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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Write a Band 9 IELTS Essay - IELTS Writing Lesson

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hi I'm oli welcome to Oxford online

English in this lesson you can learn how

to write a band 9 IELTS essay now this

video is a little bit different

obviously you can't see me I'm recording

my screen I don't have a script I'm

going to write an essay and show you

what I'm thinking about I'm going to do

this in one take so you're going to see

all the problems I have and everything

that goes wrong I'm going to leave that

all in there and I'm going to do it like

a real IELTS question with a time limit

so you can see how I do it in real time

okay so let's start we've got a question

here which I wrote maybe five minutes

ago so I haven't thought about it

haven't planned anything yet and let's

read digital communication technology

such as email instant messaging and

social media has improved communication

and connections between people to what

extent do you agree or disagree with

this opinion then give reasons and all

this stuff this is in every IELTS

question so the first thing you need to

do is analyze the question there are two

things to think about here one is to

make sure that you understand everything

precisely you understand exactly what

the task is asking you to do the second

point is to identify how many things you

need to do to answer this question so

digital communication technology what

does that mean well luckily the question

gives examples for us email instant

messaging social media now of course you

can talk about other things you're not

limited to these examples but since the

question gives us examples we don't need

to think about that more right now okay

has improved communication what does

that mean exactly how can communication

be better or worse

so digital communication technology has

improved connections between people

again questions you should be thinking

about now what does this mean exactly

and very importantly is this the same as

communication or is it something

different then okay to what extent do

you agree or disagree with this opinion

there's one opinion here one idea

although it's quite a complex idea but

it's still one idea that means we need

to do one thing in this essay explain to

what extent we agree or disagree let's

make a plan I'm going to start my plan

from the conclusion this is important in

an IELTS essay and I recommend you do

this because everything in your essay

should be leading towards your

conclusion and that means you need to

know what your conclusion is going to be

before you start writing now my

conclusion is going to be that

technology has undoubtedly improved

communication but not connections so I'm

going to split these two ideas and I'm

going to make it clear that there's a

difference between communication and

connections now I'm going to plan

backwards from there so the next

question is how many body paragraphs are

we going to have now I think because

we're talking about two different ideas

these two I think it makes sense to have

two body paragraphs now not every IELTS

essay needs two body paragraphs you can

write essays with different numbers of

paragraphs but in this case it makes

sense to have two so in the second body

paragraph I'm going to talk about how

I'm going to talk about connection and

in the first body paragraph I'm going to

talk about communicate

now obviously that's that gives me my

main ideas but I need to develop these a

little bit so so I'm going to say this

in body paragraph one technology has

improved communication and I'll use

examples like for example let's see

things like instant messaging email I'll

talk about things like Skype and these

are all fast free or almost free and

convenient so that gives me some

examples and some supporting ideas in

body paragraph number two I'm going to

say that better communication doesn't

equal better connection and I'm going to

talk about I'm going to talk about how

digital communication can't replace

face-to-face communication I'm going to

talk about nonverbal communication like

body language facial expressions and

things like that and I'm going to say

that human connection depends on

face-to-face communication okay so at

this point we should check that we

should check that all of our points are

relevant and connected so in the first

paragraph you get rid of this I'm

talking about improved communication

that's pretty directly relevant

that's good then in the second paragraph

I'm talking about better connection

connections between people so again

that's directly connected to the

question then here in this sentence I'm

connecting those two ideas okay it's not

really a sentence but you know in this

idea I'm connecting communication and

connection and that brings me to my

conclusion where again and bringing the

two ideas together again I'm still

talking about technology and I'm

connecting these ideas together to

answer the question now this is really

important and it's something that many

IELTS students really struggle with your

everything in your essay needs to be

connected to everything else if you want

to get a high score and by high score I

mean seven or more so that starts when

you plan you need to make sure that you

know what your conclusion is you know

that your conclusion is relevant to the

