How to Paraphrase Questions in Essay Writing

Published on: by English with Emma · engVid


Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today's video I'm going to teach you something very important for if you're taking any type of test that has a writing component. So, if you are taking the IELTS, the TOEFL, the CELPIP, even just a university test, it can be any type of test, but if you're asked to write something like an essay or a paragraph, this video is for you. Okay? So I'm going to teach you a very important skill that will help improve your marks when it comes to writing on tests. So, let's get started.

Introduction: Importance of writing component in tests like IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, and university tests

The ability to write effectively is crucial for various tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, and university assessments. Writing plays a significant role in measuring the language proficiency and critical thinking skills of a test-taker. Whether it's composing essays, reports, or academic papers, the writing component is designed to evaluate how well individuals can convey their ideas, organize information, and communicate effectively in a written format. Therefore, developing strong writing skills is essential for achieving success in these tests.

One common mistake that test-takers often make when tackling writing tasks is directly copying the question prompt in their answer. This approach not only showcases a lack of original thought but also fails to demonstrate the test-taker's ability to articulate their own ideas and arguments. Merely regurgitating the question in the response does not fulfill the requirements of the task, and it can result in a lower score. To avoid this pitfall, test-takers need to learn how to paraphrase the question effectively while maintaining the core meaning and intent.

Paraphrasing the question involves rephrasing it using synonyms and different sentence structures without altering the original message. By employing synonyms for key terms in the question and rearranging the sentence structure, test-takers can demonstrate a deeper understanding of the topic and showcase their language proficiency. This skill not only helps in providing a more engaging and cohesive response but also allows test-takers to present their ideas in a more nuanced and sophisticated manner. Learning how to paraphrase effectively is a valuable skill that can significantly enhance one's writing performance in tests like IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, and university assessments.

Common mistake: Copying the question in the answer

One prevalent error that many test-takers commit in writing tasks is the verbatim copying of the question prompt in their response. This practice not only lacks originality and critical thinking but also fails to fulfill the requirements of the task. When test-takers simply repeat the question in their answer, they are essentially regurgitating information without adding any value or demonstrating their own insights or perspectives. Moreover, copying the question directly can lead to a loss of marks as it does not showcase the test-taker's ability to engage with the topic and present a coherent argument.

Copying the question in the answer reflects a superficial approach to the writing task and indicates a limited understanding of the subject matter. Instead of showcasing their comprehension and analytical skills, test-takers who resort to this practice often produce responses that lack depth and originality. To improve their writing performance, test-takers must learn the art of paraphrasing the question effectively. By paraphrasing, test-takers can demonstrate their language proficiency, critical thinking abilities, and creativity in approaching the task. This skill not only enhances the quality of their responses but also allows them to stand out as more proficient and insightful candidates.

Mastering the skill of paraphrasing is crucial for test-takers seeking to excel in writing components of assessments like IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, and university tests. Through paraphrasing, individuals can showcase their ability to interpret and analyze prompts, reframe them in their own words, and offer original perspectives on the given topic. By avoiding the pitfall of directly copying the question, test-takers can elevate the quality of their responses, engage the reader more effectively, and ultimately achieve higher scores in their writing tasks. Learning to paraphrase not only enhances writing proficiency but also cultivates critical thinking skills essential for success in academic and professional contexts.

Paraphrasing the question using synonyms to maintain the same meaning

A key strategy for improving writing performance in tests is paraphrasing the question using synonyms to convey the same meaning but in different words. By employing synonyms effectively, test-takers can demonstrate a richer vocabulary, a deeper understanding of the topic, and a more nuanced approach to expressing ideas. Synonyms not only help vary the language used in responses but also showcase the test-taker's ability to adapt their language to suit different contexts and requirements. Therefore, mastering the skill of using synonyms in paraphrasing is essential for enhancing the overall quality and sophistication of written responses.

Utilizing synonyms in paraphrasing allows test-takers to present their ideas in a more engaging and diversified manner. By choosing appropriate synonyms for key terms in the question, test-takers can avoid repetitiveness and enhance the clarity and coherence of their responses. Moreover, synonyms enable test-takers to demonstrate a deeper engagement with the topic, as they must carefully consider alternative words that maintain the original meaning while adding value to their arguments. Through effective synonym usage, test-takers can elevate the quality of their writing, showcase their language proficiency, and craft more compelling and well-structured responses.

Incorporating synonyms in paraphrasing not only serves to enrich the language and content of responses but also allows test-takers to demonstrate their proficiency in lexical resource and language flexibility. By exploring a range of synonyms for key terms in the question prompt, test-takers can enhance the depth and sophistication of their writing, making their responses more engaging and authoritative. Through the strategic use of synonyms, test-takers can avoid monotony, demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the topic, and showcase their ability to articulate complex ideas effectively. Thus, mastering the art of using synonyms in paraphrasing is a valuable skill that can significantly enhance one's performance in writing tasks across various tests and assessments.

