Category Archives: IELTS Writing Task 2 (lessons)

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

In Task II, your essay should be composed of three distinct sections: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. On this page, we will look at writing a body paragraph.

Here is an example of a good body paragraph:

On one hand, there is a clear correlation between the availability of guns and the number of deaths or serious incidents they cause. Arguably these incident are not always intentional, they they occur nonetheless. In America, for example, it is a relatively simple process to acquire a firearm, and as a result the country suffers from one of the highest rate of gun related mortality in the western world.

The three parts of a good IELTS paragraph

A good body paragraph should have three parts: the topic sentence, the development and the example. In the paragraph above, this can be broken down like this.

The topic sentence On one hand, there is a clear correlation between the availability of guns and the number of deaths or serious incidents they cause.
The development Arguably these incidents are not always intentional but they occur nonetheless.
The example In America, for example, it is a relatively simple process to acquire a firearm, and as a result the country suffers from one of the highest rate of gun related mortality in the western world.

The topic sentence

Start by telling the examiner exactly what the paragraph is about. This should be the main argument of your paragraph. By reading the first sentence of each of your body paragraphs, the examiner should be able to see exactly what points your essay is making.

Practice by reading the paragraph below and deciding which topic sentence is most appropriate.

  1. It is important to analyse why stress has become so common.
  2. It is important to remember that there are positive and negative aspects to stress.
  3. The problems of stress are not particularly widespread; they mostly concern people in the workplace.

________________________________________. On the one hand, it is commonly linked with medical problems such as headaches and heart problems. It causes sufferers to become both less productive in the workplace and less sociable in their private lives. On the other hand, stress is a natural warning sign, telling us that we are in danger of overtaxing ourselves and giving us the opportunity to slow down. The combination of overwork, lack of relaxation and poor diet are all contributory factors.

Click here to see the correct answer
The paragraph refers to positive and negative points, so topic sentence B is best.

Practice creating a paragraph

Now practice putting together a paragraph. Put the sentences below in the correct order to create a complete body paragraph.

  1. There are also options for those who do not want to spend too much.
  2. Equipment, from rowing machines to workout videos, is readily available for those wishing to create their own home gym.
  3. This means that even people with limited time, such as those who work long hours, should still be able to find the opportunity to exercise regularly.
  4. Reasonable membership costs for local gyms and clubs provide ample opportunity for the amateur interested in a little exercise.
  5. These days, there are many ways to keep fit.
Click here to see the correct order

These days, there are many ways to keep fit. Equipment, from rowing machines to workout videos, is readily available for those wishing to create their own home gym. There are also options for those who do not want to spend too much. Reasonable membership costs for local gyms and clubs provide ample opportunity for the amateur interested in a little exercise. This means that even people with limited time, such as those who work long hours, should still be able to find the opportunity to exercise regularly.


Tips and hints for writing a body paragraph for Task II

It is important to know what your paragraph will be about before you start to write, so a good body paragraph always starts with planning. Make a quick note on the question paper about the topic sentence, the development and the example(s) you will use before you start to write!

Tips for the IELTS writing test

Tips for the IELTS writing test

On this page are tips and hints for writing in the IELTS test. If you have a question or a tip that you think would benefit others, let us know using the message form at the bottom of the page.

Start with Task II

The scoring system for IELTS means that your Task II essay is worth more than Task I. For example – if you get a 6.0 for Task I and a 6.5 for Task II, your overall score is 6.5. However, if you get a 6.5 for Task I and a 6.0 for Task II, your overall result is 6.0. that’s why it always pays to start with Task II! The answer sheet you are writing on has different areas for Task I and Task II, so there’s no problem completing them in any particular order.

Tips for the IELTS writing testDO NOT copy the title of the Task

This will not be counted in your word count and will be simply ignored by the examiner. However, it will cost you time which would be better spent in planning, writing or editing your work.

Making corrections to your completed written work

For the writing test, you will be given a pencil to write with (you are not allowed to take in any pens or material of your own), but if you have made a mistake or want to change something you have written, don’t waste time erasing it – simply put a line through it like this just put a line through it and carry on.

