How to Practice English Writing (IELTS/TOEFL & more)



everybody welcome to right to the top I'm Adam in today's video I want to talk to you about how to improve your writing in a general sense and a little bit specific for the IELTS and TOEFL now what we're gonna look at is how to write better essays I'm not gonna worry too much about task one I'm looking about essays but what I'm gonna show you here I'm gonna show you some steps you can take some practice exercises that you can do in order to improve your writing in a general way if you're doing IELTS and TOEFL this is helpful if you're doing other exams SAT GRE GMAT whatever very helpful when you're done your exams and your going to university or your getting a job or you're doing whatever you're doing and you need to write in English all of this will be helpful for you okay now the reason I'm doing this is because I get asked often first of all how can I improve my English my writing is specifically but also quite often and even recently someone asked me how do I write better even though my grammar is good my vocabulary is good I know how to read well I get high scores on the tests except for the writing section but when I sit down and I try to put it all together in an essay it just doesn't work okay so I'm gonna show you what you can do to get that sense that feeling of good writing okay so we're gonna start by mimicking mimicking basically means copying or trying to do like someone else who's already done it and you're gonna do this with good quality writing with good essays good articles good blogs even okay and you're gonna copy them now what are you going to do so once you find the good material and I'm gonna give you some links at the end of the video to show you where you can start looking for these you're gonna find good quality essays articles etc then you're going to copy it okay but you're not gonna copy it straight you're going to start getting a feel for the writing how this writer how this Reiter is making things work essentially okay so you're going to read you're gonna find the article you probably read it once to make sure that first of all you have to like it if it's a boring article might not be very helpful find something you like you think is interesting then read the first sentence copy it down and ideally do it by hand but if you're more comfortable typing that's fine to read the sentence copy it read it again to make sure you understand it then read the next sentence copy it down after the first sentence and then read both sentences together what you're doing is you're looking for the connections between the sentences how did the writer connect the idea in the first sentence to the idea in the second sentence and how did he or she progress the argument or the explanation or description etc okay then you're gonna do continue next sentence the third sentence read it copy it read all three together notice how the progression continues connections between sentences how one idea leads to the next to the next to the next to the next and you're gonna do it for the whole paragraph then look at the whole paragraph how did the paragraph begin how did it develop how did it end did it set up the next paragraph did it come to a little bit of a summary etc now here's an example I took this article I have found an article I took one paragraph from this article it's a longer article this is just one paragraph that I want you to look at now you can press pause or not you can read it carefully I will give you a link to this article in the description box if you want to read the whole thing but I'm gonna just demonstrate what I just mentioned before here's the first sentence it's very clear that humans don't experience all that consciousness has to offer so consciousness has a lot to offer humans experience everything in that consciousness snakes for example okay so right away I'm looking into as an example so you have to understand what is the writer giving me an example of snakes can see things in their field of consciousness that humans can't so we mentioned all of consciousness we have the linked consciousness and consciousness right away the two sentences have a logical connection we're talking about humans and we're talking about snakes or two different animals or species or whatever you want to call it in their field of consciousness so snakes can do something that humans can't and we already know that humans can't experience everything similarly and I just put a few more I don't want to go one by one it'll take forever similarly dogs so now I'm using a good transition similarly to show you it's the same idea but I'm using now dogs and I'm using smell okay so consciousness right away you have the idea includes the senses sight smell touch taste cetera I have snakes and sight I have dogs and smell and I have humans so now logically I'm going to have to say what can humans do that and these animals can't do right now this doesn't mean that these sights and smells don't exist in human environments of course they do it just means that humans don't have the evolutionary bodies that can help tap these kinds of experiences so humans can experience a lot of things but there's some things they can't experience because we don't have the tools for that experience and it goes on and on and on now this is the same paragraph I didn't give you a new one I want you to notice that this is the eighth paragraph in this long article the writer used the first seven paragraphs to give a little bit of background to set up the idea of the discussion starting to build up what humans can do what animals can do what's the differences and leaving it with now what is knowledge so this was all a big setup to explain the concept of knowledge and then after knowledge he or she explain something else in case you're curious the title of this article is the difference between knowledge and wisdom and does IQ matter so I can understand already there will be an explanation of knowledge then there will be an explanation of wisdom probably an explanation of IQ and then connecting all these things together to get to a conclusion right and this is how you build a progressive and