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How to plan and brainstorm for your IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay

Hello IELTS warriors!

In today’s article, we are going to talk about IELTS Writing Task 2. Specifically about planning and brainstorming for ideas!

Some people get excited at the thought of developing ideas and arguments, while others dread it.

So, which one are you?

No matter which category you fall into, it’s still a good idea to come prepared. So, in this article, we will share some tips and tricks to help you brainstorm ideas and plan a strong, coherent essay. If you need a deeper discussion, you can take our IELTS course here.

Why is planning important?

Let’s imagine you are going to build a house.

house illustration

Can you build it from the picture above?

Or would you need something like the picture below?

house plan details

That’s right! You need the second picture! A detailed plan will help you build a high-quality building!

You can’t just build a house with no plan and preparation!

Well, perhaps you can, but the quality would be low and the house might be shaky and even inhabitable! That would defeat the whole purpose of building a house!

So, what does this have to do with IELTS?

Just like building a house, you also need a plan to build a strong essay!

And your essay does need to be strong for you to get a high band score!

Again, you certainly can write without a plan but your writing will be directionless, have low readability, and chances are you won’t be able to get a high band score!

So what is a plan and how do I make one?

A house plan has detailed information about the dimension of each room and what and how many things are needed to build the house (e.g., how many doors, windows, etc). Your essay plan also has to have a detailed outline of what you need to write, which will let you know how many paragraphs you will need to write and you should also be able to estimate how many sentences you will write in each of your paragraphs.

So, your plan might look something like this:

Sample topic: Teenagers should do unpaid community service

Introduction → approx 60-70 words

  • Paraphrase the question
  • State opinion: agreeing that teenagers should do unpaid community service, more benefits than drawbacks

Body 1 → approx 85-90 words

  • Main idea: Doing community service will foster a sense of empathy and tolerance
  • Development: reason, example, effect

Body 2 → approx 85-90 words

  • Doing community service can prepare teenagers to enter the workforce
  • Development: reason, example, effect

Conclusion → approx 40-50 words

  • Opinion restatement
  • Final thoughts: Advice, suggestions, fears, results, etc.

If you already have this plan thought out, you don’t have to think anymore when you write the essay.

Sure, the planning might take time, but it will pay off! You will get rewarded with more time from not losing precious minutes thinking of more arguments to write and you’ll also get a clear, coherent essay with strong readability.

Now, look at these topics and try to make some plans of your own!

  1. Some people believe that modern technology, such as the internet and smartphones, creates more problems than it solves.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

  1. Some people think that it is better to educate boys and girls in separate schools. Others, however, believe that boys and girls benefit more from attending mixed schools.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion!

  1. At the present time, the population of some countries includes a relatively large number of young adults, compared with the number of older people.

Do the advantages of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?


Congratulations on making it this far!

Turns out planning isn’t so hard after all!

Remember, don’t worry if you think you spend too much time on planning. After all, it will be the basis of your essay! And if you plan well, you don’t have to do any more thinking when you write your essay!

Best of luck with your IELTS exam! :)


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Anthony McCormick

IELC Managing Director