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IELTS Writing Task 2 - Essay Topics, Scoring Criteria, Tips

IELTS Writing Task 2 - Essay Topics, Scoring Criteria, Tips

Edited By team | Updated on Jun 19, 2024 09:32 AM IST | #IELTS

The IELTS writing task is considered to be the toughest section and students are often worried about their band scores. One of the common problems that students preparing for the IELTS writing task 2 is that they watch and read unauthenticated material and bind themselves to make errors and end up scoring a low band score. However, if the IELTS writing preparation is done correctly, even the dullest candidate can easily score his/her required bands in the writing section and clear their eligibility.

While many students commonly search for the way writing task 2 should be addressed, today's article will provide you with easy and clear strategies to score high in the IELTS writing task 2.

Let's first understand the type of essays that are normally asked in the IELTS writing task 2 section and the requirements that are assessed to acquire a high band score.

Types of IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions:

  • Opinion-based questions,

  • Advantages and Disadvantages - Essay

  • Problem- Solution Essay

  • Causes and Effects- Essay

  • Two different questions- Essay

IELTS Essay Topics

The type of topics used for the IELTS writing task 2 in the Academic and IELTS General paper are commonly listed below. By referring to these writing task 2 topics, the candidate can understand what sort of topics are asked in the exam.

List of Common IELTS Writing Task 2 topics are -

Education

Environmental Issues

AI Technology

Sociology

Art

Health

Sports

Government Schemes

Travel

IELTS Writing Task 2- Band Parameter Analysis - The image below is taken from the official website of the British council.

Band Score

Task Achievement

Coherence & Cohesion

Lexical Resource

Grammatical Range 8

Accuracy

9

All the requirements of the task are fully and appropriately satisfied.

There may be extremely rare lapses in content.

The message can be followed effortlessly.

Cohesion is used in such a way that it very

rarely attracts attention.


Any lapses in coherence or cohesion are

Minimal.


Paragraphing is skilfully managed.

Full flexibility and precise use are evident

within the scope of the task.


A wide range of vocabulary is used accurately

and appropriately with very natural and

sophisticated control of lexical features

.

Minor errors in spelling and word formation

are extremely rare and have minimal impact

on communication.

A wide range of structures within the scope

of the task is used with full flexibility and

control.

Punctuation and grammar are used

appropriately throughout.

Minor errors are extremely rare and have

minimal impact on communication

8

The response covers all the requirements of the task appropriately, relevantly

and sufficiently.


(Academic) Key features are skilfully selected, and clearly presented,

highlighted and illustrated.


(General Training) All bullet points are clearly presented and appropriately

illustrated or extended.


There may be occasional omissions or lapses in content.

The message can be followed with ease.

Information and ideas are logically

sequenced, and cohesion is well managed.


Occasional lapses in coherence or

cohesion may occur.


Paragraphing is used sufficiently and

appropriately.

A wide resource is fluently and flexibly used

to convey precise meanings within the scope

of the task.


There is skilful use of uncommon and/or

idiomatic items when appropriate, despite

occasional inaccuracies in word choice and

Collocation.


occasional errors in spelling and/or word

formation may occur but have minimal

impact on communication.

A wide range of structures within the scope

of the task is flexibly and accurately used.

The majority of sentences are error-free, and

punctuation is well managed.

Occasional, non-systematic errors and

inappropriacies occur, but have minimal

impact on communication.

7

The response covers the requirements of the task.


The content is relevant and accurate - there may be a few omissions or lapses.

The format is appropriate.


(Academic) Key features which are selected are covered and clearly

highlighted but could be more fully or more appropriately illustrated or

Extended.


(Academic) It presents a clear overview, the data are appropriately

categorised, and the main trends or differences are identified.


(General Training) All bullet points are covered and clearly highlighted but

could be more fully or more appropriately illustrated or extended. It presents

a clear purpose. The tone is consistent and appropriate to the task. Any lapses

are minimal.

Information and ideas are logically

organised and there is a clear progression

throughout the response. A few lapses

may occur.


A range of cohesive devices including

reference and substitution is used flexibly

but with some inaccuracies or some

over/underuse.

The resource is sufficient to allow some

flexibility and precision.


