T.R.E.E.S. paragraph structure

For the IELTS Writing Task #2 essay, TREES paragraph structure helps you cover all Task Achievement content requirements in the most organized way. This is the most effective structure for any IELTS essay body paragraph.

Note that IELTS requires an example, according to the instructions. For IELTS, an example can be scientific or statistical evidence, or it can be a personal example. They don't care which one it is as long as it is well-developed. What they do not want to see is a list of reasons. For example, in an Agree/Disagree essay, you need 2 supporting reasons. Each supporting reason is developed into each of the two body paragraphs. The purpose of each body paragraph is to develop each reason.

There are three basic patterns for the example:

  1. Refer to a research study or newspaper report and explain what happened.
  2. Give a personal example - something that happened to you, a friend, or a peer.
  3. Start with a research study. Briefly describe it and then provide an example that brings it to life. This is the most effective method.

Topic sentence

  • 1 sentence

The topic sentence tells the reader exactly what to expect in that paragraph. In this case, state the first reason for your opinion, summarize the first perspective, or answer the 1st question in a 2-part question. The topic sentence in the first body paragraph summarizes your answer to the first half of the prompt; the topic sentence in the 2nd body paragraph summarizes your answer to the 2nd half of the prompt.


  • 1 sentence

Expand on your reason in general terms. 


  • 1-2 sentences

How do you know this is true? Refer to a research study or statistic that proves what you are saying is true. As long as it's reasonable, invent the data and results.


  • 1-2 sentences

Bring your point to life with an example. Invent a story of how this happened to you, a family member, or peer; you can refer to a news story.


  • 1 sentence

Connect the paragraph to the thesis. Explain how the evidence/example supports your opinion. Remember, your opinion MUST be clear throughout your response; this is the place to remind the reader.

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