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今回はThe University TimesのVol.32で掲載された、「Writing Task 2」に関しての【Tips for IELTS】です。
Whether you are taking the Academic or General Training modules for the IELTS exam, Part 2 of the written exam requires you to produce a response to an opinion, argument or problem within a recommended time of 40mins and in a minimum of 250 words.
In this article we will look at a few different areas to think about when preparing to answer Part 2 questions and some things to avoid.
There are a number different question types you can come across in the IELTS exam. A common issue can be that the response to the question does not completely fulfil the main requirements of the task. Knowing how to answer them correctly can make the difference between attaining a higher-level band score over a mid-level one.
Let’s look at some of question types in Part 2. Consider these two questions:
Q: For which of the question types do you need to discuss both sides of the topic?
Q: For which can you discuss one side of an argument more than another?
A common problem with questions like 2 and 3 is that examinees may not fully cover BOTH sides. For these questions is it important to examine them equally, with well-developed and supported counter-arguments.
Questions 1 and 4, however, offer you a little more freedom in how you answer. How much you write about one side of an issue depends on how strongly you feel about it. If you totally disagree with the statement given in the question, you can spend your 250 words countering this idea with your own (again, well-rounded and supported) arguments.
You may also be faced with a combination of the two: discuss both issues and give your opinion. Remember to follow the rubric and complete all the parts of the question.
There are a huge number of topics available in IELTS and they will be presented to you in different ways. Reading through and understanding the key point of the rubric can be difficult when under pressure in the exam. A good habit to get into is to highlight the main points in the rubric and attempt to summarize them into a more basic question.
Find the main points in this question and see if you can summarize them (try to use different words as you do so).
As the number of people using smartphones and social networking sites has increased, traditional ways of communicating (e.g. letters, phone calls, fax etc.) are dying out.
To what extent do you think this is true?
Why do you think some people don’t use tools such as social network sites or smartphones?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
A suggested summary could be: “Do you think as more people use modern communication technology that old forms are becoming obsolete? Why do some people refuse to embrace them?”
Thinking about summarizing a question not only helps you clarify the main points for yourself, but can also offer you a good opening paragraph/sentence for your essay which does not copy the rubric but paraphrases it. For example, the above summary could be re-worded into the following opening paragraph:
“In recent years social networks have overtaken older forms of communication. Sadly, I think that these methods of interaction have definitely begun to render our previous methods of communicating obsolete, although some people still continue to use them.”
Although the recommended time limit of 40 minutes for answering a Task 2 question seems very short, you can benefit from giving yourself at least a few minutes planning time. What are your main ideas and how are you going to support them?
This is very useful in helping you to stay “on topic”. It is very tempting for examinees to launch into an essay which tells the examiner everything they know about technology and nothing about how they can answer the question. Do not talk in general terms – complete the task you have been given. If you fail to do this, your band score for completing the task will likely not be to the standard you require.
Clarity in your essay is extremely important and is reliant upon a few areas.
Firstly, remember to use paragraphs. Your main argument should be outlined and supported clearly. The easiest way to do this is to place each of your main points and its supporting evidence/argument within one paragraph. A stream-of-consciousness essay is not only difficult to read, but cannot be awarded a higher-level band score.
Next, link your ideas together. It’s acceptable to use things such as “first, then, next, finally” in Task 1, but Task 2 responses require more sophistication. You have achieve this through referencing, substituation and developing your skills with more complex linking devices. This really demonstrates your ability to use a larger vocabulary to link your ideas together smoothly. Ideally, the less the reader notices your efforts to link things together, the better.
Last but not least, have a structure: introduction, main body (2-3 paragraphs is good) and conclusion. Indicate in your introduction where you intend to go, and then go there.
With worries about incorrect grammar and choosing the wrong word, some examinees might choose to play things safe with simple vocabulary and sentence structures. Don’t! If you want to try a conditional sentence with a defining relative clause, go for it. You are showing confidence with language, even if it isn’t 100% perfect, and this can only work in your favour.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, if you feel inclined to substantiate the plenteous extent of your nomenclature (want to show off how many big words you know) in an IELTS paper, think again. Language is a tool for communication. Making yourself unreadable will not win you points, but could instead result in a crash into the lower band scores.
Be confident, be natural, be understood.
Keep these hints in mind while you prepare for the exam and when you are sitting in the exam room. Good luck!
By Laura Cooper