How To Write A Clear Essay

In this post, we will look at how you can make your writing task 2 essay clear for the examiner. Having a clear and easy to understand essay improves your score in coherence and cohesion. Creating a clear essay may sound like a simple thing to do, but many students often try too hard and end up with an essay that is confusing and difficult to follow. This obviously lowers your score if the examiner cannot understand what it is you are trying to say in your writing.


How To Write A Clear Essay

Here are 5 tips on how to write a clear essay >

1. Understand the Question 

Read the question and understand it, look at the keywords and what it is asking you to do. What are the main issues and the sub-issues? Can you tell if it is an agree/disagree essay? What type of essay is it? These are all questions you should be able to answer from understanding the question. If you do not understand the question properly, you could present irrelevant information in your essay, which can lead to a confusing essay and lower marks. 

Learn how to understand any type of Writing Task 2 question here.

2. Think Of Specific Ideas

When you are thinking of ideas for your essay, make sure they are specific. Don't write generally about the topic or try to stuff as many ideas as possible into the main body paragraphs. The main body paragraphs should each contain one main idea. If you present more than this, the paragraphs will become confusing for the examiner. The paragraphs should follow a certain structure, to ensure you gain marks for coherence and cohesion. If you have many ideas, you will not have time to explain them all and support them with examples. By choosing one main specific idea, explaining it, giving details and supporting with an example, this will make the information clear and easy to understand. 

Learn how to plan your ideas here.

3. Give A Clear Opinion

If the essay question asks you to give your opinion, then make sure you give it clearly in the writing. There are many ways to introduce your opinion, including using 'in my opinion, I believe that' or 'In my view'. If you don't give a clear opinion or state your position on the subject, then you can lose marks.

Learn how to give a clear opinion here.

4. Essay Structure

By reviewing and practising the essay structures for the various question types, you will be able to demonstrate to the examiner that you can structure an IELTS writing task 2 essay successfully. The marking criteria - coherence and cohesion for a band score 7 states 'logically organise information and ideas, there is clear progression throughout, uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under/overuse, presents a clear central topic within each paragraph', and for a band score 8 'sequences information and ideas logically, manages all aspects of cohesion well, uses paragraphing sufficiently and appropriately'. If you can organise your essay into clear easy to follow paragraphs, with cohesive devices and logical order, then you will be on your way to gaining a high band score

Take a look at the structures needed for each type of Writing Task 2 essay here.

5. Vocabulary

The vocabulary you use in your essay also has a huge impact on how easy it is to read through and understand. When students try too hard, putting in high-level words they don't really know the meaning of and trying to fit in as many complex structures as possible, this makes an essay very difficult for the examiner to read and follow. When you read your essay over after you have finished, does it make sense to you? Can you clearly understand each part? It is very important that your essay clearly communicates your message in relation to the question. If you have many grammatical errors this can also make the essay hard to understand. 

Learn how to use synonymscohesive devices and complex sentences.



Bad Example

Here is an example of an essay that is not very clear due to grammatical errors, structure and vocabulary (this essay is a band score 5). 

  • Can you list the errors?
  • How could you improve this essay?

Good Example

Here is the re-written essay, can you see the difference? Is it easier to understand? This essay follows the following elements for a successful high scoring essay (this essay is a band score 8) >

  • Answers the question
  • Uses paraphrasing and synonyms
  • Follows the cause/effect essay structure
  • Uses logical paragraphing
  • Includes relevant ideas
  • Includes specific examples
  • Uses cohesive devices
  • Uses complex sentences
  • Has a wide variety of vocabulary
  • No grammatical errors

Drug usage is very common in the present-day population as many adolescents are using these legal and illegal products, beginning in their childhood years. Some social academics think that adults are terrible role models because they are heavily influencing the behaviour of the young people around them. This essay will discuss the principal reason why this has occurred and analyze the main consequence of this worrying trend.

On the one hand, the primary cause of this issue is the stressful lives many of these young people are living in today’s society. Some may have terrible home lives, with absent parents, no stable accommodation or other traumatic events experienced on a daily basis. For many youngsters, they experiment with illegal drugs and alcohol, in order to escape from their present situations. These kinds of substances are readily available to children and teens, as they are eager to try drugs, or are pressured into it by their peers or family members. For example, an article from the New York Times in 2017 reported that in 50 state schools interviewed, over 90% of the students aged between 14-16 had experimented with a class A drug.

On the other hand, common substance abuse in adolescents can lead to one main consequence, which is health problems. Regularly using drugs, from prescription medication to hard drugs can have both short term and long terms health effects, including; heart disease, kidney or liver damage, abdominal pain and lead to a weaker immune system. Certain drugs can also cause brain damage, sometimes causing severe problems with the use of motor skills or nerves. For instance, a documentary filmed by the BBC in 2017, showed the effects of serious drug dependencies amongst teenagers aged between 16-19. One person interviewed had developed serious damage to the brain, as well as facial nerves, through the overuse of MDMA. This had left the teen with permanent facial twitching and psychosis.

In addition, teens should be taught about the serious and harmful effects of drug taking in school. The students should learn about the damaging and lasting effects of taking recreational drugs, even though they may see them as a way to unwind or escapism. The health issues relating to drugs and alcohol should be explained with case studies given as a deterrent to any young people who are thinking about experimenting. For example, as part of the curriculum in Sixth Form Colleges in the UK, students are made to watch a series of documentaries about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, in order to learn about the risks. They listen to teenagers talk about their own bad experiences and the consequences of this.

In conclusion, many teens are experimenting with common drugs from an early age, leading to heavy consequences like health issues, as they grow older. To combat this issue, more initiatives should be set forth through the school system, to create awareness of the risks involved.


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