merits and drawbacks of the use of computers in schools.
QUESTION: What are some disadvantages of using computers in the classroom?
What are some ways to overcome these disadvantages?
This essay discusses drawbacks with the use of computers in schools and also
some ways to solve them.

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Doc Thu IELTSMIKE Writting Step By Step

  • 1. Task 1 and 2: Academic and General Test
  • 2. I have been teaching English as a second language for over fifteen years in Taiwan and Australia, in language centers and universities. My area of specialization is teaching students how to pass the IELTS exam. I particularly enjoy teaching IELTS because I find it challenging to teach students the necessary skills and strategies that they need to pass, and I also find that my students are highly motivated – this is a joy for a teacher! About the author
  • 3. 1. Introduction to the IELTS Writing test....... 6 2. Task 1: Academic Reports........................ 9 2.1. Overview.......................................... 10 2.2. Single time (static) task...................... 14 2.3. Change over time task....................... 26 2.4. Process diagram or flow chart............ 40 2.5. Map or floor plan.............................. 47 2.6. Common errors................................. 62 3. Task 1 General: Letters.......................64 3.1. Overview....................................65 3.2. Types of letters............................69 3.3. Requesting information................71 3.4. Giving information.......................74 3.5. Making a complaint.....................76 3.6. Making an apology......................78 3.7. Thanking someone......................80 3.8. Useful language for letters...........82 3.9. Common errors...........................83 4. Task 2: Essay Writing.............................. 90 4.1. Overview..............................................91 4.2. Opinion essay.......................................104 4.3. Model essay version 3: Outweigh.........114 4.4. Both sides and opinion essay...............118 4.5. Two question essay...............................130 4.6. Improving your score............................139 4.7. Improving grammar..............................151 4.8. Vocabulary for common topics........... 156 Contents
  • 5. 7 For the writing test you are given one hour to complete two written tasks. The key difference between the two versions of the test is for Task One. For the General Test you are required to write a letter, whereas for the Academic Test you are required to write a report. Task 2 is essentially the same for both versions of the test, but for any given test day there will be separate tasks for each version of the test. If you have the option it is most likely better to take the General Test because preparing for a letter is much easier than preparing how to write reports for the wide range of visual information which occur in the tests. General Academic Task 1 Minimum 150 words Write a formal semi-formal, or informal letter in response to a situation. Minimum 150 words Write a formal report to interpret, describe, or compare information Task 2 Minimum 250 words Write a formal style essay on a given topic in response to a given question. The three biggest mistakes when taking the IELTS writing exam I have graded thousands of papers for the IELTS exam. The purpose of this article is to tell you the three major mistakes that candidates keep making in order that you may avoid them. The first problem is poor time management. About 30% of my students who write IELTS exams under timed conditions fail to complete both Task 1 and Task 2. In this case their score for Task Response (one of the four grading criteria) is reduced, and to make matters worse their score is penalized for being under length. Therefore, this is like a double penalty and so you should make sure you can write sufficient words for both tasks by controlling your time. This means 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2. The second problem is rushing to start the task without properly reading the question. Again, also about 30% of my students will write an essay that is off- topic, which again not only lowers their score for Task Response but also makes it difficult to score well in the grading category of Cohesion and Coherence
  • 6. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 8 because often the essay does not make sense to the reader who is looking for a response to the question. A common example of this is with a question like “to what extent do you agree or disagree.” This requires YOUR opinion, and therefore saying things like “some people believe that….” is off-topic, unless you state whether you agree with them or not. The final issue is the frequency of errors. Try to allow time to proofread what you have written. In order to get above a six for vocabulary you may only produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling and word formation. The biggest error is the singular/plural form of words, so always check your nouns and verbs to see if they should have an “s” ending. For a grammar score of 7 you must produce frequent error-free sentences. The most common errors are with articles (a, an, the), so look at each noun and think about whether it needs an article. In other words if you can proofread your writing and cut-down the number of errors you stand a better chance of getting over the 6 hurdle for vocabulary and grammar. How to Improve In order to improve and score well in the exam I recommend you focus on the following aspects: 1. Learn how the test is structured and graded 2. Learn skills to improve your answers 3. Practice skills 4. Do lots of practice tests. 5. Receive feedback on practice tests 6. Use the feedback to improve your answers
  • 7. 9 2. TASK 1: ACADEMIC REPORTS Model reports and how to write them!
