Writing Task 2 | Essay Organisation Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

​Many IELTS candidates fail to write a good introduction. This free class will help you to write accurate thesis statements and therefore better task 2 essays. 


What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is a sentence in the introduction which…
  • tells the reader your opinion about the subject of the question.
  • may also give the reader information about the organization of the essay.
  • is the final sentence of the introduction.


Exercise 1 | Organize the introduction

​Read the task 2 question below.
Young people today learn more from the internet and television than they do from teachers.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

​Organize the sentences to make a coherent introduction. Which sentence is first and which is second? 
Sentence A
It is clear that classroom teaching is still important in educating young people as it provides a different type of education to the material that they encounter online or on the TV.

Sentence B
The youth of today are not just educated in the traditional classroom setting, but also in more modern and less conventional ways by the internet and television.

The first sentence of the introduction is
The second sentence of the introduction is

Open to see answer explanations

The youth of today are not just educated in the traditional classroom setting, but also in more modern and less conventional ways by the internet and television. It is clear that classroom teaching is still important in educating young people as it provides a different type of education to the material that they encounter online or on the TV.

  • The first sentence of the introduction paraphrases the information in the question. The words internet and television don’t have synonyms and so they are not paraphrased.
  • The thesis statement logically follows on from the introduction sentence as it provides the writers opinion about the question and topic.
  • Notice how the first sentence of the introduction is very general while the thesis statement directly answers the question. This is typical in academic writing which follows the pattern of general to specific information.


Exercise 2 | More Practice

In many countries, the tradition of eating family meals together is disappearing.

Why is this happening? What will be the effects on families and society? 

Sentence A
While people often used to spend time eating with their family in the past, in recent times this tradition has broken down. 

Sentence B
This is happening due to changes in lifestyle and culture, and, unfortunately, is unlikely to have a positive effect. 

1. The first sentence of the introduction is
2. The second sentence of the introduction is

Open to see answer explanations

While people often used to spend time eating with their family in the past, in recent times this tradition has broken down. This is happening due to changes in lifestyle and culture, and, unfortunately, is unlikely to have a positive effect. ​

  • The thesis statement suggests that the topic of the first body paragraph will be about lifestyle and cultural changes that have resulted in families not eating together. It then suggests that the second body paragraph will be about the negative effects of families not eating together.


Exercise 3 | A look in more detail

Read the following question and introduction below.
Some people believe the arts should not be taught in schools as subjects such as computer skills and accounting are more important in the modern world.

​To what extent do you agree or disagree.

The Introduction
There is often debate about the relevance of traditional arts subjects in the school curriculum when computing and business skills are so important in the world of work. However, I strongly believe that the arts are a valid part of school education as they provide students with a chance to express themselves and also because a school education is about more than preparing young people for work.

Are the following statements about the introduction true or false?

1. The first sentence of the introduction shows the writers opinion.
True
False
2. The topic of the essay is clear in the first sentence of the introduction.
True
False
3. The writer will write about all school subjects in his essay.
True
False
4. ‘However’ is used to show a contrast between the statement that the arts are not appropriate subjects any longer and the writer’s opinion that they are.
True
False
5. The first body paragraph of the essay will be about education being more than just preparing young people for the world of work.
True
False
6. The second body paragraph will be about the importance of young people being able to express themselves.
True
False

Open to see answer explanations

  1. The first sentence of the introduction tells the reader the topic of the essay.
  2. Key words and phrases such as ‘relevance’ ‘arts subjects’ and ‘computing and business skills’ are used to make the topic clear to the reader.
  3. The writer limits himself to ‘arts subjects’ and ‘computer and business skills’.
  4. ‘However’ and ‘on the other hand’ are good phrases to introduce contrasting ideas in your writing.
  5. The first idea mentioned in the thesis statement is that the arts provide students with a chance to express themselves. This will logically be the topic of the first body paragraph.
  6. The second idea mentioned in the thesis statement is that school education is about more than preparing young people for work. As this is the second idea mentioned in the thesis statement, it is logical that this will be the topic of the second body paragraph.

Now you know how to write a good thesis statement, why not try it in your writing. Choose one of the essay questions from above and write your response in no less than 250 words. If you would like some free feedback, post it in the comments section below.

Now move on to our lesson about how to write good paragraph topic sentences.

Follow our other lesson for more introduction writing practice.