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Essay Writing

Crafting an Effective Essay: Rearticulating the Prompt

By Timi@VoiceOfWordsPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Essay Writing
Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash

If you find yourself facing a test, whether it's the IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, or even a university exam, especially when tasked with writing an essay or a paragraph, this guide is tailored for your needs. Today, I'm going to share a crucial skill that can significantly enhance your scores in test writing. So, let's dive right in.

Consider this essay question, a common sight in exams such as the IELTS or TOEFL: "Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country. Do you agree or disagree?" Or perhaps you'll encounter a variation like: "To what extent do you agree or disagree?" This serves as an example of the type of question you might encounter.

Now, here's a problem many students encounter when answering such questions.

They read it, think,

"Alright, education is indeed crucial for a country's development," and start their response with: "I agree that education is the single most important factor in the development of a country because…

" What's the issue with this approach, you ask?

Well, it's a significant one.

Take a moment to ponder: "What's wrong with initiating your essay this way?" If you noticed, the answer contains the very words from the question itself: "education," "is," "the single most important," and so on. This is problematic because, whether in the IELTS, TOEFL, or even university exams, regurgitating the question's wording doesn't showcase your abilities; it merely parrots someone else's words or the question's phrasing.

Let's make two points clear: first, don't fall into this trap of copying, and second, I'll show you how to enhance your response by reframing the initial question. So, let's explore how to implement these changes.

To avoid parroting the question, we must practise paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing means taking someone else's sentence and rephrasing it in our words. In other words, you maintain the sentence's original meaning but use different words and sentence structures. It's your words, their meaning.

Let's apply this to our example question:

Original Question: "Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country."

Paraphrased Version: "Schooling plays a pivotal role in a nation's progress."

Now, let's look at another technique for paraphrasing test questions.

Another approach to paraphrasing is altering sentence structures. For instance, transform verbs into nouns and vice versa. Convert nouns into adjectives to add variety to your writing.

Here's how it works:

Original Question: "Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country."

Revised Version: "The most critical element in a nation's advancement is education."

By changing word forms and the sentence structure, you create a more engaging response.

Now, let's move on to the third way to elevate your response through paraphrasing.

The final tip for paraphrasing effectively involves introducing concessions.

What does this mean?

Take a look at the question and my revised response:

Original Question: "Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country."

Revised Version with a Concession: "Although many argue that the economy holds the utmost significance in nation-building, I contend that education wields a far more substantial influence."

Incorporating a concession means acknowledging an opposing viewpoint before presenting your own stance.

This demonstrates critical thinking, showing that you've considered multiple perspectives on the issue.

So, to recap, the three techniques we've discussed today for paraphrasing questions are:

1. using synonyms to alter words,

2. changing sentence structures, and

3. introducing concessions to represent opposing views.

These skills will be invaluable whether you're writing a high school or university essay or tackling exams like TOEFL, IELTS, or CELPIP.

I trust you've found this advice beneficial.

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About the Creator


Welcome to my world of words and stories! I'm passionate about language's beauty and its power to connect people from all walks of life. As a writer and storyteller, I'm here to inspire, educate, and ignite conversations.

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