  • 8. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 10 2.1. OVERVIEW Writing Task 1 is designed to test your ability to write a report explaining information shown in different types of graphs and diagrams. You must present the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs. You are required to write over 150 words, and the task should be completed in about 20 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour). Sample question: WRITING TASK 1 task introduction Write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. The graph below shows information about the activities that New Zealand and Australian children enjoy doing the most in 2007. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. requirementshow many words you should write What children enjoy doing? how long you should spend 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Books Computer games DVDs Going to the park Sports Autralians New Zealanders
  • 9. 11 Grading of tasks Criteria Requirement Task Achievement  write over 150 words  satisfy all the requirements of the task  introduce the task (rephrase the question)  give a summary of the key features  highlight key features Coherence and Cohesion  sequence information and ideas logically  use paragraphing appropriately  make sure there is a clear progression throughout  use a range of cohesive devices appropriately  avoid unnecessary repetition of information Lexical Resource  rephrase vocabulary to show your range of vocabulary  use adverbs and adjectives to show precision  use less common lexical items  awareness of style and collocation  avoid errors with word formation  avoid errors with spelling  avoid errors with word choices Grammatical Range and Accuracy  use a mix of simple and complex sentence forms  produce error-free sentences  avoid errors with grammar and punctuation TIP! You will only achieve a high overall score by focusing on all four criteria for the writing exam.
  • 10. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 12 Types of tasks Task One of the IELTS writing exam includes different types of tasks. The most common ones are: line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, tables, process diagrams, flow charts, maps, and floor plans, which should all be looked at to be well prepared.Then,taskoneoftheIELTSwritingexamcanbeseparatedintodifferent time periods. Static tasks, which are tasks that have only one time period; and change over time tasks, which have two or more different time periods. Finally, with task one of the IELTS writing exam, different types of language is needed depending on whether the task consists of numbers, percentages, steps in a process, or describing a map. Therefore, there are three key dimensions of task one of the IELTS writing exam: Type of task Task Dimensions Type of data or visual information Time periods TIP! Before you start writing, make sure you are very clear about the type of task, whether the task is about numbers or percentages, and whether the task involves a single time period or many.
  • 11. 13 The names of common types of graphs and diagrams Line Graph Bar Chart Gold Silver Green XXII Olympic Winter Games (Sochi) Medal Counts for Top 10 Countries, Based on Total Count Pie Chart Table Purchases % DVDs 5% Books 10% Going out 15% Transport 15% Food 25% Process diagram Map
  • 12. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 14 2.2. SINGLE TIME (STATIC) TASK Task Instructions The IELTS static task is designed to test your ability to compare and contrast in- formation shown in a line graph, bar graph, pie chart, table, process diagram, or map (the last two tasks will be covered in a separate section). You must present the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs. You are required to write over 150 words, and the task should be completed in 20 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour). Requires 1 comparison vocabulary to describe differences and similarities of data 2 describing numbers and percentages 3 past or present tense Useful language for static tasks: Adjectives: Comparing and contrasting A static task requires you to compare and contrast information, and in order to achieve this it’s important to use comparatives and superlatives. The following provides guidelines on how to form comparatives and superlatives. All one syllable words and most two syllable words that end in “y” add er and est. All other two syllables or more words need to use more and most. Refer to the chart below. One syllable Comparative Superlative cheap cheaper cheapest large larger largest Two syllables Comparative Superlative expensive more expensive most expensive modern more modern most modern
