The recommended steps for writing an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) essay are analyzing the question, planning the outline, writing the parts and proofreading the final version as a whole. It is important to divide the 40 minutes of the total time appropriately between the four steps of the process.
The first step is to understand the question through identifying its type and keywords. The common question types include discussing two opinions, comparing and contrasting, and suggesting solutions from the problems presented. It is important to think carefully about the keywords and the instructions, but this step should only take around 5 minutes.
The second step is to plan the outline for the essay. It is advisable to spend up to 10 minutes to organize ideas into two or three paragraphs, each of which holds only one argument.
The third step is to write the three parts of the essay: introduction, body and conclusion. It is the most natural process to write from the beginning to the end. However, it is not recommended to spend too much time finding the perfect wording for the introduction, which might lead to a lack of time for the rest of the essay. It is advisable to write a full answer for each argument first and come back to polishing word use, spelling, grammar and punctuation later.
Finally, spare several minutes at the end for proofreading the whole essay.