Essay Writing Introduction Ielts Philippines

IELTS Writing Task 2 Introduction

This post will help you write better introductions in your Task 2 IELTS essays and show the specific sentences I advise all of my students to use when writing IELTS Writing Task 2 introductions.

The introduction is the first part of the essay the examiner will read and it will give them a good first impression of what to expect in the rest of the essay.

Just like in person, first impressions last.

I often tell my students that a bad introduction in IELTS writing part 2 is the same as going in to the speaking exam and being rude to the examiner- no matter how good you are in the rest of it, the examiner won’t be happy and unhappy examiners are more likely to give you a lower mark.

Despite this warning, many good students go on to produce introductions with a few common problems in them.

Common Problems

  1. Talking too generally about the topic.

Most of these essays start off with ‘Nowadays……’ or ‘In modern life….’ followed by general information about the topic. In my opinion, this is the worst start you can possibly make. Remember that you are supposed to answer the question not write generally about the topic.

  1. Not including a thesis statement

This is the most important sentence in the essay. Not including one will lose you marks in several different ways. I will tell you more about this below.

  1. Not outlining what you are going to do

If you don’t include a sentence outlining what your essay will say, the examiner doesn’t really know what you are going to write about in the rest of your essay. This will also lose you marks. I’ll show you how to write an outline sentence below.

  1. Trying to write a ‘hook’ or be entertaining

Remember this is an IELTS exam, not a university essay. There are no extra points for being interesting, in fact being boring will probably help you. This will help you avoid ‘flowery’ language.

  1. Using an informal style

Know your audience. You are expected to write in an academic style.

Good and Bad Examples

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Good Introduction

Rising global temperatures and human health and fitness issues are often viewed as being caused by the expanding use of automobiles. This essay agrees that increasing use of motor vehicles is contributing to rising global temperatures and certain health issues. Firstly, this essay will discuss the production of greenhouse gases by vehicles and secondly, it will discuss other toxic chemicals released by internal combustion engines.

Bad Introduction

Nowadays, cars are a very popular way of getting around. Day by day many more people drive cars around but others feel that they cause global warming. Global warming is one of the most serious issues in modern life. They also affect people’s health and well-being which is also a serious issue.

As you can see the bad example talks about the topic very generally, copies words and phrases from the question and doesn’t include a thesis statement or outline statement.

If your introductions look something like this, don’t worry. Most of my students write introductions a lot like this when they first start in my class and the structure below always helps them fix any problems and write very effective introductions.

Structure of a Good Introduction

If you use this structure you will not only score higher marks but you will also save time in the exam. If you practice enough, introductions will become easy and you will do them in just a few minutes. This will leave you lots of time to focus on the main body paragraphs where you can pick up lots of mark.

An IELTS writing task 2 opinion essay should have three sentences and these three sentences should be:

  1. Paraphrase question
  2. Thesis statement
  3. Outline statement

That’s it. Simple! Let’s look at each sentence in more detail.

  1. Paraphrase Question

Paraphrasing means stating the question again, but with different words so that it has the same meaning. We do this by using synonyms and flipping the order of the sentences around.

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Paraphrase: Rising global temperatures and human health and fitness issues are often viewed as being caused by the expanding use of automobiles.

The synonyms I’ve used are:

Increasing- expanding

Car use- use of automobiles

Global warming- rising global temperatures

People’s health and well-being- human health and fitness

As you can see, I then switched the order of the sentence around.

I have therefore demonstrated to the examiner that I can paraphrase and have a wide range of vocabulary. These are two of the things that the examiner is specifically looking for and you will gain marks for including them.

You should practice this with past paper questions.

  1. Thesis Statement

This is the most important sentence in your essay. This is your main idea and I often describe it to students as how you feel about the whole issue in one sentence. It tells the examiner that you have understood the question and will lead to a clear and coherent essay.

Let’s look at the thesis sentence from the previous example:

Thesis statement: This essay agrees that increasing use of motor vehicles is contributing to rising global temperatures and certain health issues.

It is always just one sentence long so you will have to practice summing up your opinion in one sentence. It should also address the micro-keywords and not the topic in general.

You should start your thesis statement with:

This essay agrees that….. or this essay disagrees that….. (Opinion essays)

The main cause(s) of this issue is….. (Causes and solutions)

The principal advantage(s) is (xxxxx) and the main disadvantage is (xxxxxx). (Advantage and disadvantages).

For a discussion (of two points of view) essay you should state both points of view clearly.

Let’s look at another example:

Some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

To keep things simple, we have two options-

  1. Agree that some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.
  2. Disagree that some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.