There is some ability to use less common

and/or idiomatic items.


An awareness of style and collocation is

evident, though inappropriacies occur.


There are only a few errors in spelling and/or

word formation, and they do not detract

from overall clarity.

A variety of complex structures is used with

some flexibility and accuracy.

Grammar and punctuation are generally well

controlled, and error-free sentences are

frequent.

A few errors in grammar may persist, but

these do not impede communication.

6

(General Training) All bullet points are covered and adequately

highlighted. The purpose is generally clear. There may be minor

inconsistencies in tone.


Some irrelevant, inappropriate or inaccurate information may occur in

areas of detail or when illustrating or extending the main points.


Some details may be missing (or excessive) and further extension or

illustration may be needed.

Information and ideas are generally

arranged coherently and there is a clear

overall progression.


Cohesive devices are used to some good

effect but cohesion within and/or

between sentences may be faulty or

mechanical due to misuse, overuse or

Omission.


The use of reference and substitution

may lack flexibility or clarity and result in

some repetition or error

The resource is generally adequate and

appropriate for the task.


The meaning is generally clear in spite of a

rather restricted range or a lack of

precision in word choice.


If the writer is a risk-taker, there will be a

wider range of vocabulary used but higher

degrees of inaccuracy or inappropriacy.


There are some errors in spelling and/or

word formation, but these do not impede

communication.

A mix of simple and complex sentence

forms is used but flexibility is limited.

Examples of more complex structures are

not marked by the same level of accuracy

as in simple structures.

Errors in grammar and punctuation occur,

but rarely impede communication

Table Extracted from - Writing Band Descriptors Copyright © 2023 by the British Council

Now, let's look at some example questions to understand the way the IELTS writing task 2 should be attempted.

IELTS Writing Task 2- Opinion Based Questions

This type of question is further categorised into three parts:

  • Opinion Based- Discuss both views

  • Opinion Based- Agree or disagree

  • Opinion Based- How far do you agree/disagree?

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Example Question:

Governments should spend money on railways rather than roads. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to discuss both sides for the question above, but you can if you want. Therefore, you have a choice about whether to discuss the ‘agree’ side, the ‘disagree’ side or discuss both sides (i.e., give a partial opinion). We’ll examine these options later. Even if you choose to discuss both sides, you must clearly state whether your opinion agrees or disagrees. This is very important for your Task Achievement score.

To have a clear position, you should:

To address any type of question, you should carefully analyse the band parameters and to score high it clearly indicates that you should have a clear position.

Example: IELTS Writing Task 2- Opinion Based Question

1. Strongly agree. You think governments should spend money on rail rather than roads. You discuss only this side.

2. Strongly disagree. You think governments should spend money on roads rather than rail. You discuss only this side.

3. Partially agree/ disagree. You discuss both sides, but you have a clear opinion about rail or road.

As you can see from the table above, your essay's exact position is crucial for your Task Achievement. So, we recommend IELTS students to give their opinion, both in the introduction and the conclusion (for all Task 2 questions).

Although, it's okay to write a normal introduction and leave your opinion to the end. But we strongly suggest that you don’t do this because it’s not as clear. You might also run out of time before you’ve come to your conclusion, so overall, it’s a risky strategy.

Now, let's check the structure you should follow for opinion-based questions in detail:

1. Strongly agree – you feel rail is much more important than roads.

You need two good reasons why rail is more important.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention your opinion (rail is more important)

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and support your first reason why rails are important along with an example.

  • Body Paragraph-2 Explain and Support your second reason why rails are important along with an example.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Re-state your opinion and summarise the main reasons.

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2. Strongly disagree – you feel roads are much more important than rail.

You need two good reasons why roads are more important.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention your opinion (the road is more important)

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and support your first reason why roads are important along with an example.

  • Body Paragraph-2 Explain and Support your second reason why roads are important along with an example.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Restate your opinion and summarise the main reasons.

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3. Discuss both sides – You think one side is good, but overall the other side is more important.

You need one good reason for each side.

In the example below, you feel the reason for supporting rail is more important than supporting roads.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention your opinion (roads are important but rail is more important)

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and support your first reason why roads are important along with an example.

