Well, we all know that in an essay, whether IELTS or non-IELTS there are 3 main parts viz. introduction, body (discussion), and conclusion. The biggest challenge for any IELTS candidate is to determine how much to write in each section so he/she completes the essay on time and gets a decent band.
It is an extremely crucial matter to have an idea of how much to write for each section. Writing too much, say 300+ words will not only run you out of time but there is a high probability that you will make more mistakes with no time left for proofreading and final checks. It is better to set an aim (for word count) while writing an essay.
Almost every student and teacher will agree that writing between 260-280 is the most realistic word count instead of writing 350 words. So, here I am going to present a suggested outline of task 2. You are advised to follow the structure while writing essays. In this way, you will certainly complete your essay in 30-35 minutes, leaving you with sufficient time to correct most of the spelling and grammatical errors.
2 Body Paragraphs Approach
This is the most popular approach and suitable for essay types where one or two parts have to be discussed. For example, simple agree or disagree essays or to problems and solutions essays this approach is recommended. Nevertheless, you can use this approach for any type of essay. Following is the suggested word count distribution for each section. Please note that, this word count suggestion does not come from any official guideline but from my personal experience. You are at liberty to write lesser or more than what I have suggested.
Introduction (40-55 Words)
In the introduction part, you have to paraphrase the question statement or opinion. Ideally, you will write 15-25 words here.
Next sentence can be your thesis statement or your opinion or scope of essay i.e. what the essay will discuss in the essay. Here also, you will write around 25-30 words.
Hence, you will write around 40-55 words for the introduction. (Remember it is not the rule of thumb, but a matter of experience).
Body Paragraphs (170-180 words)
Body paragraphs are your main arguments with supporting justification, evidence and examples. Most teachers suggest writing at least 5 sentences here. Based on how complex (grammatically, not complex to understand) your sentences are you can easily write 70-90 words for each paragraph. Let’s assume both paragraphs account for a maximum of 180 words.
Conclusion (30-40 Words)
Conclusion part essentially should be smaller or equal to the introduction. Don’t ever write more than the introduction part. Essentially, you should conclude your essay in 1 or 2 sentences. Here you can write 30-40 words.
Following the above structure, you will complete your essay on time with 250-275 words. Ignore the sum total of minimum words counts that is 240 words. In the actual writing, you will always write few words more or less. But it is for an idea for those who say time is a big barrier for them.
3 Paragraphs Approach
Some essay types require us to discuss more than 2 aspects of the topic. For example, in discuss and opinion essay, we have to discuss two sides of the topic. Apart from that, it is a good idea to a neutral part on the given topic. Further, the official website of IELTS suggests having a separate paragraph for each element to be addressed in your essay. For example, for discuss both views and give opinion type, they suggest as:
- Body paragraph 1 for the first view or primary view
- Body paragraph 2 for the second view or alternative view
- Body paragraph 3 for your opinion
The overall idea is the same for the introduction and conclusion part of this type of essay. The only suggestion for body sections is that keep the first two body paraphrases bigger than the third body paragraph. A recommended structure would be:
- 70 words for the first body paragraph
- 70 words for the second body paragraph
- 40-50 words for the third body paragraph
Please try to write at least 5 essays following my guidelines. Let me know if it helps to manage your time. Of course, you can disregard this methodology if you don’t feel any improvement.