My essay will argue that celebrity culture does have a bad influence and my thesis statement will there be:

This essay agrees that the some famous people’s lifestyles have a detrimental effect on the youth of today.

I have stated my opinion in one sentence and used synonyms to make sure I don’t just repeat the question.

Thesis statements are very important but only in question that ask you for your opinion. Some IELTS questions do not ask you for your opinion and in these cases you can leave it out.

  1. Outline Statement

Now that you have paraphrased the question and told the examiner what you think in your thesis sentence, you are now going to tell the examiner what you will discuss in the main body paragraphs. In other words, you will outline what the examiner will read in the rest of the essay. This should be one sentence only.

Example:

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Outline statement: Firstly, this essay will discuss the production of greenhouse gases by vehicles and secondly, it will discuss other toxic chemicals released by internal combustion engines.

So what I have done is just look at my main body paragraphs and wrote about what they contain. You should have only one main idea per paragraph. In this essay, I have only two main body paragraphs, so I only need to say two things in the outline statement.

Main body paragraph 1- production of greenhouse gases by cars.

Main body paragraph 2- toxic chemical produced by car engines.

Again, your main body paragraphs should have only one main idea so it should be easy to spot these and then write a sentence about them.

For advantages and disadvantages essays and problem and solution essays you could write something like this:

Advantages and disadvantages: this essay will first discuss the (main advantage(s)) followed by an analysis of the (main disadvantage(s)).

Problem and Solution: This essay will analyse the principal problem(s) and offer solutions to this issue.

Final Example

Question: Learning to manage money is one of the key aspects to adult life. How in your view can individuals best learn to manage their money?

Good answer: One of the keys to adulthood is appreciating how to budget your finances. It is clear that the best way someone can learn this, is by managing money during childhood. Firstly, the essay will discuss the importance of parental involvement during childhood and secondly, the essay will look at the importance of having a part time job during childhood.

As you can see, the above introduction follows the structure I laid out above.

Next Steps

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Writing Task 1

Writing Task 2

Have you ever felt challenging to write an essay in IELTS Writing task 2?

All IELTS learners (even IELTS teachers) reckon that the most difficult part of writing is how to get started. Getting started, or writing an introductory paragraph, can be easy if you remember that an introduction has four purposes:

  • Introduce the topic of the essay.
  • Arouses the reader’s interest in the topic.
  • Indicates the overall “plan” of the essay.
  • Tells reader what the essay is about

In the IELTS writing exam, the examiners are not looking for the interesting introduction as it is not assessed in your IELTS essay. In other words, there is no difference between the fascinating introductions and boring ones in IELTS exam. In addition, time is another pressure for IELTS Writing. You have to do a lot of things in your essay for the IELTS writing within 40 minutes, for example, analysing the statement, planning your essay, and proofreading it when you have finished, so actually you just have about 35 minutes to write your essay. There is not enough time for you to worry about having “a hook” in an introduction.

Basically, the introduction has two parts:

  • General statements
  • A thesis statement

You should aim for around 50 words for the length of your essays.

How to structure your introduction:

  • Your introduction should be 2- 3 sentences
  • Sentence 1 -2 : General statement. Introduce the topic of the essay.
  • Sentence 3: Thesis statement. Keep it clear, and get to the point. “While I agree that governments and individuals are spending a significant amount of money on those celebrations, I would argue that this activity is necessary and therefore can be considered acceptable.”

Beer in mind that specific examples from your own experience shouldn’t be included in the introduction paragraph (instead the body paragraph).

GENERAL STATEMENT:

General statements aim to:

  • introduce the topic of the essay
  • give background information on the topic

How to write a general statement?

When it comes to writing a general statement, the first sentence in an introductory paragraph should be a very general comment about the subject. Each subsequent sentence should become more specific than the previous one and finally, lead into the thesis statement.

Make sure you do it by paraphrasing the statement of the question, which means you need to write it again with the same meaning but use your own words. This act helps you to increase your score in the IELTS writing test, for instance:

Question: In recent years some countries have experienced very rapid economic development. This has resulted in much higher standards of living in urban areas but not in the countryside. This situation may bring some problems for the country as a whole. What are these problems? How might they be reduced?

General Statement: It seems to be an increasingly widespread concern for the effects of urbanisation with the imbalance in living standards between the city and the outskirt.

Obviously, you can see in this example; the writer used the different vocabularies with the same meaning to introduce also give the background information on the topic.

THESIS STATEMENT:

What is the definition of thesis statement?