question and then you need to plan your

body paragraphs with your conclusion in

mind everything needs to be connected

everything in your body paragraphs needs

to be leading towards your conclusion so

let's start writing so I might go quiet

here because I find it difficult to talk

and think and write all at the same time

let's write an introduction

okay can I change that I didn't like

that I felt thought it was going to be

repetitive I need to make sure that I

think distract myself talking and make

mistakes um okay that's good it's a good

first sentence

okay I'm going to change that I don't

really like it

okay I'm sort of struggling to finish

this sentence a little bit I'm gonna say

this oh yeah one thing I meant to say if

you don't want to watch me kind of

jumping around in the document you can

watch this video on our website if you're on

youtube you can find a link underneath

the video and on the webpage you can see

the full essay so you can read it as I'm

talking and you don't have to watch me

you know jumping around if you don't

want to okay so that's a decent

introduction I think something to notice

I'm gonna get rid of these highlights so

okay the first sentence I'm signaling

what I'm going to talk about in my first

body paragraph yeah then in my sir in my

second sentence I mean kind of reframing

the question and I'm drawing this line

between communication and connections

and I'm showing that I think these are

two different things and then I make a

very clear statement which connects

directly to my conclusion you can see

this in my plan my conclusion is that

technology has improved communication

but it hasn't improved connections

between people and I'm signaling this

very clearly in my introduction

that means the examiner or whoever's

reading my essay knows exactly where I'm

going to go and that's also very

important for your IELTS essay somebody

who reads your introduction should know

where you want to go and what you're

trying to do with this essay okay

so body paragraph number one let me give

myself some space right

all right so that's my topic sentence

that's introducing the main point of my

paragraph and now I need to add

supporting ideas and examples so

okay so I'm not sure I'm going to leave

it like this I'm just going to do a

quick time check okay 25 minutes left I

might change this but I think that's

pretty pretty good so things to check

first of all is to check that your

paragraph fits your plan so my plan says

technology has improved communication

and I'm saying that communication is

easier cheaper and more convenient so

that's that's good that works mmm I give

examples like instant messaging email or

VoIP like Skype then I give an example

by comparing the present to the past I

talk about how in the past it was

difficult and expensive but now I can

reach anybody all over the world through

using my phone so I think I think that

covers what we what we need it to cover

right so now I need to move to the

second body paragraph obviously the

second body paragraph is going in a

different direction I need to draw this

line between communication and

connection and show that communication

and connection are different things so I

need to signal that clearly let's think

how I can do that now I did that in my

introduction I was going to ask a


starting with however but I already did

that here so I need to make sure that I

don't repeat myself

okay and so that's my topic sentence

then now I need to support that and I go

back to my plan actually I'm going to

copy my plan and I'm going to bring it

down here so you can see that right so

okay so I need to finish this I need

that kind of finishing sentence here

okay and I think I think that's okay so

let's have a look first we've got this

which is linking this paragraph to the

first paragraph I'm referring back to

the ideas I talked about in the first

body paragraph and with the word while

I'm signaling that I'm going to go in a

different direction while is used to

show contrasts or yeah contrasts so that

makes it clear that which direction I'm

going to go in this paragraph then this

is really my topic sentence here this is

the main point of my paragraph it's not

now I think I should change this word

because in the task

it says uses the word improved and here

I say changed and that's a slightly

different meaning and you need to be

careful of things like this because you

might use a word and you think okay

that's that's fine that's very similar

in meaning but words which are similar

in meaning are not the same and to get a

high score in your Al's essay you need

to be very precise I it's not

significantly now can I use improved mmm

let me think

now you see I think like that because I

used it used it already here and I think

I used it already before so let's keep

it simple meaning meaning go anything

alright okay I think that's better so

that's my topic sentence that's now

closer to my meaning in my plan and it's

closer to the idea that I'm working

towards a made conclusion then I'm

giving a reason digital communication

can never replace face-to-face

communication so this explains why

technology has not improved connections

and relationships then I explained this

idea I say why can why can digital

communication not replace face-to-face

communication because communication is

nonverbal then I give examples of

nonverbal communication and I go on to

explain how that nonverbal communication