If you don’t understand the the question (or a word in the question)

The best way to handle this is by having a well structured introduction. By including a rephrased definition of what you think the question means, you may lose points for not answering the question directly, but you won’t lose further points for not being clear and to the point. Take a look at the Writing an introduction page for more information.

Is handwriting important in IELTS writing?

It doesn’t matter if your handwriting is not very neat and tidy, so long as the examiner can read it. You can write in cursive (where the letters are joined to each other) or you can print (where each letter is separate). You can even write in capital letters for the whole test if you want to (as confirmed here:http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-your-test/test-day-advice/writing-test-advice – thanks to Ahmed El Talkawy for this link)

Make sure your paragraph breaks are clear

Accurate paragraphing is very important, so make sure that the examiner can clear see where your paragraph begins. Leave an empty line between each paragraph to make it very clear, and you can also indent your writing (that is, the first sentence of the paragraph should have a slight margin to the left). Also take a look at Writing better paragraphs.

Not writing enough words

The IELTS writing test is assessed based on 4 different criteria (as explained in the About the IELTS writing test page). Writing below the minimum word count in either Task I or Task II will mean your score for Task Completion will be reduced by up to 2 bands, so it is very important that you write at least 150 words in Task I and 250 words in Task II.

Writing too many words

For Task I, you should write at least 150 words and for Task II you should write at least 250 words. However, it is also a mistake to write too much beyond these limits. Writing too many words in the IELTS writing test can potentially reduce your overall score for two reasons. The first is that the examiner may penalise you for not being concise and getting to the point. The other, more common reason for losing points is that the more you write, the more you risk exposing additional errors to the examiner. The ideal number of words in the IELTS writing test should be around 10% above the required minimum – that’s 165 words for Task I and 275 words in Task II.

Get used to handwriting for an hour

This might sound like a strange tip, but these days very few people write by hand for more than a minute or two (in fact many people are quicker on a keyboard than with a pen!). It is essential that as part of your IELTS preparations, you hand-write for increasing periods of time until you can comfortably complete over 400 words (Task I and Task II) in less than an hour. Getting a cramp (an ache) in your hand as you are writing can slow you down and will make it more difficult to focus.

Plan, Plan, Plan!!!

One of the most common failings in IELTS writing is when it is clear from the essay that the candidate has not had a clear plan before they started to write. This can mean that your work does not logically flow, repeats vocabulary and is not well organised. Spending a few minutes making a rough plan of what you will include in each paragraph means that you can focus more on your sentence formation, vocabulary and grammar when actually writing. Although you are not given any ‘rough’ paper on which to make notes, you can write on the question paper (this is collected at the end of the test but is then destroyed, not kept with your answer).

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Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

With only 40 minutes to read the question, get ideas, plan your essay, write the essay and then proofread your work, you need to be quick getting ideas.

Here are some useful methods of getting ideas:

Brainstorming

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

This simply means thinking about anything that is connected to the topic. It doesn’t matter whether or not the idea seems good at the time; the aim is to get your brain thinking about the topic and writing notes on the question paper. When you have finished brainstorming, you will find that some of your ideas don’t relate to the topic so need to be rejected, but at least you have a place to start.

If your Task II title was ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘ you might think of the following ideas:

  • underage crime
  • bad parenting
  • crime rates in developed countries
  • young / busy parents
  • society
  • the child’s friends
  • TV and video games

Then when you look again through the list, you need to reject the ideas that are not directly relevant to the questions. In the example above, you would reject the idea about ‘crime rates in developed countries’, as this does not directly relate to parents or children. Then look again and see which ideas would be difficult to support or argue in 250 words / 40 minutes, and would probably reject ‘society’ as it is a very wide area.

Who’s involved?

Another method of getting ideas is to think about who is affected by the topic raised in the question. If you are thinking about ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘, then the people involved would be:

  • parents
  • children
  • the police
  • the victims of crime
  • other criminals

Then you need to think about how each of the affected groups of people may react. Victims of crime, for instance, might want to see the parents punished as the child is arguably too young for prison. The police might also want parents to be responsible for the same reason.


