Should You Think in the Native Language While Writing IELTS Essays?

thinking girl

Well, when it comes to speaking English or writing in English for a non-native English speaker, one thing that happens consciously or subconsciously is that our mind acts like a compiler or CPU that takes input and processes it to generate output. Many English experts motivate their students to even think in English and not waste time interpreting or translating from their native language to English.

However, I have seen that it does not necessarily work for everyone. So, here I am going to express my opinion on whether we should or should not ‘think’ in the native language.

I would say ‘yes’. We should definitely use the thinking process in our native language. This can be a precious tip while writing an IELTS essay. We all know that there is very limited time to write 250 words in the exam. Not everyone finishes their essay on time and as planned.

Everyone will agree that planning the essay structure is crucial before writing it and not everyone plans. That is where the problem starts.

How to Plan Your Essay

It is possible that you get a topic in the essay that you are not familiar with. But most of the topics are crafted in such areas that most of us can correlate. If you are a non-native English learner, my advice is to please think the matter in your mind in the native language.
It may help to correlate the topic better with day-to-day life or problems that exist in the society around you or on the global level.

When you begin to brainstorm ideas, make sure to jot down the main points at the end of your writing sheet. This will help you remember what you have already planned. After 30-35 minutes, you can refer back to the end section of the writing sheet. Once you have written your body paragraphs, you can erase the points.

How This Technique Helps

This technique can help you regardless of whether you think in English or in your native language. Storing ideas in your mind may not work for everyone, as the fear of not completing the task on time can cause you to forget everything you had planned. However, writing down the points will help you recall them, and by the time you need to erase them, you will have reached the conclusion stage. Therefore, there is no risk of omitting important points that you developed in your mind.

“It’s always better to spend the first 5 minutes on planning, regardless of the method you choose. I suggest using your native language because we are all more comfortable making decisions in our native language. However, thinking in English is not discouraged. In fact, it is encouraged.”

It is important to note that individuals who are not comfortable thinking in English should not feel compelled to do so and instead follow the strategy that has been suggested. Even if you are able to write as planned, without any grammatical errors, you can still attain a score of band 6 quite easily, provided that you have addressed all the necessary criteria. While having great ideas is certainly desirable, your language proficiency and accuracy are of greater importance.

It is strongly advised that you write at least 5 essays following this strategy and evaluate if you can control the time, flow, ideas, and grammatical accuracy. No tips, tricks, and strategies are guaranteed to work if you learn them at the last moment.


Here I combined two strategies to plan (not writing) an effective essay writing i.e. thinking in the native language and jotting down points rather than storing them in the mind. If you find these tips helpful, please let me know. If you have a question, then you can also comment here.

Leave a Reply