The dangers of memorised statements in IELTS essays.
Be careful of memorised sentences in your IELTS writing.
Some IELTS teachers tell students to write an outline statement after the thesis statement. In our opinion, this is not a good way to structure the introduction. Outline statements are only for academic essays that are many pages long like you would write at university (IELTS essays are short discursive essays)
Another reason why we advise our students not to write them is that they look like they have been memorised. The examiners look out for memorised statements and sentences. You could lose points on this in task response and lexical resources. Simply, you have to use your own words. The IELTS examiners are looking at how you can use language naturally and coherently.
Let’s look at a few examples
Memorised or ‘cliche’ phrases in an introduction:
- I will argue both points and present my opinion.
- This essay would like to explore the reasons for this and offer possible solutions.
- I will illustrate my view in more detail in the following essay.
- The following essay will outline more reasons why I hold this view.
- I will give reasons and argue my opinion in the following essay.
- This essay will endeavour to shed light on these issues.
Memorised phrases to start a conclusion
- The above points illustrate my opinion.
- As stated above these are the reasons for my view.
- In a nutshell, I think…
- All things considered…
- The crux of the matter is…
All in all, I think…
To reiterate my views…
Last but not least.
You get the idea, just avoid these in an IELTS essay. It is easy for a lower Band score candidate to memorise these phrases and plug them into his/her essay. We have seen so many variations of these when we mark writing. As an alternate, it is better to do these 2 things when writing an introduction.
- Paraphrase the task question.
- Write a thesis statement (include an opinion if asked for)
After analysing the question and finding out what you exactly need to write about you can then plan your ideas and supporting points (take 10 minutes to do this). Only after planning should you go into paraphrasing the task question in the introduction, then write a thesis statement which includes your opinion.
Word count for introductions
An ideal introduction should be kept under 60 words. Why? because it could just end up looking like a body paragraph and you just do not have time to write a really long introduction. It is the same with conclusions, keep them concise (short and to the point).
The key is to use the body paragraphs to go into detail and explain your main points with examples.
Here is an example of a memorised outline statement:
The impact that the growing demand for more flights has had on the environment is a major concern for many countries. Some people think that one way to limit the number of people travelling by air is to increase tax on flights. To what extent do you think this could solve the problem?
It is argued that the increased in air traffic has a major impact on the environment. Some hold the view that increasing tax on air travellers can solve this problem. In this essay I will substantiate my views with relevant examples.
The text in red is the kind of thing that examiners will see as memorised. These types of sentences should be avoided.
This introduction below would be better:
The increasing need for air travel has had a negative effect on the environment, which is a cause for concern worldwide. Some people believe that taxing flights would limit passenger numbers. I completely disagree because I believe the airline industry should instead focus on developing greener technology to reduce any negative impact on the environment.
The sentence in green is the thesis statement and contains a reason for the opinion.