Coming up with good ideas to include in your essay for the writing task is not just based on luck or on how knowledgeable you are on a particular topic. If you know how to brainstorm correctly, you can save time and also plan out the structure of your essay.
Why Brainstorming Is Important?
Often students don’t spend any time planning their essay and opt for writing straight away. There are two main dangers to this strategy. Firstly, you run the risk of running out of ideas halfway through your essay. Secondly, if you don’t brainstorm before you start writing, you will probably end up with an unstructured, illogical, and incoherent essay.
I recommend using a mind map to generate ideas. A mind map will help you to organize your ideas in a logical sequence.
Making a mind map helps you to logically order your main ideas, supporting points, and examples, as you brainstorm. This means that you will save time on planning your essay, which buys you time to actually write and recheck your response.
Here is an example of what a mind map should look like:
Once you’ve made your mind map you can start to organize your points. Think about which points are important enough to add to your essay. Try to think about the order in which you will mention each main point.
You can also use your brainstorming time to think of topic-specific vocabulary and synonyms that could be useful for your essay.
How Long Should You Spend Brainstorming
Once you have analysed the question thoroughly, you should spend around 2 to 3 minutes coming up with ideas for your essay. Although this seems like too short a time to prepare anything for an essay. However, if you practice idea generation well enough, you can learn to use these minutes of planning time as efficiently as possible in order to create a well-structured and coherent essay.
What If You Don’t Have Enough Ideas?
Many students worry that they won’t know much about their given essay topic on test day. However, it is important to remember that the PTE writing module is an assessment of your writing skills and not on how knowledgeable you are on a particular subject. Although your answer should be related to the topic of the question, it doesn’t really matter if you have brilliant ideas or not. What does matter is how you structure your essay and whether you communicate your ideas in a way that is easily understood by native speakers.
Remember, you don’t actually need many ideas, it’s better to take one or two ideas and expand on them so that you end up with one main idea in each paragraph. Then you can use the rest of the paragraph to support your main idea by adding explanations and examples.
Let’s take a look at the following example: