How To Write An Essay? As Easy As Pie!

Are you looking for ways to get better at writing an opinion essay in Writing Paper, Part 1 of the B2 First exam? Are you at times struggling with it? This entry is going to look into how to better at essay writing, no matter whether writing is your thing or not.

What is the purpose of an essay?

To discuss a subject objectively and impartially, as from an outsider’s point of view, express your opinion and give reasons for it.

What are the musts when it comes to writing an essay?

  • Answer the essay question completely. If you do so, you will surely and easily get 25% of the total score.
  • Cover all the three areas from the notes. The final note is always your own idea. Remember that your idea is not your opinion.
  • Write between 140 and 190 words. Don’t worry if you write slightly more than 190 words. Writing less than 140 words is punished, though.
  • Use a formal or semiformal register. Your English teacher is always the reader.
  • Organize your answer logically through paragraphs and linking devices.
  • Give reasons and examples to support your ideas.
  • Express clearly your opinion.

Which are the two types of essay, one of which a B2 First candidate will be asked to write?

Type ONE. Discuss a statement and give your opinion.

Essay Question A (taken from B2 First for Schools):

“Young people learn a lot from their grandparents. Do you agree?”

Essay Question B (taken from B2 First):

“Private cars should be banned from the city centres. Do you agree?”

No matter the statement, the two main questions you must look into are:

  • Which are the advantages and disadvantages of the given matter?
  • Do I agree with it? Why

Type TWO. Discuss which of the two things is better by comparing them and give your opinion.

Essay Question A (taken from B2 First for Schools):

“Which is more important to teenagers: family or friends?”

Essay Question B (taken from B2 First):

“Is it better to visit places in your own country or a foreign country when you go on holiday?”

With the above-mentioned questions in mind, let’s move on to the steps to take once the essay question is in front of us. Nothing better than a hands-on demonstration of such. Remember that the B2 First Writing Paper lasts 1 hour 20 minutes, and it has got two parts. So, we shouldn’t spend more than around 40 minutes to write the essay.

Step ONE

Read the question and underline the keywords in both essay question and notes.

  • Why do we need to underline? To make sure we fully answer to the question and include all the content points asked in the notes. If we do so, we will most probably be given a 5/5 for Content, which is one of the four writing assessment criteria.

In your English class, you have been talking about how much teenagers and young people should help with the housework.

Now, your English teacher has asked you to write an essay.

Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your point of view.

Essay question

Teenagers and young people should share housework equally with their parents. Do you agree?

Notes

Write about:

  • who has more time for housework
  • who does housework better
  • …. (your own idea)

Step TWO

Brainstorm all the words and expressions you can think of related to the above keywords and essay theme. It should take you around 3-4 minutes.

  • Why should we do this? To make sure that we are given at least 3 out of the five points for Language Resource.

In the above question, the main topic is teenagers sharing housework with their parents. Do not spend too much time overthinking about such topic lexis, write down any words that come to your mind, be they every day or less common ones. Let’s do it together. Tip: start with synonyms to the words and expressions from the essay question.

Household chores, youngsters, grown-ups, family members, participate, take part in, help each other, be available, be busy with, have more experience, know better, have responsibilities, clean house, do one’s fair share, be prepared to, be difficult to, tasks, work and school schedule, timetable, duty, after-school activities, care together for, be involved in

Step THREE

Write the plan. Leave enough space between the lines for the main points and arguments. Do not complicate. Follow the order of the notes provided. It should take us around 5 minutes.

Intro (approx. 20 words). Paraphrase the main question

2nd paragraph (approx. 40 words). Most teenagers are involved in after-school activities and are busy with homework. It is parents’ duty to do most chores. Parents have a busy workload and need help.

3rd paragraph (approx. 40 words). Some tasks are easier, while others require more experience. Give easy jobs to young people.

4th paragraph (approx. 30 words). Family wellbeing. Sharing responsibilities leads to avoiding exhaustion. 

Conclusion (approx. 30 words). My opinion. I fully agree. Sharing housework means caring about each other.

Step FOUR

Write a rough essay. It is important you leave a line every other line to correct, add or make changes when you are proofreading  your writing. I suggest you start writing in pen on the exam paper itself, since there is no time to copy your work. It should take you around 20 minutes.

Read the rough essay below and identify what changes need to be made.

Nowadays, there are more and more families whose members share the (housework) household chores and everybody in the family is getting involved in such jobs. I totally agree with this tendency, since (it’s) it is (everybody’s) everyone’s responsibility to cooperate and help each other. In this essay, I will look into this subject and will give reasons for my point of view.

(It’s) It is well known that teenagers spend many hours at school. Some (teenagers) young people are involved in different activities organized by after-school clubs, such as Sports, Art or Music. Others attend classes in reinforcement academic centres, like English and Maths. So, they (haven’t got) do not have enough time to help with (housework) such housekeeping tasks. On the other hand, parents have got a  busier and stricter timetable at work. This means that (parents) they need help at home. For example, the mother, besides going to work every day, has got plenty of tasks at home. Therefore, house responsibilities must be shared between family members, as it is not only the parents’ duty.

People often argue that some household chores are easier than others. This means that they are better done depending on the level of difficulty or the experience the family member has got. For this reason, easy (chores) jobs should be given to teenagers, while harder (chores) ones must be taken on by parents. Young family members should, little by little, be in charge of slightly more difficult chores. This will give them a significant advantage because it teaches them responsibility and be better prepared for their future independent life.

Sharing house responsibilities leads to the family wellbeing not only in the short term, but also in the long run.  By doing so, nobody will be exhausted. Besides, arranging what tasks every family member must do will avoid misunderstanding and family arguments.

For all the above-mentioned reasons, I think that family life is far more pleasant when every member does his or her fair share. Moreover, caring together about the house will bring more happy moments.

Step FIVE

Proofread the essay. Avoid repetition using synonyms and referencing words, as well as short forms, which belong to informal register. In 10 minutes of proofreading, our essay is ready!

Last but not least, it seems that what takes most of our time is to come up with a perfect introduction. We know how important a well-written first paragraph is. 

We need to come up with a formula or pattern to use for any essay question, no matter its type. Here is mine 😉

Top ABC steps to create a successful INTRO:

A. Paraphrase the main question. Repetition is not allowed 

B. Agree or disagree (type ONE), or continue with “The big question is …” (type TWO)

C. “In this essay, I will explain why I think …” (type ONE), or “In this essay I will look at … and decide …” (type TWO)

Examples:

Type ONE introduction for the essay question: “Young people learn a lot from their grandparents. Do you agree?

At present, teenagers acquire a lot of knowledge from the elderly people. I agree with this statement. In this essay I will explain why I think our grandmothers and grandfathers are a valuable source of information for the younger generation. 

Type TWO introduction for the essay question: “Which is more important to teenagers: family or friends?

Parents and best friends play an essential role in a young person’s life. The big question is, though, whose influence is of a greater significance? In this essay, I will look at both sides of this argument and decide who plays a bigger part.

I do hope the material I have prepared for you this time will help you in the B2 First Writing paper.

My learners’ success always matters a lot to me.

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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