a logical argument discussion explanation description etc so you're gonna basically study how the writers are getting from point A to point B how they're connecting ideas what vocabulary they're using what grammar structures they're using to do this how they're effective how they're ineffective if the case may be and you're gonna practice this and eventually the more you do this the more you'll have a sense of what should come next you finished writing one sentence you should feel what comes next and it it just practice okay it's gonna take some time you're not gonna be able to get this in a week he's gonna take a little bit of time a little bit of practice but this is how you should be practicing better writing and a benefit a side benefit of bonus if you will is he learn how to read better as well okay now how does this apply to the IELTS and TOEFL for those of you who are going to take the test well you're going to basically be doing the same thing okay you're going to find good quality IELTS and TOEFL sample essays just do a search online you can even go to my website I have a few examples there as well and you're gonna practice taking those essays breaking them down sentence by sentence and seeing how they flow from one to the next then get yourself a list of questions different types of questions like agree disagree discussion with and without opinion open questions etc get yourself a bunch of questions according to the different topics get yourself some vocab get yourself some ideas for each topic again create an idea bank start working on idea banks and if you're not sure what an idea Bank is there's a link up here you can watch my video about idea banks then you're gonna write essays but don't write one essay write three four five essays and then at the end of when you're done writing if you want to do a little bit of editing that's fine then put it away put the essay in a drawer in a book and a shelf whatever you want but don't look at it for a week for five days minimum but a week isn't the best now the reason you're doing this is so you can forget everything that you wrote you can forget about the topic you forget you can forget about your ideas your vocab your grammar get this essay or these essays completely out of your head that way when you come back and read them you're looking at them as a reader not a writer because you already forgot everything you said now you're reading an essay and trying to assess it okay you're gonna start breaking down this essay and see what's good with it what's bad with it and you're gonna rewrite the essay as you did with the other articles one sentence per line and then each sentence you're gonna start analyzing look for the grammar errors look for vocabulary mistakes punctuation be especially careful with transitions punctuation and vocabulary these are the main things you want to focus on because these are the things that the graders are looking for in your writing okay so once you've done that you look at the mechanics of it now it's time to think about the actual content start drawing circles or making lines or boxes however way works for you but make sure that you can somehow connect ideas from sentence to sentence if you have one sentence and the following sentence and there's you don't find anything that connects the two then it's they're not good sentences one of them is not a good sentence one of them does not make sense in relation to the other so you need to fix this there should always be some sort of progression from sentence to sentence okay so you're going to do that then you identify the main focus of the paragraph and remember one paragraph should have one central focus especially the body paragraphs so once you discover what is the main focus then you're gonna read each each following sentence in that paragraph and ask yourself does this sentence connect to the main focus does it build it does it develop it do examples support what came before them basically are all the sentences in this paragraph working towards the same focus any sentence that is not either take it out or change it to make it adaptable if you realize that you have all kinds of ideas about all kinds of different things and there's no central idea or such a focus uniting them there's a problem you need to fix ideally if you can find someone else who's a who's good in English obviously someone else who can read your essay and give you feedback tell you what's good what's bad what you need to work on what you need to fix etc so I'm gonna give you here just a very quick example this is an essay that I assessed a while back these are the last two sentences of the first body paragraph and this is the second body paragraph I just want to show you a few examples of what you're looking for so I split up all the sentences into individual lines and now I'm gonna look one at a time I have lost so this is an essay about should people study English is it good to have another language and what about local languages like such a more or less that's the question I have lost many opportunities and international companies because I am NOT in fluent in English right away in fluent this is a mistake it should just be fluent right so just take out the I am fluent is the correct word now this person in the last sentence was talking about the factors or in the last few sentences was discussing that factors that make English preferable and how they are affecting local languages but this person is giving himself or herself as an example of how important English is but you need to introduce an example right you need to say okay let me give you an example about myself and this is what happened so this is missing here all these factors that were mentioned in the previous sentences make English more critical than local languages and threatened to demolish them first of all demolished not the right word a language cannot demolish anything demolish is more of a physical destruction and in slang it could be used as a verbal or language thing but in formal you can't use demolish here and here like the next paragraph you're gonna talk about local languages what's happening to them so here you don't really need