A thesis statement is usually a sentence to offer a concise summary of the main point or claim of your IELTS essays and follows the general statement. It is critically important in your IELTS writing task 2 because it is your answer or your opinion/point of view about the given topic in the Writing test. It will guide IELTS examiner what your essay is about and help keep your argument focused.

So don’t get it mixed up with the general statement which tells the reader what topic of your essay is at the beginning of your introduction.

So, how to write a good thesis statement?

There are a range of essay question types in IELTS Writing Task 2, namely:

  • Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
  • Discussion (Discuss both view)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Problem and Solution
  • Two-part Question

The first thing we need to do is to identify which type of question it is and look at the action words. For example, in the question below the action words are ‘do you agree or disagree?’

Question:The government and individuals are spending too much money on national celebrations like new year or festivals. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

We, therefore, need to tell IELTS examiner clearly whether we agree or disagree, and this will influence our thesis statement. So, the thesis statement should be as follows:

People have different views about whether public expenditure on national occasions such as new year or festivals is too much nowadays. While I agree that governments and individuals are spending a significant amount of money on those celebrations, I would argue that this activity is necessary and therefore can be considered acceptable.

As can be seen, the above sentence makes it crystal clear to IELTS examiner what you think about the question. The rest of your IELTS essay will go on supporting this thesis statement.


How does the thesis statement change with different types of question?

We will now look at how thesis statements can vary with different question types. However, you should not try to learn set phrases or sentences to fit certain essays.

The golden rule is to always read the question very carefully and figure out what you have to do.

Your thesis statement will then follow on from this, depending on what you have decided you need to write about in order to answer the question.
Sample thesis statements for 5 essay question types in IELTS Writing Task 2:

  • Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
    Topic:
    Too much emphasis is placed on going university for academic study. People should be encouraged to do vocational training, because there is a lack of qualified tradespeople such as electricians or plumbers. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
    Thesis statement:
    It goes without saying that society always needs a skilled workforce to function. Employees of different professions contribute differently to the thriving of the community, and therefore I disagree with the statement that vocational courses should be given any more weight than before.
  • Discussion (Discuss both view)
    Topic:
    Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always a good thing. Discuss both views and give your opinion
    Thesis statement:
    Many people show preference for repeating their daily routine while others always look for change as they believe change would bring more benefits. In my opinion, I would agree with the latter point of view.
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
    Topic:
    Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always a good thing. Discuss both views and give your opinion
    Thesis statement:
    Many people show preference for repeating their daily routine while others always look for change as they believe change would bring more benefits. In my opinion, I would agree with the latter point of view.
  • Problem and Solution
    Topic:
    There is a general increase in anti-social behaviours and lack of respect for others. What are the causes and solutions?
    Thesis statement:
    The widespread problem of anti-social behaviours and disrespectful attitudes towards others has long been a major topic of concern in society. Some of the major culprits of this problem will be discussed before the most important solutions are drawn.
  • Two-part Question
    Topic:
    Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology. In what ways has technology affected the types of personal relationships? Has this become a positive or negative development?
    Thesis statement:
    Rapid advances in technology have undoubtedly affected the way we interact in various ways. While some of this change can exert a negative impact on the way we communicate with each other, my view is that overall modern technology typically improves communication in personal relationships.

 

Practice: 

Below are two potential introductions with different thesis statements for IELTS essay question. Choose which one is better.

IELTS Essay Question:

Some people believe increasing business and cultural contacts between countries is a positive development while others argue that it is a threat to the identity of a nation?
Discuss both views and give your opinion?

Introduction:

Intro 1:
It is sometimes argued that increasing business and cultural contacts between countries are a positive development. I believe that the trend is a threat to identity a nation.

Intro 2:
It is sometimes argued that increasing business and cultural contacts between countries is a positive development. Such positive elements include increased employment prospects, increased commerce, and increased multilateral harmony. However, I believe that this trend is a threat to the identity of a nation.

IELTS examiner’s comment:

Intro 2 is the better one.
A better thesis statement (and an increase in coherence) would be to state what the reasons’ are. For example, sentence two could be “Such positive elements include increased employment prospects, increased commerce, and increased multilateral harmony.” Remember that a clear position throughout is a key feature of TR and a strong thesis statement is a great start to alert the examiner that you making your position very clear in the beginning. (notice that the above use of increased’ three times in this context is an effective writing technique)

I hope the tips mentioned above could help you to hike up your IELTS score in the IELTS writing test! Stay tune for the latest update on IELTS Materialwebsite.

Don’t forget to keep practicing to write an introduction to get yourself familiarized with the IELTS test and get the high score in IELTS.

You can also write your own introduction in the comment boxes below to receive feedback from us!

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Tips to write an awesome introduction in IELTS Writing Task 2

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