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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DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE!
A lot of students try to study for the IELTS exam at the last minute and leave everything too late. Then they are disappointed when they take the exam and do NOT get the band score that they need to enter their university degree course.
Listen to the advice in the video below from one of SGI's experienced IELTS teachers. He talks about how long it takes to go UP from one IELTS band score to another...
In IELTS Writing Task 2 you will be given 40 minutes to write 250 words or more in response to a given essay prompt. The Task 2 essay is worth two thirds of the points for your writing score the IELTS, so it’s a very important piece of the exam.
Here at Magoosh we highly recommend that students take practice tests to prepare for the real thing. But we also understand how tough it can be to score your own essays — after all, there isn’t a straightforward answer key when it comes to writing!
With this in mind, we’re offering you the opportunity to submit an Task 2 Essay you have written, and we will give one lucky student a detailed analysis of their essay, and feedback on how specifically they can improve!
And keep scrolling down for a full video transcript. 🙂
Hi, I’m Elliot, the IELTS expert from Magoosh and I’ve got an exciting opportunity for you with this video because here at Magoosh we are offering you an opportunity to write a sample task two essay or submit one that you’ve already written before and we will offer one lucky winner feedback.
So we’ll choose one out of the responses we get and give you a full set of feedback letting you know how well you did, what kind of score you could expect, and what kind of things you could do to improve on your essay, okay?
So here’s the idea.
Go ahead and search through if you have been preparing for the IELTS for a while, it’s possible, it’s probable you have some essays written already.
Choose your best one or choose one that you would like to possibly get some feedback on, and all you need to do is copy and paste it in the comments below this video and you’re entered.
That’s all you need to do.
If you don’t have an essay, or if you’d like to write a new one, you can go if you look at the link at the bottom in the text box there, and you can click on that link and go to a sample question that you can write about.
You can use that as your question.
Write a new essay and take that, copy and paste it into the comments section below this video, and then you are entered if you choose to go that route.
So good luck and I can’t wait to read the winning essay.
Looking for more IELTS Writing Task 2 practice? Check out our free Complete Guide to IELTS Task 2! And don’t forget to comment. 🙂