Making predictions in IELTS

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NOTE: This lesson is aimed at IELTS writing, but can also be useful for the speaking test.

Making predictions in IELTSExpressing predictions is a useful IELTS skill. Not only does it apply to writing a conclusion, but there is also the possibility of having an essay title that asks you to predict. Verbs, adjectives and adverbs can all be used when writing a prediction.

Here’s a handy guide to help:

Verbs of prediction

  • Many people think/do not think …
  • This can be anticipated to…
  • This will…
  • Many people strongly suspect this will…
  • It is commonly believed …
  • From a personal opinion/view …
  • Some people hold that this will…

Adjectives of prediction

  • It is probable that…
  • It is likely that…
  • It is possible that…
  • It is unlikely that…
  • It is doubtful that…

Adverbs of prediction

  • This will undoubtedly lead to…
  • This will certainly lead to…
  • This will definitely lead to…
  • This will probably lead to…
  • This will possibly lead to…
  • This would lead to…
  • This would possibly lead to…
  • This might lead to…

Be careful when using the stronger degrees of certainty (e.g. will undoubtedly) – if you are only presenting an opinion that others are likely to disagree with, then it could be considered too dogmatic (an opinion presented as a fact).

Supporting your predictions

Predictions are just like any other opinion in a Task 2 essay. After you have stated them, you should justify and support them.
For example (the section in bold is the support):

It is likely that newspapers will become less popular, largely because of the dominance of the internet and the availability of many news websites.

Practice writing about predictions

Can you extend these prompts into complete sentences using the language in the table above, and then adding your own support? An example has been done for each prompt.

1. Journalists / more interested in the social lives of famous people

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It is highly likely that journalists will become increasingly interested in reporting the social lives of famous people,  as there seems to be a popular demand for such news that has increased in recent years as can be seen by the exposure given to the Kardashian family.

2. Tabloid newspapers / become more widely read than serious newspapers

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Fewer people are reading serious newspapers these days, which will certainly lead to tabloid newspapers being read more than serious newspapers. This is arguably the result of a reduced focus on being informed rather than entertained.

3. Newspapers / become interactive / within ten years

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Many people anticipate newspapers becoming more interactive within the next ten years, as can already be seen by the number of apps available to read newspaper content online using tablets and smartphones.

4. Majority of candidates / get / 8.5 / IELTS test

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It is doubtful that the majority of candidates will get 8.5 in their IELTS tests, as this is almost the highest possible score and higher than is required by most universities or immigration departments.

Complete IELTS Task 2 essay requiring predictions

As mentioned at the beginning of this page, there is a chance that you will be required to focus on predictions for the majority of your essay. Take a look at the essay title below and see if you could write a good essay.

The task should take about 40 minutes.

As we move into the digital age, books and newspapers are becoming less important. Within the next 20 years, computers will have entirely replaced any other such form of media.

To what extent do you agree with the above?

Write a minimum of 250 words.

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