Top Tips for IELTS

Using Essay Map to write better IELTS essays

I could have called this video lesson “What is a paragraph?”. A paragraph is one idea that is developed and this means that you need 2 ideas for an essay that has 2 main paragraphs and 3 ideas for an essay that contains 3 main paragraphs.

If this surprises you then you may be confusing main ideas with reasons and examples and this lesson is definitely for you.

Essay map and IELTS

In the video I use the Essay Map app from ReadWriteThink. It’s a great tool for showing you how the different bits of an essay work together. It works like this.

Start with the question – establish your point of view

You start by looking at an IELTS essay question and deciding what you think about it. It helps to try and state this in a short sentence. This will be part of your introduction and will be developed by the main paragraphs

Think of 2/3 ideas to explain your point of view

These are the ideas that will be developed to be your main paragraphs. Again it helps to try and state these ideas in a short/clear sentence. If you can’t do that they may be too complex or just supporting detail.

Now think of reasons/examples that support your main ideas

These are not main ideas. These are details. You can get these by looking at real-life examples.

Summarise your position

This is your conclusion. Note that you don’t have to say anything new here – all you are doing is summarising what you have said before.

Before you listen

I use one of my sample IELTS essays in this video. It is an essay on Libraries and digital technology. Read this question

Maintaining public libraries is a waste of time since digital technology is now replacing their function. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

decide what your position is

think of 2/3 ideas to explain that position

think of 2/3 reasons and examples to support your ideas

now watch


More help

You can’t of course take Essay Map into the test with you. There is though a very simple and highly effective way you can help yourself in the test.

How to structure an IELTS essay: in this lesson I show you how you can use a blank piece of paper to help structure your essay.

If you are still confused about ideas then I suggest you have a look at this lesson on topic sentences. These topic sentences are where you should be stating your main ideas and are normally found right at the start of paragraphs.

An exercise for you to try

Take one of your IELTS essays and try and use Essay Map. Can you identify your position? What about the main  ideas? Reasons and examples?




Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

Home page

Speaking Guide

Writing Guide

Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

Reading guide

Listening guide

IELTS vocabulary

IELTS grammar

Keep up with me on Facebook - all the updates and even more advice there


Or just get all my free lessons by email

Subscribe to DC IELTS by Email

One Response to Using Essay Map to write better IELTS essays

  1. David April 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    This is good advice. Students need to remember to plan out their answers first or else they will end up needing to go back and make changes. It doesn’t take long to plan out a coherent and organized 250 word essay, but it is really important to take that time and do it right.

Leave a Reply