Approaching IELTS Writing Task 2 (Academic and General)

What is Task 2?

In the IELTS Writing Task 2, you need to write an essay on a specific topic. You are expected to explain why you think what you think. You can either use general knowledge or your own personal experience to support why you think what you think. You don’t have to provide strong evidence but you do need to make a logical answer.

What kind of essay do I have to write?

The question in Task 2 will probably ask you to write a discursive essay. This means you need to examine a topic and express your opinion. You may have to think about a situation and evaluate the advantages or disadvantages or think about a different situation and describe a problem and suggest some solutions. You may also have to explain why something happens and consider what might happen in the future.

The important thing is that a question is more than just a topic. For example,

The internet gives people access to a lot of different information. Examine whether this is a good or bad thing.
The internet is changing the way that people study. Assess the advantages and disadvantages for students who have access to the internet.
The internet provides many benefits. However, it can also lead to some different problems. Consider some of the problems the internet causes and suggest how they could be solved.

These are three different essay questions connected to the internet but you could not give the same answer to each question. The first asks you to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the internet while the second asks you to discuss the internet specifically in relation to study while the last wants you to focus on problems caused by the internet and suggest potential solutions.

How do I get started with Task 2?

The first job is to understand the question. Identify the key words and underline the main topic of the essay and what you are asked to focus on. Make sure you know what you need to talk about in your essay.

Once you know understand the question, start thinking about your answer. Plan how many paragraphs you will need and what the purpose of each paragraph is. You only need to write 250 words but you must make sure each paragraph has a purpose. Each paragraph should have one main point that helps you answer the question.

Think about how you could explain your answer in one or two sentences and make sure those sentences are in your answer, either in the introduction or conclusion.

Examples of Writing Task 2 papers

Click on the links to see example questions, answers and explanations.