IELTS Essay Writing

Here we are going to look at how to write an IELTS essay.

We are going to use the question below, from this page:

The British Council is one of the three partners in the IELTS Consortium, along with IDP in Australia and the University of Cambridge in England. This means that their practice materials should be pretty good.

IELTS Academic Writing Essay © British Council

As with any IELTS essay you have 40 minutes to do the task and should write at least 250 words. If you do not write about 250 words you will not produce a good answer which covers all the necessary points.

IELTS Essay Writing Rules

You should remember these five rules when writing any essay like this.

  1. Before you start writing, analyse the question and brainstorm ideas focused on answering the question asked. Then rank them in order of importance. You will write about the most important ideas/reasons/examples first. Spend at least five minutes doing this.
  2. Write a clear, short introduction. Use the question to do this. State the topic and say what you will do in the essay.
  3. Write two (or perhaps 3) body paragraphs. Here, two will be enough.
  4. Each body paragraph should deal with only one aspect of the question. Aim for three ideas in each part, with clear examples. Deal with the first aspect of the question first, then the second – do not change the order! Make sure it is clear what you are writing about in each paragraph.
  5. Write a clear conclusion summarizing your main points. Do not add any other ideas here.

So, what would our answer for this question look like?

Analysis and Brainstorm

The question has two parts and these are the three brainstormed ideas for each part, ranked in order of importance.

Why do people do jobs they hate and have no talent for?

  1. This is the only job they can get
  2. They used to like it but now they do not
  3. They think or thought they have talent for it but do not – they might know this but they might not

What are the consequences?

  1. They get paid (a positive)
  2. They do not enjoy the work and this can lead to other problems outside work like alcoholism, drug abuse, family problems.
  3. At work their work can be poor quality and they cause problems for the co-workers and the profits of the company or organisation

Writing the Introduction

The introduction is simply a statement of the topic and what we will discuss in the essay. We use the question to write this, like this:

Many people go through life doing work that they hate or have no talent for. In this essay I will discuss why this happens and what the consequences are.

Commentary: That is it: that is all that is required for the introduction: a clear statement of the topic and a clear statement of what I will write about in the essay, in the order I will write about it.

Writing the First Body Paragraph

This paragraph is about the first question: Why does this happen?

My first sentence should tell the reader what this paragraph is about and then I should write about my ideas in order of importance, like this:

There are a number of reasons why people find themselves doing jobs they either really dislike or have no talent for. The main reason is that they probably have no choice. They need a job and this is the only one, or the best one, available and they do not want to starve. They might have a family to feed, so they do this job despite these negatives. The second reason is that they might have enjoyed doing the job in the past but do not enjoy it now as they are bored or burnt out. The third reason is that they might think they have the talent for it but in reality they do not. Or it might be a combination of all these reasons.

Commentary: The paragraph clearly states the topic in the first sentence and then presents the three ideas in order, and clearly sequenced with The first/second/third reason is….

Writing the Second Body Paragraph

This paragraph is about the second question: What are the consequences?

Again, my first sentence should tell the reader what this paragraph is about and then I should write about my ideas in order of importance, like this:

There are several consequences of this/There are several consequences of people hating their job or having no talent for it. The first is a positive for the worker: they are employed and are being paid for the work they do. The second consequence is negative: the employee will not enjoy the work and this can lead to stress and mental health issues, both at and outside work, and perhaps problems like alcoholism, drug abuse and family problems. There are also negative consequences for the employer and other employees. The work from this employee is likely to be of poor quality and this will cause problems for their co-workers and the profits of the company or organisation.

Commentary: A choice of topic sentences is given. The second is a bit repetitive. The consequences are then presented, with it being clearly marked which are positive and negative.

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion is simply a summary of the ideas presented and should not contain any additional last minute thoughts – that is why careful planning is required at the beginning.

In conclusion, there are a number of reasons why someone might find themselves doing a job they hate or have no talent for. These range from having no choice in the matter to a change in the situation or an unawareness of the fact they do not have the required skills or knowledge for the job. The consequences of this situation can be both positive or negative for the employee (money but stress), but are mainly negative for the co-workers and employer and will affect the workplace and company performance.

© Robert A. Buckmaster 2022