The essay for Task 2 of the IELTS writing exam is something that a lot of students are afraid of.
You must write about 250 words and this should be completed in approximately 40 minutes (because you also need to complete Writing Task 1 in the first 20 minutes of the 1 hour writing test).
To write the perfect answer and get the highest IELTS band score possible, you need to write quickly but also keep calm and focussed on writing your answer.
In all parts of the IELTS exam, you should try to show that you have a broad knowledge of English vocabulary, ensure that you write with correct spelling and avoid silly little grammar mistakes.
IELTS WRITING TASK 2 Best answer
The essay type questions for Task 2 are usually asking about some general thing in society. The topic could be education, health, age, gender roles, the youth, the environment... basically anything.
Therefore, you cannot learn an amazing sentence that you can insert into an essay, as it is very unlikely that you will be able to use it in your specific question that you have on the day of your test.
However, there is a system to use that gives you a great balanced structure which will help you get a good mark for answering the question... which is after all the whole point of this task - answer the question! Lots of IELTS candidates do not actually do this, as they are trying to impress the examiner with big posh words and forget to focus on actually giving a point of view and supporting that opinion with good examples and clear thought.
Read and follow these steps to give your best answer (or watch the video below):
STEP 1: INTRODUCTION
Repeat the question in your own words
In the essay introduction, you should start by repeating the question. This does NOT mean that you should COPY the question.
You should say the question again, but using different words that mean the same thing (synonyms).
For example, if your question was something like: Some people believe that capital punishment should never be used. Others believe that it could be used for the most serious crimes. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Then the opening sentence of your introduction should use synonyms to say the question again in your own words. for example: It is a commonly held belief that the death penalty is a Draconian penalty and not appropriate in modern society. However, there is also an argument that the most despicable crimes should have this most severe of punishments.
Now, don't worry about the high level of the example sentences above. I am a native English speaker and I am an English teacher, so the sentences should be good, shouldn't they?
But, from the example, you can see that it is possible to re-write the question using completely different vocabulary and still retain the original meaning and 'flavour' of the original question.
Give your opinion
As soon as you have restated the question, then give your opinion on the subject.
This gives the examiner an overview of what is to come in your essay.
It is important to note that it does not matter what your opinion is! There is no right or wrong answer to an IELTS essay question. You do NOT have to try and think "What will the examiner think is the right answer here". The examiner is only interested in the level of your English. So just give your first instinct opinion and don't try to out-think yourself.
STEP 2: Support your opinion
Now that you have given your opinion, you need to back it up.
The best way to do this is to give examples.
You can begin this paragraph with phrases like:
- Personally, I believe that...
- From my point of view...
- I am convinced that...
- In my opinion...
- In my view...
So, if your opinion was that you are against capital punishment, then as an example you could write about situations where people have been jailed for life for murder and then decades later they have been released as they were proven to be innocent. The relevant vocabulary here is "a miscarriage of justice".
Your argument would be that when a miscarriage of justice occurs, the prisoner would most likely have faced the death penalty and would have been killed even though they were innocent.
Another example could be that many murders are committed in 'hot blood' and often as an 'act of passion'.. This means that the murder was so angry about something that they were not thinking properly
STEP 3: Give the other side of the argument
In your next paragraph, you should look at the question from the opposite viewpoint to yours.
This shows the examiner that you have balance in your writing and it is a sign of a good essay.
You can start this paragraph with phrases such as:
- It can also be argued that...
- Someone who held the opposing view would say that...
- However, there is also another side to this discussion.
- In contrast, some people hold the view that...
STEP 4: Conclusion - Summarise your opinion
To finish off your IELTS task 2 essay, you need to summarise your whole argument as a conclusion.
Essentially, this means that you give your opinion again that you stated in the introduction.
To prove to the IELTS examiner that you have a good command of English vocabulary you should try again to use synonyms and not just copy your previous sentence. Now, you can add your expanded arguments (from step 2) into your opinion.
A conclusion that weighs up the arguments already mentioned is a really good opportunity to use a conditional sentence.
If capital punishment was reintroduced into society, I do not believe that it would act as a deterrent for heinous crimes. It is my strongly held belief that the death penalty would only result in future miscarriages of justice that serve no purpose in civilised society.
IELTS TASK 2 WRITING VIDEO
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IELTS Sample Essays
Here you will find IELTS Sample Essays for a variety of common topics that appear in the writing exam.
The model answers all have tips and strategies for how you may approach the question and comments on the sample answer.
Looking at IELTS essay topics with answers is a great way to help you to prepare for the test.
IELTS Sample Essays
These IELTS sample essays have been categorised in a way that makes it easy for you to see how certain essay question types require you to provide certain responses to ensure the question is fully answered.
Specifically these are:
- Agree / Disagree
- Discuss Two Opinions
- Problems and Solutions
- Advantages and Disadvantages
- Other Types
Agree / Disagree Type Questions
In these types of question you are given one opinion and you then have to state the extent to which you agree or disagree with that opinion:
Discuss Two Opinions Type Questions
In this essay question type you are given two opinions, and you have to discuss both of these and then give your own view:
Cause Type Questions
There are a variety of 'cause type' essay questions. In these you first have to give the reasons why something has happened, in other words the causes, but then discuss a different aspect of it, such as the effects, solutions or the extent to whether it is a positive or negative development:
Causes & Effects:
Causes and Solutions:
Causes, Pros & Cons:
Problems & Solutions Type Questions
In these type of questions, instead of discussing the causes of a problem, you need to discuss the problems related to a particular issue in society, and then suggest what can be to solve these problems:
Advantage & Disadvantages Type Questions
In these type of questions you are asked to discuss the positive and negative sides of a particular topic:
Other Types of Question
There are sometimes questions that don't fit easily into a particular category. You can view some IELTS sample essays for these here:
Student Sample Essays
For more IELTS essay topics with answers you can also view essays that have been written by students in the Essay Feedback Forum: