Opinion Essay: Finding Main Points

This lesson shows you how to find ideas for your IELTS opinion essay and organise them into paragraphs. It is important to spend time analysing the statement before you decide your opinion. You should look at the essay question carefully and think about the issues in the statement. Below you will see some questions to help you analyse the opinion essay title.

Every one of us should become a vegetarian because eating meat can cause serious health problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Analysing an Opinion Essay

Answer the following questions

  1. Do you think vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat?
  2. Do you think the vegetarian diet is healthy?
  3. Do you think people who eat meat are unhealthy?
  4. Does eating meat always create health problems?
  5. Is there any meat which you think is healthy to eat?
  6. Do you think all people should be vegetarian?
  7. Do you think all people should stop eating meat?
  8. What is another way to say “vegetarian”?
Model Ideas & Structure
  • Body Paragraph A: I agree that eating a vegetarian diet is healthy.
  • Body Paragraph B: However, not all meat is unhealthy
  • Body Paragraph C:  I believe that having a balanced diet containing predominantly vegetables with some healthy meats is best.
Vegetarian = people who do not eat meat / people who do not have meat in their diet / to have a vegetarian diet. You cannot paraphrase “vegetarian” as “vegan”. A vegan is someone who does not eat or use any product that comes from animals.


Recommended Lessons

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Introduction and Overview for a Bar Chart

A sample introduction and overview for this IELTS chart is given below. The introduction is the easiest paragraph to write and the overview is the most important paragraph in your report. Look at the sample paragraphs below for the IELTS chart given and fill in the gaps.

The chart below shows the average monthly expenditure by British households in three years.

ielts chart

Introduction and Overview for an IELTS Chart

Fill in the gaps with no more than two words in order to complete the introduction and overview for the above chart.


The (1) ……………………… illustrates the typical (2)  ……………………….. of money spent each month on utility bills, transport, rent, entertainment (3) …………..groceries by households in Britain in three years (1990, 2000 and 2010). Units are (4) …………………. in pounds sterling.


(5) …………………., the largest expenditure was on rent,, (6)  ………………. the least amount of money spent was on utility bills and entertainment. While there was a significant (7)  …………………. in spending on rent, transport and utility bills, there was little change in the amount spent on the two other items.

  1. chart / bar chart
  2. amount
  3. and
  4. measured
  5. Overall (this is the most correct and appropriate linker to use)
  6. whereas or while (it is not possible to use “in comparison to” or any similar linker due to the grammar structure of the sentence. To use “in comparison to” the sentence must read “…the largest expenditure was on rent in comparison to the least amount of money spent which was on …”)
  7. increase / rise / growth
Tips & Vocab
  • Paraphrase the information for the introduction
  • shows = illustrates
  • average = typical
  • expenditure = amount of money spent
  • monthly = each month
  • Give the units if necessary
  • Put key features together in the overview
  • The overview is usually a separate paragraph
  • This IELTS chart is considered a simple chart and all students aiming for band score 6 and above should be able to write this report without many errors.
  • Watch the video lesson suggest below to learn about the correct paragraphing to use in IELTS writing task 1


Recommended Lessons

Writing Task 1 Diagram introduction and overview, click here
Bar Chart Model Band Score 9, click here
IELTS Video Tutorial: Structure and Paragraphs for Writing Task 1, click here

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IELTS Summary Completion Reading Practice

To answer a summary question in IELTS reading, you should skim read the passage and then spend time reading through the summary to predict answers and prepare paraphrases. This is a practice lesson for summaries.

Fermented Foods

Fermentation is a process in which an agent [typically bacteria and yeast] cause an organic substance to break down into simpler substances; especially, the anaerobic [no oxygen] breakdown of sugar into alcohol, i.e. the making of beer or wine. Fermentation in food processing is the conversion of carbohydrates (plant foods) to alcohols and carbon dioxide, or organic acids, using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation is also employed in the leavening of bread, and for preservation techniques to create lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi and yogurt, or vinegar (acetic acid) for use in pickling foods.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elie Metchnikoff was one of the first scientists to recognize the benefits of eating fermented foods. His research in the early 1900’s focused on the Bulgarians. He believed the daily ingestion of yogurt was a major contribution to their superior health and longevity.

