Preparing the Task 2 answer Seven tips

Preparing the Task 2 answer Seven tips

Preparing the Task 2 answer Seven tipsHere are the 7 steps you should take to plan your answer for IELTS writing Task 2. To illustrate the steps, we will be using this question:

Advances in technology and automation have reduced the need for manual labour.
Therefore working hours should be reduced.
To what extent do you agree?

Step 1: identify the parts of the question (the topic and task words)

Task 2 writing questions can often be divided into different parts. Commonly, these are:

  1. a situation which is generally accepted as being true – the general topic of the question
  2. an opinion, speculation or suggestion about the situation – the specific aspect you should focus on
  3. the task words which tell you what you should do / how you should respond to the topic.

In the example question above, this would be

  1. Advances in technology and automation have reduced the need for manual labour.
  2. Therefore working hours should be reduced.
  3. Do you agree or disagree?

Step 2: Re order the specific aspect of the question and the task words into a direct question

By creating a direct question, you will have a clearer idea of what you are writing about. In the example above, this could become:

Do you agree that working hours should be reduced because of technology and automation?

Step 3: Brainstorm ideas related to point B – the specific topic

In the example we have been using, this could be the following points:

Most people would be happier – earn less money – more free time – more job availability if people work less – a wider range of people working in the same place = a wider perspective – difficult to complete a project quickly – time spent commuting – less time to socialise with colleagues – more time at home with family / friends – chance to learn new skills when not working – should be a personal choice

Step 4: Remove the weaker ideas from your brainstorming

For example, the idea of having less time to socialise with colleagues is not particular strong, so could be removed.

Step 5: Group similar points together into three sections

This means that you have a clear idea of what you will write about in the three body paragraphs. In the example above, it could be:

Group 1: positive reasons relating to how people feel

  • more free time
  • most people would be happier
  • more time at home with family / friends

Group 2: negative reasons

  • earn less money
  • difficult to complete a project quickly
  • time spent commuting

Group 3: positive reasons relating to the workplace

  • more job availability if people work less
  • a wider range of people working in the same place = a wider perspective
  • chance to learn new skills when not working

 

Step 6: Order your paragraphs

Once you have your three groups, you should order your paragraphs logically, with the third paragraph being the concession or balancing paragraph. Remember that the IELTS writing test does not have to be your personal opinion – it should be from the position that is easiest to write about. From this point, organise them so that the concession paragraph is last.

Paragraph 1: positive reasons relating to how people feel

  • more free time
  • most people would be happier
  • more time at home with family / friends

Paragraph 2: positive reasons relating to the workplace

  • more job availability if people work less
  • a wider range of people working in the same place = a wider perspective
  • chance to learn new skills when not working

Paragraph 3: negative reasons

  • earn less money
  • difficult to complete a project quickly
  • time spent commuting

 

Step 7: add a title for each group of paragraphs

By thinking of a title or heading that covers all of the points in your paragraph, you will be able to write a clear topic sentence (the first sentence of each paragraph that explains what you will present in that particular paragraph). In the example we have been using, this could become

Paragraph 1: quality of life

  • more free time
  • most people would be happier
  • more time at home with family / friends

Paragraph 2: better for the workplace

  • more job availability if people work less
  • a wider range of people working in the same place = a wider perspective
  • chance to learn new skills when not working

Paragraph 3: (the concession or balance paragraph)

  • earn less money
  • difficult to complete a project quickly
  • time spent commuting

You should now be ready to write your essay!

Let’s run through all of the steps once more on another question:

A wide variety of vegetarian food is now available. However, although an increasing number of people are adopting a vegetarian diet, it is not healthy. Do you agree?

Step 1: identify the parts of the question (the topic and task words)

  1. A wide variety of vegetarian food is now available.
  2. A vegetarian diet is not healthy
  3. Do you agree?

Step 2: Re order the specific aspect of the question and the task words into a direct question

Is a vegetarian diet healthy?

Step 3: Brainstorm ideas related to point B – the specific topic

Preservatives in meat – depends on freshness of vegetables – lots of alternative to meat these days – animal cruelty – vitamins and minerals only found in meat products – traditional misunderstandings about vegetarian diets – not a balanced diet – organic farming and free range animals – level of vegetarianism (vegans) – negative attitude to vegetarians – health issues related to meat eating – obesity more common in meat eaters

Step 4: Remove the weaker ideas from your brainstorming

Remove animal cruelty and negative attitude to vegetarians – they do not relate to whether a diet is healthy.

Step 5: Group similar points together into three sections

Group 1: vegetarian diet is not healthy

  • vitamins and minerals only found in meat products
  • Not a balanced diet

Group 2: vegetarian diet is healthy

  • Preservatives in meat
  • Health issues related to meat eating
  • Obesity more common in meat eaters

Group 3: points to consider

  • depends on freshness of vegetables
  • lots of alternative to meat these days
  • organic farming and free range animals
  • level of vegetarianism (vegans)

 

Step 6: Order your paragraphs

Group 2 has more points to write about than group 1, and group 3 would make a good balancing paragraph, so the most logical order would be:

Paragraph 1: vegetarian diet is healthy

  • Preservatives in meat
  • Health issues related to meat eating
  • Obesity more common in meat eaters

Paragraph 2: vegetarian diet is not healthy

  • vitamins and minerals only found in meat products
  • Not a balanced diet

Paragraph 3: points to consider

  • depends on freshness of vegetables
  • lots of alternative to meat these days
  • organic farming and free range animals
  • level of vegetarianism (vegans)

Step 7: add a title for each group of paragraphs

Group 1: negatives of vegetarian diet

  • vitamins and minerals only found in meat products
  • Not a balanced diet

Group 2: reasons not to eat meat

  • Preservatives in meat
  • Health issues related to meat eating
  • Obesity more common in meat eaters

Group 3: depends on specifics of food

  • depends on freshness of vegetables
  • lots of alternative to meat these days
  • organic farming and free range animals
  • level of vegetarianism (vegans)

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