On this page, we will look at how to write an introduction for a Task 2 IELTS essay. Writing a good introduction to your essay is essential for a good result because it is the first part of your writing that the examiner will see (the same examiner does not assess your Task 1 and Task 2 writing). Because the examiner does not have to explain why they gave you the grade they did, writing assessment is quite quick so having a good first impression is very important!
The 3 parts of an introduction for a Task 2 IELTS essay
There are three main parts that need to be included in your introduction.
Show you understand the question. First, you need to show the examiner that you have a clear understanding of the topic and task you are writing about. This can be done in one or two sentence, and is basically a summary of what the question is (but using different vocabulary).
Show balance where possible. This is a tricky step, best illustrated with an example. If you are writing about the advantages and disadvantages of free university education, for example, you need to introduce both sides of the argument. ‘Although some people may be believe that tertiary study should be freely available, there are perhaps stronger reasons to argue that fees should still be paid.’ – here the writer has balanced their point by saying there are two different points of view, and has shown the examiner which opinion they are going to support.
Give an indication of what you are going to write about. Will your essay agree with the topic? Will you start by talking about advantages? By showing the examiner that you have a clear structure that you are going to follow, your essay appears more organised and planned, and therefore will get a better result.
Points to avoid when writing an introduction to your Task 2 essay:
Using words from the title – bad idea
You need to find parallel expressions so you can paraphrase the question rather than copying. For example, ‘university education’ could be changed to ‘tertiary learning’. Making sure you use your own vocabulary is essential throughout the essay, but especially in the introduction.
Giving a brief history of the topic – bad idea
You only have 250 words and 40 minutes to present your ideas, and giving a history of the topic is not what the task asks you to do. Focus only on the 3 points we discussed at the beginning of this page.
Writing over 65 words – bad idea
On average, a good introduction is between thirty and forty words. If you write much more than that, then you will not have enough time or words to complete your main paragraphs.
Using introductory phrases like ‘In modern society’ and ‘Nowadays’ – bad idea.
These words have been so overused that native speakers rarely use them in academic writing.
Some examples of good and bad introductions for a Task 2 essay
Task 2 title: Advertising can be seen in all forms of media. Does advertising have more advantages or disadvantages?
Introduction: The use of advertisements can have a negative impact on society in a number of ways, but there are perhaps more reasons to support their usage as will be outlined below.
|Show you understand the question||The writer has referenced that advertising has both a negative impact (disadvantages) but also that there are ‘reasons to support their usage’ (advantages)|
|Show balance where possible||The writer has stated both the potential negatives and the fact there are reasons to think of advertising as positive.|
|Give an indication of what you are going to write about||The write has stated that ‘there are perhaps more reasons to support their usage as will be outlined below‘, so the examiner knows your essay will support the advantages of advertising.|
|Avoid using words from the title||Although the write has used the root word, they have changed the word family (from ‘advertising’ to ‘advertisements’. ‘Advantages and disadvantages’ has been changed to ‘negative impact’ and ‘to support their usage’|
|Avoid giving a brief history of the topic||No unnecessary detail has been added|
|Avoid writing over 65 words – bad idea||At 31 words, this is a good length.|
|Avoid using overused phrases like ‘In modern society’ and ‘Nowadays’||No overused phrases have been used|