How to Write a Great Introduction to your Task 2 Essay
Today we are going to look at how to write an introduction for our Task 2 essay.
If you haven’t, you check out the following lesson first, before doing this one:
One of the big benefits of making a great outline before we start is that it makes writing an introduction much easier.
How Do I Write a Great Introduction?
First, we need to think about the purpose of our introduction. Why do we bother? Well, the point of the introduction is to:
- Introduce our topic and give some information about it.
- State our argument really clearly, so the examiner knows what our essay will be about. This step gives us a chance to increase our Task Achievement score!
Luckily, if we spent 5-7 minutes making a great outline, then writing the introduction is much easier. (note that you should try to be finished the outline AND the introduction around the 15 minute mark into Task 2! This will leave us with 25 minutes left to finish our essays.)
A Great Introduction has Two Steps:
- Step 1: Introduce our topic and give background information about it.
- Step 2: Clearly state our argument and supporting points.
Before we talk about these two steps in more detail, let’s take a look at a great example introduction. This one uses one of the same topics we looked at in the lesson on how to make a great outline:
Being a good member of society means being responsible and having good character. For some, school education is the most important factor in shaping this character and giving young people a sense of responsibility. For others, it is parents who are ultimately the most important source of character. In my opinion, both education and parenting are important, but in the end, parents are the most important part of this process.
This is an excellent introduction. The writer starts by giving some relevant background on the topic – defining “good member of society”, and then outlining both of the views in the task.
Then, they clearly state their opinion (as asked in the task!), and they state their two supporting points (1 = that education is good, and 2 = that parenting is also good, but parenting is more important).
So let’s look at these two steps in more detail:
Introduction, Step 1: Introduce our topic and give background information about it.
The first thing we need to do is introduce the topic to the examiner. The easiest ways to do this are:
- Talk a little about the history of the issue, if it’s relevant
- Talk a little about different viewpoints on the issue, if it’s relevant
- Paraphrase the task
- Explain anything else that the reader needs to understand
The model answer above doesn’t talk about history (it’s not really important to the task), but it does discuss the different viewpoints, and it explains the definition of “good member of society” so the examiner can understand their argument.
You will have to use your judgment here about what information to give, but here is one warning:
*CAREFUL: Don’t be clichéd, or mechanical. In other words, don’t use the same boring phrases that every other person does. This can hurt our coherence/cohesion score!
In today’s world, the issue of whether schools or parents should be the ones responsible for teaching children is a topic of much debate.
Our examiner reads lots of essays exactly like this. It’s important to try to find a unique and relevant way to handle our setup/background in the introduction, that is suited to our particular task and argument. This can help our coherence/cohesion score, as well as our lexical resources score.
Being a good member of society means being responsible and having good character. For some, school education is the most important factor in shaping this character and giving young people a sense of responsibility. For others, it is parents who are ultimately the most important source of character.
Introduction, Step 2: Clearly state our argument and supporting points.
This step is important because it helps the examiner to see that our argument is on task. It can also help our Coherence/Cohesion score when the examiner sees our two supporting points, and then later reads about them in the two support paragraphs. This will give our examiner the feeling that our essay flows together well!
Luckily, if we did a good job with our outline, then this step is really simple. We just need to state our argument along with our two supporting points, and remember to be really clear and specific.
“In my opinion, both education and parenting are important, but in the end, parents are the most important part of this process.”
The reason we do this is to show the examiner that we understood the task (Task Achievement score), and to tell the examiner about our two supporting points so they know what to expect in the rest of our essay (Coherence and Cohesion score).
-CAREFUL: don’t go into detail here about the supporting points. Just mention them briefly so the examiner knows what our support paragraphs will be about. Keep it simple!
So, to summarize, a great introduction should:
Step 1: Introduce our topic and give some background information about it.
- Make sure that it fits the task, and flows well into your topic.
- Don’t use cliché or mechanical/memorized phrases.
Step 2: Clearly state our argument and supporting points
- Be clear about stating your argument and supports, so the examiner can easily see that your argument fits the task, and flows well
- Don’t go into too much detail about your points yet. Keep it simple.
Let’s Get Some Practice!
Actually, I just want to show you two more great model answers. The following two introductions are extremely well done, and would receive very high scores on the IELTS!
It is true that in the modern world, the differences between many countries are disappearing as the lifestyles of ordinary people converge. This is largely due to access to similar products like technology and television programming. This trend has both positive and negative aspects, but overall I feel that it is a negative development.
- Notice how the setup does a good job of paraphrasing the question, while giving a few more interesting and relevant details.
- Notice how the writer is extremely clear about stating their opinion, which was asked for by the task!
Obesity is currently an epidemic in much of the developed world, especially in North America. This has a huge negative impact on life expectancy and health, and is related to lower fitness levels as well. The major causes of this are bad science regarding the nature of fat and sugar, as well as sedentary lifestyles in general. Solving these problems mainly involves better science and education.
- Notice how the setup manages to connect all aspects of the task.
- Notice how the argument mentions two major causes (bad science and sedentary lifestyles), and two major solutions (science and education). These cause/solutions will become their body paragraphs!
Speaking of body paragraphs, check out How to Write a Great Support Paragraph for information about how to make a great one!
Have a good day.