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

Today we’ll talk about doing research for IELTS essays, and whether or not this is helpful.

A student recently expressed anxiety over his lack of ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2.

So, another student chimed in with the advice of researching the writing topic, and using this information in the essay.

That’s a great idea, but only if your exam is more than one month away.



If you have a couple months before your IELTS exam, you can certainly research topics. I recommend newspapers, like the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.

Why newspapers?

These articles will give you up-to-date perspectives and very specific examples to support the main ideas in each body paragraph.


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However, if your exam is less than 4 weeks away, I do not recommend including research before you write your essays.

This is because that step is not allowed on the IELTS Exam, so your test preparation becomes invalid.

With your exam approaching, you need to be practicing the steps just like you’ll need to complete on test day.

Throughout this time, though, you should still be developing your culture of thinking, on as wide an array of topics as possible. Three or four times a week, you should read an article from a different section of the newspaper.

Having said that, remember that your first go-to for support and ideas in your Speaking and Writing is your own experience and observations!

If you can’t draw ideas from those, that’s when you use ideas that you’ve read or heard.

What was the last topic you researched? What did you learn?

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