Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Do you know how to start your Writing Task 2 essay?

You need an interesting way to start your essay.

You need templates, and you need to be flexible about which ones you use.

They have to fit the topic!

Today you’ll learn how to make your first sentence really pop!

You can do this in a way that makes sense and boosts your score.

How can templates help with Writing?

In 3 Keys IELTS, we give you the templates you need for different essays.

  • Argument essays
  • Problem/Solution essays
  • Opinion essays

This gives you a high level way to organize your ideas.

It helps you decide what information needs to go where.

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Sentence Starters

We also provide many extremely useful sentence starters in the Modules.

One is the sentence, “topic info is at the forefront of public awareness.”

What does it mean for something to be at the forefront of public awareness?

This means it is being discussed often in the news!

You are reading about it on the front page of newspapers.

It’s being discussed in podcasts.

Though it’s pretty general, it doesn’t work for every topic.

When can you use this template sentence?

You need to be flexible!

If the topic is something like the obesity epidemic, this is currently in the news!

You’ve likely read articles about the need for school lunch to be healthier.

We see in the news debates about children and adults who are obese and how it should be addressed.

Because this is something being discussed widely, this is a perfect time to use this template sentence!

  • The obesity epidemic, and how to address it, is at the forefront of public awareness.

Yes, it definitely is!

Another example is immigration.

This is in the headlines, so it is at the forefront of public awareness.

  • Whether or not to allow migrants free movement across borders is at the forefront of public awareness.

What questions should you ask yourself?

If you want to use this high level essay starter sentence, ask yourself a couple of questions.

  • Is it in the newspaper?
  • Do I see this on the news?
  • Are people talking about this in public?
  • Do I hear conversations about this?

Topics such as health, education and decisions that are made at a government level all are at the forefront of public awareness.

What are some topics you can’t use this on?

  • The issue of telecommuting is at the forefront of public awareness.

Not really!

It’s not something you’re seeing in the headlines.

This topic isn’t newsworthy, so it’s not “at the forefront of public awareness.”

What is another useful essay starter?

  • topic information has been heatedly debated for decades.

Be flexible when using this one as well!

This is a very good, high level essay starter, but it can only be used for topics that are heatedly debated!

  • heatedly debated: subjects that are polarizing, where people have strong opinions on both sides

Bad example: Whether college students take a gap year has been heatedly debated.

This essay starter doesn’t work for this topic!

Though people may have varying opinions, it’s not something they would heatedly discuss with emotion and raised voices.

What is the first step when you see the Task 2 question?

Underline the key words!

These key words are the main idea of your essay.

You will then use parallels for these key words to introduce the topic.

The first sentence of the essay is functional.

All you’re doing in the first sentence is telling the reader the topic of the essay.

You just want to introduce the key words.

Essay Starter #1

  • Nowadays, with the ease of access afforded by progressive technology, telecommuting is a real possibility for many employees.

We’re not providing our opinion or giving advantages or disadvantages yet.

In the 3 Keys IELTS Success System, we provide 3 different templates so that you have options.

This gives you the ability to be flexible with which one to choose.

The goal is to learn all the rules and understand the meaning of these phrases.

You can then choose the one that fits the best.

We interviewed Leticia who got an 8 in writing and she gave some excellent advice!

She said don’t worry so much about what kind of essay it is.

Instead, focus on the question!

Refer back to the question and make sure you are answering it.

Essay Starter #2

  • In many nations it is allowed, if not encouraged, for secondary school pupils to enjoy a gap year before starting at a university.

You’re just introducing the topic, but in an interesting way without saying it’s heatedly debated or in the news right now.

It’s functional!

You’re just paraphrasing those key words and using good vocabulary.

Don’t spend too long trying to think of a hook or a question.

Those essay starters don’t apply to IELTS because you don’t have the time!

Paraphrase key words, introduce the topic and you’re good!

Essay Starter # 3

If the topic is “Some feel that the government should decrease spending on the arts. Do you agree or disagree?”

This isn’t in the headlines right now, but it is debated.

  • The proper allocation of federal funding for arts and humanities is debatable.

State the topic in an interesting way and say it is debatable if it is a topic on which people have differing opinions.

Where can you find more essay starters?

More examples are provided in the 3 Keys IELTS Success System.

The Modules have essay starters for every type of Writing topic.

If you learn and practice these, you’ll have a high level essay starter for any topic!


The first sentence of your essay is functional!

All you want to do is paraphrase the key words to introduce the topic.

Don’t waste a lot of time thinking of a way to start Task 2.

Instead, use a template!

You need to be able to be flexible with which template sentence you use.

Learn and practice a few of them so you are ready for any topic!

Do you have questions about today’s topic?

Let us know in the comments below

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