This is the next in my series of video tutorials on IELTS essays. This time I look at ideas again and try and show you how simple ideas can work even if you want a band 9 score. The central point I make is that even if your ideas are simple, you can still produce excellent language and IELTS is essentially a language testing system. In the video I take a potentially difficult question, write one simple 4 word idea and then produce a band 9 score sentence from that idea. It takes me 10 minutes: too long. In the exam, I expect you to do it in 1 minute!
Why simple is best
Before you watch, look at this essay question and try and write down one idea for the essay:
Advances in science and technology have made great changes to lives of ordinary people, but artists such as musicians, painters and writers are still highly valued. What can the arts tell us about life that science and technology cannot?
Now try and turn that idea into a sentence.
Now watch listen and think
Compare your idea to mine. Two questions:
- Whose idea is better?
- Whose final sentence is better?
As a philosophy graduate, I know that simple is sometimes the hardest thing – particularly for academic people. To learn this skill, you do of course need to practise. Here is my suggestion, don’t write whole essays. Try writing sentences first. If you can write a sentence, you can write an essay. You can’t write an essay, if you can’t write a sentence.
- don’t practise writing long sentences at first – that is the end product, not the start
- find an IELTS essay question
- try writing at least 2 ideas that are 6-9 words long for each question – short sentences
- focus on words in the question
- ask yourself questions: “why?”
- make sure your ideas are clear
Once you have written the simple ideas, then try and expand them into proper “topic sentences” in IELTS language. If you post one or two here with the original questions, I will leave my comments.