Bulgarians perfected the art of detoxifying and preserving milk (removing the lactose and predigesting the proteins) and transforming it into yogurt and cheese. For centuries, Europeans used wine as a source of clean, durable water. The Caucasians used Kefir grains for the same purpose: detoxify milk products to make Kefir. Vegetables were also fermented to preserve them from spoilage, such as kimchi in Korea. Most of the pickled products found on our grocery shelves were at one time a fermented product: pickles, saurkraut, and even catsup (a Chinese word for pickled fish brine). However, since fermentation isn’t always a uniform process, manufacturers found another way to make these products.

Questions 1-6

Complete the summary using the list of words (A-J) below. Write the correct letter on your answer sheet, in boxes 1-6

 International Uses for Fermentation

At the start of the 20th century, Dr. Elie Metchnikoff put forward his belief that the 1.  ……………… and good health of Bulgarians could be attributed to eating fermented food each day. By 2. ……………. and preserving milk, they were able to convert it into 3……………… and 4. …………………. In other parts of Europe, fermented 5. ……………… was consumed as a replacement for clean water. Some 6. ……………….. were fermented which gave them a longer lifespan but nowadays this is done by pickling.

A) ingesting     B) yoghurt      C )  longevity     D) pickled products    E) wine    F) food    G) kimchi    H) cheese   I) detoxifying    J) vegetables


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. C
  2. I
  3. B (any order)
  4. H (any order)
  5. E
  6. J

Passage from healing naturally by bee.com

All reading exercises on ieltsliz.com have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   




IELTS Reading: Sentence Completion Practice, click here

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Short Answer Questions: IELTS Listening Practice

Short Answer Questions

Read through the questions before you listen to the audio. Predict the type of answer you need to listen for and underline any key words that might help you find the answer. Also prepare paraphrases as this is the key to IELTS.

Dashwood Sports Center

Questions 1-5
Write no more than two words and/or a number.

1. What time does the center open?
2. What kind of sports equipment does it sell?
3. How long do you have to return faulty items?
4. Who can give advice?
5. What time does it close on Tuesdays?

So let me show you round our Sports Center. As you can see, it is set in lovely grounds where you can find outdoor tennis courts as well as a swimming pool. The center itself opens daily at 9am and closes at 6pm. To the right here you can see the reception where you can book courts and find more information about the sports center. Further along to the right, just after the reception room, you will find the restaurant which opens at 11am and serves brunch, lunch and light snacks in the afternoon before it closes at 4pm. To the left, opposite the reception, there’s a small shop which sells sports equipment. I’m afraid it’s rather pricy but the quality is excellent as it sells only professional equipment. If you do decide to treat yourself to something, make sure you check it as soon as you get home as you’ll only have three days to get a refund if there’s anything wrong with it. If you go straight ahead, you’ll come to our advice desk. Now it’s only open for a short time each day around lunch time when one of our ex-pros, John Roberts, comes to give help to anyone who needs it. Oh and before I let you go to have a look around on your own, I just have to mention that on Tuesdays we have late night opening until 9pm. Well, that’s all. I hope you enjoy your time here and if you need me at all you can find me in reception.

1. 9am
2. professional / professional equipment
‘…there’s a small shop which sells sports equipment. I’m afraid it’s rather pricy but the quality is excellent as it sells only professional equipment.’
3. 3 days
‘…you’ll only have three days to get a refund if there’s anything wrong with it.’ (faultly = anything wrong with it)
4. John Roberts (capital letters not needed)
5. 9pm
‘…on Tuesdays we have late night opening until 9pm’. This question was a trap because a closing time was given at the beginning of the audio but you can’t answer question 5 before question 2, so you need to wait for another answer to come. Also the information at the beginning was about a daily closing time not specifically on Tuesdays. This is a very common trap in IELTS.



More Short Answer Question Listening Practice, click here

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IELTS Speaking Part 2: How to start your talk

Start your talk with confidence by paraphrasing your topic card in IELTS speaking part 2. This video lesson gives advice and tips about the best way to begin your part 2 talk with example paraphrasing techniques to demonstrate a good command of English to the examiner. Target band score 6 and above.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video Lesson: How to improve your IELTS speaking: click here
Topics for IELTS speaking part 2: click here


