Getting Ideas

Many students worry about ideas. “I don’t know what to say!” “I don’t know anything about this topic!”

However, you don’t need too many ideas for an essay in an English exam. The magic number is THREE.

Three ideas means:

Mainly againstMainly for100% for100% against
3773 layout3773 layout35553 layout35553 layout
3 ideas for3 ideas againstIdea forIdea against
3 ideas against3 ideas forIdea forIdea against
ConclusionConclusionIdea forIdea against

Did you notice that in the 3773 layouts that the order of the two paragraphs changes depending on your opinion (mainly for, or mainly against)? Your opinion – your strongest points – come in the second body paragraph.

The best way to get ideas is to underline the main words in the question, and then to write down any words with the same meaning or which are related. Pretend it is a vocabulary exercise.

Make sure you write down the words. Don’t try to keep them in your head.

The more words you write down, the more ideas you will get. Spend five or six minutes just writing down words based on the question.

Some people also use brainstorming, mind maps or other techniques.

What do you want to do now?

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