Category Archives: IELTS Writing Task 2 (lessons)

Preparing the Task 2 answer Seven tips

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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:

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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

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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)

For more instructional videos, lessons, exercises and practice tests to help you write better essays, take a look at our free online course

Phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writing

Phrases to use and phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writing

 

Phrases to use and phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writing

There are a number of IELTS preparation institutions that will teach you set phrases to use in IELTS writing test. However, it is important to remember that the examiner assessing your work will be able to identify which phrases you have used accurately and in the correct context and which ones are not so good. In this post, we are going to look at some phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writing, as well as some good options.

Phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writingPhrase: In my judgment

Comment: This is a good phrase, although a minor point is that the most academic language avoids personal pronouns. You could rephrase this to. ‘As an overall judgement, it could be said that….‘. Regarding spelling – judgment is US English, judgement is UK English – both are acceptable for IELTS.

Phrase: Every coin has two sides

Comment: We strongly recommend avoiding this. Although it is an English expression, it is now quite old fashioned and the majority of people that use it are English learners. It is not particularly academic and is so overused by candidates in the IELTS test that it will not help your performance. Better would be to use an expression like ‘However, there is an alternate point of view to consider‘.

Phrase: I reckon

Comment: Avoid this – it is too conversational and used only in informal writing and speaking. In addition, try to avoid using personal pronouns (I) wherever possible. Change this to ‘It can perhaps be most strongly supported that

Phrase: As I said before

Comment: Again, this is more used for spoken English or informal writing. Better would be ‘As previously mentioned‘ or to be even more academic, ‘As previously alluded to‘ or ‘As previously referred to‘.

Phrase:  by and large

Comment: This is a good construction for Task 2 (meaning ‘overall’, ‘considering everything’, ‘in general’).

Phrase: there has been heated debate (about something)

Comment:  Be a little careful with this ‘ a ‘heated’ debate is one on which people become emotional, arguing very strongly about a principle they believe in or are against, and the phrase is often overused and mistakenly used for minor issues (eg “there is a heated debate about home cooked food” doesn’t suit as this debate is unlikely to be ‘heated’). If you do use it, make sure that it is something that is truly likely to generate a heated debate – legalising marijuana, for example, or the death penalty.

Phrase: The point I am trying to make is

Comment:  This is not so good. The first issue is the use of ‘I’ – avoid using personal pronouns if possible. The other issue is that ‘trying to make‘ suggests that your point of view has, up to that point, not been very clear. Change this to ‘The relevant point is that‘ or ‘the primary point is that

Phrase: owing to the fact that

Comment: This is a good expression. It shows more flexibility than simply saying ‘because’ and has the added advantage of being 5 words, which will help you reach the 250 word minimum limit.

 

Avoiding pronouns in Task 2 writing

Avoiding pronouns in Task 2 writing

Avoiding pronouns in Task 2 writingAs you probably know, it is important to write formally in Task 2, using an academic writing style (even in the General Training module). We have looked at some aspects of this in previous posts (such as using the correct register and writing more academically) but in this post we are focusing on avoiding using pronouns too often in the writing test.

So what are pronouns?

For this post, these are the pronouns that are not considered particularly academic.

  • Personal pronouns: I / you / we
  • Possessive pronouns: my / mine / his / her / hers

Although the sentence may be grammatically correct using pronouns, it is important to remember that you should aim for a formal, academic style, and that means finding alternatives to being too informal.

Personal pronouns in the introduction

It is very common to see pronouns being used in the introductory paragraph. For example:

‘There are strong arguments to be made in support of the complete ban on smoking in all areas, as I will now explain’.

In this example, and in most uses of the personal pronoun in the introduction, this can be solved by simply replacing that section of the sentence with a passive construction. For example:

‘There are strong arguments to be made in support of the complete ban on smoking in all areas, as will now be explained’.

Personal pronouns when expressing a point of view

Over the years that we have helped people achieve their IELTS goals, this is an error we have seen many times. Here are some examples:

‘I think that the government should support students rather than requiring them to apply for loans.’

‘To a large extent, I am in favour of the statement that zoos should be abolished.

Although these sentences are grammatically correct, it would be more academic to present your Task 2 opinions from a more ‘detached’ perspective. For example:

‘It would perhaps be more effective if the government supported students rather than requiring them to apply for loans.’

‘To a large extent, there is a strong argument to be made supporting the statement that zoos should be abolished.