Applying the questions words

A third useful method of getting ideas is to use the question words – who, what, where, when, how etc. In the example we have used so far (Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘), you could think about the following questions:

  • How could parents be punished?
  • What actions should the parents take responsibility for?
  • When is a child old enough to take responsibility themselves?

Here’s another example of applying question words:

TITLE: Everyone should be made to learn English. Do you agree or disagree?

You could consider aspects such as:

  • why should everyone have to learn?
  • what would happen to non-English people’s native language?
  • where would people study?
  • how would this be controlled/regulated?
  • who should pay for it?
  • when would many people find a use for English?

 


Always keep in mind that the ideas you support or argue against do not have to reflect your true opinion – if you find it easier to argue something that you don’t actually agree with, then do it!

IELTS Task 2 avoiding emotional language

IELTS Task 2 avoiding emotional language

A common error in the IELTS test is not writing in a formal, academic manner for Task 2. In this post, we will look at writing too emotionally.

IELTS Task 2 avoiding emotional languageCompare these two sentences  -which is better?

A: People who spend extended periods in front of a television could be exposed to the great risks of pain and suffering from health issues, as well as missing opportunities to spend time outdoors in the arms of mother nature.

B: People who spend extended periods in front of a television could potentially face related health issues, as well as missing opportunities to spend some time outdoors
.

The best sentence is B – although it is shorter, it is academic and formal. Referring to ‘pain and suffering’ and ‘the arms of mother nature’ are more suited to books or poetry, but not for an academic essay. Make sure your work is not excessive – remember you are writing at a level intended for a university lecturer, not a book club!

Here are some other ’emotional’ phrases that we have seen written in student essays that are definitely best avoided in Task 2:

  • It is with great joy and happiness
  • For it is the beauty of our world
  • Friendship in the heart is more valuable
  • We must be full of peace and love
  • The mind must be able to float like the wind
  • How can it be so if we love our brothers and sisters?
  • Living in sin can mean our souls are burdened

IELTS Task 2 Writing more academically

IELTS Task 2 Writing more academically

To write a good Task 2 essay for IELTS, you need to know how to
write more formally and to present yourself in an academic manner. This post will show you some of the common errors in the IELTS writing test
and how to avoid them.

Using personal pronouns (I / we / you / us etc)IELTS Task 2 Writing more academically

Compare these two sentences:

  1. I think that the government should support us by providing better healthcare.
  2. It can be argued that the government should support the population by providing better healthcare.

It should be clear that the second sentence is better as it avoid
using ‘I’ and ‘us’. One of the best ways of writing more formally and
avoiding personal pronouns is by using the passive tense.

Using emotional expressions

Compare these two sentences:

  1. People who spend extended periods in front of a
    television could be exposed to the great risks of suffering from health
    issues.
  2. People who spend extended periods in front of a television could potentially face related health issues.

As you can see, the first sentence is too dramatic and is not
suited for academic writing. You need to remain objective, not
passionate.

Using personal examples

Compare these two sentences:

  1. A friend of mine has been unable to find work recently as he does not have the right qualifications.
  2. It is common for people to be be unable to find work without the right qualifications

As you can see, the second sentence does not make the example
‘personal’ – this is a key point for getting a better result in the
IELTS writing test.

Using abbreviations

Compare these two sentences:

  1. These days, many companies don’t employ people who can’t use a computer.
  2. These days, many companies do not employ people who cannot use a computer.

Always write the full word, not abbreviations!

Using phrasal verbs

Compare these two sentences:

  1. Despite the health concerns, many people have difficulty in giving up smoking.
  2. Despite the health concerns, many people have difficulty in quitting smoking.

Phrasal verbs like ‘give up’, ‘take off’, ‘break down’ or ‘call
into’ are not considered formal and will reduce your score. There is
always a more formal equivalent for a phrasal verb.

