IELTS Writing Task 2: How to write an introduction

Learn how to write an introduction for IELTS writing task 2 essays. This page explains the content and technique for writing an high score introduction without wasting precious time in the test. The video tutorial takes you through each statement in your introduction paragraph. This lesson is for academic and GT IELTS essays.

This lesson will teach you:

  • The content of an IELTS introduction
  • How to write the background statement
  • How to write the thesis statement
  • How to paraphrase effectively
  • How long your introduction should be

The same technique is used for a band score 6 as for a band score 9. So, this lesson is for students of all band scores. The only difference will be that a band score 9 student will use richer and more complex English language.

What does the Introduction Paragraph Contain?

An introduction paragraph for an IELTS writing task 2 essay requires only two statements. A Background Statement – This is a paraphrase of the essay question. All essays must have this statement. A Thesis Statement – A direct answer to the essay question and task. An IELTS introduction paragraph does not require anything more to fulfil the requirements of the marking criteria for writing task 2.

How to Write the Introduction of an IELTS Essay

This video lesson will take you through both statements to create a time efficient introduction paragraph. It will show you:

  • How to paragraph correctly for the background statement.
  • How to write a clear thesis statement.
  • What information you do not need based on the IELTS marking criteria and band score requirements.

Summary: The Introduction Paragraph

1. Analysing the Essay Question

Now this is the essay title we’re going to look at. “The best way to improve health is to do regular exercise. To what extent do you agree?” Well let’s first look at the statement. IELTS have given us the best way – it’s a method, it’s a solution and it’s a solution to improving health. So our essay is all about improving health and possible solutions. IELTS suggest that exercise is the best solution – you might agree, not agree or partially agree.

What does this mean “to what extent“? Well that means how much do you agree. You don’t need to agree or disagree. You need to think about it and think do you agree with all the sentence, is there something that you don’t agree with? Do you agree with most of it? So that’s how you analyse it.

2. Hooks

Let’s have a look at what information we need to put in our introduction. Now for many academic essays there are three parts to the introduction: the hook, a background statement and a thesis statement.  We use the hook in many essays but …. do we use the hook for IELTS essays? The answer is no. We don’t need it. A hook is there to create interest, but that is not part of the marking criteria for IELTS. Interest is NOT marked and does not improve your score.

3. Background Statements

The next thing is the background statement. What is the background statement? The function of this statement is to present the issues in the essay question. You do this by paraphrasing the question. This means you rewrite the essay question your way. We do this because these are the issues your whole essay will be addressing. It is the only way that your essay (your answer) will make sense. You can see various ways of paraphrasing a background statement on this page: Introduction Background Statement Practice

4. Thesis Statements

The second and final statement is the thesis statement. This is your answer / your opinion. It provides the reader with a clear answer to the task. Your body paragraphs will then explain your answer by presenting ideas which are developed and supported.You need to learn all the different ways to write this statement depending on the type of essay you will get in your IELTS test.

5. Length of Introduction

Most introductions will be between 45 and 60 words in length. They certainly do not need to be longer. The introduction is a functional paragraph and when you have completed its function, move quickly on to the body paragraphs. The main proportion of your marks come from your body paragraphs.

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  1. If the topic is not a question like ”The importance of video games for the children”. Should we discuss or give our opinion about that?

    • If there is no direct question, there will be instructions such as “Discuss both views and give your opinion”. You will always get instructions or a clear question. Use the IELTS Cambridge Test papers to prepare – or my essay questions.

  2. Dina Musefuka says

    Hie Liz i would like to be enrolled in your paid up courses,in the four catergories how much is it?

  3. Catherine Jose says

    Hello Liz,
    You are doing great works for us. Congratulations on your initiatives.
    Then I have a doubt regarding writing task 2, that is can I use this word “their ” to explain something about a group of people. Is it will reduce my score.

  4. Thanks Liz

  5. Respected Mam,

    I have a question that is there any word limit in IELTS writing task 1 / 2, as it is written in cambridge books for task 2 (250 words) and for task 1 (150 words).

    Thanks a lot.

    • The instructions tell you to write AT LEAST 250 words for task 2 and AT LEAST 150 words for task 1. The words “at least” mean “not less than”.

