IELTS Essay for PLAB - Top Tips

Hello team! The IELTS Academic Writing Section is notoriously difficult and candidates usually report struggling most on Task 2: The Essay. If you are struggling with the essay, you are not alone! Here are some top tips from us… The writing section of the IELTS lasts for one hour and requires you to complete two tasks. Today, we are going to be focusing on the second task, which is the essay writing task. This requires you to write around 250 words in a 40-minute period in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. It is critical that you use some form of structure in your essay; this will help you break down the words into absorbable pieces and help you express your ideas. A popular structure to follow is:
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
Further, just to be clear. There is no right or wrong answer when stating your opinion. To score well in the essay, you must simply convey your opinion in a coherent manner; this means to logically link ideas in a sequence. Along with the appropriate use of grammar and vocabulary. Now, imagine you are confronted with the following in the examination:

“Many people believe that democracy is the best form of government in the modern world. Others beg to differ and turn towards monarchy or dictatorship. Discuss both these views and give your opinion”.

Your first step should be to rapidly decide which part of the argument you stand on and decide upon two main points you can make in favor of it. In this example, we would:
  • Agree that democracy is the best form of government.
  • Point 1: Holds government accountable for acting on what they promise.
  • Point 2: Prevents abuse of power by any one entity through the electoral process.
Your second step should be to rapidly think of one counter-argument to the issue
  • Point 1: Selecting a government relies on the judgment of the mass public, who may not decide based on rational thought, but on emotion.
Now it is time to coherently bring these points together. Introduction In this section, you will give a brief opening to what you intend to discuss in your essay. The easiest way to do this is to take the question asked and re-word it. A good introduction in this case would be:

“It is a widely-held belief that democracy is the best form of governance today. However, there are many voices on the other side, which gravitate towards monarchy, dictatorship or other alternate forms of governance”.

Did you see what we did here? We simply took the topic given to us and said the same thing but in some different words. We call this technique ‘paraphrasing’. Do not under any circumstances copy the introduction word-to-word! You have only 250 words; so, introduce the topic and move straight on to the body. Body In this area, you will be doing two main things: (1) Stating your opinion with reasons (2) Considering the other side of the argument. This area should contain most of your word count. Remember the points you brainstormed at the beginning? It is now time to put them into the essay. We may take the first point and write:

“I believe, that democracy is the best form of governance as it ensures that the government is held accountable for its performance through the electoral process. This plays a pivotal role in ensuring that a government has an incentive to perform well, otherwise they may be unseated in a future election”.

Here we stated the point and backed it with a reason. We can also consider the other side of the argument, here the words ‘it can also be argued’ notify the reader that we will be considering the counter-argument:

“However, it can also be argued that giving the citizenry the right to choose who governs is not in the best interest of the country; as human beings tend to make decisions based on emotions rather than rational thought”

Your body should consist of these points presented logically in the form of 3 paragraphs of approximately 60 words each. We like to write two paragraphs in favor of our argument and one opposing. Conclusion We have reached the end of the essay. Our suggestion is to keep this section short and to the point. An easy way to do this is to paraphrase the introduction to remind the reader what the question being considered was and to state your main opinion.

“In conclusion, it is my belief that democracy is the best form of governance in the modern world as it acts as a deterrent to potential abuse of power”.

And that brings to a close our advice to you on the IELTS Academic Essay. We hope you can take some of these insights and use them as part of your preparation!