IELTS Writing: examine and consider an IELTS question

When you write an IELTS essay during your exam, you need to read the question(s) very carefully. IELTS Writing questions are always a bit different from one to another. Look at the following question:

In many countries, the proportion of older people is steadily increasing. What are the advantages or disadvantages of this trend?

If you treat this question as “what are the positive and negatives effects that old people bring to us?”, then it would be hard for you to fully respond the task.

Do you notice the difference?

Here are some ideas about negatives effects of increasing number of older people:

 • More senior citizens means that governments have to arrange more money for their pensions.
 • Local governments have to support them, for example, by giving them discounts for electricity bills, water bills and transportation.
 • This assistance comes in the form of welfare payments, which are collected from tax payers.
 • An increasing number of older people will mean more tax must be collected in order to support .
 • Health authorities could face serious challenges if the number of old aged people increases in the future.
 • Hospital admissions might be higher and waiting lists could be longer for some treatments and operations.

IELTS Writing: Introduction

The introduction should be clear and concise. It doesn’t need to be very long and grand since this is a short 250-word essay. Here’s what it should include:

 • a paraphrase (use of different words but same meaning) of the topic and issue presented in the task question
 • your opinion (if you are asked)

It should be 2 -3 sentences. However, if you want to make your introduction more impressive, you should add a brief overview/summary of main points at the end of your introduction. It will help to shoot up your score.

Here is an example:
Many people believe that women make better parents than men and that this is why they have the greater role in raising children in most societies. Others claim that men are just as good as women at parenting. What’s your opinion?

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General Training IELTS Writing Task 1: Greetings and Salutation

As I mentioned before that it’s very important to get your tone right in General Training IELTS Writing Task 1. Here are some good greetings and salutations in an informal letter.

Friends usually have names ;-) so address him/her with a name: begin the letter with Dear Joey/ Tim /Rebecca, etc.
Begin your letter with some general statements. Refer to the letter you have received from your friend and thank him/her for it or apologies for the fact that you have not answered the last letter soon enough.
Use the proper register. The letter is supposed to be informal so you can use contractions, informal linking words like well, by the way, anyway, so, colloquial expressions, etc.
You can use more-conversation-like statements or questions in your letter: You know that I had this exam, right? You think he will be able to come to the party?
Use questions to ask about your friend – arrange the next meeting, send greetings to his/her friends and family, etc.
End your letter in informal way: Best wishes; Love; Regards. 

Dear + first name, (E.g. Dear Jeffrey,)

I hope you’re well.
Hope all’s well.
Thank you for your letter. It was nice to hear from you.
I'm sorry I haven't written for so long but…

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IELTS Writing: Introduction

Look at the questions below and read it carefully. The topics are the same but the tasks/questions are different. Think about how to organize and answer them.

1. Some people think that it is better to do the same job for the same company, while others believe that they should change jobs frequently. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

2. Some people think that it is better to do the same job for the same company, while others believe that they should change jobs frequently. What’s your opinion?

One of my students writes the introduction for the first question like this;
People have different views about whether stay in the same job for life or change jobs frequently. Speaking for myself, I personally support the former points of view that it is better to do the same job.

This is an inaccurate introduction as after paraphrasing the topic, you need to answer the question (your writing purpose or your opinion if the question asks for it.) Think about how to answer the question appropriately.

IELTS Writing Task2: How to Write the Introduction

You need a short and accurate answer to the question in your introduction. Many students waste time writing long introductions. The first paragraph should be short and simple; a long, complex introduction will not give you a high score. The main body paragraphs are more important.

A good IELTS Writing introduction needs only 2 things:

  1. A sentence that introduces the topic
  2. A sentence that gives a short, general answer to the question

"Will my introduction get a good score?"

Answer: your introduction alone will not get you a high score, even if it is perfect. The introduction is necessary, but the main body paragraphs decide your score.

It's a good idea to practice writing short, fast introductions. If you can write the introduction quickly, you will have more time to focus on the main paragraphs.

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