How To Start Writing An Essay For IELTS


how to write an essay for IELTS

Are you getting ready to take the IELTS test, and need to write an essay for it? If so, you may be struggling with where to start. It can feel daunting, but it’s actually easier than you think. Here’s how to put together an essay that shows your knowledge and gets you that passing grade.

What Is The IELTS?

Firstly, what is the IELTS test? IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, and it’s an English Language proficiency test that was developed by the British Council. As a test, it’s been around for over 30 years and is used by over 11,500 organisations in 140 different countries. As such, it’s the test you’ll take if you’re looking to immigrate to an English speaking country, or study or find employment in one of these countries.

There are four different sections to the IELTS. These test the full range of skills you’ll need in the English language. That includes:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

There are also two types of IELTS test that you can take. The first is the IELTS Academic, which is designed to check your English level when applying to an academic institution. There’s also the IELTS General Training, which measures your ability in more general settings.

How To Write An Essay For IELTS

With these basics in mind, you’ll now need to know how to write an IELTS essay. Typically, you’ll be asked to do a writing task as part of the test, so want to be sure that you’re putting everything into it and getting the best grade. Here’s how you’ll write that task:

Understand the grading criteria: Firstly, you want to know how you can get the best grade in this task. You can find the grading criteria for the IELTS online, so check what the grading team are looking for.

In this task, you’ll need to show that you address all parts of the task, and give a cohesive answer. You’ll also need to show that you have good grasp of grammar, and that you use a wide range of vocabulary.

Answer the question: When given your test question, ensure that you read it carefully and be ready to write an answer to it. It’s very easy to start writing an essay on something you already have prepared, but in many cases this won’t actually answer the question you are given.

Instead, start planning your answer. Ensure that all the ideas you include are relevant to the question at hand, and use any examples that you are familiar and confident with to support your answer.

Answer all parts of the question: When reading the question, check that you’re able to answer everything contained in it. In some questions, you’ll have more than one part that you’ll need to address.

For example, if you’re asked to discuss two sides of a debate and then give your opinion, then you’ll be asked to answer three parts: Both views, and then your own opinion. If you’re given a question asking whether you agree or disagree with a statement, that will be just one part as it is a straightforward question.

Start planning your essay: Now you’re ready to start planning your essay and organise your ideas. Start writing down all the ideas or points that you’ll want to bring up. Again, make sure they’re all directly linked to the question being asked.

When organising these ideas into your essay, you’ll want to create a paragraph for each idea you bring up. You can create these with the PEEL method:

Point: Introduce your point

Example: Give an example that supports your point

Explain: Show why the evidence supports your point

Link: Link to your next paragraph

Try to use less common vocabulary: If you’re aiming for top marks, then you’ll need to use less common vocabulary. The grading team want to see that you can write fluently, and that you can use terms in their specific context.

If you can use synonyms correctly, this shows that you’re fluent in writing in English. For example, if you’re writing about teenagers, you can use the terms adolescent to describe them as these words have the same meaning.

Check your work when you finish: Once you’ve finished writing your essay, you’ll need to check your essay to ensure you’ve done everything expected of you. Ensure you’ve fully answered the question, and ordered your essay in a way that makes sense. Also, check your spelling and grammar, as these will also count towards your score.

Examples Of IELTS Essays

If you want to try writing IELTS essays ahead of time, there are free practice essays online that you can do. These will help a lot to show how these essays are laid out. Let’s look at an example now.

Your question could be: Does internet need to be controlled by the government? In your answer, you’ll need to consider both sides of the debate, and then give an answer at the end of the essay. Be aware that you’ll typically need to write at least 250 words to answer the question.

In this instance, you may start with the argument for control. Give each point their own paragraph as described above. For example, you may cover the ability to protect children from harmful content, reducing cyber crime, and so on.

Then, you’ll move on to the argument against. Remember again to give each point its own paragraph. In this instance you’ll cover the need for freedom of speech, potential for governments to overstep boundaries, and more.

At the end, you’ll come to your own conclusion. If you agree that the internet shouldn’t be controlled by the government, then say this, using the evidence you’ve used in your essay to back up your point.

Now you now the basics of writing an IELTS essay. Once you know what to look for and how to organise it, it won’t be difficult at all.

written by Mary Watson

editor and tutor, 12 years experience

Mary, our exceptional editor and online tutor, brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. With her extensive expertise in academic writing, she guides and mentors aspiring students, providing them with constructive feedback that propels their essays to the next level.