In this tutorial we look at the four golden rules for an essay conclusion.
We review some sample conclusions, and look at various techniques to write an effective conclusion.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Female Voice: Your host, Ben Worthington.
Ben: IELTS essay conclusions. Hello there, IELTS podcast listeners. In this tutorial, we’re going to focus on your conclusions. I’m going to give you a few rules to follow to help make it clearer and I’m going to give you some suggestions that you can use to make the whole process a little bit faster. Then, I’ll give you some sample questions along with sample conclusions.
Also, I forgot to mention, sorry, I’m going to include some conclusion vocabulary. That’s always, always useful. These tips or this advice is taken from the online course. This is the one with the C2 template that a lot of students are using to basically improve their scores. This course comes with a guarantee of “Jump to a band 7 or it’s free.”
So yes, you can try and figure this all out yourself or you can listen to all the podcasts and get a general rough idea or you can go directly to the course and get everything in one sort of like– basically one course and just work through that. As I said, you can try and figure it all out, but why would you do that?
I’ll just say something. This course will not magically give you the band 7, but when you see chapter 3 about formulating ideas or chapter 8 on how to improve your score or chapter 9 about the framework to follow, it will become a lot, lot clearer and then you start getting your feedback, you start improving and you really just see how your essays improve.
Let’s get back to the conclusion. As I said, this specific module probably in a little bit more detail and a little bit more comprehensive is included in the online course. Let’s jump straight into it. The golden rules for when you are making your conclusion is that 1) we make sure that we are answering the question. We make sure that we’ve stayed on topic. 2) We can either summarize or restate our position. 3) We do not use new information and new arguments. If an idea pops into your head when you’re writing your conclusion, slap it down, ignore it, push it away. Do not start another argument. Do not open up another paragraph, another topic. 4) Aim for between two and three sentences.
That’s a general guideline. So, don’t get worked up if you can’t. Let me just rephrase those four rules, guidelines. 1) Make sure you answer the question. 2) Either summarize or restate your position. 3) No new information. 4) Aim to write between two to three sentences.
Let’s go a little bit deeper. When we say make sure you answer the question, imagine that we get the question of, “To what extent…” then make sure your conclusion says how much you agree. Do you strongly agree? Do you completely disagree? Make sure it’s in the conclusion.
Balance your introduction and your conclusion. Balance them. This means that they’re both going to be broadly similar and we’re going to use what’s called the sandwich technique which is basically where we– and we’re going to use almost like micro sandwiches for both the introduction and the conclusion.
For example, the sandwich technique is we’re making a sandwich and we’ve got the two pieces of bread at the top and at the bottom and in the middle we’ve got the filling. This is broadly what we want to do for the paragraphs. The first sentence will be the first piece of bread and this is going to be pretty slim I imagine compared to the filling. The middle of the paragraph, of the introduction is going to be a filling, so we’re going to put a few more ideas in that and then the final sentence is going to be basically the summary. That’s for the introduction.
Then we’re going to mirror that for our conclusion. So, our conclusion the sentence we’re going to introduce the first sentence is going to be the top of the sentence basically talking about what we’ve covered. The filling is going to be why and then the summary or the final concluding sentence is going to be, obviously, the conclusion not only to this mini paragraph, this conclusive paragraph, but also to the whole essay.
I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you’re following that general structure, then we’re going to on to a winner. We’re going to be golden. Next point: vary your vocabulary. Try to avoid repetition especially words that we’ve used before, previously in our body paragraphs and also words that we may have used in our introduction or words taken from a question. I’ve gone into more detail about paraphrasing and using synonyms in another episode. I think if you just put ieltspodcast paraphrase then you’ll be able to find a big tutorial about that.
Final point: do not try to include too much information for your conclusion. This is also valid for your introduction, by the way. State your position and choose your best argument. Do not try and summarize all your arguments. You might briefly, briefly mention them– I’ll go into an example in a minute, but the main arguments, your best arguments we want to summarize and then at the end we just put the conclusion.
It’s quite straightforward I think and it’s much easier as well if you’re getting guidance and for example, in the course, this is a video. There are a few more examples and of course, there is the tutor correcting your essays, giving you feedback and helping you to improve much, much faster.
Next part before we move on to the sample conclusions is to have a look at some vocabulary which I’ve got right here. We can say ‘in summary’, we can say ‘all things considered’, we can say ‘taking everything into account’. You could say this one which is a little bit wordy for my liking: from these facts, one may conclude that… Next one: to conclude; it’s simple. It’s straight to the point. There will be a big list concluding what has been said before.
As you can see, there are quite a few options. Personally, I prefer ‘to conclude’ or ‘in conclusion’. It’s direct. It’s quite straightforward. Some students use ‘in a nutshell’. For my liking, personally, I’m not too keen on that because I’ve never ever seen it in academic writing and 2) it seems like a bit try hard, you know, you’re trying too hard to make your writing sound natural.
That’s why I prefer and I encourage students just to say ‘to conclude’ and then get on to the meat and potatoes, so to speak, the main part of your conclusion. Just get straight to it. Don’t bother trying to pick up points with your introduction starting your conclusion. Just get to it and get summarizing. It is a summary and that’s what you need to be doing. So using a lot of words is counter intuitive, in my honest and humble opinion. Let’s get going.
