Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today, Chris Pell from IELTS Advantage shares his strategy for brainstorming for IELTS Writing Task 2.

He calls it the “Coffee Shop Method”, and I think this will really help some of you come up with ideas for your Task 2 essays!

While Chris was teaching IELTS Writing at the British Council in Ho Chi Minh City, he asked his students what their number 1 problem was.

The most common answer was coming up with ideas.

So, he asked his students to talk about an IELTS question topic in groups. He noticed that they actually had no problem coming up with ideas in this situation.


Then, he would give them an IELTS Writing Task 2 question to brainstorm about. He saw that as soon as students went into exam mode, they froze up, and their ideas seemed to disappear.

You guys are intelligent adults, and you do have ideas!

Firstly, be comforted by the fact that there is not one perfect answer on the Speaking and Writing exams. Your ideas aren’t wrong! Your score is based on your ability to communicate, not come up with genius notions.

So, don’t overthink or over-complicate!



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How the Coffee Shop Method Works

  1. Read the Task 2 question. Pretend you are talking to a friend, and they just asked  you this question.
  2. Picture yourself talking to a friend in a coffee shop (or bar, restaurant or at home- wherever you feel relaxed and chatty)
  3. Take notes on your ideas.

Note: This method could also be used to generate ideas on Speaking Part 2! On the Speaking exam, the more relaxed you are, the better. If you are relaxed and confident, it raises your Fluency, Vocabulary and Pronunciation scores.

Have you tried this brainstorming technique!

Tell us about it in the comments section below!


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