this part you just need to say that English is more critical now here before I look at this local languages have been neglecting so first of all neglecting is the wrong form it should be neglected have been neglecting is an active participant you need the passive participle and again you need to know grammar obviously to know the grammar mistakes but that also comes with practice so this is the wrong transition because you're not contrasting you're showing a consequence because English is taking over local languages have been neglected okay so it's a consequence not a contrast and you go on and on individual each sentence and I can show you these are the changes that I made if you want to know all the differences I put it all together notice I used consequently as the transition instead of on the other hand I took out this part I introduced the example speaking from personal experience I appreciate the value of knowing English as and then say what happened and why this is a useful example to support your argument okay and you can press pause if you want to look at this more carefully now the last thing I want to mention so that's your writing practice the other thing you need to do is you need to read I mean there's no escaping that the more you read the better your standing of the workings of the language and the better your writing will be now people also ask me what should I read realistically anything anything that is interesting to you okay it doesn't have to be academic it could be anything like sports entertainment but it shouldn't be easy if you can read through it and never have to check the dictionary that's a problem if you can read through it quickly and understand everything that's a problem you're not challenging yourself you're not improving anything you're just staying at the same level so challenging but not boring right so you want to be interested in it and you should have to use the dictionary you should be learning new words as you read okay now here are some links to places you can start the first one is my website you can find I print every week I put an article just random articles to help you read stuff and learn vocabulary and then these are all places where you can find essays and articles and blog posts etc all good quality but this is just an introduction there there's tons of stuff that you can go out and read all these links are in the description box below as well now another thing if you can find it there's a book called the best American Essays this is 2019 this year's editor is Rebecca Solnit every year it's a different editor every year there's a new edition it doesn't matter which year you can find 2005 is okay there's still good quality essays these are very good to read to practice to learn how to write better now you can find this for sure on Amazon if you live in a big city anywhere in the world it's probably some English bookstore easily and some English used bookstore go there I have found this version of this book of different years in many countries so it's actually quite easy to get if you can find this great practice to do so now last point the last thing I want a couple of last things I want to say avoid genera a template so now what does this mean a lot of people they buy a book and a how-to book for IELTS or TOEFL and they say okay start like this go like this go like this go like this and they tell people just apply these structures and these particular expressions and these particular sentences every time and you'll get a high score it doesn't work this way first of all the graders also know these books they know which template you're studying they see which templates you've used in your essay it's not helping you it's actually hurting you secondly the template for one type of essay does not work for another type of essays essay I've had people who every time they write an essay body paragraph one on the one hand body paragraph two on the other hand the problem is if you're not contrasting two sides of something or you're not contrasting two things then these don't work these introductions to the paragraphs don't work that's a template the grader knows you've just memorized a template hurting you costing new points and lastly don't make mimicking good writing the goal so at the beginning of the video I said you know mimic good writing and get the feel get the touch for it learn how to do it that's fine for practice don't make that the goal don't try to copy somebody else's writing style and techniques in your essays every time learn from them but then know how to write well don't copy well write well yourself okay and the most important thing to take away from all of this is you have to remember that there are no shortcuts you are not going to improve your writing in the next few days probably not in the next few weeks give yourselves two to three months minimum to start showing improvement in your writing okay if you're already good enough and you just need a few techniques or you need to know the structures of the test that's fine learning the structures take your test move on but also remember once you pass the IELTS or TOEFL and you get a accepted to university your writing life has just begun and the IELTS and TOEFL will seem very very easy in comparison to what you're going to be expected from what's going to be expected from you in university basically let's put it this way a 300 word as 300 words on the IELTS is an essay 300 words and university is an introduction to an essay if in some cases it's a paragraph okay so you have to learn how to write well because the IELTS and TOEFL are easy in comparison there are no shortcuts practice write read do it again again and again okay and that's all there is to it if you do these if you take these steps and if you do the practice regularly I promise you your writing will improve it's a hard skill it takes time put some effort into it you will succeed okay if you have any questions about any of this stuff please ask me in the youtube comment section if you liked the video please give me a like don't forget to subscribe to my channel and come back next week for another helpful video see you then bye bye

