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Ielts Essay Types Of Introductions

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

5 (100%) 4 votes

It is a bit of a myth that there is a ‘one size fits all’ structure for IELTS Writing task 2 essays. Whilst the exam task criteria is the same each time, ie. you must write a minimum 250 words in approximately 40 minutes, there are actually 5 different types of Task 2 essays and each has a slightly different structure.

Many IELTS websites will suggest that you organise your essay in a specific way. It will probably look something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Paragraph 1
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Paragraph 2
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Possible Paragraph 3
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Conclusion

If you are aiming for a Band Score of around 5 or 6, then this kind of generic structure will probably be enough in each case. However, if you are aiming for a higher score, it is crucial that you familiarise yourself both with the different variations of essay types you might be given and the most effective way to organise your response.

The 5 most common types of Task 2 essays are:

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

Opinion essays:

In an Opinion essay, you need to clearly express what you personally feel about the given topic. If you are asked direct questions like in the task below, then it is up to you how balanced or one-sided you choose to answer. You can address both parts of the question equally or focus mainly on one side, depending on your point of view.

Have newspapers become a thing of the past or do they still have an important role to play in people’s lives today?

In a task like the one below, where you are asked to what extent you agree or disagree, it is very important that you state this explicitly at the beginning and then again at the end of your essay. Do you agree fully, mainly, partly or not at all?

Computers have made it possible for people to work from home  instead of working in offices every day.This should be encouraged as it good for both workers and employers. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Remember: this is also considered an ‘argument’ essay and you should try to convince the reader that your opinion is right. In this case, I suggest that your essay structure should look something like this:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question (your own words)
    • Thesis statement (state your agreement or disagreement)
    • Essay overview (optional)
  • Paragraph 1 and 2
    • Topic sentence (state a position)
    • Explain this further (maybe give a reason)
    • Give an example
    • Summarise paragraph
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise main ideas
    • Reiterate your opinion

Simon at www.ielts-simon.com, a former IELTS examiner, explainshere how to structure an opinion essay depending on the extent to which you agree.

Advantages and Disadvantages essays:

In an Advantages and Disadvantages essay such as the one below, you need to discuss the positive and negative perspectives equally and to clearly explain why you think something is an advantage or a disadvantage.  It is common to start Paragraph 1 with the advantages, however this is optional.

Nowadays many students have the opportunity to study some or all of their course in a foreign country. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad?

A possible structure for this type of question is:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Outline your main ideas
    • State your opinion (if the question asks)
  • Paragraph 1
    • State one advantage
    • Explain the benefits of this advantage
    • Give an example or a result
  • Paragraph 2
    • State one disadvantage
    • Explain the negative aspect of this disadvantage
    • Give an example or a result
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas
    • Give your opinion (if asked)

Problem and Solution essays:

In a Problem and Solution essay, such as the one below, you need to think carefully about how to respond to the questions posed. It is also important that you address all parts of the task. The first question will refer to the problem or cause and the second question will refer to the solution. Try to limit yourself to answering these questions only and don’t introduce any further questions/points of your own otherwise you might stray off task.

Overpopulation is a major problem in many urban centres around the world. What problems does this cause? How can we solve the issue of overpopulation?

Try this structure to organise your essay:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Outline your main ideas
  • Paragraph 1
    • State the problem
    • Explain the problem
    • Explain the consequence (result) of this problem
    • Give an example
  • Paragraph 2
    • State the solution
    • Explain the solution
    • Give an example
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas

Discussion essays:

In a Discussion essay, such as the one below, you will be presented with two sides of an issue and you will need to examine both perspectives equally before giving your own conclusion.

In today’s competitive world, many families find it necessary for both parents to go out to work. While some say the children in these families benefit from the additional income, others feel they lack support because of their parents’ absence. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

In this case, your essay structure could look like this:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question AND/OR state both points of view
    • Give your thesis statement (which view you prefer)
  • Paragraph 1
    • State first point of view
    • Discuss this perspective
    • Give a reason why you agree or disagree with this viewpoint
    • Give an example to support your view
  • Paragraph 2
    • State second point of view
    • Discuss this perspective
    • Give a reason why you agree or disagree with this viewpoint
    • Give an example to support your view
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas
    • Restate your opinion

Two-part esssays:

In a Two-part question essay, such as the example below, you will get two questions. You must answer both questions fully otherwise you risk getting a low score for Task Achievement.

In today’s society, success is often measured in terms of wealth and possessions. Do you think these are the best measure of success? What makes a successful person?

So, in this case, I suggest organising your ideas in the following way:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Briefly answer both questions
  • Paragraph 1
    • Answer the first question directly
    • Explain your reason(s)
    • Expand your argument (evidence, examples, personal experience)
  • Paragraph 2
    • Answer the second question directly
    • Explain your reason(s)
    • Expand your argument (evidence, examples, personal experience)
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas

Please bear in mind that these structures are my suggestions; they are not fixed in stone and you can adapt them to fit what you want to say. However, I highly recommend using these templates to practise organising your ideas into paragraphs then developing them into an essay, in preparation for the writing exam. Having a clear idea of these essay structures will help you stay on task in the exam, manage your time more efficiently and express your ideas clearly.

Remember too to use linking words and phrases to connect your sentences and paragraphs together to improve your scores in Coherence and Cohesion. Stay tuned for a blog post on this topic very soon!

We will soon be launching IELTS Write, where you can supercharge your writing score! Sign up to IELTS Write to access a variety of exclusive IELTS Writing tasks. Our experienced IELTS tutors will give you quick, detailed feedback on your writing. Sign uphere and you’ll be the first to know when we launch!

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