Asking questions

Compare these two sentences:

  1. Could the government do more to support poor people?
  2. Many people wonder if there is anything more the government could do to support poor people.

Avoid writing direct questions (also called ‘rhetorical questions’) – they are not academic and will reduce your writing result.

Informal linking words

Compare these two sentences:

  1. First, the government should support people who are actively looking for work.
  2. Primarily, the government should support people who are actively looking for work.

Using more ‘academic’ linking words to connect your ideas will give you a better result.

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Writing good topic sentences for IELTS

Writing a good topic sentence for IELTS

To write in a clear and logical way, the first sentence of your paragraph should define what the rest of the paragraph will be discussing.

For example:

Tighter gun control or even the abolition of firearms would lead to a decrease in the number of deaths and injuries. This is because in many countries, access to this type of weapon is relatively easy, and this can cause incidents or accidents. For example, in the USA alone, accidental death from firearms accounts for over 1000 deaths per year.

Notice how the sentence in bold identifies what the paragraph relates to.

Here are some more topic sentences:

Paragraph A:

Writing good topic sentences for IELTSReality television could be facing a revolt. Every night there is at least one on the television, more often two or three. Subjects can range from seeing a group of people living in a house together, with cameras watching them 24 hours a day, to more exotic locations where people, even celebrities, live on a deserted island and are required to complete certain tasks. While there is clearly a market for this kind of entertainment, there are a growing number of people who have become bored with this genre of programming and are refusing to watch, preferring instead to view other channels or even pursue other interests.

Paragraph B:

Computer viruses are becoming increasingly aggressive. Despite installing protective software, these threats continue to evolve, becoming increasingly sophisticated and damaging. This is an irritation to the home computer user, but is of far greater concern when they affect computers in government offices and banks, for example. In fact, it has been rumoured that certain software companies actively recruit the people responsible, thus turning the creation and implementation of viruses into something akin to a job interview.

Paragraph C:

The belief that we now have longer holidays is not always true. Take, for example, people working in the service industry. They are often required to work through what is traditionally considered to be the holiday period, and in many service industries, Christmas is one of their busiest times. Then there are people from the business world, constantly connected to their work through the Internet and mobile phones. The reality of the situation is that government legislation and laws regarding contracts have given us the impression of having more free time without actually reducing our workload.

Paragraph D:

An increasing number of women do not have to sacrifice their career in order to have a family. This is in part the result of legislation in favour of working mothers, in which companies are required to provide maternity pay to employees in the last stages of pregnancy and early motherhood. Returning to work is also facilitated by many of the larger companies providing crèches for younger children, meaning the parent is no longer housebound. There is also a trend towards having children later in life, once a career has been firmly established, or even not having children at all, giving the opportunity to follow career choices instead. A minor, and not yet substantial enough, role is also played by househusbands, men who take the responsibility for child care whilst the mother pursues her career.

 

Now practice! Read the paragraphs below and think of a suitable topic sentence for each one.

TOPIC SENTENCE 
It provides an important release from the tensions of the workplace, allowing us an outlet for our energies in an increasingly hectic world. There is also the social aspect, as people often use their leisure time to interact with others in a society that is becoming arguably less sociable.

Show a possible topic sentence for the paragraph above

FREE TIME IS INCREASINGLY VITAL THESE DAYS


 

TOPIC SENTENCE 
Traditional foods with better nutritional values are often overlooked as being time consuming and laborious and are often rejected in favour of more convenient options. Another reason that could account for this is the financial factor: the cost of a McDonald’s meal can often be considerably cheaper than a balanced and well-prepared meal cooked at home.

Show a possible topic sentence for the paragraph above  THERE IS AN INCREASING DEPENDENCE ON ‘JUNK’ FOOD

TOPIC SENTENCE 
The clearest indication of this is the brevity of most e-mails. In a letter, we would never consider communicating with a single word or phrase, yet it is perfectly acceptable to do so using a computer. There is also the personal aspect: reliance on e-mail communication is undeniably distancing us from more direct contact, even the telephone. However, we cannot underestimate the convenience of e-mail, especially in situations which involve long-distance communication.

