The Importance of Paragraphs in IELTS Writing.

depositphotos_7932028-Quill-pen-and-ink-well-with-paper-scrollAs an IELTS Tutor, one of the biggest problems I see in students’/candidates’ writing is a lack of or insufficient use of paragraphs.

Paragraphs are so important in writing; good paragraphing helps the reader understand and enjoy your writing.  Good ideas are not enough to write a good essay; they need to be organised so that they make sense.

I constantly tell my students ‘New idea, new paragraph’!  Keeping one idea to one paragraph is the most basic rule of good paragraphing.  If you find yourself moving into a new idea, stop and get ready to write a new paragraph.

In a paragraph you might have several pieces of supporting evidence for the one idea; you might even have several points.  If you do have several points, however, they MUST be related to the main idea/topic of the paragraph.  If these points start to get too long though, it’s probably a good idea to give each point its own paragraph to discuss it further.  You’ve got to constantly think about your reader and if they’re going to feel like they’re ‘getting lost’ in the information.

So let’s go on to look at the structure of the following paragraph.

The IELTS test has now become the most popular test for people of a non-English-speaking background to enter university or to immigrate to an English-speaking country.  Universities in English-speaking countries respect how thorough the IELTS test is and feel that if a student achieves a good Academic IELTS Test score, this reflects their ability to study in the medium of the English language.  Governments in English-speaking countries recognise the General Training IELTS test as an excellent way of assessing the English language skills of someone applying to immigrate.  Many people have gone on to start a new life in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada after achieving a good score in General Training IELTS.  The usefulness of IELTS for education and immigration probably explains why IELTS tested over 1.2 million candidates over a 12-month period in 2008.

Topic Sentence

The topic sentence has 2 functions:

  • it generates interest so that the reader wants to read on.
  • it states the main idea of the paragraph.

The IELTS test has now become the most popular test for people of a non-English-speaking background to enter university or to immigrate to an English-speaking country.

Supporting Sentences

These sentences support the main idea stated in the topic sentence and give information and examples.

  • Universities in English-speaking countries respect how thorough the IELTS test is and feel that if a student achieves a good Academic IELTS Test score, this reflects their ability to study in the medium of the English language.

(First supporting sentence)

  • Governments in English-speaking countries recognise the General Training IELTS test as an excellent way of assessing the English language skills of someone applying to immigrate.  Many people have gone on to start a new life in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Canada after achieving a good score in General Training IELTS.

(Second supporting sentence)

Concluding Sentence

This is the last sentence of the paragraph.  Ideally, it should:

  • reflect on what you have talked about
  • restate the topic sentence
  • leave the reader with something to think about.

The usefulness of IELTS for education and immigration probably explains why IELTS tested over 1.2 million candidates over a 12-month period in 2008.

Spend some time concentrating on getting your paragraphing right.  It will certainly pay off.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

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