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IELTS

Writing Task 2

Stop Struggling To Write A Good Essay


Written By:
Arvinder Chauhan
Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Prelude

Ielts is a necessary test that you need to clear when you have to go to an English speaking
country for work or study. The full form of IELTS is “International English Language Testing System”.
In this test, your level of the English Language is judged. There is no pass or fail criteria. The scoring
system is in bands. So you would get a band score between 1-9.

Many students feel this to be an easy task only to be taken aback at the examination hall. The
exam is easier said than done and when candidates are unable to get their required band score after
the first attempt, fear sets in and they start losing hope. This fear sets off a vicious cycle and they keep
trying again and again in the hope that they may succeed.

Reality is, that it is not really so difficult to attain the required band score if you can keep your
mind focused and put in a little bit of hard work. This book will take you through some of the
challenges that you encounter while studying for Ielts examination and then some ways to counter
them. Having said that, I would like to add that there is no shortcut to success.

This book will focus on understanding the Writing Module and how to break through the
barrier of fear and achieve the desired result.
Chapter 1
Handling Fear

Let us start by handling our fears first.

Fear # 1
Confidence
This is the very first roadblock that you will encounter as you begin your journey. Be it over-
confidence or the lack of it, it is going to harm you. While it may seem easier for the ones with
overconfidence, it is the ones with low confidence levels that are more susceptible to the fear factor.
Solution
You have learned English as a first or a second language, so why the fear? You do understand
when other people talk in English, right? Then you know the language . Then why fear?
In most cases, people have forgotten the grammar that they had studied during school. Added
to that, they rarely converse in English which has finally led to lack of confidence. All you need to do
is practice spoken English. PRACTICE IT. Join a class that makes you PRACTICE to speak rather
than teach you the grammatical aspects of English. It is not that you don’t know grammar, it is just that
you don’t know how to accurately use it. You’ll soon see a vast change in your confidence levels if
you start to practice speaking.

Fear # 2
Vocabulary
You may have encountered people suggesting to you to improve your “Vocabulary”. While it is
important to enhance your vocabulary, what is more important is to use the correct usage of the new
words or phrases that you learn. Often, people mug up hundreds of words with their meanings but
cannot accurately use them. I’ve had students who had memorized amazingly difficult words along
with the meanings but could not frame a single correct sentence using them. Moreover, these words
were the most uncommon words which one would find only in higher literature books. You don’t need
to learn very “high level” words. The examiners are going to judge your writing as a whole essay and
not just by the usage of a couple of words. The secret behind learning new words is to pick up one or
two regular words (ones that are used more often) per day and understand them in all the forms that
they can be used ie: Once you have understood the meaning thoroughly, you should then practice it in
all its forms eg: The word “encourage” is a Verb but if changed to “encouragement” it becomes a
Noun.

Solution
Learn one word and one phrase or collocation per day. If you prepare for thirty days you have
a learned thirty new words and thirty phrases/collocations with their correct usage.
So why fear?

Fear # 3
How to write? Yes that’s a fear among many students.

Solution
The format for both Ielts Task1 and Task2 is quite easy and simple to write if you have
practiced enough under proper guidance. Given that you have equipped your knowledge with some
good vocabulary, this part can be very easy.

So cheer up and let’s get set to conquer the world…..


Chapter 2
Marking Criteria

The basics of Writing Task 2

There are two tasks in the writing test. For the General category, task one consists of Letter
Writing while for the Academic category, it is a graph or a picture which you need to describe. Task 2
is the same for both the categories and consists of an Essay.
It would be easy if you were aware of where you can gain or lose marks. Hence, let’s have a
look at the Marking Criteria.

1.Task Achievement- As the heading says, you need to complete the task in its totality ie:
cover ALL the parts of the question. This can be done by getting a clear understanding of the question.
Not understanding or incorrect understanding will lead to a faulty answer. The best way to do this is
to break the question in two parts. Let part one be the topic and art two the task that you are required
to perform. We’ll look at examples later.

2. Coherence & Cohesion -


In short, Coherence and Cohesion means linking the words and paragraphs in a logical way.
The transition or movement of the ideas should be well connected. Let us take the example of a chain
in a bicycle. The bicycle can move smoothly only if the links of the chain are connected in the proper
way.

3. Range & Accuracy- Exactly what the heading says. Your grammar should be as good
as possible. Grammatical mistakes can lead to a completely messed up version of your original ideas.
So, if you think that your grammar is not very good then it would be a good idea to take exclusive
classes on grammar and then start preparing for IELTS.

