Brainstorming ideas is difficult for students. They often find it difficult to think of ideas, and think they don’t know what to write about.
This is normal, so don’t feel worried or anxious, as the examiner is not expecting you to know a lot about the topic. They just want you to show that you can develop some simple ideas. Using examples and reasons, and sometimes include some effects of what you are writing.
The IELTS topics should all be familiar to you.
You are usually asked to write about general issues. This includes topics such as relationships, bringing up children, education and skills, health and fitness, globalisation new technology and sometimes more topical issues such as obesity and environmental problems.
After reading the question carefully to check you understand what you are required to do. You should brainstorm all the ideas you can think of and note them done. Whatever comes into your mind, just single words.
This will prepare you to start writing a plan. Here is an example of an IELTS Writing Task 2, which is currently on the official IELTS website – www.ielts.org.
The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy. The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
On first reading, you might think it difficult and worry that you can’t think of any ideas. Perhaps you don’t know much about nuclear technology. But read it more carefully and you can see that they have already given you some positive points about nuclear technology. It has kept world peace, it can provide cheap, clean energy. These are points you can easily expand and develop, with reasons, examples and effects.
You just need to think of some disadvantages to provide a counterargument. Then you can think of some of these, such as the nuclear disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl. Or about the atomic bombs that have been used at Hiroshima, and the problems in storing nuclear waste.
Now you have begun to start thinking and feeling more confident. You might even begin to think of some other positive uses and effects of nuclear technology. Such as diagnosing health conditions, and how nuclear energy can reduce global warming. So, this is what your brainstorming might look like:
- Stopped world wars – kept the peace – deterrent
- A good form of energy – good for global warming
- Used for health – X rays, CT scanners – diagnose
- Harmful to health – cancer
- Risky – can be used for bombs
- Dangerous – nuclear disasters
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