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

Today you’ll learn how to to use headlines to score band 9 on IELTS Writing.

Recently, a listener wrote a review of the podcast that included a question for us about a Task 2 prompt about the media.

On your exam, you may see a question like this:

Media, including radio, TV and newspapers has huge influence in shaping people’s opinions.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Although social media does come to mind first, it’s not directly referenced in the question.

For your Task score, it’s better to play it safe, and make sure you connect all of your ideas directly to the task prompt.

So, you could say, “Articles from disreputable newspapers, as linked to on Facebook, ...”

In 3 Keys IELTS, we recommend writing a 4-paragraph essay for every question.

Brainstorm Outline

Introduction paragraph

  • mention topic immediately in the first sentence of your essay. In this case, the media influencing people’s ideas.
  • then, introduce 2 sides: “Some feel that the media has too strong an influence, while others believe in the strength of the individual.”


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Body paragraph- concession 

  • strength of the individual to form one’s own opinion
  • myself as an example: travelling and being educated has led to healthy cynicism when I read or hear news
  • example- how I judge a specific Fox News story

Body paragraph- your opinion

  • Russia investigation– the FBI found that Russia hacked US elections and published fake news, swaying some to change their votes
  • example- in 2016, there were over a million clicks on an article that Hillary Clinton had been abducted by aliens
  • example- Hillary Clinton and ‘pizzagate

To have these ideas for media questions, and all Speaking Part 3 and Writing Task 2 questions, believe in the culture of thinking!

Educate yourself, and be erudite on your exam!

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