In this video I talk about the importance of writing RELEVANT, CLEAR, and DISTINCT topic sentences in writing task 2 (the essay) of the Academic module of IELTS.

If your IELTS students’ Task response and Coherence and cohesion marks could use a boost, help them notice that a strong essay will have topic sentences that are 

• RELEVANT to the task, 

• CLEARLY worded and answering the question in the task (!), and

• DISTINCT enough (don’t ‘overlap’ with one another too closely).

For example, in the task

“Overprotective parents cause damage to their children by not letting them develop their independence and resourcefulness.

In what ways should parents protect their children?”

the following ideas would not work as topic sentences, for the following reasons:


• “helicopter parents might have grown up overprotected as well”

• “the amount of autonomy tolerated/encouraged may be culturally defined”


• “I was overprotected as a child, and I turned out fine”

• “parents can inadvertently cause damage to their children in all sorts of ways”

not distinct enough: 

• “don’t buy them a phone before they turn 12”

• “don’t let them use social media apps on their phone”

How do YOU help your IELTS learners improve their Task response grade in Academic IELTS essays?

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Hi. I’m Fatime. I’m an IELTS Teacher Trainer, helping CELTA-qualified English language teachers become better at teaching SKILLS, as opposed to just testing them. 

Check out my courses here:

How to Teach IELTS Listening:

How to Teach IELTS Reading:

How to Teach IELTS Writing:

How to Teach IELTS Speaking: