You should start with the introduction, and end with the conclusion.
The other paragraphs in between will depend on how many points you wish to make. Remember that each paragraph should have only one main idea. The next paragraph will introduce a new idea. You should link the paragraphs using expressions like ‘On the other hand’ (if the new paragraph is in contrast to the first one) or ‘Furthermore’ (if the new paragraph is a new idea which agrees with the first one).
Let’s look at a typical question and suggested paragraph plan:
In Britain, when someone gets old they often go to live in a home with other older people where there are nurses to look after them. Sometimes the government has to pay for this care.
Who do you think should pay for this care, the government or the family?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your experience.
Re-phrase the question to introduce the topic and state your opinion ‘I believe that the government should pay for this care – but not for all’.
First reason – every old person should get the same chance regardless of their income or the income of their family.
Second reason – we work all our lives and pay taxes so that in our old age when we cannot work, we do not have to worry about supporting ourselves.
Contrasting point – if a family is very rich, they should not be able to get money from the government to care for elderly relatives.
Restate your opinion and the reasons. Final (personal) line about how you intend to care for your elderly relatives in the future.
Remember, each paragraph should be linked and have only one main idea. You should develop each idea with supporting details, for example: evidence, personal experience, explanation f the point.
For more tips on General and Academic writing task , please visit the IELTS Writing free online resources on the Cambridge ESOL website.