In the BAWE classification, an Essay is a piece of writing which develops an argument. When you write an Essay, you need to show that you can construct a coherent argument and employ critical thinking skills. You need to support your argument with evidence.

Essays can be structured in many different ways, but they all include your thesis (a statement of the case you are making) and arguments based on evidence to support your thesis, logically organised. You will often be expected to include evidence against your thesis. This will be followed by a conclusion.

exposition discussion challenge factorial consequential commentary
thesis issue challenge state state text(s) introduction
supporting arguments alternative arguments arguments contributory factors ensuing factors comments
restate thesis final position thesis summary thesis summary thesis summary

In an expository Essay, you would start by presenting your thesis – as a statement of the case you can make based on the evidence and your arguments. This would be followed by the evidence to support your thesis.

In a discussion Essay, you would start by presenting the issue - the problem you have to solve. You would then explain and discuss the evidence and different points of view regarding the issue. You would finish by comparing and contrasting the different arguments and making a choice - your final position.

In a challenge Essay, you are challenging a given theory by showing where it is weak and proposing a better theory. You would start by introducing the theory you are challenging. You would then analyse and evaluate it to show where it is weak and propose a better alternative.

Factorial Essays and consequential Essays are similar. Both are organised around the facts that either lead to or are consequences of a state of affairs. In a factorial Essay, you discuss the facts that lead to or cause a state of affairs. In a factorial Essay, you would start by describing the state of affairs you are interested in. You would then present the factors that led to the state of affairs. These would be grouped in some way, analysed and evaluated. You would finish by concluding about, for example, the importance of the factors you have discussed.

In a consequential Essay, you discuss the facts that result from a state of affairs. You would again start by describing the state of affairs you are interested in. You would then present the factors that resulted from or were caused by the state of affairs. These would be grouped in some way, analysed and evaluated. You would finish by concluding about, for example, the importance of the state of affairs in contributing to the consequences you have discussed.

The final Essay type is the commentary Essay. These Essays would normally focus on texts. Your introduction would therefore introduce the text(s). You would then follow this with a series of comments that analyse and evaluate the text(s) given. You may be required to compare and contrast the texts. You would conclude by summarising your comments.

Examples of Essays include:

  • Exposition Essay - thesis, supporting arguments, restate thesis
  • Discussion Essay - issue, alternative arguments, final position
  • Challenge Essay - challenge, arguments, thesis
  • Factorial Essay - state, contributory factors, summary thesis
  • Consequential Essay - state, ensuing factors, summary thesis
  • Commentary Essay - introduction, comments, summary

Try the following tasks to learn more about Essay organisation.

Task 1

Six types of Essay are introduced. While they all have slightly different stages in their overall structure, they all share a basic structure. Drag the stages into the correct order to show this basic structure - put the first one at the top.

Exercise

Task 2

Six types of Essays are mentioned. Match the structure of the essay to the essay type.

Exercise

Task 3

Example 1 shows the first part of an essay on 'words'. The paragraphs are not in the correct order. Drag them into the correct order, putting the first paragraph at the top.

Exercise

Task 4

Read this introduction from an Essay on language planning. On the basis of the introduction, identify the essay type.

Introduction

If half of the 6,000 languages in the world were to disappear within the next 100 years, many people would consider it to be a great loss in respect of the linguistic diversity and cultural heritage of the human race; there are however those that disagree and feel that it might benefit the world to have a more homogeneous linguistic make-up. By looking at declarations of linguistic rights, the aim is to ascertain what the United Nation's stance should be on this debate. The more specific arguments of whether language extinction is problematic or not will then be discussed.

Exercise

Task 5

Read this introduction from an Essay on language planning. On the basis of the introduction, decide the order of the following sections. Put the first section at the top.

Introduction

If half of the 6,000 languages in the world were to disappear within the next 100 years, many people would consider it to be a great loss in respect of the linguistic diversity and cultural heritage of the human race; there are however those that disagree and feel that it might benefit the world to have a more homogeneous linguistic make-up. By looking at declarations of linguistic rights, the aim is to ascertain what the United Nation's stance should be on this debate. The more specific arguments of whether language extinction is problematic or not will then be discussed.

Exercise

Task 6

Look at the essay on language planning - Example 2. Add the headings you ordered in Task 5 to the correct places in the essay. Most places will not require headings.

Exercise

Task 7

Put the sentences from paragraph 2 of Example 2 in order.

Exercise

Task 8

Remembering what you did in Task 5, match the essay sections with the stages of a discussion essay identified above.

Exercise

Download

Comments

Nice post..

NIce post..

Dear sirs,
I have a question regarding mixing thesis and argumentative styles in IELTS writing section.
Is it possible to start an essay like a thesis essay and write two body paragraphs, each with an idea and its supporting sentences, and then for the third paragraph write in an argumentative style?

Thank you for all your help and support .
Arvin

Hello Arvin2017,

Please visit our dedicated site for IELTS candidates (here) where you can find a lot of information about the various parts of the test (here), including the writing part (here). You can also contact our IELTS experts (here) with your question.

The site has a lot of preparation materials (here) including practice tests with sample answers (here). I'm sure it will be useful to you in preparing for the test.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the links .They are extremely useful; however, I was not able to find the answer to my question.The links provide very general information about the test and there is no section for asking questions.
The link to contact experts also does not deal with educational questions.

Is there any other way you can help me with please?

Regards,
Arvin

Hello Arvin,

I'm afraid none of us on the team know the answer to your question. I've also done some looking around online and haven't managed to find specific-enough information anywhere else, either.

The British Council offers a free online IELTS preparation course at FutureLearn. I'm not sure if that's possible for you, but perhaps one of the teachers on that course could answer your question.

We're very sorry not to be able to help you further with this.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi kirk ,

Thanks a lot for the information. I will have a look at the online course.

Regards,
Arvin

hello there,
I want to ask about the type of essays required in the writing section of the academic IELTS test, are they just commentary, discussion or exposition essays?
thanks in advance

Hello fatma adel,

You should be able to find this kind of information at TakeIELTS. I'd suggest their test format and writing test pages, though I expect you could find other useful information if you browse the site a bit.

There's also our IELTS YouTube channel and IELTS preparation courses with the British Council in Egypt that might be something to consider.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

The explanation above do not describe ththroughly. How to build sentences effectively and how to make each sentence is coherence.

Thanks a lots.

Pages