The strategy for planning IELTS Task 2 or essays is the main attraction for most of our in-class students. They have realised that writing the essay is the easy part. It is much more challenging to plan the essay in a short period. After they learn the technique, at least one student in the class would ask (without fail) “ma’am, where do we do this planning in our exam?”
Let’s say you are writing an essay on the following topic.
Doctors in many countries say that working people are not getting enough exercise.
What are the reasons for this trend?
What steps can be taken to solve this issue?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
So, it is clear that IELTS wants you to write an essay on the reasons for working professionals not getting enough exercise. Along with that, you are also supposed to develop the solutions for the issue at hand.
Let’s say you are writing this essay in the actual test. You note an introduction, and then you are about to write reasons So, in case you don’t plan, you may write something as follows
“One of the main reasons working professionals do not pursue any physical activities is because they are swamped in their office work. Today office work occupies most of their time which is a problem. One of my uncles attends office from morning 9 to evening 7.”
Now, these are about 47 words in one point. Many of you may think that this is a decent point. But if you look at it again, you will realise that there are many issues with the point.
Firstly, we cannot read any specific reason for not doing exercise. Extended office hours at the office could be a reason. But still, it is not noticeably clear how long office hours are related to lack of physical exercise. Also, the example has no connection with the point that you are trying to prove.
When practising for IELTS, students often make the mistake of having no restriction on resources. This includes the time it takes to answer the question and the space needed to plan and write the essay. Students must find a way to make their whole plan fit in, say, half a page. Even though you are allowed to ask for extra answer sheets, you would be wasting time waiting to receive one. You could instead use the rest of the question paper, or even the back of it, to make your plan.
As mentioned before there is very little time for students to plan and write the essay. Therefore you have no time to be confused. Planning the points in a way that would let you see everything at a glance would make sure you don’t have to keep reading through the whole list. Jotting down all the points and numbering them is messy. It leaves you open to a misunderstanding about where a point is located and whether it was numbered correctly. The best way to ensure that your plan is clear to you is to plan visually.
Whenever you are planning IELTS essay points, ensure that you justify your them with proper explanation and example. So, while planning always ensure that you note the points as follows
So, let’s say for the same essay, you take a pause and think about what is the justification for working people not exercising regularly. You may ask yourself, “why do they not exercise?” The answer could be that they don’t get enough time. Then further you can ask why don’t they get enough time for the exercise? The answer to this could be that ‘long working hours in the office’. So, the last question that you may ask is “So what if people don’t get enough time?” The answer could since they work long hours, people don’t have energy and time to exercise. You may note all these thoughts simply as follows
Reason: Lack of time
Explanation: Hectic work schedules give no time Not enough energy to work out
Example: my uncle could not get time since he is a CEO
Now if you can note down these simple notes on the paper, you can convert them into sentences as follows:
“Most of the professions don’t have enough time due to their hectic work schedules at the office. As a result, they have no energy to work out late in the day. For instance, my uncle, who is the CEO of a giant commercial conglomerate, work 90 hours a week. Such a busy week doesn’t leave any time for him to exercise anyway.”
You may observe writing notes help you to organise your thoughts in a better way. Arranging information like this will show you what point belongs to which paragraph. There is no confusion about whether you have thought of an example. The explanation and details will be kept with the point to avoid further confusion. You can always tweak this method to your liking.
The way to crack the IELTS essay is to practice consistently. However, many students don’t spend their time planning IELTS essays; instead, they focus unnecessarily on grammar and vocabulary. To fully benefit from this visual method, we would suggest practising the planning of the essays. You can even choose to convert the plans to essays to check how easy or difficult it for you to understand. Once you get in the habit of using this method, you will be converting points to paragraphs in no time! This is the only way to not panic and freeze when you are in the actual exam. So please practice with this method, make it your own, and practice with that as well.