This post will help you write effective conclusions for IELTS writing task 2 essay questions. It is suitable for both General Training and Academic candidates.
The conclusion is the easiest paragraph to write because in many ways you are just using ideas you have already mentioned in your introduction and main body paragraphs. However, this is the last thing the examiner will read and it is therefore crucial that you finish strongly.
You will probably not have much time remaining when you are writing your conclusion so it is very important that you practice them and learn how to write them quickly. I will show you how below.
IELTS Conclusion Quick Tips
- Never write any new ideas in your conclusion. A conclusion should always simply restate the ideas you have in the rest of the essay. New ideas should be in the main body and not in the conclusion.
- Make sure you answer the question in the conclusion. The conclusion should state what you think about the question and make it clear how you feel about the issue.
- Vary your language. Just because you are restating the ideas you have in the rest of your essay, doesn’t mean you use the same language. Instead you show the examiner you have a wide vocabulary by paraphrasing.
- Don’t try to include everything. You are not required to go into detail, you have already done that in your main body paragraphs. Instead you will just summarise your main points.
- Always write one. It is very difficult to get a good score in task 2 if you haven’t finished your essay with a conclusion. Even if you are running out of time, make sure you write one.
- Two sentences are enough.
First you should start with a linking phrase, but some are better than others . Here are some examples:
- In a nutshell
- In general
- In conclusion
- To conclude
Finally isn’t really suitable because it indicates that you are making a final point and therefore a new idea. Finally belongs in the main body of your essay, not the conclusion.
In a nutshell is too informal and we should never use it in IELTS conclusions.
In general tells the reader you are going to talk generally about a topic. This is not what we are going to do in our conclusion and we should therefore not use it.
In conclusion and to conclude are the only two linking phrases you should use to start your conclusion. They tell the reader exactly what the paragraph is about and they are formal.
How to Write a Good Conclusion
There are two elements to a good conclusion:
- Restating the main points of your essay
- Varying your vocabulary by paraphrasing
Luckily we have already stated our main points in the introduction, so all we have to do is look back at the conclusion and paraphrase this.
Let’s look at some examples:
It is argued that students should be taught real life skills, like how to look after money. This essay agrees that they should be part of the curriculum. The essay will first discuss how everyday competencies benefit people later in life and then talk about the dangers of not being taught how to manage money at an early age.
I have completed an effective introduction by doing three things:
- Paraphrasing the question
- Stating my opinion
- Outlining what I will talk about in the rest of the essay or in other words, the main points I’m using to support my opinion.
In conclusion, this essay supports the idea that teenagers ought to be taught functional subjects like financial planning because it helps them in adulthood and a lack of education related to these topics can have serious consequences.
So all I have done is restate my opinion and included my main supporting points. However, I have not simply copied the words, I have used synonyms and paraphrasing to vary my language.
Here are the paraphrases I used:
This essay supports- This essay agrees
should- ought to
functional subjects- real life skills
look after money- financial planning
later in life- adulthood
dangers- serious consequences
Let’s look at another example:
Contemporary advances have a serious effect on the planet. While I appreciate that critics may hope that people will shun the latest developments, I believe that technology itself can give us an answer. This essay will first discuss how not using electronics is unfeasible, followed by a discussion of how science is now coming up with ways to reverse global warming and pollution.
This introduction does three basic things:
1. Paraphrases the question
2. States opinion
3. Outlines what the essay will discuss
In conclusion, this essay acknowledges that technological progress does jeopardise the planet, but cutting-edge discoveries can actually halt and even heal this destruction.
Again, all I have done is repeat what I said in the introduction using paraphrasing.
Adding a Prediction or Recommendation to Our Conclusion
We can also add a prediction (what we think will happen) or a recommendation (what we think should happen) to our conclusion.
This is totally optional. I teach students how to write these because it allows them to write something at the end of the essay if they are worried about not making it to 250 words.
Here are my two previous conclusions with one added sentence:
In conclusion, this essay supports the idea that teenagers ought to be taught functional subjects like financial planning because it helps them in adulthood and a lack of education related to these topics can have serious consequences. It is recommended that governments make this a compulsory part of the education system.
In conclusion, this essay acknowledges that technological progress does jeopardise the planet, but cutting-edge discoveries can actually halt and even heal this destruction. It is predicted that climate change will be successfully tackled with such inventions.
If you found this article useful and want more help with writing task 2 please visit our task 2 page.
So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.
The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.
To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
- Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
- Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.
To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection, Dubliners, with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
- Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like 60 Minutes.
- Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise ofdehumanization"; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
- Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel Ambiguous Adventure, by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.
Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:
- Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
- Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
- Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."
Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University