Don’t repeat your words in IELTS Writing

Quite often, candidates tend to overlook the importance of checking their answers when they read their IELTS descriptions or essays. In the effort to finish their writing on time, candidates tend to get bogged down in the process of writing and lose sight of what is also important: writing a coherent paragraph.

Here is a recent example of an essay paragraph that one of my students have written on the topic of repeat driving tests:

Apparently, regular driving tests make driving safer, which would benefit both drivers and the public. Some people might still be unfamiliar with driving even after getting a driving licence but end up not driving on a regular basis. For example, if someone had not been driving for ten years, there is an increased chance of getting into an accident when he starts driving again. Apart from that, frequent driving tests may benefit older drivers in particular. Despite being experienced drivers, some old people  may no longer be suitable to drive anymore because of deteriorating health or eyesight problems. For example, they may suffer from a heart attack while driving. 

Can you spot the problem here?

Apparently, regular driving tests make driving safer, which would benefit both drivers and the public. Some people might still be unfamiliar with driving even after getting a driving licence but end up not driving on a regular basis. For example, if someone had not been driving for ten years, there is an increased chance of getting into an accident when he starts driving again. Apart from that, frequent driving tests may benefit older drivers in particular. Despite being experienced drivers, some old people  may no longer be suitable to drive anymore because of deteriorating health or eyesight problems. For example, they may suffer from a heart attack while driving.

The issue here is that there are too many of the same words within the paragraph. So, how do we manage this?

Here are a couple of ways:

  1. Use a thesaurus: you can find one either online (Thesaurus.com is a good start) or one that is already installed on your MS Word application on your computer (Tools – Thesaurus).
  2. Re-structure or paraphrase your sentence. For example, in the 1st sentence above, instead of “Apparently, regular driving tests make driving safer, which would benefit both drivers and the public”, you could replace it with: Apparently, regular driving tests make navigating the roads safer, which would benefit both the person behind the wheel and the public. Here, the words driving is substituted with the person navigating the roads while drivers are replaced with the person behind the wheel.

You do not have to insist on using an exact substitute for the word that you would like to replace but rather, think about how the same idea can be conveyed in a different way using other words.

I hope this helps.

Until next time!

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