If you hope to score band 7 or above in IELTS writing then your writing must be organised into logical paragraphs and you must discuss all of the points in the question in a balanced way. The only way to achieve this is to plan your answer.
Many people say to me ‘There isn’t enough time to plan in the test!’ and my answer is always, ‘If you want to score band 7, you can’t afford not to plan.’ Your plan does not need to be long or take a great deal if time – just a few minutes is enough to make sure that you 1) completely understand the question 2) cover all of the different parts of the the question and 3) think about your own position or point of view about this topic.
If you write without planning then your ideas will not progress logically on from each other. To plan quickly and effectively, just look carefully at the essay question you are given and divide it up into its separate parts.
Look at this image of a writing task 2 question from Cambridge Practice test book 11. In the image, I have used different colours to show the different parts of the question and how these make up the different parts of your essay.
If I were to write my own quick plan for this essay, I would fill in the boxes like this:
Writing a plan like this will ensure that I cover all parts of the question, my essay is balanced, my paragraphs are relevant and logical and my position is clear.
If you don’t think you have the language and vocabulary to answer this question, my IELTS Vocabulary apps and books will teach you the words you need.