  • 13. 15 * NOTE: There are also some exceptions, such as the ones below: good better best bad worse worst Exercise: Comparatives and Superlatives Complete the table with the correct comparative and superlative forms [The answers are at the back of this section of the book.] Word Comparative Superlative 1. accurate more accurate most accurate 2. certain 3. slow 4. fast 5. correct 6. dangerous 7. easy 8. modern 9. tiny 10. new 11. possible 12. probable 13. up-to-date TIP! Use comparatives and superlatives to compare data and increase your score for task achievement. It also helps increase your score for vocabulary. Answers: Comparatives and Superlatives Comparative Superlative 1. accurate more accurate most accurate 2. certain more certain most certain
  • 14. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 16 3. slow slower slowest 4. fast faster fastest 5. correct more correct most correct 6. dangerous more dangerous most dangerous 7. easy easier easiest 8. modern more modern most modern 9. tiny tinnier tinniest 10. new newer newest 11. possible more possible most possible 12. probable more probable most probable 13. up-to-date more up-to-date most up-to-date Describing numbers and percentages When writing your report you must carefully identify whether the information that is given involves countable data (trees), uncountable data (water), or percentages (15%). This is because the language used with the three types is different. If you use the incorrect language the examiner will easily identify it and your vocabulary score will be lowered. Countable numbers The number of trees was 100. The quantity of trees was 100. Uncountable numbers The amount of water used was 100 litres. Percentages The rate of water usage was 15 per cent. The proportion of water usage was 15% The water usage was fifteen per cent. The water usage increased by 15 percent. The percentages of water usage (15%) and power usage (16%) were about the same. The water usage and power usage were 15% and 16%, respectively.
  • 15. 17 Exercise: Describing numbers and percentages Circle the correct word. The answers are on the next page. 1. The number/amount of cars was over 1,000. 2. The rate/ number of electricity usage was 15 per cent. 3. The amount /percentage of power was 15%. 4. The number/amount of trains was 100. 5. The number /proportion of lamb consumed was 15 percent. 6. The percentage/amount of lamb (15%) and chicken (16%) were about the same. 7. The number/amount of beer consumed was 100 litres. 8. The proportion/ amount of water usage and power usage were 15% and 16%, respectively. 9. The number/percentage of apples was 10 on Fridays. 10. The number/amount of oil produced was 100 litres. Answers: Language with numbers and percentages 1. The number/amount of cars was over 1,000. 2. The rate/ number of electricity usage was 15 per cent. 3. The amount /percentage of power was 15% 4. The number/amount of trains was 100. 5. The number /proportion of lamb consumed was 15 percent. 6. The percentage/amount of lamb (15%) and chicken (16%) were about the same. 7. The number/amount of beer consumed was 100 litres. 8. The proportion/ amount of water usage and power usage were 15% and 16%, respectively. 9. The number/ percentage of apples was 10 on Fridays. 10. The number/amount of oil produced was 100 litres.
  • 16. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 18 Deciding on the tense In order to decide whether to use the past, present, or future tense you should look at the title of the chart. The title will help you determine the tense you should use: Example 1: Present tense The chart below has no time period mentioned, so you should write it using the present tense. Note also that the words in the title: “spend monthly” is written in the present tense and it involves a reoccurring event so you should use the present simple tense. The chart below shows how much people spend monthly on four types of food in four cities. Example 2: Past tense The time is in the past, 2010, and so you must use the past tense. The chart below shows the sales revenue in dollars at three branches of a bank in 2010. Example 3: Future tense The pie chart below refers to the future and so we’ll need a future tense to describe the information in it. (Note that I’ve never seen future tense required for a static task. I have only seen for a change over time task. For this reason, future tense is covered in the next section on change over time tasks). 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 New Yorrk BostonL os Angeles San Diego Bars Crackers Snacks Snacks $ (million)
  • 17. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 64 3. TASK 1 GENERAL: LETTERS Model letters and how to write them!