4. Lexical Resource - This is nothing but a good variety of vocabulary. Let’s break this
down to smaller points.

a) Try NOT to use the same words or phrases. Synonyms can help you here.
Having said that, I would like to lay stress on not just using any synonym that fancies your
mind. I have seen students open the dictionary and pick out any synonym that they like and use it.
Every word needs to be used in the right context. Nothing can kill you more than synonyms that are
wrongly used.

b) Spellings play a very important role. Be sure to learn them properly.

c) Collocation- These are a set of words. Simply put, you should be careful about using the
correct set of words along with any new word you learn.
Eg: Flying colours. It means getting very good marks
When using in a sentence, would say “I came out in flying colours in my Ielts exam”. Students
tend to use “on flying colours” or “in the flying colours” which is wrong and they get less marks.
Hence, correct usage of words and phrases is important.

It is more necessary for you to use words correctly than to spend time in learning a huge array
of new words. Simple language used correctly will give you better marks than wrongly used new
vocabulary.

All these parameters hold 25% marks. A good and accurate combination of all the above can
create a crisp and clear writing.
Chapter 3
How To Structure An Essay

The first thing to understand before you start writing is that this is NOT a knowledge exam ie:
it is not your knowledge about a particular topic that is being tested. It is your LANGUAGE that is
being tested. So polish your language skills and put your best foot forward.

In the writing module I always suggest my students to start with the Task 2 first because it
carries 75% marks of the total score in writing. Hence, if you are able to do this well, you stand a
good chance of scoring well overall.

Step by step guide to writing a band scoring essay:

First and foremost, break the essay into paragraphs. When students come to for the first time,
most of them are into writing essays in one single paragraph, even the ones whose level of English is
good. This type of essay writing will not give you more than band 5 or 5.5.
If you have to rise above this defeating habit you need to break your essay into paragraphs.
There is structure to be followed while writing paragraph s and trust me it is not difficult at all.

Dividing The Essay Into Paragraphs

The Task two essay requires you to write a minimum of 250 words. This is an absolute must,
failing which you would lose some marks from the Task Achievement section from the marking
criteria. You must actually write at least 270-280 words. The reason for this is that any repetition of
ideas will be struck off and you will lose the number of words that have been struck off from the total
word count thus reducing your word count. Hence the extra words so that even if you lose some
words you still have the required word count.

Here’s how to divide the paragraphs:

I usually recommend four paragraphs.

a)Introduction
b)Body Paragraph 1
c) Body Paragraph 2
d)Conclusion

We shall discuss in the later part of the book, a format on how to structure each sentence in the
paragraph so that a good flow can be formed.

For now let us get back to the above four paragraphs.

Introduction:
It is of utmost importance to introduce the topic that you are going to write about. Imagine if
you were to pick up a newspaper and read an article that starts from somewhere middle of the write-
up? You would not know what exactly is being talked about.

Let’s look at the example below:

Question

Some people say that Ebooks and modern technology will totally replace traditional
newspaper and magazines to what extent do you agree or disagree.

Answer 1
Older people with limited knowledge to new technology prefer to read traditional books.

Answer 2
Whether traditional newspapers and magazines can be substituted by e-books is a point of
debate.

Look and understand the question carefully.

Now look at answer 1

Does it tell you about the complete meaning of the question?

Is it not like the newspaper article we spoke about a while ago that starts from the middle of
the essay?

It tells us about older people’s preference to read traditional books. This makes the reader
feel that the writer is talking about older people’s reading preferences.

Now look at Question 2.

Does it convey the complete meaning of the Question.

Yes? It explains the question completely


.
Well that is how your Introduction needs to be like. A complete coverage of the main points of
the question.

Body Paragraph 1:
Most of the questions will have two points of view. You must discuss one point of view in
each paragraph. NEVER EVER discuss both the points in the same paragraph. Let’s go back to our
example question.
Some people say that Ebooks and modern technology will totally replace traditional
newspaper and magazines to what extent do you agree or disagree.

Answer 1 (Paragraph 1)
E-books are easy to read and can be carried in your smartphone. Hence, they are very
convenient for people who can handle new technology well. It is very easy to learn and if older
people try they can learn it.

Answer 2 (Paragraph 1)

E-books are easy to read and can be carried in your smartphone. Hence, they are very
convenient for people who can handle new technology well. Apart from being able to read anywhere,
you also don’t need to carry the physical copies of the books. For example: You can store hundreds of
books in your smartphone and read any one of them wherever you want to.

In the first answer, the writer mentions both parts of the question ie:

a)About the convenience of ebooks &


b)That older people can learn to use it.