  • Body Paragraph-2 Explain and Support your second reason why rails are important along with an example.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Restate your opinion and summarise the main reasons.

Summarising all three options mentioned above, it is really clear to understand that you need to present the ideas in a very simple and clear manner.

Remember that you should never support both views equally as this will not highlight a clear conclusion, and if you do not present a clear conclusion, you will end up losing your band score. The best way here is to support any one side of the opinion.

IELTS Writing Task 2- Advantage Disadvantage Essays Guidelines

This type of question is further categorised into two:

  • Discuss both advantages and disadvantages

  • Discuss if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages- vice versa

Now let's understand the structure of IELTS writing essay to score high

Example Question 1:

Some people think that there should be a car-free day once every month, on which no private vehicles are allowed on the road. Discuss the advantages and possible disadvantages.

The first thing to remember is that you need to discuss both sides, but you are not supposed to give your opinion. This is very important for your Task Achievement score.

Now let’s look at the essay structure in more detail.

Advantage - Disadvantage – You need to list the various advantages and disadvantages, but show no leniency on either side. You need at least one good reason for each side.

In the given example, you will discuss the merits and demerits of having a car-free day.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention what the reader can expect in the essay.

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and support the advantages of having a car-free day.

  • Body Paragraph-2 Explain and Support the disadvantages of having a car-free day.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Re-state the merits and demerits and end with generalised observations.

Remember that the essay has clarity and there is no opinion given in the essay.

A clear position and clear structure mean your essay is easier to mark, which should mean a higher score.

Example Question 2:

Nowadays, parents are allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones to enhance learning. Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Here, you need to carefully understand that you have to discuss both merits and demerits and you are also required to state your opinion. In this type of essay, we suggest that your view has to be stated clearly in both the introduction paragraph and the conclusion paragraph so that you meet the task response requirements and score high bands.

Now let’s look at the essay structure in more detail.

Advantage - Disadvantage – You need to list the various advantages and disadvantages, But you must show leniency towards any one side. You need at least one good reason for each side, but the importance of the side you support should come through.

In the example below, you will discuss the pros and cons of parents permitting their children to use digital media to enhance learning.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention what the reader can expect in the essay along with your opinion.

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and support the advantages of parental permission on using smart gadgets.

  • Body Paragraph 2- Explain and Support the disadvantages of parental permission on using smart gadgets.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Explain why the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.

Remember that if you present your ideas with clarity, you are sure to score high bands in your IELTS writing task 2.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Problem and Solution- Essay

This type of question is quite straightforward and just demands you to correctly plan the problems associated with the mentioned question and state the solutions for the problems you mention.

The only IELTS writing task 2 tip in this type of IELTS essay question is that you should not mix problems and solutions, that is, the problem and solution topics should not differ.

Example Question:

Studies have shown that in many countries the income gap between the rich and poor is ever-increasing. What problems can arise from this situation and what could be done to address this situation?

Here, you need to analyse the number of problems and solutions that are asked in the question. You have been asked to discuss issues and solutions (measures), but in fact, it’s better if you can think of two leading problems and solutions. This means you can spend more time developing those ideas which will then improve your Task Achievement score.

So, the essay structure will be like:

Possible Essay Structure- you discuss the leading problems first then discuss the primary solutions. You need two leading causes and two main solutions.

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention what the reader can expect in the essay.

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain and highlight the problems if countries have an income gap between the rich and poor.

  • Body Paragraph-2 Explain and highlight the possible solutions of the problems mentioned in paragraph 1.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Restate the problem and summarise your main ideas.

Remember that if you present your ideas with clarity, you are sure to score high bands in your IELTS writing task 2.

IELTS Writing Task 2: cause and effect - Essay

Under this type of question, it is very important for the students to understand the difference between the words problems and causes, as well as the difference between solutions and effects of the cause.

Example Question:

In developing nations, many people are leaving their reputed jobs and settling in developed countries. What are the causes and effects of this practice?

The plan of the essay should be made correctly to score high bands, and the sample structure under this type of essay should be like

  • Introduction paragraph- paraphrase the information and also mention what the reader can expect in the essay.

  • Body paragraph 1- Explain the causes of the reason people are shifting to developed nations.