  6. Primrose says

    Hie Liz
    How many body paragraphs can one write

  7. Neha Pant says

    Hi Elizabeth,I took the subscription for the essays. I just have one doubt,I read somewhere that there are 5 types of essay formats but I can see only three types in your subscription; Adv. & Disadv. , Discussion and Opinion.
    Can you tell me if there are any other formats?

    • I haven’t made the other lessons yet. You can use my free lessons and tips for the other two types of essays. Click on the RED BAR at the top of the website and select “writing task 2”.

  8. Wish you the best!

  9. Hi, can we use : This essay will … ?

    • You can use any sentence you want. The question is not “can I use it”. The question is “Will it help my band score?” or “Is it a requirement of IELTS?” or “Can I use this instead of writing my opinion?” – answer to all = No.

  10. Thank you Liz, You are very kind to share your knowledge with so many of us .

    As regards the Essay, how do go about the body… does an Essay just end in 50-60 words?

    I suppose we have to discuss in details about what exercises entails and also dieting as have introduced it in your thesis.

    I have never sat for the exams and I am just studying in preparation to enrolling


    • There are over 300 pages of lessons and tips on this site for IELTS preparation – all free. Go to the RED BAR and click “Writing Task 2” to see full essays, lessons, more videos, tips etc.

  11. Hi Liz,

    I would like to ask about the essay question I have taken before. It is about people eating fast food and healthy foods. In my conclusion, I have not chosen any of these options rather, I have opted to mention that moderation is the key.

    The score I received for the essay is quite low and I needed to receive a higher mark. So I would like to check if I would have to agree to one of the statement in order to receive a good score?

    • Your score is based on a lot more than deciding your opinion. I also cannot judge the opinion you chose without seeing how you presented it, how you explained it, how you linked it to the question, whether you covered all issue in the question and what other issues you covered in your essay. All those points connect to the score for Task Response.

  12. Inderjeet kaur says

    Hi mam
    You said in video that this is for Academic essay. So can’t we follow this in general essay??
    Reply pls

    • All my writing task 2 lessons are for GT and Academic essays – there is no difference between them in how you write your essays.

  13. Hi Liz, your blog is of immense help in preparation.
    Small confusion, I learned from you that, you don’t need to discuss both the sides in essay.
    In the IDP official website the sample task for CBT is this
    In Britain,when someone gets old they often go to live in a home with other old people where there are nurses to look after them,
    Who do you think should pay for it, the government or the family?
    Now in my essay I think that the government should pay for it ,so I dont need to write about the consequences where family pays for it, right?
    They recommended arguments for both the solution in body paragraph. So now I am little confused.

    • Your opinion MUST address all issues. You need to look at the essay question and see how many issues it has. If it has one issue (compulsory parent courses), then you choose one side only and write about one side only (if you choose that opinion). You would not write about pros and cons of compulsory parent courses – you don’t have two equal sides to one coin.
      But if it has two issues (government or family), you can’t ignore 50% of the essay question. If you agree with one side, then your view is “I agree with the government and I do not agree with the family”. Then your essay explains your opinion. This means you are given two coins and your opinion addressed both. So look at the question and address what you are presented with.
      When you prepare for IELTS avoiding thinking in black and white rules. If you want a high score, adapt your skills and be flexible.

  14. Gesu Priyadarshini says

    Physical activities on a daily basis is a necessary step for the betterment of health.

    • Writing task 2 essay topic
      ” companies should provide sports and social facilities for local community
      to what extent do you agree or disagree??

      My background statement
      companies need to make available for use physical recreation and public amenities for neighbourhood populace. in my opinion I agree with the above statement but they shouldn’t stop at that they should build schools colleges and institution for higher education too.

      Did I get it right?

    • Hi, I am not sure if this is the right place to ask but I am using a book to improve my writing and one of the advices is to add in the introduction paragraph a sentence explaining your intention such as : ” In this essay, I will discuss some of the reasons why moving abroad is so popular and some of the challenges to overcome” but I have read in some sites that these type of sentences are not really necessary… any comment on this?

      • Those sentences are common in academic writing, but not needed in I£LTS. The examiner has the instructions – you don’t need to repeat them.

