Your Guide to Thesis Statements for All 5 Types of IELTS Essays
- October 06, 2022
- Study Tips
Getting the exact IELTS band score you need for your dream program can be challenging, especially when it comes to the writing section. However, by learning effective writing skills, you will be sure to improve and get the score that you need.
For writing task 2, one of the most important skills for a high band score is thesis statement writing.
Read the post to learn more about thesis statements or skip to the section that most interests you.
Why do I need to write a thesis statement?
According to the British Council, the rubric for IELTS Writing Task 2 is made of four sections: Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resources, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.
The second section, Coherence and Cohesion, is all about how effectively you can arrange information and connect your ideas. In short, this part assesses your essay structure.
If you want to show your teacher or test grader that you have great essay structure, learn to write a clear and strong thesis statement.
When an instructor or grader sees a good thesis statement, it signals that the essay writer knows what they are doing. It shows that the essay will be constructed of thoughtful points that are carefully connected, hopefully with transition phrases and other tools that create cohesion and readability.
In other words, a good thesis creates a good first impression.
What is a thesis statement?
An entire book could be written about the thesis statement, but it can be summarized as follows: one or two sentences that summarize the main points of the essay.
One way to think of a thesis statement is as a kind of preview or summary. Consider the last time you discovered a new show on Netflix or another streaming service.
There is probably a good chance that you picked that show for a few reasons: the cover image looked cool, the trailer seemed interesting, and the summary paragraph made the show sound enticing.
A thesis statement is like that preview paragraph on Netflix. Just like Netflix tells us what a show is about, the thesis statement tells us what an essay is about.
How do I write a thesis statement?
Before we discuss thesis statement writing, let’s quickly review the basic structure of IELTS essays.
As mentioned in our last post about IELTS Writing Task 2, IELTS essays generally have four paragraphs:
- One introduction paragraph.
- Two body paragraphs.
- One conclusion paragraph.
The body paragraphs should each focus on one main point or idea. The thesis, which should be part of the intro paragraph, combines these two main points into a single sentence.
For example, if your essay is about reasons why Toronto is a great place to live, then your thesis will summarize the two main reasons like this:
Toronto is a great place to live because of job availability and endless options for leisure activities.
For the above topic, the first body paragraph will focus on job availability, and the second body paragraph will focus on leisure activities.
How can I write a thesis if I don’t know what my main points are?
The answer is that you don’t.
Contrary to popular belief, you should not write your introduction first. Instead, start with the body paragraphs, then go back and write your introduction. This allows you to figure out what your main points are before combining them into a thesis statement.
If you write your thesis statement first, then you might have to change it later if you get a better idea when you’re writing your body paragraphs.
This technique is much easier to use if you are doing a computer-based test, but if you are doing a paper-based test, you can simply leave the top 1/3rd of the page empty so that you can add your intro later.
Another option is to create a basic outline of your essay before you start writing. This way, you will have an idea of what your main points are before you start writing, and you can focus on using correct language, rather than worrying about your ideas.
Whatever technique you choose, remember that you have only 40 minutes (sometimes less if you spent a lot of time on Writing Task 1), so you better work quickly!
Can you show me an example?
Review the sample below. The highlights show how the thesis statement summarizes the main ideas from the two body paragraphs. Green shows the main idea of Body Paragraph 1, and yellow shows the main idea of Body Paragraph 2.
Question: Many people feel that cars contribute to global warming. Do you think this is true?
Introduction: Driving a car is a normal part of the day-to-day life of most people. However, in the last several years, many are considering alternative transportation options due to fears that driving contributes to global warming. It is true that using cars is a contributing factor due to CO2 emissions and overreliance on vehicles.
Body Paragraph 1: CO2 emissions have an obvious impact on climate change. It has been proven that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the earth’s atmosphere. What’s more, about 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions are from CO2, meaning that any reduction in CO2 emissions would be good for the environment.
Body Paragraph 2: Most people use vehicles more often than they need them. It is okay to use vehicles for long trips or to transport large amounts of heavy equipment or goods, but it does not make sense to drive a car to the corner store when you can work there instead. To reduce CO2 emissions, the population must use alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles and public transit.
Should my thesis statement be different for every essay type?
As discussed in our previous IELTS Writing Post, Writing Task 2 has five types of essays. Even though there are five types of essays, the method for writing a thesis statement is always the same. The thesis statement must always summarize the main points of the essay, no matter the type of essay.
Look at the chart below to notice the similarities between the thesis statements of different types of essays.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Cause & Solution
It is true that the use of cars is contributing to climate change due to CO2 emissions and overreliance on vehicles.
While some people believe that cars contribute most to climate change, others believe there are other factors.
While one advantage of driving a car is that it is convenient, the main disadvantage is that it is expensive.
Because the cause of climate change is CO2 emissions, people must stop driving cars.
To answer the first question, it is true that the government is responsible for dealing with climate change. To answer the second, they can help by creating new policies.
How do I practice?
One way to practice thesis statement writing is to find a list of IELTS Writing Task 2 questions, such as those on IELTS Liz. After you have a good list of questions, follow these four steps:
- Look at the first question on the list.
- Time yourself for two minutes.
- Write a thesis statement as fast as you can.
- After two minutes, move to the next question and repeat the process, even if you are not done.
If you follow these steps, eventually, you will become comfortable with writing thesis statements quickly, which is required for a real IELTS test.