is lost in if you're using some kind of

digital technology to communicate then

the final sentence is kind of leading to

my conclusion I'm again I'm bringing

back the I'm connecting the two ideas of

communication and connection which sets

up my conclusion I think so now I need

to write the conclusion then I get rid

of this let's do a time check

fifteen minutes okay that's looking good

let's do a word count check I have 223

words so far so again that's looking

pretty good you you want to aim to write

maybe around 270 280 that's a good

length so if my conclusion is 50 or 60

words I'll be around I'll be in that


so my conclusion let's see no it's the

thing with your conclusion is you have

to be very careful not to just repeat

yourself obviously your conclusion is

connected to all the ideas which you've

talked about in your essay but it should

not just be a repetition and that's easy

to say but it can be hard to do so I'm

gonna go quiet again while I focus on


okay I'm just referring back to my plan

also I need to check back to my

introduction and just make sure that I'm

you know I'm explaining my conclusion

clearly but I'm not repeating myself so

that's what I'm doing here


okay so I think that should be good but

I'm going to check now it's always good

to keep checking back it is so easy to

go off-topic and in an IELTS essay your

else I say although you might think it's

a lot to write in 40 minutes it's it's

quite short you don't have very many

words you don't have very many sentences

and that means you need to make sure

every sentence counts every sentence

needs to be relevant and focused and

it's so easy to just get a little bit

distracted or to go a little bit off

topic or maybe you generalize a little

bit too much and your point becomes less

relevant or less focus so I'm just going

to check this here so here I'm looking

at key ideas from the tasks we've got

digital technology we're talking about

communication talking about it's a

positive thing which that's what we know

that's relevant because the question is

asking about improving communications

that also we also hit that here being

able to keep in touch that's relevant

that's about communication it's a great

advantage that shows that something

positive it's something improved then

we're talking about connecting forming

relationships again that relates back

directly to the task okay has not

changed does not change

so the task is asking about whether

technology has improved connections

between people I'm saying it has it

hasn't changed

connections and how people form

relationships and yeah that is relevant

because if if it hasn't changed then it

hasn't improved so that's also answering

the question pretty directly then here

okay we've got we need face to face

contact to form meaningful connections

with others and current technology is no

substitute for that now this is quite

important it's probably the most

important sentence in the whole essay

let's see why that is first of all this

is answering the question your last

sentence should be your your final

answer and it should be something clear

to get high scores for your IELTS essay

you need to present a clear conclusion

it's very difficult to do that if you

write something like well it depends on

the situation or there are advantages

and disadvantages on both sides if you

write something like that it's not a

clear conclusion and it's very difficult

then to get higher scores now here we

have a very firm conclusion I'm not in

the middle on this topic I'm coming down

on one side I'm saying yeah okay

technology has improved communication

but it definitely has an improved

connection it's a firm conclusion and

that makes it possible to get higher

scores especially in your task

achievement a quick time check

eight minutes okay well alright should

hurry up a little bit but basically

finished but I'm still I still have time

to check and maybe make some

improvements let's do a quick word count

check 291 words that's just about

perfect it's a good length so alright

that's good now I'm going to look

through I'm going to look for vocabulary

at this point if you have time at this

point in your IELTS exam you want to

look through look for vocabulary errors

look for things like repetition of words

look for anywhere where you can perhaps

improve your use of vocabulary replace

by replacing a maybe a more generic word

with something more specific and more

interesting you could also look for

grammar errors now I hope I haven't made

any grammar errors I'm going to defend

myself preemptively if I have if I have

made any grammar errors it's almost

certainly because I got distracted by

talking while I was typing but okay

let's have a look um all right so I'm

gonna highlight vocabulary which the

examiner would notice and think okay

this person is you know is a strong

candidate for vocabulary and often the

IELTS students focus a little bit too

much on just words but actually getting

a higher score in vocabulary is much

more about combinations of words and

collocations and phrases it's not

necessarily about using very very

difficult vocabulary it's about taking

the vocabulary you have and using it

with precision and with versatility so

things like advances in technology for

meaningful relationships no substitute

for face-to-face communication let's

have a look at a few more voit that's a

good one at the push of a button