Show a possible topic sentence for the paragraph above EMAIL IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION COMPARED TO MORE TRADITIONAL FORMS

 

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 3

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1 and page 2.

In the final page in this lesson, we will look at what might be the MOST important point regarding Task 2 writing – the 4 different types of Task 2, and the style you should use depending on which type it is.

Video 3 of 3

Narration:
Now let’s look at some examples of the four different types of Task II essays you may have to write about. The most common type of Task II requires you to give an opinion or challenge a point of view. Here is an example. The same question type could also be presented like this. You could also be given a question like this. The basic point of these questions is that you are presented with a situation or a statement that you have to give opinions about. The second type for Task II essay is when you are asked to compare points of view. Here is an example. Notice how the instructions tell us to discuss both the advantages and the disadvantages, then give an opinion. In this example, we are told to argue both opinions and give your view.

The way in which we approach essays that ask us to compare is slightly different to the type that asks us to give an opinion or challenge a point of view, as will be discussed later in the course. The final two types of Task II essay are the least common: we may be asked to give solutions to a problem or discuss a given situation; for instance, talking about benefits, causes or reasons. Here is an example of solutions essay. Here are examples of essays which require you to discuss a given situation. Knowing which type of essay you are writing about is important because it affects the way you plan and present your ideas. We will look at this in more detail later in the course, but on the next page you will see a list of common task words for the different essay types. You can often identify which type of Task II you are writing about from the task words themselves.


Here are some common task words that you might see for each Task 2 type:

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view

Do you agree or disagree?
Do you think…?
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
Is this positive or negative?
What is your opinion?

Compare points of view

Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Consider both sides and give your view.
Argue both views and give your opinion.
Discuss the two points and give your opinion.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
Discuss the two situations and give your view.

Give solutions to a problem

What measures should be taken…?
What can be done about this?
What is the solution to this?
In your opinion what are the solutions?
How can the situation be improved?

Discuss a given situation

What problems does this cause?
What are the advantages of….?
In your opinion what are the problems associated with this?
What are the disadvantages of….?
What benefits does this bring?
What factors contribute to…?

Now practice!

Look at the Task 2 title below and select the question type you think it is.

A lot of people do business internationally. Therefore we should abolish passports to make it easier to travel. Do you agree or disagree?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

There is a rising rate of obesity among children in developed countries. What can be done about this?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give solutions to a problem.

The internet now allows fast access to a huge range of information. Do you think that libraries are still important?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is give an opinion / challenge a point of view.

Some people believe that the government should support the arts. Others believe that the money would be better spent on basic services such as healthcare. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is compare points of view.

The rate of childhood obesity is rising in many developed countries. Why do you think this is?

Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
Compare points of view
Give solutions to a problem
Discuss a given situation

Show the answer
The correct answer is discuss a given situation.

We hope this lesson has helped – if it has, please share our page using the buttons below – thanks!

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics Page 2

Before starting this lesson, make sure you’ve seen page 1.

On the previous page, you answered some questions about Task 2. On this page, we will look at the marking criteria – that is, what the examiner is looking for when assessing your Task 2 essay.

Video 2 of 3

Narration:
The examiner is looking for your essay to demonstrate 4 different aspects in order to get a good result: task response (have you completed the task?), cohesion and coherence (does your answer make sense?), lexical resource (have you used academic vocabulary?) and grammatical range and accuracy (is your grammar correct and have you shown a number of different structures?).

First is whether you have completed the requirements of the Task. That is, have you ( written at least 250 words but not more than about 270? Also in this section, the examiner will be looking to see if you have presented a clear point of view, and also that you have supported your opinions.

The second area the examiner will be looking at is whether what you have written actually makes sense. This means that when you plan and write your essay, you must have a logical presentation with ideas that are linked together. You should also have a clear sentence and paragraph structure.

For lexical resource, you are being judged on whether the vocabulary you use is accurate and academic. You should avoid repeating vocabulary – especially using words taken from the question title.