  • 18. 65 3.1. OVERVIEW Writing Task 1 of the IELTS general exam is designed to test your ability to write a letter. You must present the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs using a letter format. You are required to write over 150 words, and the task should be completed in about 20 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour). How to improve your letter writing 1. Learn how to structure different types of letter 2. Learn vocabulary for different types of letters 3. Learn skills to improve your answers 4. Practice these skills 5. Do lots of practice tests. 6. Receive feedback on practice tests 7. Use the feedback to improve your answers Grading criteria Criteria Requirement Task Achievement [Task Response]  write over 150 words  respond to each bullet point  use an appropriate tone and level of politeness Coherence and Cohesion  sequence information and ideas logically  use paragraphing appropriately  use a range of cohesive devices appropriately  avoid unnecessary repetition of information
  • 19. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 66 Lexical Resource [Vocabulary]  use of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision  use less common lexical items  awareness of style and collocation  avoid errors with word formation  avoid errors with spelling  avoid errors with word choices Grammatical Range and Accuracy  uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms  produce error-free sentences  avoid errors with grammar and punctuation Task sequence for writing a letter In order to complete your task efficiently and within about 20 minutes you should complete the task in the following manner: 1. Read the question and identify the purpose of the letter. (Asking for help, requesting information, apologizing, complaining, or thanking someone) 2. Underline key words to help you understand the purpose better and also so you can rephrase these words when you write your letter. 3. Brainstorm how you will answer the task You always need to respond to three bullet points. In some cases this may require you to “invent” information. For instance, you will need to think of a piece of equipment if you are asked to: describe a problem you had with a piece of equipment. 4. Write the letter 5. Proofread your letter TIP! Practice writing you letters using the same sequence over and over so that you have it perfected before your test.
  • 20. 67 Parts of letters There are six main parts to an IELTS letter. * NOTE: [You do NOT need to write any addresses or dates] Greeting Opening of the letter Body of the letter Closing of the letter Farewell Your name Greeting: Dear Marie, Dear Ms. Smith, Dear Sir or Madam,  The greeting should be appropriate for the type of letter you are writing. If you are writing to a friend or family member, it is most appropriate to just write that person’s first name. If you are writing a more formal letter to someone you know - such as your boss, you should use that person’s last name. Do not use Dear Sir or Madam in this instance because that is only for letters to people who you do not know. Dear Sir or Madam is only for instances where you do not know the person you are writing to. Opening of the letter: It was great to see you last weekend; I am writing with regards to… With a formal letter you should go straight to the purpose of the letter. With a personal letter to a friend or family member it is usually appropriate to start with a warm comment and then the purpose of the letter: Formal letter I am writing with regards to… I am writing to inquire about… Informal letter I hope you are enjoying your new home. Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you is because I have some good news to share with you…
  • 21. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 90 4. TASK 2: ESSAY WRITING Model essays and how to write them!
  • 22. 91 4.1. OVERVIEW Writing Task 2 is designed to test your ability to write an academic style essay. You must present the information in your own words as complete sentences within paragraphs. You are required to write over 250 words, and the task should be completed in about 40 minutes (both part 1 and 2 must be finished in 1 hour). Types of Topics There are many different topics for essays in the exam, but typical topic areas include: education, crime, media, technology, social issues, technology and the future, and the environment. In this case it makes sense to build up vocabulary in these key areas in order to have sufficient language to write an essay well. Types of Questions There are three main types of essay questions that are included in the IELTS writing exam. It is important to learn how to structure each of these types. Each of these will be described more fully in the sections that follow. Briefly, they are an opinion essay, where you are asked to give your own personal opinion on a topic; a both sides and opinion essay, where you are required to discuss both sides of an argument and then give your own personal opinion on the topic; and a two question essay, which involves responding to two different questions. TIP! Read the task carefully and make sure that you clearly understand the topic and type of question before you start writing. This is absolutely essential to score well in the writing test.
  • 23. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 92 Sample question WRITING TASK 2 You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic: Some people believe that the fast pace and stress of modern life is having a negative effect on families. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words. Note that most of the parts of the task are standardised. For instance, you are always advised to spend about 40 minutes on the task and you are always required to write at least 250 words. In addition you are always advised to include relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Note that this is not a requirement, and you do not lose marks for not giving examples. Giving examples is only one way of supporting your main ideas. The only part that changes for each task is the part shown in larger letters in the box in the middle of the task [see above]. This consists of a topic and a question. The topic tells you what you need to write your essay about, and the question tells you what you must say about the topic. How long you shoud spend? Topic Question How many words you shoud write?
