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Planning Before Writing

The second part of IELTS writing starts with an open question. It may be tempting to start writing, but structure is hugely important.

Before you start writing think of the overall essay structure.

The 5-paragraph essay

The most common way to write this essay is the with the 5-paragraph model.

(i) Introduction
(ii) Argument 1
(iii) Argument 2
(iv) Argument 3
(v) Conclusion

Note: The 5-paragraph structure does not have to be exactly 5 paragraphs. It is an idea of how to build arguments. More paragraphs are allowed.

Consider the arguments

It is a wise idea to take a moment before the start to think of which arguments you want to use. This will

a) keep you in one direction as you write
b) ensure you are writing about strong ideas
c) make the conclusion easier as you know what you have been trying to say

An exercise that many students learn is

– make a list of + and – ideas.
– choose the strongest ideas (these will be your paragraphs)
– if it is an opinion essay, choose which side you want the conclusion to be on (it doesn’t have to be the side with the most arguments – especially if there is a ‘deal-breaker’ argument)

The arguments that were not chosen for paragraphs can still be useful: for example, they can be mentioned in the introduction or conclusion.

Think of both sides of the argument

Before writing arguments it is wise to think not only about your own opinion, but about the counter-view. Discussing the counter-view (and dismissing it) makes your argument stronger.

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