How to write an effective essay for IELTS?

How to write an effective essay for IELTS?

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) jointly administered by Cambridge English Language Assessment, British Council and IDP Education is one of the major English language Test in the world.The purpose of this test is to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers which is required for their survival in the foreign country. IELTS is accepted in many universities for those who aspire for higher education in countries like US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

Listening, writing, reading and speaking skills of the students are tested in a span of 3 hours and is a computer based test that is administered in more than 900 test centers in over 130 countries. The scoring given in grade range of 0-9 and is valid for 2 years. There is no minimum score and each institution sets its own cutoff score for the admission.

The writing test is for 60 minutes with 2 tasks. In task -1, the candidates have to describe a diagram, graph, process or chart. In task -2, the candidates have to respond to an argument. In this one need to write an effective essay that conveys the opinion with at least 250 words. It is generally advised to spend the 20-25 minutes on task -1 and the rest 35-40 on task -2.

The topics for the writing test would range from different general aspects in the society like government, technology, employment, education, environment, ecology, human relations and any such issues. The assessment is done based upon 4 criteria,

- Task achievement – Completeness in addressing all the aspects of argument.

- Cohesion & coherence – Skillfully managing the paragraphs and attracting the attention.

- Lexical Resource – Use of good vocabulary with natural and sophisticated style.

- Grammatical range & Accuracy – Use of grammar with full flexibility and accuracy while ensuring no errors.

Some of the examples of topics are -

- ‘Does modern technology make life more convenient, or was life better when technology was simpler?’

- ‘To what extent should economic planning be influenced by the need of environmental conservation?’

- ‘Children learn best by observing behavior of adults and copying it. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?’

- 'Should sports classes be sacrificed in High School so students can concentrate on academic subjects?'

Tips on writing an effective essay:

1. Understand the topic and plan the approach that you would like to present in the essay.

2. Ensure that you write at least 250 words as required in the test and also do not write beyond 400 words as it will affect effectiveness of the essay.

3. Break the body of the essay into paragraphs and bullet points that can easily catch the attention.

4. Present your hold on English language by using good vocabulary and precise words that convey your opinion.

5. Mention the facts and figures related to the topic that helps the assessors understand your depth of knowledge.

6. Keep a tap on the time availability and do make sure you take a quick read at the end to make the spelling and grammatical errors.

Millions of candidates take up the test every year be it students or immigrants to prove their ability to communicate effectively in English. Language cannot be learnt over night and hence one should have a zeal and interest in the language. Success in the test can be attained by mere practice and planning.
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  • RE: How to write an effective essay for IELTS? -Hemant Sharma (08/11/14)
  • Before we go into the nitty-gritty of IELTS written exam, we need to understand what does IELTS stands for. IELTS or International English Language Testing System is the world’s proven English test which is based on four main skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is designed to assess the qualities of any candidate that is willing to study or work in countries such as Australia, UK, USA, and many more.

    Always make sure you are under the guidance of a teacher while writing sample essays. Get them checked and corrected at the same time. It is very important that a candidate gets proper feedback regarding the essay writing. The main rule of success in IELTS is to read and write i.e. always read what you have written before moving on. This would sound stupid but this is the best practice one should follow.

    No matter what you write, till the time the paragraphs are connected the reader will not be able to understand and connect with the essay. Write simple words but make sure they are coherent and should make sense. It’s not the quality of your ideas that you are being tested at, but the quality of your English. The best practice is to pick the best idea of the lot and summarize it in a well explained manner. Honestly speaking, it is the explanation that would get you good grades and not all the ideas that you can come up with.

    Always try to find your answers in the question itself. Write what you know, your experience and your views. Take your time to plan before you write. It’s a good practice to spend the first few minutes planning and outlining the main thoughts. Make sure you explain the main points in brief by breaking them down if required. If you know what to write then you can easily concentrate on how to write it well.

    Remember to give examples to explain things as examples are easier to write. In an exam you tend to be under pressure, thus explaining your ideas with reasons can be complex. Thus, always take the practical route of explaining your ideas through an example, as they are easier to write. Having said that, make sure the examples are relevant to the topic that’s been given or else there is no point in writing an example.

    Try to write in an organized and logical way, which will earn you higher marks. Do not lose the track of the topic anywhere in the essay as you will not be graded for irrelevant explanation. Focus on writing small but effective essay rather than writing long and immaterial essay. The more you tend to write, the more likely you are to make errors. Give yourself time by replacing long sentences with good transition lines.

    The three main parts of an essay are – The introduction, the body and the conclusion. The introduction should cover the main points and ideas that will be elaborated during the essay. Make sure to make the introduction attractive as this is what the examiner is going to look the first thing. The body should have clear and elaborated ideas with relevant examples. It should relate to the rest of the essay. The conclusion should be well summarized. Some of the arguments presented in the body may be reinforced here to strengthen the point. The last sentence should be effective and should express everything mentioned in the essay.

    Finally focus on the question or the topic that you have to write about. Generally this is the first step but as this is the most important thing we will discuss it at the last. There are various reasons for an ineffective essay such as spelling mistake, grammatical errors. But these are all avoidable if we pay more attention. The one main reason which results in an inappropriate essay is the incorrect judgment of the topic. Always make sure you are not drifting away from the topic as it is heavily penalized by the readers. If candidates can keep their focus on the right track then they are sure to come out with flying colors.