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Task 2 Essay Type: Thematic Questions
In this lesson, we’re going to look at the task 2 essay type called thematic questions. Let’s look at some sample questions first. So, example 1, what is a book or movie that is important to you? What is unique about the book or movie? What impact did it have on you?
Okay, now question number 2, if you could change your hometown to make it a better place, what changes would you make? How would these changes improve your hometown? Okay, thematic questions look like these, they are a series of questions, usually about two or three a nd they follow a theme of some kind. In the first one the theme is a book or movie that had some influence on you in some way and the second one is your hometown and the kind of changes you’d like to make, all right?
So again, usually two questions, but sometimes three questions, all related to the same topic or the same theme. All right, now how do we answer these questions? What’s the best strategy or approach for these questions? First thing, and this is really the most important thing, you must answer each question in the prompt.
You cannot skip some things or decide you like one question more than the other. These questions seem really closely related and they are in fact, closely related. But you need to be able to answer each one in its own way, okay? And that’s why the best strategy for this type of question, at least the best organization for this type of essay is to answer each of the questions in its own paragraph, okay?
Take each one and write a paragraph. If you have two questions in the prompt, then you know you can write an essay with an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion, okay? If you have three questions, you’re gonna have to write three maybe shorter body paragraphs in addition to your introduction and conclusion, okay? The goal is to write a paragraph for each one.
All right, now if you want to, if let’s say you have two questions in your prompt and maybe you need to write more and you finished both of those paragraphs you’ve answered each of the questions. You may respond with an additional paragraph to one or both of the questions, but normally this is not necessary. Usually the best thing to do is to simply write one paragraph per question and leave it there, all right?
And usually that will get you to your 250 word minimum, okay? However, if you have more to say, if you write quickly and you get through both of your body paragraphs really fast and you want to add some content. It is perfectly fine to add a another paragraph to one of the questions, okay? Now, thesis statements can be the tricky part of this question type, okay? They’re difficult because you’ve got a few different questions to answer and you need to be able to find what connects the ideas together, okay?
What is it that you can say to kind of summarize your main idea in your thesis statement in a way that you can connect all of those different questions from the prompt together in a way that makes sense. I think the easiest way to understand how to do this, is to take a look in some sample questions and sample thesis statements to see how it works. So let’s do that here, let’s look some of the examples.
Example question 1 about a book or movie, okay again, write about a book or movie that is important to you. What do you like about the book or movie and what impact did it have on you? For this one, a good thesis statement could look something like this. One of my favorite movies is Hoosiers because I feel personally connected to the characters, and I’m inspired by the way they pursued their dreams.
Okay, now we’ll talk about the details here in just a second, but just notice, in the thesis statement that the first part of the thesis where it says. I feel personally connected to the characters, that part of the thesis statement relates to the first question, why do you like the book or movie, okay? The reason is I feel personally connected to the characters.
The second part of the thesis, then it says, I’m inspired by the way they pursued their dreams. Okay, that is the sort of part of this thesis that responds to the second question, okay? What was the impact that the movie had on me? Well, it inspired me.
So this thesis responds to both questions and it indicates how the essay is going to be organized. Okay, so the first paragraph then is going to provide details about why I like the movie. And remember, in the thesis statement the main reason is that I feel personally connect to the characters.
Okay, now this is true for me, I grew up in a very similar place as the characters in this movie, okay? It’s all about a basketball team, a high school basketball team from a very small school that went on to beat a lot of much larger schools in the state tournament, okay? So I used to play basketball and I used to live in a small town in the same place as you see in the movie, okay?
So, that’s why I could easily write a paragraph about how I feel personally connected to the characters and that is my reason for loking this movie. The second body paragraph then, needs to discuss the impact it had on me, okay? I could write a paragraph where I describe how the movie inspired me or another way to say that is the story made me think big, okay? It made me think about really ambitious goals, big goals that I might have.
Just like the characters in the movie came from the small place and they set really big goals and they ended up winning the state championship. As a young person, when I saw that movie it made me feel like I could do something similar. Okay, so I can write a body paragraph answering the last question in the prompt about how the movie impacted me because it made me think big or it inspired me, okay?
So that would be the organization of this essay and how it relates to the thesis statement that you put in your introduction. Now let’s look at the second example question, we saw it at the beginning of the lesson. It says, if you could change your hometown to make it a better place, what changes would you make?
How would these changes improve your hometown, okay? So we need to address both questions in the thesis and then also in the body paragraphs below. All right, let’s take a look how one could do this. Here’s a sample thesis that answers both of these questions. The first one is answered in the first half before the comma, and the second question is answered in the second half after the comma.
Let’s read, I would create more opportunities for people to gather together, with the goal of enhancing the sense of community in the town. All right so, the changes that would be made relate to getting people to gather together. All right, so, whatever examples we’re going to see in the body paragraph are gonna relate to that idea of bringing people together.
Then, the overall goal, the way these changes would improve the town, would be that it would create a larger sense of community, okay? So people would feel closer to one another and they would feel like they belong together as a community in this town. All right, let’s look at some details now. This is how that can look then in your body paragraphs, okay?
The first body paragraph is the changes and there are two changes here that we can write about. The first one to add community events, okay? So community events could be things like concerts or theater performances, could be festivals or parades or something like that. Adding more of these things to the community could be one change that would help bring people together.
A second one then, to make the downtown more pedestrian friendly, okay? So maybe the downtown is better suited for car traffic now and there could be some changes made that would make it more like a place that people would want to walk and spend time and do things like go to community events, as already discussed. All right, so those are two changes that could be made to improve the town. And it will make the town better by bringing people together, by making the community feel closer.
That people belong to the same place and want to identify with each other and really be proud of their community in some way. So those are the ideas we would find in the body paragraphs. Now you can go and if you look below the video, you can see a full sample essay related to this question and this basic outline. So you can see how the details would come together in a full length essay response.
I recommend that you study this sort of way of approaching thematic questions and also read through the essay before you try on your own. Maybe you can attempt to answer this question or you could answer the one on movies and books that impacted you in some way, trying to use a similar organizational structure. All right, now to review for this question type, only two things that are the main ideas of this lesson.
Which are that, okay, to organize your thematic question essays, you need to make sure that you answer each of the questions in the prompt. And the best way to do that is to give each question its own paragraph. Secondly, the thesis statements are probably the trickiest part of this essay. You need to find a way to address all of the questions and the main ideas you’re gonna use in your body paragraphs in the thesis statement that you write.
Examples of this were provided for both the movie and book question, and the community enhancement question where we’re thinking of ways to improve the town, okay? Look at those as examples of how to write a good thesis statement for this question type. Okay, so now you have a good sense of how to answer these thematic questions for when you encounter them on the IELTS exam.
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