The writer is talking about both the parts of the question thus confusing the reader. Such a style
of writing will confuse the examiners mind and you will end up losing marks for it.
It is best to keep both the parts of the question in different paragraphs like it is in Answer 2
which talks only about one part ie: E-books. The second paragraph can be dedicated to the other
topic.
Body Paragraph 2:
This paragraph is to be written in exactly the same way as paragraph 1 . However, this will
contain all the information about the second part of the question namely “Older People”

Conclusion
You must start with words that tell the reader that you are now winding up or concluding your
essay. This can be as easy as starting with the words, “To conclude,” and then go on to write one
point from each paragraph. Eg:
“To conclude, though technology has made life very easy for the tech savvy people, using the
same by the older generation remains a problem . Hence, it is best that both the ebooks and traditional
books should be available .”
Chapter 4
How To Structure Sentences In Paragraphs
Just like the structure of the paragraphs, each sentence within the paragraph also has a
structure. If you follow both these structures, you can write a winning essay that meets up the word
count criteria.
Follow this sentence structure very carefully:

Introduction
a)Sentence 1 – Rewrite the topic in your own words. Remember to include the important
points.
b)Sentence 2 – Take position/stand. (this will be used only for agree/disagree type questions)
c)Sentence 3 – Outline Statement. Here you should the two main ideas that you are going to
discuss in your essay.

Body Paragraph 1
Take the first point of the Outline Statement.

a)Sentence 1 – Topic Sentence. This sentence is a simple sentence that states what this
particular paragraph is going to discuss.

b)Sentence 2 – Expand the Topic Sentence by explaining what you mean to say. This
explanation can be in two sentences.

c)Sentence 3 – Give an example related to the above discussion.

Body Paragraph 2

Take the second point of the Outline Statement.

a)Sentence 1 – Topic Sentence. This sentence is a simple sentence that states what this
particular paragraph is going to discuss.

b)Sentence 2 – Expand the Topic Sentence by explaining what you mean to say. This
explanation can be in two sentences.

c)Sentence 3 – Give an example related to the above discussion.

Conclusion

This is a summary of all that you have discussed in the essay. It is important to start the
paragraph with words that tell the reader that you are now winding up the essay. Eg: To conclude, To
sum up etc.
Chapter 5
Planning An Essay
The quality of your essay depends on how well you have planned it. So it is important to
spend the first five minutes in planning. Let’s have a look at how to plan an essay.

Question

Some people say that Ebooks and modern technology will totally replace traditional
newspaper and magazines to what extent do you agree or disagree.

Firstly, read the question carefully and underline ALL the important points. A good idea is to
ask yourself these questions:

Q1. What are we talking about?


We are talking about Book Reading

Q2. What about book reading?


E-books will replace traditional books

So now we know the main points of discussion in the question. It is clear that we are talking
about book reading and that modern e-book may replace the traditional books someday.
We also have to either agree or disagree to some point.
Let us say that we are disagreeing.

Let us now create some points that we will write about in our paragraphs. We should write at
least 5-7 points about both the points which in this case are: Ebooks and Traditional books

Ebooks:
Easy to carry
Accessible anywhere
Don’t have to carry big books
All in one small device
Can be shared easily
Vast variety available at a click
Font size can be adjusted

Traditional Books:
Difficult to carry
Need a proper place to read
Different books on different topics becomes difficult to carry
To share one has to physically meet a person
Variety has to be purchased and stored
Font size can be a problem

So now we have all the points that we are going to write about. We have already developed
an outline map of our essay. It is time to start developing those ideas on paper.
Chapter 6
Writing The Essay

Now that we are prepared with the ideas, let us start writing.

Question

Some people say that Ebooks and modern technology will totally replace traditional
newspaper and magazines to what extent do you agree or disagree.

Let’s start with the Preparation. You should spend no more than five minutes in preparing.

1.Understanding

a)What are we talking about? (Ebooks vs. Traditional books)


b)What about them? (that ebooks will become more popular than traditional books)
c)Do I agree or disagree?

Now make points that you can write regarding both the points ie. Ebooks and Traditional
Books

2. Preparing Discussion

i.E-books
a)Can have many of them in a small device
b)Ease of reading anywhere
c)Can download any book with one click
d)Fonts can be resized
e)No need to carry bulky books
f)Ease of access
g)Ease of sharing

ii. Traditional Books


a)Difficult to carry
b)Need a proper place to read
c)Different books on different topics becomes difficult to carry
d)To share one has to physically meet a person
e)Variety has to be purchased and stored
f)Font size can be a problem

Now that we have a clear understanding of the topic and the points we want to write, we can
start writing with a lot more clarity in our mind.
Now starts the essay writing part.

Let’s develop an introduction following the structure or format we discussed earlier.


