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A lot of my IELTS students like to start their Task 2 essays with a long and complicated introduction.

This is a really bad idea.

 I know a lot of examiners and to be honest they’re not especially clever, and they get tired and hungry like just like everybody else.

 So it’s a good idea to make your IELTS essay as simple and clear as possible, and this is especially true for the introduction, as that will be the first thing they read.

 So think of the reader (the tired examiner) and keep it simple.

The most important part of your introduction

If your opinion is clearly presented in the introduction and then confirmed in the conclusion, then it makes your whole essay clearer.

You can see from the table below, for a band 7 and above, your position should be clear “throughout the response”, which means from your introduction to your conclusion.

Putting your opinion in your introduction won’t guarantee you a band 7 for Task Achievement.

But it makes it more likely because it will make your writing more logical.

So this will also improve  your cohesion and coherence score as well

Band Score

Official IELTS description

(Task Achievement)

What it means

7+

“Presents a clear position throughout the response.

Your overall opinion is very clear and is well supported by all your reasons and examples in your whole essay.

6

“Presents a relevant position, although the conclusions may become unclear or repetitive.”

Your overall opinion is good but you don’t always clearly support it with reasons or have clear conclusions.

5

“Expresses a position but the development is not always clear and there may be no conclusions drawn.“

You have an overall opinion but you often don’t support it with reasons or have conclusions.

4

“Presents a position but this is unclear.”

You have an opinion but you don’t explain or support it clearly.

How to write a clear and simple introduction

A basic introduction has three sentences:

1. A simple paraphrase of the question.

2. Your position (overall opinion).

3. What you will do in the essay. (This sentence is optional.)

Let’s check out some examples on the topic of railways!

Example 1 (agree or disagree question)

Governments should spend money on railways rather than roads.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

For this kind of question you can discuss one or both sides.

But either way you must clearly state which side your opinion agrees with. If you don’t do this you can’t get higher than a 5 for Task Achievement.

As I suggested earlier, it’s best if you include your opinion in the introduction and conclusion.

Introduction for discuss one side e.g. strongly agree

It is often suggested that governments should increase investment in railway infrastructure rather than on new roads. Personally, I agree that the benefits of rail, which include less traffic and pollution, outweigh the apparent benefits of new roads. I will explain my reasons in this essay.

Introduction for discuss both sides e.g. agree

It is often suggested that governments should increase investment in railway infrastructure rather than on new roads. I will discuss both views but personally, I agree that the rewards of investing in trains, which include a reduction in traffic and pollution, outweigh the benefits of building new roads.

Example 2 (discuss both sides question)

Some people think that governments should spend money on railways.

Others believe that there should be more investment into new roads.

Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

For this kind of Task 2 question you need to discuss both sides of the question.

As with agree/disagree question above, you must clearly state which side your opinion agrees with.

The best way to do this is to include your opinion in the introduction and conclusion.

Technically, it’s OK to write a very general introduction and leave your opinion to the end.

But this isn’t as clear, and you might run out of time before you’ve got to your conclusion, so overall it’s a more dangerous strategy.

So here is the example introduction.

Notice that it’s exactly the same as the discuss both sides from the agree/disagree question.

Introduction for discuss both sides e.g. agree

It is often suggested that governments should increase investment in railway infrastructure rather than on new roads. I will discuss both views but personally, I agree that the rewards of investing in trains, which include a reduction in traffic and pollution, outweigh the benefits of building new roads.

Example 3 (two questions)

Nowadays governments are investing more in public transport such as buses and trains rather than in building new roads.

What are the reasons for this?

Is this a positive or negative development?

For this kind of task you need to discuss both questions equally.

The second question requires an opinion so you must clearly state which side your opinion agrees with.

Again, as above the best way to do this is to include your opinion in the introduction and conclusion.

Introduction for positive development:

It is often noted that many governments are adopting policies which invest in public transport rather than in road infrastructure. Personally, I feel the main reasons for this are an increase in congestion and a reduction in air quality in big cities. I therefore feel this is a positive development. I will explain my reasons in this essay.

Why you should include main ideas in the introduction

 All of the example introductions above included main ideas as well as a clear opinion.

It is a good idea to include main ideas as it makes your position very clear.

This is especially important for IELTS students aiming for a band 7 or above.

For more information, check out the article below.

Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments

Why should you always include a clear position in your introduction?

If you don’t include a clear position in your intro, what is the highest score you can get for Task Achievement?

 


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