Think before you write: Planning well in Writing Task 2

One thing I always tell my IELTS students is that, during the test, they must set aside at least 5 minutes of planning time in Writing Task 2. If you don’t plan, you’re likely to end up with a very disorganised essay which is littered with repetitions and doesn’t clearly respond to the task.


But what exactly should you do with that planning time, you might ask.

Here is what I suggest:


Step 1: Highlight the keywords in the question.

See what I’ve done with this question:



One of the consequences of





is that people are living


longer and life expectancy


is increasing.


Do you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Not only have I underlined all the keywords to help me understand the specific topic and the question that is being asked, I’ve also highlighted the general topic which is ‘improved medical care’. This will help me to decide on the next part of my plan which is…..