Introduction

Sentence one – It is often debated that the popularity of e-books will overthrow the usage of
traditional books and magazines.

Sentence two - I completely disagree with this statement.

Sentence three - This essay will discuss firstly, the convenience of reading on ebooks and
secondly, the necessity of having traditional books as some people cannot handle new technology.

In this introduction, we have paraphrased the topic using all the important points and then
conveyed to the reader as to which side have I taken. The last part of it summarizes all the points we
discussed above. This paragraph has 53 words.

Here’s what it would look like:

It is often debated that the popularity of e-books will overthrow the usage of traditional
books and magazines. I completely disagree with this statement. This essay will discuss firstly, the
convenience of reading on ebooks and secondly, the necessity of having traditional books as some
people cannot handle new technology.

Isn’t that easy?


Let’s move on.
Body paragraph 1:

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence (This tells the reader what this paragraph is going to be about)
The convenience of ebooks by far surpasses the older ways of reading.

Sentence 2 – Expand the Topic Sentence ( This explains the first sentence further)

Carrying many books in a single compact device makes it a necessity in today's fast-paced
world. Apart from being less expensive, they are quick to download and easy to share with friends.
The ease of access from anywhere in the world makes ebooks indispensable.

Sentence 3 - For example Friends can buy e-books on different topics and share with each
other making it easy for all of them to read many books at a lesser price.

Here’s a good single view of Body Paragraph 1


:
The convenience of ebooks by far surpasses the older ways of reading. Carrying many
books in a single compact device makes it a necessity in today's fast-paced world. Apart from
being less expensive, they are quick to download and easy to share with friends. The ease of access
from anywhere in the world makes ebooks indispensable. For example Friends can buy e-books on
different topics and share with each other making it easy to read many books at a lesser price.

Body Paragraph 2
Sentence 1 – Topic Sentence (Now we start with the next topic)
On the other hand, many people, especially the older generation, find it very difficult to handle
new technology
.
Sentence 2 –
Hence, they prefer to continue reading the traditional books and magazines. This kind of
reading gives them all the information they want and is also a good way for them to pass their time as
most of them are retired. In fact, most of them like to proudly display their collection of books that
they have gathered over time. Physical books don’t have the threat of getting deleted due to any
technical error.
Sentence 3 –

For instance; many old people can be seen sitting in parks and other recreational places,
reading books and relaxing

Paragraph 2 – Single view

On the other hand, many people, especially the older generation, find it very difficult to
handle new technology. Hence, they prefer to continue reading the traditional books and
magazines. This kind of reading gives them all the information they want and is also a good way
for them to pass their time as most of them are retired. In fact, most of them like to proudly display
their collection of books that they have gathered over time. Physical books don't have the threat of
getting deleted due to any technical error. For instance; many old people can be sitting in parks
and other recreational places, reading books and relaxing.

Now let us start with the conclusion.

In the conclusion part, you need to summarise the entire essay. You should take the main point
from both the paragraphs and finish the essay. In the Body Paragraph 1 we discussed the convenience
of e-books and in the second Body Paragraph, we stressed on the fact that the older generation needs
traditional books. Now let us put these two points together in the conclusion.

Conclusion

Though the ebooks are very convenient and can help to reduce the cumbersome task of
carrying heavy books, it is necessary to continue with the traditional books also for the benefit of the
older generation.

We don’t need anything more than this in the conclusion.

Now here is the complete essay.

It is often debated that the popularity of e-books will overthrow the usage of traditional
books and magazines. I completely disagree with this statement. This essay will discuss firstly, the
convenience of reading on ebooks and secondly, the necessity of having traditional books as some
people cannot handle new technology.

The convenience of ebooks by far surpasses the older ways of reading. Carrying many
books in a single compact device makes it a necessity in today's fast-paced world. Apart from
being less expensive, they are quick to download and easy to share with friends. The ease of access
from anywhere in the world makes ebooks indispensable. For example: Friends can buy e-books on
different topics and share with each other making it easy to read many books at a lesser price.

On the other hand, many people, especially the older generation, find it very difficult to
handle new technology. Hence, they prefer to continue reading the traditional books and
magazines. This kind of reading gives them all the information they want and is also a good way
for them to pass their time as most of them are retired. In fact, most of them like to proudly display
their collection of books that they have gathered over time. Physical books don't have the threat of
getting deleted due to any technical error. For instance; many old people can be sitting in parks
and other recreational places, reading books and relaxing.

Though the ebooks are very convenient and can help to reduce the cumbersome task of
carrying heavy books, it is necessary to continue with the traditional books also for the benefit of
the older generation.

The word count is 283.

So you see that it is very easy to achieve an optimal word count just by following a few
guidelines.