  15. Thanks a lot, it is very clear

  16. hello maam

    thanks alot for the for our great efforts

    im in a dilemma
    i have gone through many ielts essays sample book one thing i have figured out from those is they start their introduction with a nice HOOK or BACKGROUND idea and then paraphrasing and thesis statement also my teacher suggested the
    though, i prefer your way of writing the introduction but now im worried whivh is the correct way maam
    please help me out

    thank you!!!!!

    • IELTS is a short essay which is all about focus and relevancy. A hook is used to capture the readers attention -this is 100% irrelevant for IELTS. You are being marked on 1) how relevant (not interesting) your ideas are 2) focus 3) expanding ideas (in the body). The introduction only contains the essay question paraphrased and your answer (the main points you will cover in brief). It has no other purpose in IELTS. You must then get to the body paragraphs where the real points are scored. Having a longer intro will not boost your score. You will not be marked down for a hook, but it is a waste of time and will not help you.
      I am stating this as someone who has completed the IELTS examiner training – not just as a teacher.

  17. Shailesh Johar says

    Hi Liz,

    One quick question.

    Is it grammatically correct to write “In my opinion, I agree (or I believe)”?
    I personally feel that it is a repetitive statement, as, we make an opinion because we agree with the statement, and vice versa.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you.


  18. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for being humble and helping the test takers with your teaching.

    I have a question regarding the opinion essay. When the question is “To what extent do you agree?” we can either completely or partly agree/disagree. But when the question is “Do you agree/disagree?”, can we Partly agree/disagree?

    • There is no difference between the instructions. Your view can be any view you want. Your position is what you choose it to be.

  19. Hi
    First of all, thank you so much for such a platform, its really helful
    I would like to know that can we use carbon pencil to perform writing task 1,2 in ILETS test ?

  20. Hi
    I watch your video today and i think there is a mistake as my teacher told me that “To what extent”? the answer is I totally agree or disagree with the statement. Not just only that I agree or disagree with the statement. please inform me if there is a difference?

    • There is no such rule in IELTS writing task 2. Your teacher is offering you advice. It is not a rule.

      • Human activity has had a negative impact on plants and animals around the world. Some people think that this cannot be changed, while others believe actions can be taken to bring about a change.

        People’s deeds have had a deteriorating effect on the ecosystem of this planet, while a segment of the population thinks this damage is permanent the others trust that there are various ways to improve the situation. However, in my opinion, with a positive mind set towards sustainable development this damage caused can be reversed.

        Please let me know if this introduction para correct. Thank you

  21. Please l need your assistant on writing task 2.

  22. Hello Liz,
    I will like to purchase you advance writing task 2 but i dont have a paypal account. I will like to know if there is any other way that i can have it purchased. Thanks

  23. Although, it is sometimes thought that big international companies ought to nuture the economy of these developing countries through the establishment of offices and factories, other people believe that countries should keep large forieign countries away.

  24. Somebody said 50 words are essential for introduction and now u said only 2 statements .. I am confused because according to me format is 1)general line
    2)rephrasing the given statement
    3) thesis
    And plz tell me if this line is correct
    This essay attempts to elaborate both the views in subsequent fragments.

    • There is NO rule in IELTS about the length of the introduction. IELTS examiner certainly do NOT count the number of words for each paragraph and mark accordingly. They count the full essay word length and check that it is 250 plus words – that’s all. The higher band scores are mainly based on well developed main ideas which means your focus should be in the body paragraphs. It is your choice if you follow the advice I have given you in this video lessons or not.

  25. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for sharing the useful videos. I will be writing the IELTS for the General training module and not the Academic one. So, I wanted to know whether the Introduction part for General training is different from the Academic one? The way in which you described the Introduction part, will it differ ?

  26. can you guide me with my writing?

  27. Hello liz
    I would like to ask you about the idea of adding another idea in the thesis statement which was not given in the statement of the questions. In this lesson you have added applying a diet.
    Do not you think that we should stick on the essay’s question and we should explain all what is related to exercise and not a diet which is a system of choosing the right food on the right time

    • This is an Opinion Essay based on a solution to the problem. You can give your opinion of the solution they offer and then offer your preferred solution.

  28. Hello everybody.

    I am writing to ask if for introduction we should avoid phrases like: It is undeniable that ____________ is one of the most challenging issues these days. Or: This increasing _________has been a significant feature of modern life in developed countries. Or: One of the most significant advances in civilization is the development of….
    There are a number of reasons for believing that…
    Some people have predicted….

