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To help students begin to discover topics that make for good essay fodder, ask them to create a timeline of significant events in their lives. Ask them to really think broadly, aiming to get at least 20 items on their list. They should include “major” events like births, deaths, travel, coming of age rituals, or course, but also the more mundane moments they remember that have marked their lives in some way — a car ride, a dinner, a chance meeting, etc. (You might encourage them to respond to our Student Opinion question and read what other student commenters wrote.)

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HSLDA Attn: Essay Contest PO Box 3000 Purcellville, VA 20134

After each group has shared, ask: How were these essays different from the excerpt with which we began? In what ways were they more effective? What is cliché? How did these essays avoid that trap? Is there a way to move the experience detailed in the opening essay beyond cliché? After considering these essays, what else should we add to our list about what college admissions officials are looking for in student essays?

Yes, the admissions folks have read it before. Many times.

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Current IELTS exam topics and questions:

What are the top three pieces of advice you glean from this piece?
From whose perspective does this advice come?
Do you find this advice compelling? Why or why not?

HSLDA Attn: Essay Contest PO Box 3000 Purcellville, VA 20134

Activity | Explain to students that they will now start developing personal essays for their college application packages, by evaluating and then capitalizing on advice on how to write effective essays.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

Hi, my name is Elizabeth (Liz). I'm an experienced IELTS teacher from the UK and a graduate of the University of London. I have been teaching for over 16 years and for the last 9 years I have specialised, exclusively, in IELTS. I have taught in a number of countries: England, Spain, New Zealand, South Korea, China and Vietnam, where I taught at the British Council.

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A page of recent questions in all sections of the IELTS test reported by students. Although the words in the essay questions can be changed, the issues and topics often remain the same.

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Once students have finished their work, reconvene and ask students to share the most compelling advice from each piece. Compile a list on the board and discuss the wisdom and limitations of the suggestions.

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Throughout your academic career, you will often be asked to write essays. You may have to work on an assigned essay for class, enter an essay contest or write essays for college admissions. This article will show you how to write, and then revise, all types of essays. Then, we'll explore how to write narrative, persuasive and expository essays. Read on to learn how to write essays like an expert!