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Improving your IELTS, CAE, FCE, and TOEFL writing scores: thesis with predictors

November 15, 2014

Whether you are taking the IELTS, CAE, FCE, or TOEFL exam,  you will be asked to write some form of essay or response. The writing assignment could be about a number of topics (and written in a number of styles), but there is one thing all writing prompts should have: a good thesis statement.

Writing a Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement?

The thesis statement comes in the first paragraph of your writing. It contains your main idea, which you will expand throughout the rest of the paper.

Tips for writing a good thesis statement:

  • A good trick when writing a thesis statement is to assume that the reader could read ONLY this sentence and know EXACTLY what your paper will be about.
  • A thesis statement should be found at the beginning of the paper (typically it is the last sentence of the first paragraph).
  • The opinion should be clear, especially if the prompt asks you to make a choice between two things.

A great way of making a strong thesis statement is with predictors. Predictors are the parts of the thesis statement that tell the reader exactly what will be in the following paragraphs. The word “predictor” is used because these devices help the reader “predict” what the rest of the text will be.

 

Examples of Thesis Statements

Let’s look at some thesis statements with predictors. The predictors are in bold.

EXAMPLE ONE

Although many people enjoy living near the ocean, I prefer the mountains because of the smell of the fresh air and pine trees, the accessibility of hiking trails, and the solitary feel that the mountain scenery provides

We know that the writer will talk about three things in the body paragraphs:

  • the smell of the fresh air and pine trees
  • the accessibility of hiking trails
  • the solitary feel that the mountain scenery provides

 

EXAMPLE TWO

I personally feel that sports teach us many vital life lessons including teamwork, good sportsmanship, and that losing is a fact of life we must all face. 

We know that the writer will talk about the following three things in the body paragraphs:

  • teamwork
  • good sportsmanship
  • that losing is a fact of life we must all face

 

EXAMPLE THREE

There are many advantages to studying abroad including the ability to learn a new language, the chance to truly experience life in another culture, and the potential to make life-long friends with people from around the world. 

We know that the writer will talk about the following three things in the body paragraphs:

  • the ability to learn a new language
  • the chance to truly experience life in another culture
  • the potential to make life-long friends with people from around the world

 

Thesis Tips

More tips on writing a thesis statement with predictors:

  • Make sure that your predictors are in the order which you will present them in the text. For example, in the above thesis statement, body paragraph 1 should be about “the ability to learn a new language” and body paragraph 2 should be “the chance to truly experience life in another culture, followed by body paragraph 3, “the potential to make life-long friends with people from around the world.”
  • DO NOT write “I am going to talk about” or “I am going to write about.” Stylistically, you can do better!
  • Do not begin writing until you have created a solid thesis statement. It is essentially the basis of your paper.
  • After you have finished writing and you are in the editing process, make sure to go back and read your thesis statement. It is important that you remain true to the thesis statement throughout your paper, and it is common that your focus shifts and changes as you go further in the writing process. If you have to revise your thesis statement at the end in order to have it properly reflect your paper, that is OK. But if you plan ahead and make sure that each paragraph supports your thesis statement, you will avoid this problem.

 

For more information on the next TOEFL, Cambridge CAE and FCE, or IELTS classes at CISL, visit our website www.cisl.edu.

 

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