all communication is nonverbal it's a

good phrase subtle cues or even

something like facial expressions change

substantively now these are yeah these

are phrases that if I were marking your

essay I would notice and I would say

okay well these this person is should be

considered for a higher vocabulary score

these are the things that can the kind

of things that can push you into band

eight or bands nine for vocabulary and

there are a few more but I just

highlighted a few examples now the last

thing I'm going to do is just check that

I haven't overused any words so I'm

going to look for keywords from the

topic things like technology

communication interaction let's just

check I'm just going to highlight all of

these obviously if you were in your exam

you could maybe underline words or maybe

put a little star or a little mark next

to them with your pen and mark them in

that way and it's just an easy way to

way to see if you're overusing any

particular words now this isn't looking

too bad so far I say that but then seems

like there's a lot of communication in

this paragraph yeah that's that's

looking a little bit repetitive so I

should do something about that and oh

there's another one I missed one

then I'm gonna keep going

next again okay

so I think it's not too bad now again

I'll student so fines tend to worry a

little bit too much about repetition and

often I see essays which are full of

incorrect synonym usage because the

student is trying to avoid repeating

themselves and I mean repetition can be

a problem but it's much more important

to use a word precisely and accurately

and sometimes some repetition is

inevitable like in this topic we're

talking about communication so although

I do need to do something about this

paragraph it's natural that you're going

to use the word communicate or

communication you're going to use those

words several times because that's what

you're talking about and sometimes

that's the only word that fits all right

let's see so I'm gonna change a few of

these to try and minimize this

repetition okay so instead of using the

word communiques digital communication

I'm just going to list all the things

which are included in digital

communication that solves that problem

face to face now I know I've used the

word contact a few other times but I

think I don't think I've used it that

much so I'm going to change that to

contact and that fits there

now the others I think I need to leave

because here communication is nonverbal

I need the word communication to go with

the word nonverbal those have to go

together in the topic sentence I want to

use the word communicate because it's a

key word it's a key idea in the topic so

I want to address that directly and here

again this is kind of a conclusion to

the paragraph and again I want to use

the word communication so I think that's

ok let's see the other word I was just

thinking about is the word meaningful

highlight is purple I just want to make

sure I haven't overused this because I

felt like maybe I was using it a little

bit too much but no I think that's I

care can only see two that looks ok

alright so at this point I think I've

got what how much time 30 seconds so I'm

more or less done now I think that would

be this would be a strong essay it would

yeah would get would get the top score

undoubtedly and let's just review the

key points so the most important thing I

would say and the number one thing you

need to do if you're aiming for a higher

IELTS score is you need to up there ago

amount of time no more changes you need

to plan and you need to plan your

conclusion first you need to know where

your compare your essay is going and

then you need to plan your essay so that

everything is connected it's not enough

if you're aiming for high schools it's

not enough for your ideas just to be

relevant they also need to be connected

to each other everything needs to be

connected I know yeah I'm

meeting myself there but that's the most

important point another thing and

something I've I kind of noticed while I

was doing this is that it's really

important to just check back as you're

writing keep checking back to the task

keep checking back to your plan do

things like okay in this video I've been

highlighting words to show you which of

course you can't do in your in your

IELTS exam but you know what you can you

can underline things you can underline

things on your in your essay and in your

plan and in the question and in that way

that's already underlined okay in that

way you can just check that you're

staying on topic and just you know make

sure that you don't start going in a

different direction that's one thing I

noticed then yeah I mean also I guess

the last point is just to lust really

important point is make sure you reach a

strong conclusion again this is

essential for higher IELTS scores you

can't get high IELTS scores with uh well

it depends there's good and bad here

kind of answer it it doesn't work you

need a strong conclusion you need to

have an opinion and the examiner needs

to understand what that opinion is and

yeah you can see this as we talked about

at the end here okay so let's finish

there like I said you can see the full

essay and you can read it on our website there's a link

underneath the video that's all thanks

for watching and I'll see you next time

The Description of How to Write a Band 9 IELTS Essay - IELTS Writing Lesson