How To Write Introduction In Essay Ielts

Writing an IELTS Essay Introduction

In the writing for task 2, you must write an IELTS essay introduction, but you only have 40 minutes.

In this time you need to analyze the question, brainstorm ideas to write about, formulate an essay plan, and then write your response.

Even for a native writer of English, this is a lot to do in 40 minutes!

So you need to use your time carefully. You need a good IELTS essay introduction, but one thing you do not want to do is spend too long writing it so that you end up rushing your paragraphs.

Your paragraphs are the most important thing as they contain all your supporting arguments and demonstrate how good you are at organizing your ideas.

You therefore need a method to write your IELTS essay introduction fairly quickly. When you write an introduction, you should make sure you do two things:

  1. Write a sentence introducing the topic and giving some background facts about it 

  2. Tell the reader what you are going to be writing about

How you do this will vary depending on the question, but here is an example:




Example 1:

Question:

Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. Blood sports should be banned.

To what extent to you agree or disagree?


Sample IELTS essay introduction:

Despite the fact that killing animals for sport is popular in modern society, it remains a contentious issue. I believe that blood sports are cruel and uncivilized and so should be banned as soon as possible.

As you can see, the first sentence consists of the topic plus some background facts on the topic which have been taken from the rubric.

The second sentence then gives the writers opinion and tells us that in the essay the writer will be arguing the reasons why it is cruel.

The topic does not have to be in the first sentence, but it should be made clear somewhere in the introduction. You must always have a thesis.




Paraphrasing

Another important point - don't copy from the question! You must paraphrase (put it in your own words). To do this you can use synonyms and move the order of the sentence around.

Using some of the same words is acceptable, but don't copy whole phrases.

You can see how the question above has been paraphrased. All the information is from the question, but it has been written in a different way and has not been copied.



You can also check out a short video on this lesson:




Further Examples

Example 2:

Question:

Science and technology have helped the world make many advances. The Arts, such as painting, theatre and dance, to name just three examples, however, are also valuable.

What things do the Arts provide to the world that Science and Technology do not?


Sample IELTS essay introduction:

Societies have developed rapidly over time due to the many advances in science and technology. However, the arts are also very important and provide our world with many things that science and technology cannot.




Example 3:

Question:

According to a recent study, the more time people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings. Some people say that instead of seeing the Internet as a way of opening up new communication possibilities world wide, we should be concerned about the effect this is having on social interaction.

How far do you agree with this opinion?


Sample IELTS essay introduction:

A recent study has shown that as people use the Internet more, they are spending less time with human beings. I believe that although this has increased the communication around the world in positive ways, it has also led to negative effects on the day-to-day social interaction of human beings.




Example 4:

Question:

Unemployment has become an increasing problem in the recent past.

What factors contribute to an increase in unemployment and what steps can be taken to solve the problem?


Sample IELTS essay introduction:

Over recent years, the level of unemployment has been increasing at an alarming rate in many countries around the world. This essay will discuss the reasons for this increase and consider what practical solutions are available.




Example 5:

Question:

Some people think children in secondary school should study international news as part of the curriculum. Others think that this would be a waste of time as there are already too many subjects for children to concentrate on.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.


Sample IELTS essay introduction:

While some people are of the opinion that it would be useful to include international news as a subject in the school curriculum, others believe that this is a waste of students time because they are already overloaded with subjects to study. This essay will examine both sides of the issue.



 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Introduction

This post will help you write better introductions in your Task 2 IELTS essays and show the specific sentences I advise all of my students to use when writing IELTS Writing Task 2 introductions.

The introduction is the first part of the essay the examiner will read and it will give them a good first impression of what to expect in the rest of the essay.

Just like in person, first impressions last.

I often tell my students that a bad introduction in IELTS writing part 2 is the same as going in to the speaking exam and being rude to the examiner- no matter how good you are in the rest of it, the examiner won’t be happy and unhappy examiners are more likely to give you a lower mark.

Despite this warning, many good students go on to produce introductions with a few common problems in them.

Common Problems

  1. Talking too generally about the topic.

Most of these essays start off with ‘Nowadays……’ or ‘In modern life….’ followed by general information about the topic. In my opinion, this is the worst start you can possibly make. Remember that you are supposed to answer the question not write generally about the topic.

  1. Not including a thesis statement

This is the most important sentence in the essay. Not including one will lose you marks in several different ways. I will tell you more about this below.

  1. Not outlining what you are going to do

If you don’t include a sentence outlining what your essay will say, the examiner doesn’t really know what you are going to write about in the rest of your essay. This will also lose you marks. I’ll show you how to write an outline sentence below.

  1. Trying to write a ‘hook’ or be entertaining

Remember this is an IELTS exam, not a university essay. There are no extra points for being interesting, in fact being boring will probably help you. This will help you avoid ‘flowery’ language.

  1. Using an informal style

Know your audience. You are expected to write in an academic style.