  • Body Paragraph 2 Explain and highlight the effects of this practice.

  • Conclusion paragraph- Restate the problem and summarise your main ideas.

Remember that you should mention only two causes and effects, and as mentioned earlier the causes and the effects should relate to each other for you to score a high band score.

IELTS writing preparation requires appropriate practice before you appear for the main exam. We highly recommend you follow the given structure for the type of questions mentioned to score high bands.

IELTS WRITING TASK 2 ESSAYS


TITLE

STUDY LINKS

OPINION-BASED ESSAY-TYPE QUESTION

Study Here

DISCUSSION ESSAY

Study Here

ARGUMENT ESSAY

Study Here

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES ESSAYS

Study Here

SUGGESTING SOLUTIONS BASED ESSAY

Study Here

PROBLEM-SOLVING ESSAYS

Study Here


IELTS Preparation Books

The candidates are encouraged to download and study these ebooks specifically designed for IELTS success. These IELTS Preparation books are designed by IELTS experts to help candidates enhance their IELTS preparation.

Ebook

Links

IELTS & TOEFL Vocabulary Guide

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IELTS Reading Practice


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IELTS 2024 Writing Task 1 & Task 2 - Study Material

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IELTS 2024 Preparation Tips

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IELTS 2024 Listening Section - Study Material

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IELTS PRACTICE TESTS

Higher band scores can only be achieved through dedicated practice. To support and help the candidates in tackling the challenges set by IELTS examinations, we have designed a comprehensive collection of these IELTS practice tests.

IELTS WRITING PRACTICE TESTS

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Can I use bullet points in Writing Task 2?

The essay should not be attempted with bullet points, it should be paragraphed properly to score high bands. Using points can severely impact the overall band score. Maintaining clarity and coherence througout the essay through paragraphs is mandatory.

2. Can I use personal examples in my essay?

Yes, personal examples can be used if they are relevant and help to support your argument. This can help you to support your viewpoints and give clarity to your essay. This in return would leave a positive impression on the examiner.

3. How do I write a strong conclusion?

A strong conclusion summarizes your main points and restates your position clearly and concisely. A perfect conclusion should be a summary of your main points. It must summarize the entire article well. A good conclusion can invite higher band scores.

4. What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a sentence that expresses your main idea or position on the topic. It should be clear and concise. It can also be defined as a sentence that perfectly summarizes the main points of an essay. The thesis statements vary according to various types of essays.

5. How many paragraphs should my essay have?

A typical essay should have four paragraphs: an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Maintaining the flow of your essay throughout all four paragraphs is essential. The introduction should include a brief introduction to the points that are to be discussed, the body paragraph should discuss in depth on the topic and all the points must be concluded in the conclusion.

6. How can I score good in IELTS writing task 2?

To score well in IELTS Writing Task 2, first, understand the essay question clearly. Plan your essay by organizing your ideas with an introduction, body paragraphs with examples, and a conclusion. Use examples or personal experiences to support your points. Make sure your essay flows logically with linking words and clear connections between sentences and paragraphs. Show your understanding of the topic by discussing different views and giving your opinion. Use correct grammar and a variety of vocabulary. Manage your time well to write and review your essay within 40 minutes. Practice regularly to improve your writing skills.

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It is very highly unlikely to obtain a legitimate IELTS certificate without taking the exam. Any claims suggesting otherwise are likely scams. It is essential to take the exam through authorized testing centers to ensure the validity and credibility of the certificate.

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Hope this information helps you.

Many candidates ask whether their IELTS certificate is real or fake. To know if your IELTS test report is real or not, check the following points:

  • Check the certification stamp on the certificate if it matches the centre of registration and your selected IELTS test centre .

  • Visit the IDP IELTS official website after receiving the oft copy of your certificate via email to check whether it is available online and if it is valid.

  • Make sure that you receive the confirmation of your IELTS registration from the centre you registered. Also, check the login credentials to verify your IELTS results once the process is complete.

  • Collect the hard copy of the IELTS scorecard directly from the test centre once the results are announced.

  • Talk to the agent directly on the phone to verify his identity.

Verify all the above-mentioned points carefully to not get deceived by any fraud attempts.

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