Oh no! It’s a terrible question! I don’t know what to write!
(IELTS Writing Strategies)
Imagine the situation. You have just been given a question to write about, or a topic to speak about, and it’s a horrible question. It’s the worst question in the universe. It’s the only question you just can’t answer.
Your mind becomes completely empty! “Oh no! I know nothing about this,” you say to yourself.
So what do you do?
That is the first rule in IELTS.
And here is the second rule: your opinions are not important.
I’m going to say the second rule again, because it sounds strange: your true opinions and personal ideas are not important.
What do I mean by this? After all, the questions often ask you about your ideas and opinions – so how can those ideas and opinions be unimportant?
But they are unimportant. Your actual ideas and opinions are completely unimportant. Worse – they distract you from your task. Your task in IELTS is to showcase your language.
You must never forget that IELTS is a test of language, not of ideas. There are no extra marks for the quality of your ideas. IELTS is not a test of philosophy or religion.
In fact, if you have lots of ideas, and if those ideas are complex and complicated – you are just going to waste time and get in a muddle, and that will not help you at all. Which brings me to the third rule of IELTS: keep it simple!
If the question is ‘Do you agree or disagree’, don’t answer ‘I don’t know.’ Just choose between ‘agree ‘ and disagree’. And you certainly shouldn’t answer ‘I agree in part, and I disagree in part because life is more complex than your question’.
Life is certainly more complex than an IELTS question.
When you see a question, ignore the truth, ignore what you really think, and simply pretend that you agree, or disagree. Black or white. One or the other. The examiner does not have a lie detector to know if you are saying the truth, or not! That is why I say that your personal opinions are really not important at all.
The only thing that matters is, what can you say? So only ever write and say things that you know you can express.