Changing sentence structure to provide a different perspective

In the video, the instructor emphasizes the importance of paraphrasing in written exams such as the IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, or university tests. She highlights the common mistake students make by directly repeating the wording of the essay question in their response, which can lead to a loss of marks. To avoid this issue, she suggests using synonyms to change the vocabulary of the question while maintaining the original meaning. By doing so, students can demonstrate their understanding and critical thinking skills.

Paraphrasing involves not only changing individual words but also altering the sentence structure to present a unique response. The instructor provides examples of how students can rephrase the question by converting verbs into nouns or vice versa, as well as changing the order of words in the sentence. This approach not only showcases the student's ability to manipulate language effectively but also enhances the overall quality of the written response by offering a fresh perspective on the topic.

Furthermore, the instructor introduces the concept of concessions as another strategy for improving paraphrasing skills. By acknowledging opposing viewpoints before presenting their own argument, students can demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the topic and showcase their ability to engage in critical analysis. The use of concessions helps to elevate the complexity and depth of the response, making it more compelling and persuasive to the reader or examiner.

Adding concessions to show critical thinking and consideration of opposing views

The instructor in the video provides a detailed explanation of how concessions can enhance the quality of written responses in exams. By introducing an opposing viewpoint before presenting their own argument, students can demonstrate a higher level of critical thinking and engagement with the topic. The use of concessions shows that the student has considered different perspectives and is capable of engaging in a nuanced analysis of the issue at hand.

Concessions not only add depth and complexity to the written response but also make it more persuasive and convincing. By acknowledging the validity of alternative viewpoints, students can establish credibility and demonstrate their ability to think critically about complex issues. Incorporating concessions in written exams such as the IELTS, TOEFL, or university tests can significantly improve the overall quality of the response and contribute to a more sophisticated argument.

Additionally, the instructor highlights the importance of using transitional phrases like 'Although' to signal the introduction of a concession in the response. By structuring their writing in a clear and cohesive manner, students can effectively convey their arguments and ensure that the reader or examiner understands the logical progression of their ideas. Overall, the use of concessions is a valuable strategy for enhancing the coherence and persuasiveness of written responses in academic exams.

Conclusion: Encouraging practice and resource utilization for improving paraphrasing skills

In conclusion, the instructor emphasizes the significance of practicing paraphrasing skills to excel in written exams that require critical thinking and analytical abilities. By honing the ability to rephrase questions using synonyms, altering sentence structures, and incorporating concessions, students can elevate the quality of their responses and showcase their proficiency in written communication. Regular practice and utilization of resources such as online tutorials and quizzes can further enhance paraphrasing skills and prepare students for success in high-stakes exams like the IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP, or university tests.

Moreover, the instructor encourages students to visit the website for additional resources and learning materials related to vocabulary improvement, sentence structure, and making concessions in written responses. By taking advantage of these resources, students can gain valuable insights and practical tips for mastering the art of paraphrasing and enhancing their overall performance in academic writing tasks. With dedicated practice and access to relevant tools, students can develop proficiency in paraphrasing and significantly improve their scores in writing assessments.

Overall, the video serves as a comprehensive guide for students aiming to enhance their paraphrasing skills and excel in written exams. By implementing the strategies discussed by the instructor and actively engaging with practice materials, students can boost their confidence and competence in crafting well-structured, nuanced, and persuasive written responses that effectively demonstrate their critical thinking abilities and linguistic proficiency.


  • Understanding the significance of paraphrasing in improving test scores
  • Learning how to effectively use synonyms to rephrase questions
  • Mastering the art of changing sentence structure for better paraphrasing
  • Utilizing concessions to showcase critical thinking in test writing


Q: Why is paraphrasing important in test writing?

A: Paraphrasing is crucial in test writing as it demonstrates your ability to understand and analyze questions, allowing you to present answers in your own words while maintaining the original meaning.

Q: How can synonyms help in paraphrasing questions?

A: Synonyms play a significant role in paraphrasing by providing alternative words with similar meanings, enabling you to avoid repetitive language and showcase a broader vocabulary range in your responses.

Q: What is the benefit of using concessions in test writing?

A: Concessions help in presenting opposing viewpoints, demonstrating critical thinking skills, and showcasing a comprehensive understanding of the topic by acknowledging different perspectives before presenting your own opinion.

Q: How can changing sentence structure enhance paraphrasing?

A: Altering the structure of sentences in paraphrasing allows for a more diverse and nuanced expression of ideas, enabling you to present information in a fresh and engaging manner while maintaining the original content's essence.

Q: Where can I practice my paraphrasing skills?

A: You can practice your paraphrasing skills by visiting educational websites like, where you can access resources, tutorials, and quizzes designed to help you improve your paraphrasing abilities for test writing.

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