    Some of them sound to me useful for introducing some types of essays, but I am afraid that could be pre-prepared for the examiner in some way, especially if they include things like: “modern life, civilization…

    Thanks in advance!

    • IELTS is an English language test. It is a test to check your level of English – not your memory. Each sentence you use should be uniquely created by yourself in the test room. You can learn linking words, but not phrases or sentences. Memorising chunks of language is NOT accepted by IELTS.

  29. Hi Liz,
    Can I write (In my opinion,I partially agree and partially disagree with the statement….)

  30. Mueed Jamal says

    Hi Liz !

    Wonderful job done 🙂 for this blog and all videos. I have seen the one with explanation on how to write an introduction and i was shocked to learn new things 😛 I got 7 in academic writing module, back in Nov 2017. However, I need a lot of improvement cause i am scared about my general attempt that is going to happen very soon. I am so happy to have your support freely available, which is terrific !

    I need help specifically in longer complex sentence structures. Is there any way to have a piece of advice on just ONE essay, please ?

    Thank you !

    • Sorry, I don’t offer that service. I am working on an e-book which is a list of sentence structures and grammar tenses for writing task 2. Would you be interested in that when it’s ready?

      • Hi Liz,
        Hope you are doing well.
        I am a bit confused with the structure of introduction, I read on the internet, wherein it is that for a good introduction you “must” include the following:
        1 Paraphrase the question
        2 Thesis Statement
        3 Outline Statement (e.g. The essay will first look at how voluntary work can help students develop soft skills and then discuss how these extracurricular activities are valued by universities and employers)
        Whereas in your video you don’t talk about an outline statement.
        could you please clarify the importance of outline statement and really we need to add in the essay or not. I am stuck at 6.5 in writing, consecutively 2 times got 6.5. For the second time, I bought your advanced video also but unfortunately again got 6.5.
        Please let me know, is this because I have not included an outline statement in my introduction to the essay.
        Thanks in advance for your reply.

        • IELTS do not require an outline statement at all for an introduction. Your score is not based only on technique, it is also your English language. To hit band 7, you must produce complex English with few errors – it is probable that your English contains too many errors for band 7. Errors also include unsuitable word choice, paraphrasing at the wrong time, spelling, punctuation. You must also showcase a range of sentence structures which are accurate. Making sure all sentences are 100% relevant and fully connected is also essential. All issues in the essay question must also be fully addressed. Also review your task 1 techniques, this accounts for 33% of your marks in writing. So, there are a numerous reasons for not hitting band 7. You must review your writing and try your best to improve.

      • Hi Liz,

        I am interested in your e-book… when do you think it will be ready?

        • I really have no idea. I hoped to get it done this summer, but my health took a downward turn again. As soon as I have a reasonable prediction on the date, I will post a notice on this website 🙂

  31. Hello Liz,

    I am from India. I have tried purchasing your advanced writing lesson using both master card and visa,however, the site says not able to add the card. Something is not right.

    • This will be a local problem with Paypal. You can try again OR set up a paypal account OR ask a friend to buy the lessons for you.

  32. Hi Liz, may I allow to use question in my essay to make it more attractive? e.g. what is the best way to flee?

    • Why do you want to make it attractive? Do you think it will gain you higher marks? Whether your essay is interesting or not, has NO impact on your score – absolutely zero impact. It is not a marking criteria for IELTS.

  33. Hi Mrs.Liz .
    thank you for this wonderful lesson
    my British teacher have said that to me:
    I should write what i will write in the full essay in the introduction after background. For example, the most effective etc,,,, This essay will discuss this issue then will set out my personal conclusion.
    is that true and beneficial ??

    • This is not an academic essay – it an academic essay for IELTS which is a language test. IELTS do not accept memorised sentences or language. That sentence is a fixed sentences which is memorised and used by many many students – it does not contain examples of your own English and won’t help your score.

  34. Manbir Singh says

    Hlo ma’am , you are doing a great job and deserve to be applauded . My question is , how many typical Vocabulary words should I use in My Writing Task 2 . I have penchant for using vocab . But one thing I’m afraid of is tgat the examiner might not get the exact meaning of yhe message I want to convey or what is my frame of mind . In place of put forward my ideas I write Propound my viwpoint . Similarly , for motive I use Incentive . For harmless I use Innocuous . And so on , there is profusion of words I use to put a better impression on the examiner . And same is in the case of speaking as well . Should I continue doing so or decrease it to some extent .