Sample conclusions: we might have this question, “Some people think that paying taxes is enough to contribute to society. Others argue that being a citizen involves more responsibilities. Discuss.”
“As we have seen, citizenship is a complex issue and it certainly involves a wide variety of duties. Indeed, my personal view is that paying taxes is not even the most significant responsibility that citizens have. I would argue that it is more important to care for those in your immediate community.” You see? Job done. Job done.
Next one: the question is about migrant workers. “Some people working abroad bring their family for a period of time. Do you think it has more advantages or disadvantages?” Quite a short question. Conclusion: this is clearly an important issue and there’s no easy answer. My personal conclusion is that each case should be judged on its own merits and individuals need to make their own choices. For some migrant workers, there are clear benefits in having the family around them. For others, this would only create more problems.”
Can you see we didn’t go into detail? We’re briefly touching on the arguments and maybe restating what we’ve said in our body paragraphs. These are good conclusions. They are short, succinct, concise, and clear.
Next one: compulsory education. “Everyone should stay in school until the age of 18. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” “In conclusion, there are certainly good arguments to be made in favor of compulsory education until the age of 18. However, I believe that most 16-year-olds are able to make informed decisions about their career, so they should be allowed to leave school at that age.”
Here we have answered the ‘to what extent do you agree or disagree’. We’ve acknowledged that it is okay– there are some okay arguments to stay in college until 18– to stay in school until 18, but most 16-year-olds are probably capable of making this decision themselves. That’s the extent to which we agree with this. We agree to the extent of 16 basically if you want to be very literal. There we can infer that we kind of agree with the idea, with the direction, but only to 16.
Next one: maternity leave. “Mothers generally stay home to take care of their children after their pregnancy. Do you support the opinion that these mothers should be compensated by the government?” “In summary, I firmly believe that in the 21st century, women on maternity leave should receive benefits from the government. The only question to be resolved is for how long those benefits should last. That will depend on the policies in individual countries.”
We have answered the question and we’ve also added another point just to say these mothers should be compensated by the government. We said yes and then we said that will depend on the policies in individual countries. The length of time will be determined by the policies in individual countries. Hopefully, as well, you’re picking up on the vocabulary we’re using.
Final point and then I’m going to give you a very useful tip to help you develop conclusions and that actually– yes, that’s just reminded me of another important point that I mentioned. Next question: language. “A few languages are increasingly being spoken in different countries while the usage of others is rapidly declining. Is this a positive or negative development?”
My conclusion, “Finally, it is not easy to say whether this globalization of language is for the best since so much depends on the points of view. However, what is clear is that in the future, more and more people will be speaking a fewer number of languages unless action is taken.”
So, my answer there is it’s not easy to say, but it depends on your point of view. I’m not just saying it’s not easy to say. I’m saying it’s not easy to say because it depends on which angle you’re viewing the situation from. That kind of sides with the question there, which is okay because I backed up my answer and I gave a reason.
Also, as I said before, this is a language test, not an intelligence test. I communicated clearly that this is difficult to answer and it’s difficult to answer because of this. The next part of the conclusion I’m acknowledging the second part of the question. “Is this positive or negative?” I’m acknowledging it. I’m not entirely answering it.
I guess you could infer that I am. That’s saying it’s a negative development because I said it’s clear that in the future less people will be speaking languages. So I did answer it. I’ll just say it again, the second part of the question, “Is this a positive or negative development?” My answer, “However, what is clear is that in the future, more and more people will be speaking a fewer number of languages unless action is taken.”
So, you can infer that it is probably a negative development and maybe action needs to be taken to save or to rescue this situation. This is like higher-level writing when the reader can infer your position rather than you having to explicitly state this is a positive development. You see?
Final two points, the boring point probably, but I do feel it is necessary to say it. If you want to improve with your conclusions, you’ve got a few different options. 1) Find a list of IELTS task 2 questions. There are over 250 task 2 questions on my site at ieltspodcast.com. Go there and you can find all those questions and you can write sample conclusions.
Next, how do you know if you’ve got a problem with your conclusions? Well, you get feedback. Write an essay and then get somebody to look at it and give you feedback. If you’ve got a native English speaker, they can probably help you with the proofreading aspects and pick up on the grammar and any unnatural language that you might be using.
However, they might be a bit pushed when it comes to identifying and helping you write in an academic fashion and also identifying which parts of your IELTS essay you need to improve in order to pass, in which case then you might want to consider investing in your own preparation by getting some feedback. This, as I said before, is a very effective and fast way to improve.
So, you write the essay and the essay corrector would say, “Hey, work on your introductions. Work on your conclusions. We can help you with your body paragraphs if you use this structure,” and so on and so forth. So, if you are interested in getting some feedback, have a look at ieltspodcast Essay Correction Service. It’s pretty fast and it is becoming increasingly more popular.
If you know a student who is struggling with their IELTS, then you might want to send this episode or you might want to send them the URL for the website. It’s your call. But if you can think of somebody who would benefit, then why not share this resource? Why not help them get ahead as well?
The next step if you are interested in improving your IELTS score is to go to ieltspodcast.com. You can either join us on the online course or you can sign up and get some IELTS materials and in that big e-book you get when you sign up, there’s a list of sample questions and model sample essays for example. That’s all for me today. Have a fantastic day. Keep on working. Keep in improving. You will get there. It is inevitable. That’s it for me.
Female Voice: Thanks for listening to ieltspodcast.com