August 1, 2011

3 Tips for Better Coherence in IELTS Writing

Hi. A couple of months ago, we shared with you our tips about cohesion in IELTS writing. For a review, cohesion relates to the way your sentences are connected. Coherence, on the other hand, relates to the way your ideas are organized. As you may have known by now, coherence and cohesion is a criteria checked by your examiners in IELTS writing.

Today we're going to provide you with some quick pointers on how to improve your writing when it comes to coherence. Here you go:

1) Separate each major idea into paragraphs.

When a particular idea or point is complete, end the paragraph. In other words, start a new one, and make it easier for the examiner to understand your essay by not stuffing all your ideas into one very long paragraph.

How would you know if you have to start a new paragraph? Take note of the next tip.

2) Mind the paragraph structure of your essay.

What this means is that your writing task should consist of several paragraphs. Each paragraph should serve a specific purpose in your essay or writing task.

For example, if you are given a "To what extent do you agree or disagree." type of question in Task 2 of IELTS Academic writing, then your essay could be broken down to four to five paragraphs, as follows:
Paragraph 1 - Introduction
Paragraph 2 - Justification of your view
Paragraph 3 - Additional justification of your view
Paragraph 4 - Refutation of the opposite view
Paragraph 5 - Conclusion

There are of course other question types. While the content of each paragraph may not be the same, the point is that each paragraph that you construct should be based on its purpose in relation to the entire essay.

3) Make use of transition words.

As discussed before, transition words and phrases are those which connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs together. Consider these words as  links so that your paragraphs and the ideas that they contain would flow freely from one to the other.

In your IELTS test, we encourage you to use words and phrases such as "moreover," "furthermore," "first," "firstly," "second," "secondly," "although," "while," "by way of contrast," "however," "therefore," or "in conclusion." These words, and many others, could help in showing your reader that an idea or point is to be added, listed, compared, constrasted, or concluded, thus resulting in an essay that exhibits a smooth flow of ideas.

There you have it. Master coherence and cohesion for a more organized essay or writing task.

We hope that you liked our tips for today.