Your answer needs to be a coherent piece of writing, not just chunks of good ideas; so you need to sew your paragraphs together so it reads like one complete piece.
The topic is usually about a CRISIS so a good way to make sure there’s a common thread is to use language that reflects that.
Use words like “urgent” and “imperative” throughout your answer to get across that sense of importance.
Another way to make sure your writing is coherent is to have a central motif. Look at the plan you’ve drafted and think about what motif might represent your argument.
For example, if you’re writing about an injustice, you could use a prison motif to convey a sense of power imbalance. So you’d use words like “locked”, “punishing”, “imprisoned” etc.
Or if your answer is about some sort of uncertainty you could use a sailing motif. For that, you’d use nautical language like “navigate” and “turbulent” . You can also use metaphors like “being at sea” or “in choppy waters”.
Think of your introduction as an umbrella; it should cover the whole of your argument and all of your separate paragraphs. Make sure it’s engaging and gets to the point.
Tip: Don’t start your answer with a vague sentence like “This is a very important issue with lots of perspectives to consider.” It might be safe and it puts words on the page, but it doesn’t say anything about your argument.
- Start with a bang. Immediately show what side of the argument you’re on. Don’t be too safe. You can even say that you’re outraged about the topic. You’ll immediately get the attention of the examiner doing this. If the topic is about a crisis, you can use that word in your introduction, or even in your first sentence.
- Now zoom out and set the scene. Give some wider context about the topic. Explain why it’s an issue in the first place, using information you’ve gleaned from the extract to give additional detail.
- Give a personal anecdote. Mention how this issue relates to a personal memory or an experience; perhaps a holiday or a hobby you have. That way, your passion for the argument is sincere. It will really help to give your answer some character and individuality.
Lots of students struggle to get each of their paragraphs started after their introduction. Avoid using ‘furthermore’ for each paragraph, and try not to ‘list’ your arguments by “Firstly…Secondly…Thirdly” etc.
Instead, vary the start of your paragraphs:
Write with enthusiasm
Ensure the examiner can hear your voice. Write with a bit of passion, like you really care about the topic; even if you don’t, you DO care about getting a good grade.
So harness that passion and inject it into your answer so your writing has some spark.
End with confidence
Finish your answer with a powerful sentence related to your argument.
This will ‘wrap up’ your answer and make it look finished, which will tell the examiner you’re in control of your writing.