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Everything You Need to Know About IELTS Academic Writing Task 2

The IELTS Academic Writing test contains two tasks. Writing Task 2 asks you to compose a 250-word essay in 40 minutes. 

Students often find it difficult to express their ideas and opinions in essays in a structured manner within the given timeframe. 

To write a good IELTS essay, you must plan the essay layout, structure paragraphs correctly, and give valid examples to support your arguments. 

There is much more to uncover in essay writing for the IELTS exam. This article will provide valuable information to prepare for IELTS Academic Task 2.

Table of Contents

Ideal Format for IELTS Writing Task 2

Mapping out the essay structure is the first step to writing your IELTS essay. The basic framework of an essay must comprise the following paragraphs:

Introduction(2-3 Sentences):

The first paragraph of the essay should start with a powerful statement.

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Main Elements of the Introduction Paragraph

  • Paraphrasing the Task Statement: The introduction's opening sentence must include the task question's essence. You can quickly rephrase the essay question in your own words using synonyms, changing word forms, sentence structures, and clause orders. 
  • Writing the Thesis Statement: A thesis statement refers to your opinion on the task question. Writing the thesis statement can vary depending on the essay type asked in the question. For example, in the case of agree/disagree essays, you must state your point of view,i.e., agree or disagree. 
  • Essay Overview: Close the introduction paragraph with how you plan to prove your argument with supporting examples.

Body Paragraph(6-8 Sentences in Each Body Paragraph):

The main content of your essay lies in the body paragraphs. You can encapsulate your main ideas in 1-2 supporting or body paragraphs. Try to explain a different point of view in each supporting paragraph.

The most important part is to support your opinion with relevant instances or general facts. Remember, while listing facts, you need not add specific details like numbers/percentages/ratios, etc. Your target should be to write only 6-8 sentences in each supporting paragraph.

Main Components of Body Paragraph

  • Topic sentence: It is a mini introduction of the opinion you will discuss in the paragraph.
  • Main Idea: Describe your reason behind supporting a particular opinion.
  • Supporting Reasons: You must add examples to back up your argument. Explain how your example aligns with your idea and the main idea.

Conclusion(2-3 Sentences):

The last paragraph concludes the overall essence of the essay. The summary must end with your final thought or a practical suggestion to solve the problem. You should avoid adding new ideas to the conclusion.

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Tips to Master Writing Skills for IELTS Task 2

Acing the IELTS Writing Task 2 can be tricky, yet possible. Doing well on this task is essential because Task 2 makes up about 66% of the IELTS writing exam score. You can enhance your essay-writing skills with the following valuable tips:

  • Attempt All the Parts of the Question: This goes without saying; reading and answering every component of the question is crucial. Your essay must convey your opinion with supporting examples and one contrasting viewpoint. At last, you must summarize with a practical suggestion or your final thought on the given task argument. 
  • Maintain a Strong Opinion: While writing the essay, you may deviate from the main idea and your opinion. You must stick to your thoughts about the task statement throughout the essay. Avoid changing your mind mid-essay; doing so could make it challenging for the examiner to understand your proper stance.
  • Appropriate Paragraph Structuring: Presenting your essay powerfully matters a lot. Ideas expressed in a structured manner grab the examiner's attention and enhance the reading experience. Start your essay with an introduction, then explain two differing opinions and draw a conclusion at the end of the essay. Remember to back up your opinion with relevant examples. 
  • Use Transition Words: You must use transition or linking words to showcase a clear progression of ideas in your paragraphs. Transition words add an element of cohesion to your essay and connect ideas seamlessly. Examples of a few transition words: Likewise, Despite, Besides, However, Although, In contrast, To illustrate, To summarize/sum up, etc.
  • Use Correct Grammar and Vocabulary: An essay with several grammatical and sentence structure errors puts off the examiner and obstructs readability. To counter this, try using simple sentences and easily spelt words/phrases in your essay. This will minimize the scope of grammatical errors. Furthermore, you must use a wide range of vocabulary, including plurals, punctuations, articles, and prepositions correctly.
  • Re-check your Essay: After completing your essay, re-read and check whether you have discussed both views. Scan for and rectify any grammatical and spelling errors or incorrect punctuation. Finally, check whether your answer includes all the elements of the question.
  • Take Pre-timed Mock Tests: Once you have prepared for the IELTS exam, you should take pre-timed section-wise mocks. Specifically, for practising writing task 2, you can set up a 40 minutes timer.

Also Read: Tips and Tricks for IELTS Writing Exam

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Essay Types in IELTS Writing Task 2

Understanding the different types of essays asked in the IELTS Writing Task 2 is essential to crack this section. We have compiled a list of multiple essay types asked in the exam:

1. Discussion Essay

This essay category states two differing public opinions on a topic of general interest. You must explain both viewpoints and finally give your thoughts on the topic in the conclusion or a separate paragraph.


Every parent desires the greatest possibilities for their children. Some believe schools should teach children skills, while others believe that a diverse curriculum benefits a child's future.

