How to write a perfect IELTS essay conclusion

What we’re talking about today is writing a conclusion for an IELTS exam or a CAE exam, so I’m going to give you two ways to write conclusions so that when you get to the end, you don’t just sort of put a full stop that doesn’t really say anything extra, that doesn’t feel like a conclusion. Because when you write a conclusion, a good conclusion has a different tone, there’s something that feels finished about it. And more generally, your conclusion should be your last chance to impress, to show that examiner all that English that you know and how fluent you are when you’re writing in English, and you should leave the reader with an additional thought in the end, ideally, when you’re writing a conclusion. So let’s look at a typical IELTS kind of question.

“Some people think that parents should teach their children to be good members of society. However, others believe school is the best place to learn this.” And then the IELTS question would say: “Share your experience, and give reasons for your answers.” So let’s imagine that you’ve already written your essay. So, how do you begin your conclusion? The… The first way I’m going to tell you, I’m going to call it the “As I have discussed” conclusion, and there are three parts to writing this conclusion. And I’m giving you the structure so that you can see how you can put a conclusion together just by putting different pieces in there. And now, this is… This is great for an IELTS essay. It’s not a super imaginative kind of conclusion that would be great at university, but for IELTS, it’s… It’s good for IELTS.

So, here are the three parts for this conclusion: “As I have discussed”; then: “However” sentence with “I” or, you know, using your subjectivity, basically; and then making a moral or social observation in the first conditional. So let’s have a look. So, “As I have discussed”, what we’re doing is we’re just taking that phrase, basically, and this shows the tone… This establishes the tone of conclusion: “As I have discussed”. You’re basically saying: “Well, I already told you all of this, but now I’m summarizing.”

“As I have discussed, there are advantages and disadvantages to the question.” I’ve shown both sides of the argument. You could just learn that, you could learn that whole phrase to begin a conclusion. What do you follow it with? You follow it with a “However” sentence. So, there may be advantages and disadvantages, but there’s a catch. “However, I think parents should be responsible for teaching children to be good members of society.” So this is you saying: “Yeah, I see both sides. This is good about it, that’s good about the other side. But, you know, for me and in my opinion”, because now we’re using your subjectivity by saying: “I think”, you can… You can finally make your position clear, make your position known. Maybe in the rest of the essay, this is discursive… This is a discursive essay. You’ve been showing both sides of the argument. But if you write your essay in a way where you don’t use: “I think”, “I believe” in the rest of the essay before, it can be quite powerful just to use “I think” once at the end in your conclusion.

So, again: “However, I think parents should be responsible for teaching children to be good members of society.” That bit’s done. What do we do next? Well, sometimes people like to end essays by giving a grand statement about morals and the world, so you can also do this in your IELTS exam. And this is what I’m talking about when I say: “Make a moral or social observation”.