The final area you are being marked on is your grammar – again, you should use an academic level of grammar and avoid repeating grammar structures. In this IELTS writing course, you will have plenty of practice in order to improve your skills in all of these areas.


Now look at the points below and decide which of the 4 writing criteria each one relates to.

If you repeat words, especially from the question, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Lexical resource

You need to show the examiner that you can express yourself using a range of sentence structures and will gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Grammatical range and accuracy

If you write less that 250 words, you will lose marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Task response.

You need to express your arguments and ideas clearly to gain marks under…
Lexical resource
Cohesion and coherence
Task response
Grammatical range and accuracy

Show the answer
The correct answer is Cohesion and coherence.

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Task 2 IELTS writing – the basics

Before you begin this lesson, you will need to know the meaning of the words below as they are part of the lesson.

POINT OF VIEW: (noun phrase) An opinion . Example: ‘It can sometimes be difficult to understand other peoples’ points of view.’

CHALLENGE: (verb) To argue against an opinion. Example: ‘In IELTS writing, you may need to challenge an opinion by giving a different point of view’.

(noun) A difficult situation. Example: ‘Studying in a second language can be a challenge for many students’.

PROVIDE: (verb) To give or offer. Example: ‘IELTS students need to provide evidence and examples to support their opinions.’

COHESION: (noun) Joining ideas together. Example: ‘A good essay will be easy to understand because of its cohesion’

COHERENCE: (noun) Able to be understood. Example: ‘An essay needs to show coherence; that is, a logical flow of ideas’.

INSTRUCTIONS: (noun) What you have to do. For example: His instructions were to deliver the package to Mr Jones.

DEMONSTRATE: (verb) To show. Example: ‘It is important to demonstrate a range of accurate grammar in your IELTS essay’.

STRUCTURE: (noun) The way in which parts are arranged or put together. Example: ‘A good essay should have a clear structure’.

(verb) To arrange something into clear parts or order. Example: ‘It is important to structure your answer clearly in the IELTS test’.

LEXICAL: (adjective) Talking about vocabulary (words). For example: ‘He has a good lexical ability – he knows a lot of words’


How much do you know already?

Before watching the video below, see what you know about writing a Task 2 essay.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should write the title of the essay at the top of your answer sheet.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. There is no need to write the question again. It does not count towards your 250 words and you do not have time to waste.

You do not have time to plan your essay.


Click here for the answer.

This is false. With practice, you will have time to plan before you write. If you start writing without a clear plan you can find that your essay is not logically and clearly presented.

You should write your plan on the question sheet, not the answer sheet.


Click here for the answer.

This is true. The examiner will not mark your plan (although it helps you to write a better essay). It also does not count towards the 250 words. By writing it on the question paper you do not have to keep it tidy and your essay is presented more clearly for your examiner to read.

You can request extra paper to write on if you need to.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. In the examination room, if you find you need extra paper to write on then simply raise your hand.

There are two choices for each Task 2 essay.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. You are only given one Task 2 and one Task 2. You have no choice and have to write on whatever topic you are given.

Articles (a/an/the) do not count towards the word limit.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. All words written in your essay are included in the word count, unless they are copied directly from the question title.

Video 1 of 3

Narration:

There are two sections to the IELTS writing test – Task 1 and Task 2. Each comes with a different set of instructions, telling you how you should complete the Task. IN Task 2 you are given four different instructions as well as the essay title.

The first instruction is that You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. The writing test takes one hour in total – 20 minutes for Task 1 and 40 minutes for Task 2. This is because Task 2 is more heavily weighted – meaning that Task 2 is worth more to your final result than Task 1.

The second instruction is that you should Write about the following topic. After this, of course, comes your essay title.

The third instruction is that you should Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples or evidence from your own knowledge and experience. This means that you whatever comments or opinions you put in your essays, they must be supported with examples.

The final instruction is You should write a least 250 words. This is very important as writing fewer than 250 words is a certain way to lose points.


Now you’ve watched the video, answer the questions below.

Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE?

You should spend about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. The IELTS writing test takes one hour for Task 1 and Task 2. You should spend about 20 minutes on Task 1 and about 40 minutes on Task 2.

Task 2 is worth more points than Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is true. Task 2 is two thirds of your final result; Task 1 is only one third.

In Task 2, you are giving information. You will not be expected to give and support opinions.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Task 1 essays ask you to transfer information. Task 2 essays ask for opinion, as well as evidence & examples to support your points.

You should write up to 250 words.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. It’s a little bit of a trick question – the statement says ‘up to 250 words’, whereas the correct statement should read ‘at least 250 words’.

You have to start the writing test by completing Task 1.

Click here for the answer.

This is false. Because Task 2 is worth more points, it’s actually better to start with this task and then finish with Task 1. If you run out of time, you lose fewer points!

The 3 parts of a Task 2 IELTS writing question

The 3 parts of a Task 2 IELTS writing question

Task II writing questions can often be divided into different parts.

Commonly, these are:

1. a situation which is generally accepted as being true
2. an opinion, speculation or suggestion about the situation
3. words telling you what you should do.

The 3 parts of a Task 2 IELTS writing questionPoint 1 introduces the general topic.
Point 2 focuses on the specific topic you should write about.
Point 3 refers to the task words – the words which tell you how you should respond to the topic.

Here’s an example:

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

Here are three more IELTS writing questions. Can you divide them into the 3 parts?

High-salary jobs often include free health insurance as part of an employment contract. However, such private medical insurance is unfair, as it offers preferential treatment to the wealthy. Do you agree?

Show answer 1 The general topic: High-salary jobs often include free health insurance as part of an employment contract.
2 The specific topic you should write about: private medical insurance is unfair as it offers preferential treatment to the wealthy
3 The task words: Do you agree?

 

The number of elderly people in the world is increasing. This will lead to a number of social and medical problems. To what extent do you agree?

Show answer 1 The general topic:  The number of elderly people in the world is increasing
2 The specific topic you should write about: This will lead to a number of social and medical problems
3 The task words:To what extent do you agree?

 

Computer games have become the primary source of entertainment for most young children. As a result, children are not forming traditional social skills. What do you think could be done to reverse this trend?

Show answer 1 The general topic:  Computer games and  children.
2 The specific topic you should write about:  children are not forming traditional social skills
3 The task words: What do you think could be done to reverse this trend?

So what is the difference between Do you agree or disagree? and To what extent do you agree?

Do you agree or disagree? This means you are free to completely agree or disagree if you choose to do so.

To what extent do you agree? This suggests that no sensible argument can be based on completely disagreeing with the proposition.


 

Not all Task II essays have three clear parts. Nonetheless, you still need to identify the topic and task words. When particularly difficult or technical vocabulary is used in the question, it will sometimes be explained.

What is the topic in each of the Task II titles below? What are the task words?

  1. Some people need medical treatment due to an addiction such as to smoking or drugs. Should they be treated regardless of the cause?
  2. Euthanasia* is a moral right. What is your opinion?
  3. The government fails to provide sufficient medical care for the elderly. Do you agree or disagree?
  4. We are becoming obsessed with diet and health. Suggest possible reasons why.
*the act of killing someone painlessly (especially someone suffering from an incurable illness)
Show the topic and task words 1. TOPIC: medical treatment because of addiction. TASK: Should they be treated?

2. TOPIC: euthanasia is a right. TASK: What’s your opinion?

3. TOPIC: Government medical care for the elderly. TASK: Is is sufficient?

4. TOPIC: Obsessed with diet and health. TASK: Give reasons why

 


Now you have identified both the topic words and the task words, it often helps to rewrite the question in a more logical order. For example:

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?

Could be re-written as: Is a vegetarian diet healthy?

The sentences above could be re-written as:

  1. Should people who smoke or take drugs have medical care?
  2. Should people morally be allowed to commit euthanasia?
  3. Is government care for the elderly sufficient?
  4. Why are people obsessed with diet and health?