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5 Ways to Plan IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay to Score Band 8


Planning is like the skeleton of an essay. It is important to plan the essay before you start writing it. The essay plan will act like a map and give you directions about where to go next.
The following steps are very essential in planning an essay.
1. Read the essay topic intently

Most of the students fail to understand the topic and hence, answer the wrong question. To get your answer right, spend some time getting your question right.
Write an essay on the following topic

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge. Write at least 250 words.
In the above question you are required to discuss the problems and solutions for the given topic. If you fail to understand the question well and instead discuss the causes and effects for the same topic, you might end up losing your band.
You can ensure proper identification of the topic by highlighting keywords in the question, so that you don’t stray off the topic
Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems?
2. Develop focus questions
Once you have identified your task in the topic, create two focus questions. These will act as paragraph guides and also keep you from going off the topic

  1. What problems do we face due to overpopulation?
  2. How can we tackle these problems?

3. Form your body paragraphs
The normal structure of an essay has three essentials:-
Body paragraphs

While planning your essay, think about how many body paragraphs you would like to include.
Generally, the body paragraphs shouldn’t be less than two or more than three.
Now, for the given topic you can have one paragraph for problems and two paragraphs for solutions.

Always remember, each paragraph must have only one controlling idea. You cannot talk about solutions in the paragraph where you would discuss problems.

4. Answer your focus questions
Now that you have decided on the number of paragraphs, you must think about 2 to 3 points under each focus question.

What problems do we face due to overpopulation?

  1. Overcrowding
  2. Poor facilities
  3. High Cost of Living

How can we tackle these problems?

  1. Government must spread awareness
  2. Individuals must take responsibility

5. Model P-E-E
Once you have noted down your main points, you must think about sub-points to elaborate and extend your ideas.
Model P-E-E (Point-Explain-Example) is a helpful tool for those who struggle with this task.
You first state your point, then explain it further and also give an example to support your idea. After you have added supporting points to your main points, this what your planned essay should look like.

Focus Question – What problems do we face due to overpopulation?

  1. Point – Overcrowding
  2. Sub-Points – (demand exceeds supply, depletion of natural resources)

Example – reckless cutting down of forests to facilitate housing needs


  1. Point – Poor Facilities and High Cost of Living
  2. Sub-Points– (poor infrastructure, no health and hygiene facilities)



Focus Question – How can we tackle these problems?


  1. Point – Government must take steps
  2. Sub-Points– (introduce policies, spread awareness,)

Example – family planning programs and effective birth control


  1. Point – Individuals must take responsibility
  2. Sub-Points– (educate themselves about birth control methods, co-operate with the Government to control overpopulation)

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