Personal pronouns when giving examples

It is very important to support your argument with examples, but again this is a common area where more informal pronouns can slip in. For example:

This could be achieved by providing not only a better salary but also some additional incentives. For example, my friend is a nurse, and she feels that longer holidays are just as important as the money because it helps her reduce stress.

This would have been much better phrased using a different structure. As a general guide, if you are using a pronoun to give an example, then rephrase it to a more general subject. In the example above, the writer could have avoided referring to a friend but focus more generally on nurses. To illustrate:

This could be achieved by providing not only a better salary but also some additional incentives. Nurses, for example, often state that longer holidays are just as important as the money as it provides an opportunity to reduce stress.

Personal pronouns in the conclusion

As you know a conclusion in Task 2 should summarise the main arguments of the essay (and ideally include a recommendation or speculation). However, be careful of using personal pronouns here too. For example:

As we can see the subject of school uniforms remains a subjective issue.

To conclude, we should be investigating mthods in which we can cause less damage to our environment.

Once again, these sentences could have been better phrased using the passive voice:

As can be seen, the subject of school uniforms remains a subjective issue.

To conclude,  methods should be investigated which would cause less damage to the environment.

 

 

IELTS writing

Writing an introduction for Task 2 IELTS

Writing an introduction for Task 2 IELTS

Writing an introduction for Task 2In Task 2, the first paragraph of your essay, the introduction, is very important as it is where the examiner will make their first judgment about your ability in written English.

Below is an introduction to a Task 2 essay, but it isn’t very good. Have a look at the introduction and then the points that follow.

No, I don’t agree. I don’t think we should worry about exercising. I think people should live how they want and thats it. Just a bit of running or something isn’t going to help much. And nobody really has the time to do it regularly! it’s more important to watch what you eat and drink, and get enough sleep.

Problems with this introduction:

  • register (the introduction is too informal)
  • the punctuation is incorrect in places (capital letters missing, apostrophes are missing)
  • contractions have been used (that’s instead of that is)
  • the sentences are too short (sentences could have been combined with relative clauses)
  • there is no clear topic sentence
  • only the most basic linking words are used

 

Here’s is how the introduction could have been improved:

It is arguable that being overly concerned with exercising is not necessarily worthwhile. More importance should be given to living comfortably, as there is often insufficient time in the day to follow an effective exercise regime. Care in what is consumed and getting sufficient sleep are two factors, however, that should be considered as will now be discussed.

There are a number of steps which need to be covered in the introduction, and also a number of common errors to avoid.

Good techniques:

  1. Paraphrase the title into a sentence, including the task words
  2. Write no more than 40 words
  3. Show the examiner the ‘direction’ the essay will take
  4. Use formal language and grammar

Consider this title:

The arts should be rejected in favour of more practical studies. Do you agree?

Here’s an example of a good introduction to the title above:

Some people feel that studies involving the arts are insufficiently practical to pursue. However, there is an argument to be made against this and that education is valuable regardless of the discipline, as will now be discussed.

Why is it good?

  1. The title has been rephrased (rejected > insufficiently practical to pursue) including the task words (‘Do you agree?’ > ‘There is an argument to be made against this’)
  2. It is 37 words.
  3. The writer has told the examiner that the essay will take the position of disagreeing with the topic
  4. The introduction uses the passive (‘will now be discussed’) to avoid personal pronouns (‘As I will now discuss’).

Common errors when writing an introduction to Task 2

There are a number of common errors that will immediately cost points when writing an introduction. Consider this example (it is based on the Writing title above).

The arts should be rejected in favour of more practical studies. I agree with this. The arts have been studied for centuries and many famous and well respected people have studied them.

  1. The writer has copied the question title directly. It is important to show the examiner that you have a range of vocabulary, and copying from the question will not demonstrate this.
  2. Personal pronouns have been used (‘I agree’). It is better to use the third person (Some people would agree with this) and passive constructions (an argument can be made for…)
  3. Irrelevant detail has been added (‘the arts have been studied for centuries’). Keep your introduction relevant and direct.
  4. The writer has not indicated to the examiner what will happen next. It is important in the introduction that you show the examiner the direction your essay will take – this shows that you have planned your answer and lets the examiner know how you are going to structure your work.

 

Here are four more good introductions to the essay topic above.