    • Your aim should not be to impress. It should be accuracy and clear meaning at all times. Poorly chosen words or even little mistakes all count and will lower your score.

  35. Hi can u give ssuggestions for my introduction.
    Question is Children should not be educated at home by their u agree or not?
    My intro …
    Young generations must be restricted to home tuition given by their fathers and mothers.In my opinion ,mentors play vital role for students in gaining good academic scores in latter life however neglegence of parents is considered to be worse towards their kid’s future.
    Waiting for response

    • Sorry I don’t actually understand your opinion. What do you mean by “mentors”? Are you referring to teachers? Because a mentor and a teacher are not the same at all. Why are you talking about negligence? Your whole opinion is very confusing. This is about home-schooling or school education. This is a typical example of poor vocabulary choices. Just write your opinion so that it is 100% easy to understand. Your thesis is vital to be fully understood.

    • Yeah exactly thank you so much is it correct?
      Young learners should not be taught by their fathers and mothers . In my opinion , I believe that School educations or educational institutions are better for children and home schooling is not ideal for kids to develop abilitis in facing different chalenges.

      • Yeah exactly thank you so much is it correct?
        Young learners should not be taught by their fathers and mothers . In my opinion , I believe that School educations or educational institutions are better for children and home schooling is not ideal for kids in developing abilities to face
        different chalenges. ..
        I’m really appreciated for giving ur precious time .

        • Now your opinion is easy to understand, but your vocabulary is still a problem. “fathers and mothers” – do you think it is a great paraphrase – does it improve the sentence? No. Parents are parents – you do not paraphrase that word. Your choice shows a lack of awareness of paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is about which words to change and also which words to keep the same. Also “kids” is informal and unsuitable for essay writing. And “developing abilities to face” – what does this mean? It actually has no meaning and no relation to education and school subjects etc. So, your problems are:
          a) learning more about the right techniques
          b) making better choices with your vocabulary.
          I don’t usually comment so much for students, but this is a lesson that all students can benefit from when they read it.

          • Thank u so much for ur explanations. The reason for writing this sentence I thought when children get school education they interact with different students so that they face different challenges which make them easy to achieve goals.

            • Now I can understand you perfectly – you should write this way in your essay. Be clear, be direct, write normally. But this is only one main point, not all your main points. You should plan all your main points before you start writing your introduction. Plan the whole essay first. So, you believe home schooling is bad because:
              a) children lack interaction with others
              b) they lack the range of subjects offered by schools
              c) they lack equipment and facilities offered by schools
              Get all your main points planned, then write your introduction. So, your thesis statement will say that you think school education is better than home school due to student interaction, subject range and facilities. – now you have a clear introduction!!

      • Again school education is not about facing challenges. This is about the range of subjects offered, social interaction, extra curricular activities, professional teaching etc. Also, as I already said, “fathers and mothers” is not a good paraphrase. Parents are parents – don’t change the word. Sorry I won’t be able to offer you further help.

  36. Hi Liz,
    Your video is so helpful and I’m able for doing lots of practices after watching it. Thanks.

  37. Hii Liz.. Thanks for your valuable support to all..
    My exam is on 1st feb. Just want your quick opinion on following introduction.

    Topic: Children in some parts of the world have less responsibility compared to children in the past. Some people think this as a positive change, however others think of it as as negative change. What do you think?

    Introduction: Children in a few regions of the world don’t have much responsibilities in comparison to little ones in earlier times. It is argued by some to be a positive development while other consider it detrimental for society. In my opinion, it certainly has a negative impact on the world because children with decreased responsibility tend to become more reckless regarding their future.

  38. Nifty Sloth says

    Hello Liz! Could you answer my question, please?

    The essay question is “Universities should accept equal numbers male and female students in every subject. To what extent do you agree or disagree?”

    Do I HAVE TO use the words Agree or Disagree in my thesis?

    For example, would the following thesis be wrong or confusing?
    “In my view, gender should play no role in the decision-making process when university places are allocated and entry to higher education ought to be granted purely on merit.”

    Is this thesis statement appropriate when the essay question is worded like that? I would greatly appreciate your response!

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