Once you have identified the topic and question parts for your writing task, the next step is to brainstorm ideas that should become part of your essay. In order to get a good band score it is not enough to just create a list of ideas - you need to extend and explain each of those ideas in detail. Lets look at our example from before:
The obesity rate among teenagers has increased dramatically in many developed countries. Discuss some possible reasons for this increase and suggest solutions.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.
The last statement says that you need to explain your ideas using reasons and examples from your own experience and knowledge. From our last 2 steps we know the following:
- Topic: Obesity rate increase among teenagers in developed countries
- Question Parts: 2 parts.. possible reasons and suggested solutions
In order to make sure you fully answer the question turn each of the question parts into a question that will help you create a list of ideas against it. For example
Question 1: Why has teenage obesity increased in developed countries?
Question 2: What can be done about it?
Next .. brainstorm answers to these questions:
Why has teenage obesity increased?
- Increase in single parent families
- Availability of cheap fast food
- Lack of exercise among kids
- Video games and television replacing outdoor games
What can be done about it?
Once you have list of ideas the next step is to extend and support each idea with examples. You do this by converting each of your brainstormed ideas into mini questions starting with why, what & how. For example:
Why has there been an increase in single parent families?
- high divorce rates
- teenage pregnancies
What is the effect of this?
- more pressure on individual parents
- No time for home cooked meals
A common mistake amongst IELTS candidates is to have lots of ideas in their essay that are not explained properly.
By brainstorming and organizing your ideas you can ensure that each of your ideas is fully explained and well supported with examples.
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