hello in this lesson I’m going to show

how to start your talk for IELTS speaking
part 2

now there is no right way all wrong way

to start your talk but I want to show
you a good way

to start and the topic we will use for
this lesson

is described a book you

recently read so let’s look at how to

here are to different ways to start

you could say I’d like to talk about

or I’m going to tell you about

now this one is a little bit more

formal and this one is less formal

but they are both fine the

IELTS Speaking test is not academic

it’s not formal so it’s okay to use

both of them you can also see here

that I’ve written I’d

and I’m so we don’t say

I would like to tell you about or

I am going to tell you about we say

I’d I’m and

this is to help you get a better band
score for your pronunciation

when you use the contraction I would

I’d this is better for your

now after this what

do you need to put well a lot of students

copy the words on that card and it’s not
very good to do that

if you want to get a band score

6 7 and above you need to show the

that you can use your own language

that you have flexible language

to paraphrase what is written on your

so it now let’s look at how we could

paraphrase that so here is one way

to paraphrase the information on the

I’d like to talk about a novel

which I read

two weeks ago so you can see that

the word book we paraphrased for the

novel now you need to

learn all the different types books

that you can’t read so was it a novel

was it fiction non-fiction was it a

was it a self-help book so that’s
one way to paraphrase

take this word and be more accurate

what kind of book was it you can also
see here

I have put clause into the sentence

and that will help you get a higher band
score for your grammar and

here we’ve got two weeks ago

so instead of repeating the word

we can give the time when

you did it two weeks ago 1 week ago

a month ago you can do that so that’s

a very nice way to paraphrase

and start your talk but we can improve

let’s have a look at one more and here’s
how we can improve

that start so you can see here that one
thing you can do

it give more information more

and we can use an adjective so here

I’ve used the adjective fascinating

which means really interesting

you could also put useful

exciting you can describe

the book more and you can also see that
I’ve changed

this the paraphrase here and instead of
giving the information

I have given a paraphrase which is “not

so long ago” and that in a direct
paraphrase for recently

it’s very nice to use that and it

also means that during your talk

you can give more information about exactly

when you read the book and that’s
a way to

develop and extend your talk so I hope
you understand now

one way a good way to start your talk

well that’s all for this to happen I’ll
see you again

in another IELTS lesson


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IELTS Model Essay Score 9 for Direct Questions

This is an estimated band score 9 model for an IELTS writing task 2 direct questions essay. This model essay shows you how to answer each question directly and how to organise the answers into paragraphs.

Some people think that money is one of the most essential factors in promoting happiness.

Do you think people can be happy without much money?

What other factors contribute towards happiness?

Money is considered by many people to be one of the most important contributing factors towards happiness. In my opinion, it is possible for people to be happy even if they have little money and other aspects of life can play a more vital role in creating happiness.

Although having money brings happiness to a lot of people, it does not necessarily follow that people without money are, therefore, unhappy. Take for example the comparison between developing and developed countries, most Westerners would agree that people in developing countries are happier, enjoy stronger family connections and take more pleasure in the simplicities of life to a greater extent than those in developed countries.

One way that people can gain happiness is through their work. For instance, a doctor doing volunteer work in underdeveloped countries may have very little money but the reward of helping people and doing the job they are good at, brings happiness in itself. In other words, happiness can be found by using skills that people are trained for and through job satisfaction.

Finally, another factor influencing happiness is having supportive and loving people in one’s life.  While money may bring the opportunities to enjoy pleasures, few people would enjoy them on their own. Being surrounded by a loving and caring family is considered by most people to be more valuable than any amount of money.

In conclusion, money is not essential for happiness, which can be found through job satisfaction as well as family. If more people strived in life towards true happiness rather than money, the world would be a better place.

Comments: Your task is to give an answer to both questions and no more. Each question may have one or two main points to answer it. Your essay should never have more than 3 body paragraphs. You can see that in this IELTS model essay, the first body paragraph is answering the first question and the second question is answered with two main points in two different body paragraphs. Words = 275 (an appropriate length for writing task 2)

Recommended Lessons

Model Opinion Essay: click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Essay Questions: click here

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How to Describe Pie Charts in IELTS Writing Task 1

You can be given two pie charts to compare in IELTS writing task 1. Below are easy steps to write each paragraph in order to describe your pie chart in a complete report. Each step takes you through a paragraph practice and sample models.  Learn about the introduction, overview and body paragraphs for your pie chart.

IELTS pie chart lessonPie Chart Paragraphs Step by Step


You must paraphrase the information given at the top of the charts “The graph shows the main sources of energy for the USA in 1980 and 1990”. You cannot copy this, you must use your own language.


