You have 40 minutes for this test, and it is recommended that you split the piece of writing into four sections:
- Supporting Paragraph 1
- Supporting Paragraph 2
As a rough estimate, spend approximately 10 minutes on each paragraph. Although, I would recommend spending more like 12-13 minutes on each of the supporting paragraphs to ensure you have the time to develop your ideas properly.
Now, in the previous article on advice for approaching task 2 of the writing test, I mentioned the importance of planning carefully. This doesn’t need to be a long, laborious task. I highly recommend that you at least consider the two points you want to make in the middle supporting paragraphs.
Otherwise, you are likely to write an essay with no direction that ends up going off subject and DOESN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION!
All you need to do for your plan is to quickly jot down the numbers 1-4 (representing each of the four paragraphs) and make some quick notes. This can be written down on the question paper as the examiner won’t mark it.
For example, if the essay question was:
Computers are being used more in education today. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this?
I would make the following plan:
- Point 1: students already spend enough time online
- Point 2: students won’t know what’s safe/true on the internet
- Solution: More use of books?
Writing the Introduction
The introduction is the place for you to introduce the topic of the essay and to state your view very clearly. Therefore, think about two steps when you write the introduction:
- Rewrite the question in your own words (don’t copy it directly)
- State your own opinion clearly
Recent studies have shown that teachers nowadays are using computers more often in education. I strongly disagree with this. I believe that it will harm students and their education.
*** Don’t worry about whether you agree or disagree – there is no right or wrong answer!***
Writing the Supporting Paragraphs
The two supporting paragraphs should follow the same format to ensure that you go into enough depth and give enough detail in your essay. A recommended structure is to use PEEL.
It stands for point, example, elaboration, link and is commonly used in high schools around the world to help students structure their writing well.
Follow the PEEL format like this:
Point: State your point for the paragraph very clearly, e.g.
I believe that students already spend enough of their time online during their free time.
Example: Give an example of this, e.g.
It has been found that over 60% of teenagers spend between 15 and 20 hours per week during term time using devices on evenings and weekends.
Elaboration: Go further and explain the impact of this, e.g.
The impact of this is that these teenagers are spending less time socialising with their family and friends and pursuing their hobbies and interests.
Link: Link the point you have made back to the question, e.g.
Therefore, students should not spend additional time on computers in school. Schools need to encourage students to socialise and pursue their interests instead.
Writing the Conclusion
The conclusion is there so that you can strongly restate your opinion (make sure it is the same opinion that you gave in the introduction!). However, to show off a varied vocabulary, don’t just say it in the same way you already have done in the essay. Change the wording to show off more language ability.
In conclusion, I believe the points made in this essay demonstrate how computers will impact students negatively. Students need time to develop social skills, and they also need to know that the sources of information they are using are giving them the correct information. Therefore, schools should use more books.