2. Opinion Essay (Agree/Disagree)

In this essay, you are given a statement and must provide your opinion on the task statement. You can state whether they agree or disagree with the statement, along with the reasons and supporting examples. The question might ask you to favour one opinion majorly, and the other opinion will convey the general public's viewpoint.

Opinion Essay(Agree/Disagree) Example

Many people in several countries are experiencing health problems due to eating too much fast food. As a result, governments must put a greater tax on this type of food.

3. Multi-part Essay

This essay type contains two or three direct questions. All the parts of the questions must be answered in the order of the questions. So, the order of paragraphs must be structured to answer the first question, second question, and so on.

Multi-part Essay Example

Most people agree that money cannot buy happiness. Why is happiness difficult to define? How can people achieve happiness?

4. Multi-part and Opinion Essay

This essay type is a combination of direct questions and opinion essays. You will be asked to answer the questions in the task statement and provide your thoughts on the essay statement.

Multi-part and Opinion Essay Example

Success is measured by prosperity and material possessions. Do you think wealth is the most significant measure of success? What makes a successful person?

5. Positive/Negative Essay

This essay question includes a broad statement and a question. You must write if the provided statement represents a positive or bad development. To respond to this question type, you must first understand the context.

Positive/Negative Essay Example

Nowadays, many people avoid eating animal-derived foods, utilizing animal products, and becoming vegan. Is this a positive or negative development?

6. Cause/Solution Essay

This type of essay statement presents a problem concerning the public at large. You must explain the problems related to the main issue and suggest probable solutions for the problem. Sometimes, you might be asked to describe the causes and possible effects of the problem specified in the question.

Cause/Solution Essay Example

One of the greatest threats to humanity in the twenty-first century is global warming, and sea levels are rising dangerously. What are the issues involved, and what are some potential solutions?

7. Advantage/Disadvantage Essay

In this essay, you will have to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the task statement. You might sometimes be asked to explain merits and demerits while giving equal weightage. You might often be asked whether advantages overpower disadvantages and vice versa.

Advantage/Disadvantage Essay Example

Young people in various nations are encouraged to work or travel for a year between graduating high school and entering university education. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks for young individuals who choose to do this.

Don’t forget to Read: Types of Essays for Task 2

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Commonly Asked Essay Topics in IELTS Writing Task 2

Some of the most frequently asked essay questions in the IELTS Writing Task 2 are listed below:

  • Advertising
  • Animal Rights
  • City Life
  • Crime- Police and Prevention of Crime
  • Education
  • Art
  • Community Service
  • Environment
  • Technology
  • Government and Society
  • Internet
  • Tourism
  • Road Safety
  • Self Employment 
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Global Crisis
  • Professional Sports
  • Environmental Issues
  • Nuclear Power
  • Gender and Employment
  • Health Risks
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Immigration
  • Globalization

Suggested Read: Essay Topics for Writing Task 2

What is the Importance of Reading in the IELTS Writing Task 2?

The more you read, the better you learn! Reading is essential for improving vocabulary and gaining extensive knowledge on particular essay topics. Furthermore, reading essays, articles, books, or novels helps you understand the art of structuring an essay flawlessly. 

Rigorous reading will help you create unique ideas and arguments for your IELTS essay. Moreover, in-depth reading about a particular topic will help you think from different perspectives and better understand the topic. Hence, giving examples to support your viewpoints in the essay will be much easier for you.

Reading from multiple sources helps you understand various writing styles, sentence structures, and a wide range of vocabulary. In addition, you will understand the correct usage of transition words, phrases, nouns, and pronouns. This will enhance your writing style and help you write a powerful essay with a strong introduction, body, and conclusion. These are crucial for getting a higher score on the IELTS essay writing.

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There is no fixed order in which you must attempt the IELTS Writing section. So, you can attempt either of the tasks first. Writing task 2 before task 1 will give you enough time to focus on idea generation and essay structuring. Moreover, task 2 carries twice the weight of Task 1, so emphasizing Task 2 over Task 1 can be beneficial.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

There is no upper word limit for task 2 in IELTS. Furthermore, you do not get negative marks for writing more than 250 words. However, you should not write too much, as you might end up writing irrelevant content, due to which you might lose marks. To attain a higher band score on the IELTS Writing Task 2, you should attempt to write 270-290 words.

The recommended word limit for task 2 is at least 250 words. Going a little above the specified word limit is advisable to showcase a structured essay with well-defined ideas. Ideally, you can exceed the word limit by 30-40 words for the IELTS Writing Task 2.

IELTS writing task 2 essays may be evaluated using internet applications and websites. These applications utilize machine learning algorithms to assess the essay's syntax, vocabulary, coherence, and general quality. However, it is crucial to highlight that these evaluations should not be applied in place of a professional human assessor. 

They are considered a tool to help you develop your writing skills, not a final judgment of your ability. Furthermore, be aware that these assessments might be inaccurate and may fail to account for your work's cultural and linguistic intricacies. Hence, having your essays examined by a human evaluator or an instructor is always preferable.

First, read the question carefully and identify the essay type asked. Then plan out your essay structure and jot down the points you will cover in each paragraph. While writing the essay, you must use correct grammar, vocabulary, and transition words to create an effective essay.