Good and Bad Examples

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Good Introduction

Rising global temperatures and human health and fitness issues are often viewed as being caused by the expanding use of automobiles. This essay agrees that increasing use of motor vehicles is contributing to rising global temperatures and certain health issues. Firstly, this essay will discuss the production of greenhouse gases by vehicles and secondly, it will discuss other toxic chemicals released by internal combustion engines.

Bad Introduction

Nowadays, cars are a very popular way of getting around. Day by day many more people drive cars around but others feel that they cause global warming. Global warming is one of the most serious issues in modern life. They also affect people’s health and well-being which is also a serious issue.

As you can see the bad example talks about the topic very generally, copies words and phrases from the question and doesn’t include a thesis statement or outline statement.

If your introductions look something like this, don’t worry. Most of my students write introductions a lot like this when they first start in my class and the structure below always helps them fix any problems and write very effective introductions.

Structure of a Good Introduction

If you use this structure you will not only score higher marks but you will also save time in the exam. If you practice enough, introductions will become easy and you will do them in just a few minutes. This will leave you lots of time to focus on the main body paragraphs where you can pick up lots of mark.

An IELTS writing task 2 opinion essay should have three sentences and these three sentences should be:

  1. Paraphrase question
  2. Thesis statement
  3. Outline statement

That’s it. Simple! Let’s look at each sentence in more detail.

  1. Paraphrase Question

Paraphrasing means stating the question again, but with different words so that it has the same meaning. We do this by using synonyms and flipping the order of the sentences around.

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Paraphrase: Rising global temperatures and human health and fitness issues are often viewed as being caused by the expanding use of automobiles.

The synonyms I’ve used are:

Increasing- expanding

Car use- use of automobiles

Global warming- rising global temperatures

People’s health and well-being- human health and fitness

As you can see, I then switched the order of the sentence around.

I have therefore demonstrated to the examiner that I can paraphrase and have a wide range of vocabulary. These are two of the things that the examiner is specifically looking for and you will gain marks for including them.

You should practice this with past paper questions.

  1. Thesis Statement

This is the most important sentence in your essay. This is your main idea and I often describe it to students as how you feel about the whole issue in one sentence. It tells the examiner that you have understood the question and will lead to a clear and coherent essay.

Let’s look at the thesis sentence from the previous example:

Thesis statement: This essay agrees that increasing use of motor vehicles is contributing to rising global temperatures and certain health issues.

It is always just one sentence long so you will have to practice summing up your opinion in one sentence. It should also address the micro-keywords and not the topic in general.

You should start your thesis statement with:

This essay agrees that….. or this essay disagrees that….. (Opinion essays)

The main cause(s) of this issue is….. (Causes and solutions)

The principal advantage(s) is (xxxxx) and the main disadvantage is (xxxxxx). (Advantage and disadvantages).

For a discussion (of two points of view) essay you should state both points of view clearly.

Let’s look at another example:

Some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

To keep things simple, we have two options-

  1. Agree that some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.
  2. Disagree that some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.

My essay will argue that celebrity culture does have a bad influence and my thesis statement will there be:

This essay agrees that the some famous people’s lifestyles have a detrimental effect on the youth of today.

I have stated my opinion in one sentence and used synonyms to make sure I don’t just repeat the question.

Thesis statements are very important but only in question that ask you for your opinion. Some IELTS questions do not ask you for your opinion and in these cases you can leave it out.

  1. Outline Statement

Now that you have paraphrased the question and told the examiner what you think in your thesis sentence, you are now going to tell the examiner what you will discuss in the main body paragraphs. In other words, you will outline what the examiner will read in the rest of the essay. This should be one sentence only.

Example:

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Outline statement: Firstly, this essay will discuss the production of greenhouse gases by vehicles and secondly, it will discuss other toxic chemicals released by internal combustion engines.

So what I have done is just look at my main body paragraphs and wrote about what they contain. You should have only one main idea per paragraph. In this essay, I have only two main body paragraphs, so I only need to say two things in the outline statement.

Main body paragraph 1- production of greenhouse gases by cars.

Main body paragraph 2- toxic chemical produced by car engines.

Again, your main body paragraphs should have only one main idea so it should be easy to spot these and then write a sentence about them.

For advantages and disadvantages essays and problem and solution essays you could write something like this:

Advantages and disadvantages: this essay will first discuss the (main advantage(s)) followed by an analysis of the (main disadvantage(s)).

Problem and Solution: This essay will analyse the principal problem(s) and offer solutions to this issue.

Final Example

Question: Learning to manage money is one of the key aspects to adult life. How in your view can individuals best learn to manage their money?

Good answer: One of the keys to adulthood is appreciating how to budget your finances. It is clear that the best way someone can learn this, is by managing money during childhood. Firstly, the essay will discuss the importance of parental involvement during childhood and secondly, the essay will look at the importance of having a part time job during childhood.

As you can see, the above introduction follows the structure I laid out above.

Next Steps

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Writing Task 1

Writing Task 2

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