  • the graph = the pie chart
  • shows = illustrates
  • main sources of energy = energy production from different sources
  • for the USA = don’t change this
  • in 1980 and 1990 = in two different years (1980 and 1990)

Try writing your introduction before checking the model answer. Model

The pie charts illustrate the changes in energy production from five different sources (oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric power and nuclear power) for the USA in two different years (1980 and 1990).


The overview contains the key features of the charts. Answer the questions below to find the key features.

  1. What was the main source of energy in 1980?
  2. What was the main source of energy in 1990?
  3. Which produced the least energy in 1980?
  4. Which produced the least energy in 1990?
  5. Did the amount of energy produced by each source change a lot or just a little between the years?
  6. Did all types of energy increase by 1990?

Now write your overview before you check the model. Model

Overall, oil  constituted the main source of energy production in both years, while hydroelectric power  produced the least energy. There was a slight decrease in production from oil and natural gas, whereas an increase can be seen in the figures for coal and nuclear power.

Body Paragraph A

This paragraph will give details about oil and hydroelectric power, which we highlighted in the overview above.


  • You will need to write one sentence about oil comparing the percentage each year and then one sentence about hydroelectric power comparing the years.
  • You must add data (percentages and dates) to support each sentence

Here are two example sentences. Fill in the gaps with the right words.

The amount of energy produced by oil in the USA 1. ………………. 42% in 1980 and this, then, 2. ………………….. to a third (33%) in 1990. The proportion of energy from hydroelectric power, 3………………, remained constant in both years ………a mere 5%. Answers

  1. accounted for / comprised of / made up / was
  2. fell / declined / dropped / went down / decreased
  3. on the other hand / by contrast / in contrast ( we use a linker to highlight that this is opposing information to the previous sentence)
  4. at

Body Paragraph B

This paragraph will give detail about the other sources of energy in the pie charts.


  • which sources increased?
  • which sources decreased?
  • what were the percentages for each source?

Again, fill in the gaps in these model sentences.

The energy generated by natural gas, which was the second 1. …………… source of energy in the USA in 1980, fell 2. ………. 1% to a quarter of all energy produced in 1990. In contrast, production by coal 3. ……………… from 22% to 27% in 1990 4. …………….. there was a 5% rise in energy from nuclear power to reach 10% in the second year. Answers

  1.  largest / major
  2. by (this is used when writing about differences in amounts)
  3. increased / rose / went up / climbed / grew
  4. while / whereas


Recommended Lessons

IELTS PIE Chart Model
Practice Writing Task 1 Charts

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Origins of Bread: IELTS T F NG Reading Practice

A reading practice for the IELTS T F NG questions  (true / false / not given). I’ve put some difficult questions in and also one easy question. I’m sure you can all spot the easy question 🙂 Good luck with the difficult questions 🙂

Here is a quick review of what each one means:

True = the statement matches the information in the passage

False = the statement contradicts the information in the passage

Not Given = the information is not found in the passage

Origins of Bread

Bread is the most widely consumed food in the world. Not only is it an important source of carbohydrates, it’s also small and easy to carry, which helps to explain why it has been part of our diet for thousands of years. In fact, recent scholarship suggests humans started baking bread around 30,000 years ago.

Prehistoric man had already been making gruel from water and grains, so it was a small jump to starting cooking this mixture into a solid bread form by frying it on stones. A 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences discovered traces of starch (likely from the roots of cattails and ferns) in prehistoric mortar and pestle-like rocks. The roots would have been peeled and dried before they were ground into flour and mixed with water. Finally, the paste would be cooked on heated rocks.

Question 1-4

Which of the following statements are true, false or not given?

  1. Bread is eaten in all countries in the world.
  2. Bread contains carbohydrates.
  3. The first bread was made about 30,000 years ago.
  4. Bread was first made from gruel cooked in clay pots.


Click below to reveal the answers.

  1. Not Given (It states in the text that bread is widely eaten in the world but we are not given information that shows it is eaten in all countries. If bread is widely eaten, we still don’t know which countries eat it – possibly only 90% of countries eat it. All countries is not confirmed in the passage)
  2. True (did you spot the easy question?)
  3. True (This is a direct paraphrase of the statement in the passage)
  4. False (The passage says that bread was made from gruel and fried on stones)
Vocab Builder
  • consume food = eat food
  • carbohydrates = foods with sugars and starch (potatoes, bread, pasta etc)
  • gruel = porridge
  • traces = small amounts
  • peeled = had their skins removed
  • ground = crushed / pounded

All reading exercises on ieltsliz.com have been written by myself to help you prepare for your IELTS test.   



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