  • 24. 93 Task sequence for IELTS essay writing In order to complete your essay effectively and efficiently within the set time and conditions of an IELTS exam you need to have a very clear and systematic approach to writing your essays. From my experience as an examiner and teacher I recommend the following approach. You may wish to modify this a little for your own personal style. 1. Read the Task. This is a critical step that is often underestimated. Missing a single word in the instructions might result in an essay that doesn’t focus on the topic. For instance if the topic is about young people and you only write about people in general then you will have a weak score for task response. I also suggest you underline key words. This will help you to focus on them and will also assist with the next step. 2. Rephrase keywords in the task instructions. You need to rephrase the keywords that are given in the topic for two reasons. The main reason is because if you do not, the examiner will put brackets around the words you have copied from the task and these words will not be included in your word count. This may lead to your essay being under length. As well as this, you should rephrase the keywords to show your talent with vocabulary. 3. Establish the topic and the question type (there are three different types of questions). You must focus on the topic and question to score well for task response. 4. Plan the structure of the answer A good plan helps you to reduce the amount of time you need to write your essay and also leads to a suitable structure. If you structure your essay well you will score well for cohesion and coherence. As well as this it will be easier for the examiner to see the quality of your task response. 5. Write your answer If you have made a solid plan then the writing stage will go more quickly and smoothly. Make sure you stick to your plan while writing. Also, do not think of additional points for your essay while writing. Instead, utilise all of your brainpower on writing correct sentences using correct language, so that you will have an essay that will score well for vocabulary and grammar.
  • 25. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 94 6. Proofread your answer if time permits If you have any time at all left at the end of your exam, you should use it to proofread your essay, so that you will have fewer errors with vocabulary and grammar. Focus on looking for the common mistakes you make with your writing. Common ones are errors with subject verb agreement, articles [a, an, the], and the “s” endings of words. TIP! Making a plan saves you time when you write your report and ensures you cover all the key points using an appropriate structure. Grading of tasks Criteria Requirement Task Response This criterion assesses how well you have focused on the topic and answered the question.  write over 250 words  satisfy all the requirements of the task  cover all parts of the topic  cover all parts of the question  develop main points Coherence and Cohesion This criterion assesses how well you have structured your essay, used paragraphing, and connected your ideas.  sequence information and ideas logically  use a range of cohesive devices appropriately  use paragraphing appropriately  Have a clear progression throughout  avoid unnecessary repetition of information Lexical Resource This criterion assesses your vocabulary in terms of errors and also ability to use more advanced language.  use of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision  use less common vocabulary  awareness of style and collocation  avoid errors with word choices  avoid errors with word formation  avoid errors with spelling
  • 26. 95 Grammatical Range and Accuracy This criterion assesses your grammar in terms of errors and also ability to use more advanced sentence structures.  uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms  produce error-free sentences  avoid errors with grammar and punctuation Comparing the three types of essays Key question words Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay What is your opinion? Do you agree or disagree? To what extent do you agree or disagree? Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion. Whatproblemdoesthiscause? What are some potential solutions? Do you agree? What are some other solutions? What are the causes of this problem? What are some potential solutions? Example question Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay Computers are being used more and more in education and some say there will soon be no role for the teacher in education. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences. Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion. Alcohol abuse is becoming more and more common in many countries. What are some of the problems it causes? What are some of the possible solutions?