  • Many people want to study a subject that has a definite value in the workplace. The arts should therefore be studied more for personal interest than as a course as such studies do not offer anything practical, as will now be discussed.
  • Further education should be an opportunity for people to extend their knowledge of whatever appeals to them. Thus arbitrarily limiting the courses available only to what is deemed ‘practical’ is unfair, as will now be presented.
  • Many students of the arts are able to contribute as much to society as any other graduate regardless of career opportunities. Accordingly, they should not be made to feel that only practical education has any worth, as this essay will now consider.
  • For most people, further education means an improvement in career opportunities. It seems clear, however, that studies with an arts-related focus often fail to train people for a specific job, as will now be argued.

Tips and hints for writing an introduction for Task 2

It is important to be able to write your introduction quickly and simply, as you only have 40 minutes to complete the task. Use these tips and hints to help you improve your introductions.

  1. Avoid using personal pronouns (I, we, you)
  2. Use parallel expressions to rephrase the questions (don’t copy vocabulary)
  3. Show the direction your essay will take (whether you will agree or disagree, for example).
  4. Keep your point relevant – you are looking at between 25 and 45 words for the ideal introduction to Task 2

If you don’t understand Task 2

What to do if you don’t understand Task 2

As you may already know or have read about on our site, we recommend starting with Task 2 in the writing test (it’s worth more points than Task 1). But what happens if you get a Task 2 essay title with words you don’t understand?

Consider this Task 2 style topic:

‘Traffic jams and congestion in major cities could be reduced by spending more on prenemials in the local area. Do you agree?’

If you don't understand Task 2Although most of the words should make sense, you should have noticed one word (possibly underlined in red on your browser) that you don’t know – PRENEMIALS. There is a good reason why you don’t know this word – it’s made up! – but if this was your official test and that was a word you don’t know, what do you do? What do you write about? Can you ask anyone? Here are some useful tips for what to do if you don’/t understand part of the question.

TIP 1: Use what you do understand

Look at the question above again. You should be able to tell that the question is focusing on traffic problems in larger urban areas, and that the question is asking whether you agree that this could be reduced. OK, so you don’t know exactly what the question is saying could help, but you can make an educated guess and write about traffic problems in major cities. Keep in mind the question is asking ‘whether you agree’, so don’t write a problem / solution type of essay – make sure you are agreeing or disagreeing to what you do understand. This leads us to Tip 2…

TIP 2: Explain what your understanding of the essay title is

In order to get the maximum score, you need to write on the topic. However, if you are unclear as to what the complete topic is because of some words you don’t understand, then use your introduction to ensure the examiner is clear on what you are writing about, even if it is slightly off-topic. You will be penalised for not sticking completely to the question, but from that point in the examiner will grade your work based on what you have stated the question to be.

Here’s an example introduction you can write based on the question above:

‘There is a strong argument to be made in favour of decreasing traffic related issues in major cities by expenditure on various alternative measures such as public transport, as will now be discussed’

The examiner will read your introduction, realise that you have misunderstood a word in the question and penalise you accordingly, but from that point in they will read the essay based on your description, not the title.

TIP 3: Don’t waste time trying to ask anyone

Unfortunately, no-one invigilating the exam will be able to help you in any way. They can’t describe a word, let you ask anyone else, look it up or change to another question. What you’re given is what you have to write about, so just get started. It’s very important (and easier advice to give than to act on) that you don’t panic. It is feasible to get a Band 7.0 result or higher even if you didn’t fully understand the question, so long as you follow Tips 1 and 2 above.

Planning Task 2

Planning Task 2

After you have analysed the question and brainstormed some ideas, your next step is to plan your answer. For the purposes of this page, we will use the following IELTS Task 2 question:
TOPIC: The poor only have themselves to blame. Do you agree or disagree?

Planning Task 2Here are some ideas that you could have thought of related to the question:

  • the economy causes rich/poor gap, not individual people
  • rich people earned their money by working hard
  • poor people socialise too much hence have no money
  • harsh government policies
  • those unable to work/earn – disabled etc
  • people sometimes lose a lot of money gambling + other addictions
  • inherited money is not earned
  • shopaholics
  • government should distribute wealth equally
  • location of country can lead to limited development opportunities
  • poor peo0ple may be unmotivated because of welfare payments in some countries
  • difficult to break out of a generational cycle of poverty – parents poor, children poor
  • some people do not have the ability/skills/education to save

Following the suggestions made in ‘Getting ideas for Task 2‘, the weaker points would now be rejected.


