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Should I use personal pronouns in IELTS Academic Writing?

This is a topic which English teachers often discuss and there are differing points of view. Should I use personal pronouns such as “I”, “you”, “he/she”. The easy answer is “Yes”! There is nothing in the scoring construct that says that you shouldn’t use personal pronouns: Task 2 Band Descriptors. Note: It is unnecessary to use personal pronouns in Task 1.

It is common for people to say that using personal pronouns is not academic, and they are right. Many students who get used to using personal pronouns in their essays will later need to unlearn that habit when they arrive at University, but it won’t hurt their chances of getting a 7 or higher in their IELTS exam. They even use them in the question:

“Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.”

There are some advantages to learning to not using personal pronouns. Compare these:

I will explain…..  VS. This essay will explain……

I have argued that …..   VS. This essay has argued that ……..

The most appropriate time to use them is when giving your personal opinion:

  • In my opinion…..
  • I agree….
  • I believe that…..

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