IELTS essay planning tips. Learn how to plan your IELTS essay successfully. Learn how to use your time to plan ideas and paragraphs as well as other essential aspects of your IELTS essay.
Should I spend time planning my essay?
Yes, you should. 50% of your marks as based on your ability to answer the essay question directly, present relevant ideas, have clear supporting points to extend the main ideas, to organise your ideas and have logical paragraphing. So, spending time planning is essential for any student aiming for band score 6, 7, 8 or 9.
When you get to writing task 2, you will be tired. You will already have done the listening test, reading test and writing task 1. This means your concentration and energy levels will be low. It is easy to make a mistake with the essay question, lose focus in your writing and present disorganised ideas. This is another reason why planning is so important. It helps you focus and create a clear strategy with clear ideas. This will make writing your essay easier and help you write a strong essay.
How much time should I spend planning?
Some teachers will tell you to plan for at least 10 minutes. This is good advice but I know what most students are too nervous to spend so much time planning. Other teachers advise students to spend about 3 minutes. This is enough to plan main ideas but not to plan supporting points and to organise ideas.
I advise you to spend at least 5 minutes planning. You must practice planning your essay and calculate how long it really takes you to create a strong plan for your essay. Whatever you decide, know that planning is critical. Lack of planning is the common downfall of most students.
What should I plan before I start writing?
You should have a clear outline of the following before you start your essay:
- identifying the issues in the essay question
- brainstorming main points
- choosing the best main points
- planning supporting points
- organising paragraphs
Should I practice planning my essays at home before my test?
Yes, definitely. There is a skill to good logical essay planning which you need to practice. On this blog, I have over 100 essay questions for IELTS writing task 2. While it might be difficult to practice writing over 100, you should certainly spend time planning a lot of them even if you don’t have time to write the full essay. The better you are at planning, the better your essay will be. See the link below for essay questions.
Where can I write my plan?
You can write your plan on the question paper. There is plenty of room to write on the question paper and the examiner will not see it. The examiner only sees the answer sheet. So, use the question paper to plan your essay.
I have seen many high level students with very good English fail to get band score 7, not because of their English, but because of their poor essay planning. Don’t let that happen to you! Plan your essay thoroughly before you start writing your essay.
- Band Scores 5 to 8 Explained for Writing Task 2
- Over 100 Essay Questions for IELTS
- Essay Ideas for Writing Task 2
- All Writing Task 2 Lessons & Tips
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