6 common errors when writing an introduction to IELTS Task 2

When writing an introduction to your Task 2 essay, there are a number of points you need to include (take a look at this page). On this page, we will focus on 6 of the most common errors we see that cost candidates points when writing their introduction.

For this lesson, we will use the following question:

‘As people are using the internet more, there is less need for libraries, so libraries should be closed. Do you agree or disagree?’

Error number 1 – duplication

Candidate’s answer:

Because people are using the internet more, it can be argued that there is less need for libraries and as a result they should be closed, as will now be discussed.

This is not a good introduction to Task 2 the candidate has used too many words from the question – people are using the internet more / there is less need for libraries / so libraries should be closed. Copying the words from the title with only minimal changes does not illustrate your abilities to the examiner, and there is a risk that this will simply deducted from your total word count.

Error number 2 – incomplete summary

Candidate’s answer:

There is a school of thought which argues that libraries are no longer needed and as a result should not remain in operation, although not all people agree. This situation will now be discussed.

What the candidate has written is good. There is not too much in the way of copying and the candidate has used parallel expressions where possible. However, there is no reference to the closure of libraries being the result of more people using the internet, so the introduction has not captured all elements of the question and is therefore incomplete.

Error number 3 – relevance

Candidate’s answer:

Libraries have been commonly used in the majority of countries around the world for hundreds of years, and most towns and even some villages have them. They are used by a wide range of people from students to retired people who are looking for books or resources either to read for entertainment or education. 

There is no focus on the question here, and the information given is only partly related to the topic and would be considered irrelevant. A reference to library users may fit at some point in the body of the essay, but the purpose of the introduction is to show the examiner that you have understood the question and will present a clear and relevant answer.

Error number 4 – personalisation

Candidate’s answer:

I think that despite the information that can be accessed via the internet, there is a still a need for libraries as they offer information from a range of sources which are often more reliable than a basic website. I will now presented my point of view in greater detail.

The general direction of this introduction is good, but the candidate has used personal pronouns (I and my) which are not suited to the formal writing style expected in Task 2. Using the passive to restructure the sentence would have produced a better result.

Error number 5 – unsupported statements

Candidate’s answer:

No, they should not be closed. Libraries are a valuable source of information but also offer additional benefits such as a social aspect, where people can meet. In these days of technology, it is important that a human element is retained as will now be discussed.

Apart from the first 6 words, this is a good introduction. The problem is making a direct statement at the very beginning of the essay which assumes the reader has read the question title. The candidate’s first response (‘No, they should not be closed.’) would be perfectly acceptable in a speaking assessment, but not writing. Always assume that the person reading your essay has not read the question title, so you need to clarify the argument in your introduction.

Error number 6 – no direction

Candidate’s answer:

There is an argument that libraries are no longer required as the wide accessibility of the internet has made them redundant. 

This is a good start, but the candidate has not indicated the direction that the essay will take. Will both sides of the argument be considered? Is the writer in favour of closing libraries or not? Is technology going to replace libraries? Although the candidate has addressed the question, the introduction gives the examiner no idea of what to expect next, so would not be considered very coherent.

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