 

The next step is to divide the remaining points into both sides of the argument. In this case, it is logical to divide the essay into the following:

It is their fault they are poor:

  • rich people earned their money by working hard
  • poor people socialise too much hence have no money
  • people sometimes lose a lot of money gambling + other addictions
  • shopaholics
  • poor peo0ple may be unmotivated because of welfare payments in some countries

It is NOT their fault they are poor

  • the economy causes rich/poor gap, not individual people
  • harsh government policies
  • those unable to work/earn – disabled etc
  • government should distribute wealth equally
  • location of country can lead to limited development opportunities
  • difficult to break out of a generational cycle of poverty – parents poor, children poor
  • some people do not have the ability/skills/education to save

 

Now you need to decide which position you will take – do you agree or disagree? Remember that your argument does not have to be your personal opinion – it should be the position you have the strongest points to argue with. As there are 5 reasons listed for ‘it is their fault’ and  7 for ‘it is NOT their fault’, you would logically write that being poor is mostly not the person’s fault. The final step in the planning process is to break the two parts into the three paragraphs you will need for your essay, with a relevant heading for each paragraph (the heading will be used to create your topic sentence).

This is just one way you could plan the essay:

BODY PARAGRAPH #1  – SOCIAL / EDUCATIONAL

  • those unable to work/earn – disabled etc
  • location of country can lead to limited development opportunities
  • difficult to break out of a generational cycle of poverty – parents poor, children poor
  • some people do not have the ability/skills/education to save

BODY PARAGRAPH #2  – GOVERNMENT

  • the economy causes rich/poor gap, not individual people
  • harsh government policies
  • government should distribute wealth equally

BODY PARAGRAPH #3 (THE CONCESSION)

  • rich people earned their money by working hard
  • poor people spend too much (socialising, gambling, shopping + other addictions)
  • poor peo0ple may be unmotivated because of welfare payments in some countries
Phrases to use and phrases to avoid in Task 2 IELTS writing

Giving examples in Task 2

In Task 2 writing, you are required to give examples to support and develop your point of view. Here are some of the points to consider when writing your Task 2 essay.

Giving examples in Task 2Avoid being overly personal

Bad example:

There are many reasons to argue that certain professions are underpaid. For example, my friend is a nurse and he has to work very long hours so I don’t get much time to see him, but when he does have some free time he can’t afford to do very much because of his low wages.

Good example:

There are many reasons to argue that certain professions are underpaid. For example, nurses are often required to work long hours leaving them little time for socialising, and even during their leisure time they are often limited by low wages.

Avoid being excessive

Bad example:

Obesity has become an increasing problem over recent years, largely due to diet. To illustrate, 90% of children drink at least 10 sugary drinks a day, in addition to meals that are often artificially sweetened such as breakfast cereals which have 100 times more sugar than needed.

Good example:

Obesity has become an increasing problem over recent years, largely due to diet. To illustrate, a large number of children drink multiple sugary drinks a day, in addition to meals that are often artificially sweetened such as breakfast cereals containing excess sugar.

It doesn’t have to be true!

When looking for examples to support your points, you can refer to ‘studies’ or ‘research’ that may not be true, so long as it happens the appearance of being true and is not (as mentioned above) overly excessive.

For example:

The overuse of technology is also having a significant impact on our ability to socialise in a face to face environment. A recent Harvard study indicated that most people now spend less than half the amount of time talking directly to people compared to just 10 years ago, attributing this change to our focus on mobile devices in public places such as waiting for a bus or even walking along the street.

 

IELTS Task 2 writing sample answer Band 6 Essay 2

IELTS Task 2 writing sample answer Band 6 Essay 2

Band score: approximately 6.0

Task: Task 2

The answer below has been rated purely based on the public IELTS descriptors. Click the word or words in red to see the correction, and scroll to the bottom of the page to read our comments on the report.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In some countries, people who commit less serious crimes are made to undertake community service* instead of a prison sentence. Some people believe that all people who have committed a crime should be sent to prison.

Do you agree or disagree?

*compulsory work helping the community, such as decorating public facilities, which they must carry out in their spare time for a given period.

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

Write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 writing sample answer Band 6 Essay 2There is a significant difference between all sorts of crimes; as a consequent ‘consequence’, there should be a variety ‘variation’ in punishment system ‘options’ – they are not really systems.

