Analysing IELTS Task 2 writing questions
Before you can being preparing your answer to a Task 2 topic, you need to be sure you have fully understood what you are being asked to write about.
For this post, we will analyse a Task 2 essay that is asking you to challenge a point of view.
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic.
Crime is increasing in many countries and prisons are becoming increasingly crowded. We should therefore return to the use of capital punishment.
Do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include and relevant examples or evidence from your own knowledge and experience. You should write at least 250 words.
As the instructions are always the same for Task II, we can ignore those and focus directly on the question. However, before you can begin to plan an answer, you need to be clear on exactly what you are being asked to write about.
Many Task II questions can be divided into three parts, and this can sometimes make it more difficult to identify what your focus should be.
Part 1: Crime is increasing in many countries and prisons are becoming increasingly crowded.
The first part is the general topic, which introduces the main question. This is commonly accepted as being true, so therefore your essay should not spend too much time on this aspect of the question.
Part 2: We should therefore return to the use of capital punishment.
The second part of the question is the specific topic. This is the section of the question that you need to focus on in your answer.
Part 3: Do you agree or disagree?
The final part of Task II are the task words, telling you what you should do. In this case, you are being asked whether you agree or disagree, which tells you that this is the first type of essay question (challenge a point of view). To find out more about the four types of essay question, take a look here.
However, it is important to remember that not all Task II questions have three parts. Sometimes you are only given a specific topic and task words. In the examples below, we can see that there is no general topic. The questions have only 2 parts – the specific topic and the task words.
- People who do dangerous sports for pleasure should not be entitled to healthcare. Do you agree?
- Fewer people are reading books these days. Suggest possible reasons why.
Now practice by looking at the essay titles below and decide what the main focus of your answer should be.