  • 27. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 96 Structuring the three types of essays INTRODUCTION Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay Rephrase question Position = state whether you agree or disagree and the extent (how much): Rephrase question “This essay discusses…”+ [both sides] and [opinion] Rephrase question “This essay discusses…” + [question 1] and [question 2] BODY Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay reason 1 reason 2 reason 3/concession (argument against your main opinion) Side 1 advantages Side 2 advantages [Note: keep your opinion out of the body. It is only about what people in general may think.] question 1 question 2 Final paragraph Opinion Both sides + opinion Two question Essay Restating of your position + summary of reasons Your Opinion State that both sides are important/have merits State which one is more important/better Summary of question 1 and 2
  • 28. 97 Essay Structure Body Topic sentence (Topic + Point) Supporting sentence Supporting sentence Supporting sentence Topic sentence (Topic + Point) Supporting sentence Supporting sentence Supporting sentence [An opinion essay may have a third paragraph] Conclusion Summary of main points Final Statement 1 2 Introduction General Statement Specific Statement Point 1 above: The diagram above shows how the last part of the introduction functions to influence the main points of each body paragraph. These main points are usually given in the topic sentence. Point 2 above: The diagram shows how the main points from the body get summarised in the conclusion of the essay Parts of the essay Further discussion is provided below on the structure of the essay, using the task below as an example: TOPIC: Computers are being used more and more in education and some people say there will soon be no role for the teacher in education. QUESTION: To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • 29. IELTS Writing: Step by Step 98 INTRODUCTION You only need two sentences for your introduction. You may have learnt from other teachers that you should include aspects such as a background to the situation, but you need to bear in mind that this is a very short essay of only a little over 250 words and so you want to keep your introduction brief. I suggest you just write a general statement and specific statement as explained below. General statement The general statement is the topic that you need to write about. You can write this very easily by just rephrasing the topic you are given. This is the best way to do this. Do not try to be creative here, as you will not be rewarded for this and you risk lowering your score for task response if you misstate the topic: with reference to the topic above: Computers are being used more and more in education and some say there will soon be no role for the teacher in education. GOOD REPHRASE: Some people believe technology may be used to replace teachers in the future. BAD REPHRASE: Due to the rising prevalence of advanced technology computers are becoming more useful. This misstates the topic because it is not about whether computers are useful it is about whether they will replace teachers. Too long a rephrase: Ever since the dawn of time, mankind has been finding ways to improve their lives. More recently education has emerged as a very important aspect of human lives. Therefore it is worthwhile to consider whether technology offers any advantages in the classroom and whether they are more useful than the people who have trained for many years as academic experts. Too long! It is like a history lesson, and this also makes the topic a little unclear. If the writing is less clear then coherence is lowered. My key point here is that big long introductions do more harm than good. In addition, it is better to spend more time on the body of the essay, in order to show your ability to develop your main ideas which increase your score for task response. Specific statement The specific statement comes from the question part of the task. What you write will depend upon which of the three types of questions are asked. If the
  • 30. 99 essay asks for your opinion you should give this here. If the question asks for anything else you should start this statement with this essay discussing and then rephrasing what you are asked for. Both of these approaches are explained further below. Specific statement for an opinion essay QUESTION: To what extent do you agree or disagree? This type of question needs to be responded to very precisely in the introduction. You need to have made a plan for your essay and have a clear idea of what your opinion is. To fully respond to all words in the question you need to mention the EXTENT or how much you agree or disagree. Some choices are: Totally agree Somewhat agree Equally agree and disagree [this is a risky choice that I think should be avoided] Somewhat disagree Totally disagree So the sentence will look something like: I totally agree with this opinion [good and safe choice] I totally agree that teachers should be replaced with computers [better as there is a fuller sentence] I totally agree that teachers should be replaced with computers because they are cheaper and more convenient for students [best because it gives the examiner a clear idea of what the essay is about. Paragraph 2 should be about cheaper, and paragraph 3 should be about being more convenient]. Specific statement for a non-opinion essay = “this essay discusses” + rephrase of the question QUESTION: Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using computers in the classroom. This essay discusses the merits and drawbacks of the use of computers in schools. QUESTION: What are some disadvantages of using computers in the classroom? What are some ways to overcome these disadvantages? This essay discusses drawbacks with the use of computers in schools and also some ways to solve them.