An Introduction to IELTS Writing Task 2

An Introduction to IELTS Writing Task 2

The IELTS Academic/General Training Writing Test is a 60 minute task. The candidate has to complete two writing tasks in the given time. In writing task 2, one must either argue, present an opinion or give reasons to support his/her statement of a situation. In some cases,  one should either predict what might happen in the future or give solutions to a hypothetical problem. The write up must be organized in a good standard manner and the candidate must use appropriate language (formal tone) and relatable ideas.

Test pattern for task 2

The candidate should allocate 40 minutes for task 2 as it carries 66% of the writing score.

The essay must have more than 250 words.

The candidate is writing this for an educated audience. So, use of formal language and tone must prevail throughout the essay.

Band Descriptors: Assessment criteria used to gauge the essay

Task Response – how well you answer the question  (25%)

  • present the information accurately
  • answer all parts of the task
  • provide a clear overview

Coherence and Cohesion – how well is your text structured  (25%)

  • Generating ideas
  • Interconnecting passages, use linking words and cohesive devices (firstly, in contrast, whereas, while, as compared to)

Lexical Resource – how good is your vocabulary  (25%)

  • use a wide range of vocabulary
  • use less common lexical items
  • avoid errors in spelling and word formation

Grammatical Range and Accuracy – how good is your grammar  (25%)

  • use a wide range of grammatical structures and tenses
  • manage punctuation
  • avoid errors in sentences

(Refer link for detailed view)

IELTS_task_2_Writing_band_descriptors.doc (britishcouncil.org)

There are 9 different question types that can be asked in task 2. They are:

  • Agree or Disagree

Example: Today, the expensive price of popular consumer products is because of the power of advertising and not the real needs of people. Do you agree or disagree?

  • Opinion

Example: Some people think art such as sculpture and music cannot improve the quality of people’s lives so the government should not spend money on them but on health and defence. What is your opinion?

  • Discuss both the views

Example: In some countries, people who are unemployed receive a sum of money each week in the form of a benefit. While some support this, other people believe that this money should not be given. Discuss both points of view.

  • Discuss both the views and give your opinion

Example: Many people are working at home rather than in the workplace. Some people believe this will bring benefits to the workers and their families, but others suggest it will cause stress in the home. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

  • To what extent do you agree or disagree

Example: Creative artists should always have the freedom to express their ideas (in paintings, books, films and songs) in any way they wish. The government should not restrict what they do. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

  • Advantages and disadvantages

Example: There are many problems caused by mobile phones. What are the advantages of mobile phones? What are the disadvantages?

  • Causes problems and solutions

Example: Parents want to achieve balance between family and career but only a few manage to achieve it. What do you think is the reason? Discuss possible solutions and provide examples.

  • Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages

Example: Modern societies need specialists in certain fields, but not others. Some people, therefore, think that governments should pay university fees for students who study subjects that are needed by society. Those who choose to study less relevant subjects should not receive the government funding. Would the advantages of such an educational policy outweigh the disadvantages?

  • Double question


Happiness is considered very important in life.

Why is it difficult to define?

What factors are important in achieving happiness?

                            Structure to follow for Writing task 2


How to plan?

First 5 minutes

Read the question and make sure you understand what it is asking you to do. Write a plan for a 4-paragraph essay (introduction to the ielts writing task 2, 2 main paragraphs, conclusion) and spend most of the time for the 2 main paragraphs.

5 minutes

Write your introduction.

20 minutes

Spend 10 minutes on each of your main body paragraphs. These are the most important part of your essay, and the key to a high score.

Last 10 minutes

Write the conclusion, then check your work for errors and improvisation.


Don’ts : What not to do in your writing task

  • Under length    — less than 250 words ( keep it between 250-280 words)
  • Off topic      — deviating from the topic
  • Memorized contentmemorizing lines or sentences
  • Illegible handwriting — when the examiner is not able to understand your writing

Myth decoded

Remember that the examiners are not looking for ‘exaggerated’ words that are difficult to understand. They are looking for groups of words used naturally and accurately together. Even a simple colocation used at the right context/place will play a role in increasing your score

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