Writing for IELTS: essay introduction

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Writing an essay in a second language can seem an insurmountable task. In this post, we will look at how to write a good introduction for writing part 2 of the IELTS exam.

The introduction is a very important part of your essay. It highlights the purpose of the essay and should give the reader important information about it.

Let's consider the following essay question:

'Discipline is an ever increasing problem in modern schools. Some people think that discipline should be the responsibility of teachers, while others think that it is the role of parents. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.'

Important: before writing the introduction, you should make sure to plan your essay.

Now let's look at what to do to write a good and efficient introduction:

1. General statement about the topic: your first sentence should be a general statement about the topic of the essay. This sentence should contain 3 things:

a) an opening phrase that shows a time reference: in recent times, in the 21st century, over the last decade, in modern times, etc... Avoid using 'nowadays', it is overused and therefore unoriginal.

b) the topic area: in this case it is discipline in the context of education

c) a trend: needs to show how something has changed over time. In other words: has it gone up or down or remained the same?

Your first sentence should go something along those lines: In modern times, the way children and teenagers behave at school has worsened.

2. Now you need to present the question or the debate. This sentence is important because it highlights the purpose of the essay, the reason why you are writing.

There should be 2 elements:

  • question phrase which signals the area of the debate. It could start like this: some people believe/argue that; many people believe/argue that; it is believed that; it has been argued that; there is a debate about

  • paraphrase of the essay question. You can achieve an efficient paraphrase by using synonyms, changing the grammar of the sentence or changing the form of some words.

Something like this: It is believed by some that schools should play a vital role in establishing and reinforcing the rules young people should abide by, whilst others argue parents should be held accountable for teaching their offspring how to behave properly at school.

The sentence above reflects the following part of the question: Some people think that discipline should be the responsibility of teachers, while others think that it is the role of parents.

3. Finally the last sentence of your introduction is the thesis. This is where you state your opinion and highlight the structure of the essay. This is why it is important to plan your essay before writing your introduction as this sentence will show the examiner that your essay has been carefully planned.

In the essay question we used in here, you are asked to do two things: discuss both sides of the argument (balanced essay) and give your opinion. Your opinion on the issue MUST be stated in the introduction

A little something like this: I agree/disagree with + own opinion. However, this essay will discuss both sides of the issue arguing Point 1 and Point 2.

There is no reason why your introduction should be longer than 3 sentences, they present everything that needs to be presented in an introduction.

Good luck and please feel free to send your introductions to be checked in the comment section.

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