Wednesday, February 12, 2014

IELTS writing task 2 - let's stick to the topic

One of the things that always causes stress for my IELTS students is the time limit.  Many people feel overwhelmed with the idea of writing a full essay in 40 minutes.  So what do many IELTS candidates do?  They rush.  They rush to start writing & that of course can be disastrous.  I know that I have mentioned in previous posts how important it is to take some time to brainstorm but before you get to that, you must be very certain that you have understood the task!

One of my students was recently given a task 2 question about the environment. The question was something like, "Preserving the environment is an important issue today.  How can individuals protect the environment? Why don't people play a more active role in environmental protection?
What I see some students do is, in their mad rush to start writing, they see that the topic has something to do with the environment, so they start writing what some of the threats to the environment are.   Or maybe they spend their essays discussing what can be done in general to protect the environment.  Both approaches, of course, are wrong.  The first sentence of the prompt is just an introduction to the topic.   What you are supposed to write on is very clearly laid out for you in two questions:  How can individuals protect the environment?  Why don't people play a more active role in environmental protection?  If you spend a paragraph answering each question, you are well on you way to getting a good band score for Task Response.  Remember, how appropriately and completely you answer the question accounts for 25% of your Task 2 mark. 
So what do I suggest?  Spend a couple of minutes looking at the question.  Pinpoint key words or phrases.  Sometimes it helps to rephrase the prompt, although this might be a little risky.  Take a look at this task 2 question:  It is generally believed that some people are born with certain talent, for instance for sport or music, and others are not. However, it is sometimes claimed that any child can be taught to become a good sports person or musician. Discuss both these views.  Hmm,  a lot to take in.  So, let's see what they want us to do: Discuss both these views.  Which views? some people are born with certain talent and any child can be taught to become a good sports person or musician.
All your brainstorming & subsequent writing will be centered on these two main ideas.  Anything off-topic runs the risk of falling into the "answer is tangential,"  territory of Band 4 for Task Response. 

1 comment:

  1. In today's world, it is becoming increasingly important to protect environment. this can be seen with the rise in global temperatures all over the world in recent decade. there are several ways in which individual can help protect the environment. this essay will discuss these points along with reasons for not active involvement by people towards environment protection before a conclusion is drawn.

    Firstly, on of the best way would be to travel more by public transport instead, of private vehicles. For example, according to international statistics growing traffic is one of the major cause of polluting the environment. The added benefit of this practice would be reduction in death toll and clean air to breath-in. thus, it is easy to see why many government's have encouraged this method.

    Secondly, Through various organizations people could be motivated to plant more trees. For instance, In India there are many social organizations encouraging young people to plant trees at various places, such as near office surroundings. Infact, the terrace of both the office and home could be used for this. In addition to this, people could be educated about the importance to preserve the natural habitat. All this contributes towards involving and raising awareness among people towards better environment.

    Further, one of the major reason why people don't associate actively is drastic change in working environment. People are more busy, more stressed than earlier. the examples of which can be seen all over the world. Secondly, people care more about enhanced facilities available rather than their destructive affects on environment. such as use of air conditioners, refrigerators, etc.

    In conclusion, there are many reasons including the above mentioned regarding how people could protect the environment. In my opinion, people should restrict themselves from over-reliance on technological products, which degraded the atmosphere and infact emphasize more on traditional methods which are environment friendly.

    Dear Madam,

    I kindly request you to review this essay.