Firstly although this is not wrong, it would be more academic to use words like ‘Primarily’, there are various the root word (variety/variation) has already been used in the introduction – show a range of vocabulary with something like ‘a number of’ reasons behind committing a crime; furthermore what follows is clarification of the same idea, so ‘to illustrate’ suits better, we have to avoid ‘we’ – ‘it is important to’ distinguish between a criminal killer change this to ‘a murderer’ and poor ‘a poor’ man who stole in order to survive. That is, temptations which urge a person to do something illegal are numerous; therefore, criminals should be treated according to their specific cases.

Secondly not wrong, but would be better as ‘In addition’, those who have committed less serious crimes should not be mixed with those who did less ‘more’ serious crimes. Simply because delete these words the reason is that this mixture can lead to other worst ‘worse’ problems which should be avoided. For instance, those who caused less serious problems have the potential to be ‘become’ skilled criminals if they are put in prison together with others, as they will have the opportunity to criminal ‘acquire criminal’ skills.

Thirdly not wrong, but would be better as ‘Another point to consider is that’, it is a good idea to take benefit from this kind of people by involving them in community ‘the community’ in order to undertake some services. This can be regarded as part of punishment ‘their punishment’ and is far better than sending them directly to prison as the society they are in can benefit from work they perform during their sentence.

To sum up, People no need for a capital ‘P’ have different reasons why they commit a crime; also there are ranks of crimes. In addition this needs to be followed by a comma undertaking community service as an example of punishment for less serious criminals is a very good step which must be taken seriously. Furthermore, it’s cruel this isn’t academic – ‘unjust’ that all people who have committed differing crimes are punished equally by putting them in prison.

(259 words)


Comments:

The essay uses simple linking words (first, second third), rather than the more academic options of ‘Primarily’ and ‘In addition’.

The writer has touched on some ideas, but they are not fully developed. For example, in the first body paragraph, the writer states that there are different motives for criminal actions but then doesn’t relate this to community service, only that criminals should be treated according to their actions. Paragraphs need to specifically tie in with the question.

A Task II conclusion should be the writer’s final statement on the matter, not simply a restatement of earlier points – there should be a recommendation or a speculation.

However, the writer does use some good vocabulary and some accurate grammar, although a higher score would be awarded for more academic structures such as relative clauses (sentences that add extra information with who, that or which).

 


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Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essay

Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essay

In Task II, your concluding sentence should summarise your argument as presented in the essay, but ideally should also end with either a speculation or a recommendation.

A speculation is when you estimate what may happen in the future. For example:

Unless more job opportunities are provided, the rate of unemployment will continue to rise.

A recommendation is something you think should happen. For example:

It would perhaps be better to enforce an early retirement age so that younger people have more job opportunities.

Here are two possible endings to the Task II essay that follows:

Writing a conclusion to a Task 2 essayFor many people, the main purpose of education is to provide the necessary knowledge and training to obtain a job, yet there are also people who hold that any further education can be said to have potential in the job market. Agreeing with this latter view, this opinion will now be supported.

   Primarily, there is the difficulty in knowing exactly which course of study would have clear employment possibilities. For those students opting to study arts subjects such as English literature, there is no direct path; potential opportunities could include becoming a librarian, author or teacher, but none of these can be said to be direct. Yet there is undeniable value in studying these subjects, as they allow for a more open-minded view of the world, an attitude which would later be useful in a business setting.

   Another point to consider is the job market itself. With many industries in a constant state of evolution, studying for a particular path of employment may be redundant as the industry could well have changed direction by the time of graduation, as can be seen by looking at the information technology industry. Moreover, at the time of entering university, the majority of people do not have a clear career path laid out and thus study courses which appeal to them rather than offer a clear future.

(212 words so far)

Speculation:

To sum up, if any course of education which has no clear path to employment is to be abandoned, it would first need to be decided which courses had a definite purpose. This would almost certainly lead to argument, and would undeniably have a detrimental effect on the culture of a country that opted to drop its arts related subjects.

Recommendation:

To sum up, perhaps the best solution would be to adopt a more developed system of apprenticeship and work training, so that students can be moulded alongside changes in the industry, while those students with unfocussed or general employment plans can continue with the current system.

Analysing IELTS Task 2 writing questions

Analysing IELTS Task 2 writing questions

Analysing IELTS Task 2 writing questionsBefore 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.

Analysing Task 2 questions