As a college student, I majored in journalism. That means I have a lot of experience in all types of writing. In order to major in a communications-related field, students must take a rigorous schedule of English courses, which means a whole lot of essay writing.
I quickly adapted a method of essay writing, which I believe simplifies and streamlines the process.
What’s the trick? Instead of sitting down and writing an essay, from start to finish, as many students do, it’s much easy (and way less time consuming) to do all of your research beforehand, placing each item into a basic outline.
From there, the outline contains all of the information you need to create your essay and, the essay essentially writes itself.
The only work left will be filler writing to explain your thought processes.
Here’s how you can format your essay outline (Note: the example below has three paragraphs, but additional paragraphs can be added as necessary.):
I. Introduction paragraph:
a. What you’d like to discuss within your introduction paragraph
b. Quotes or references, if any
II. Thesis statement: What’s the main point of your essay? Decide what you want to convey in your essay and put it into words. Your entire essay will revolve around this point, so make sure you’re clear and concise in your phrasing. (This is usually placed near the end of your introduction paragraph.)
III. First paragraph topic that supports your thesis
a. List supporting quotes/references: Find quotes from reputable sources that support what you’ve stated within your thesis and that relate to your first paragraph topic.
IV. Second paragraph topic that supports your thesis
a. List supporting quotes/references: Find quotes from reputable sources that support what you’ve stated within your thesis and that relate to your second paragraph topic.
V. Third paragraph topic that supports your thesis
a. List supporting quotes/references: Find quotes from reputable sources that support what you’ve stated within your thesis and that relate to your third paragraph topic.
VI. Conclusion paragraph: Note what you’d like to say within your conclusion paragraph. Your conclusion paragraph should detail how you are going to unite the topics from your aforementioned topics and weave them together into one solid point. Students commonly mistake a conclusion paragraph as a summary paragraph when, in fact, it’s really an opportunity to drive home your argument. Your conclusion should round out your essay and unite your paragraphs together, solidifying your thesis.
a. Additional quotes or references, if any
VII. List all citations: As you find each quote or reference to include within your essay, make sure to cite each reference, so you won’t have to scramble at the end to go back to your sources to see where you found each quotation. List each citation on your outline so it’s already finished before you even complete your essay. That way, it’s one less thing to worry about.
By following this outline format, the work of your essay is already clearly mapped out ahead of time. You already know what you want to say and how you’re going to say it and you have all of the support to back up each theory.
This method takes the stress out of essay writing because it eliminates guesswork; struggling for the right idea or argument and helps you ensure your thesis is strong. If you’re not able to easily fill out the outline, your thesis isn’t strong or clear enough and your essay topic will likely not be a winner as a result.
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Free Sample IELTS Essays
The following sample IELTS essays will give you an idea of how to develop your essay topic into a well-structured, full-length essay. All the essays below will help you; however, the first free sample essay “Computers and Children”, will help you in a special way as it provides two responses to the same essay – one which is good and the other which is great. Read through them to discover the difference and to learn how your essay can go from good to great.
A top-scoring essay has a variety of clear characteristics which distinguish it from a mediocre essay. Here are a few of them:
- Upgraded, advanced vocabulary, instead of commonly-used words & expressions
- Varied sentence structure, instead of only short, simple sentences
- Complex grammatical structures, instead of very basic ones
- Dynamic style, instead of lack of style
- Examples, details and transition words, instead of empty repetition
Please check our list of free IELTS Essay topics and write as many essays as you can. The more practice you get, and the more familiar you become with the type of topics given, the better you will do on the exam. You can also check out this "Ultimate Guide to Essay Writing" from ThePensters for more useful tips.
Even if you think you are a poor writer today, you can learn how to take your simple essay and transform it into something much more effective. Adding some of the winning elements from the sample essays below will give you the extra marks you need to become a high-scorer on the IELTS.
SAMPLE IELTS ESSAYS