36 thoughts on “How to Practice English Writing (IELTS/TOEFL & more)

  1. wowwwwwww thank you thank you thanks for the help this is the first video m watching and got more confidence

  2. thanks proff, adam for your good explanation, and In comparison with other english lecurer in youtube u are totally different, would u please tell me what can kind of qualification you have had, and as well as experience?

  3. Hi, Adam. Thanks for your informative and helpful videos. Could you kindly suggest a good descriptive grammar book?

  4. one of the best videos about writing, and I start believing you when you said "no shortcuts". I personally think that building a good essay is a long journey and your methods are somehow vehicles to reach the Best Essay checkpoints. Since it is a long journey, completing the writing test maybe only 10% of the real journey towards the destination; The Best Essay.

  5. Hi Adam!
    I have a question specifically about IELTS discussion essay that requires us to present our opinion (Discuss both views and give your opinion.) Do you advise to structure our paragraphs like this:
    Body 1: Discuss 1st view
    Body 2: Discuss 2nd view
    Body 3: Give our opinion
    Or will it still be a strong essay structure if we incorporate our opinion about 1st view in body 1 after discussing it, likewise, in body 2? Thus, eliminating 3rd body paragraph.

  6. Thank you so munch for great advice, but my case is i took the IELTS exam last January (January 19th 2019) and my score was 6. Writing was the lowest skill 5, starting from February i decided to re take the exam and study hard to get band 7 or above. can i do it until May 23rd with following all the techniques, advice that you gave? Thanks again for very useful materials.

  7. Thank u so much Adams.. your really awesome. Actually what you have mentioned is absolutely right. I am very fluent and talk on any topic at length with getting stuck. But when it comes to writting I have that phobia.

  8. in IELTS essay task 2; Can use "I or my " when question ask what is your opinion or I should use " writer opinion". Im my opinion or in writer opinion ? Thank you so much for the wonderful videos

  9. You are awesome ! Thanks for that !!! Really you help so much !!!!!! πŸ˜­πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  10. i gessto find another pair of eyes for feedback is a good idea for me and take a note for the others points that this man explain, wath I did in the past, I wrote some reports for my boss who was an american citizen and when he do not undestand what I did he cool me back by phone and ask me what I want to said. so thanks for yous advices and please correct me If I write something wrong pease.

  11. Adam, thanks a lot for your videos. Because of them I was able to rise my writing mark from 5.5 to 6.5 in IELTS when it was the most needed.
    I enrolled in a college and I live in Canada right now.
    I truly appreciate your hard work, know that it is not for nothing and you really are helping the living humans to increase their fluence in that wonderful language.
    I am still following your work and improving my language skills.
    Thank you very much.

  12. Thanks Adam for this promising lecture. However, I need a video about how to choose a suitable title for an article. This is so panic and sometimes very difficult. If there is some tips to follow that makes this task more easy , it would give me a great pleasure. Thanks a lot

  13. Hi and thanks for this video.
    On 15:14 there is a correction you make that I don't understand. In the second paragraph and sixth sentence you've changed people to peoples. Why is that?

    Thank you again

  14. ……copy it down and ideally do it by hand……
    I can't agree it anymore.
    I think this way of learning writing skill can be used in any other languages.

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