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IELTS Writing Task 2 Topics

One the most challenging parts of the IELTS test is the writing section.  However, you do not need to fear it! With regular practice and an understanding of the types of questions that you may get, you can get the level you need!

What is the IELTS writing task 2?

If you are taking the IELTS Academic or General Training, the IELTS writing task 2 follows the same format.  You must write an informal essay of at least 250 words.  You have 1 hour for the whole writing test, so it is recommended that you spend around 40 minutes on task 2 (remember that you have to do task 1, which you should spend around 20 minutes on!).

What are examiners going to assess me on?

Your writing will be assessed on four key areas

  • Task Fulfillment – did you write 250 words? Did you cover all parts of the task?
  • Lexical Resource – Are you using a variety of vocabulary? Are you spelling words correctly?
  • Grammatical Range and – Are you using your verb tenses correctly and appropriately? Do you show a range in your grammar (i.e. a variety of grammatical sentences).
  • Coherence & Cohesion – Does your writing make sense? Is it easy to read?

To find out more, read the IELTS writing task 2 assessment criteria.

What are some of the IELTS writing task 2 topics?

There are a variety of topics that you may get in the test, but you will never need specific technical knowledge in order to answer the question. Here are some example topics and questions:

Before you read the topics, note that:

  • You will only get one question in the test. You do not have an option to choose from multiple questions.

Topic 1:

Government investment in the arts, such as music and theatre, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Topic 2:

Many old buildings protected by law are part of a nation’s history. Some people think they should be knocked down and replaced by new ones.

How important is it to maintain old buildings?

Should history stand in the way of progress?

Topic 3:

Some people believe the aim of university education is to help graduates get better jobs. Others believe there are much wider benefits of university education for both individuals and society.

Discuss both views and give your opinion

Topic 4:

Global warming is one of the most serious issues that the world is facing today.

What are the causes of global warming and what measures can governments and individuals take to tackle the issue?

Topic 5:

Many people leave their home country to study abroad nowadays.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

See more IELTS sample topics and answers

Tips for IELTS writing task 2

  • Make sure you read the questions carefully before you start writing. If you have to give advantages AND disadvantages, make sure you have done both.  If you have to give your opinion, make sure you have clearly stated it.
  • Every question has the instructions: “Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words”. This is important. If you are providing a point of view, make sure you also provide a reason for this view. Also, you will need to support your view with   The example does not have to be technical or complicated.  You can use a personal example from your experience.
  • Try to have an introduction & conclusion. This will make your work clear and easy to read, which will help with your coherence & cohesion scores.
  • Spend about 5 minutes planning your answer and about 5 minutes checking your response.

Putting it all together

There are no specific rules as to how many paragraphs, you need to write, but for this example, we will look at a four-paragraph structure.

Sample question:

Many people leave their home country to study abroad nowadays.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

Paragraph Plan

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Paragraph 2: Body paragraph 1 (Advantages)

Paragraph 3: Body paragraph 2 (Disadvantages)

Paragraph 4: Conclusion

Sample answer:

Nowadays, it is common for many people to travel to answer country to continue their studies.  This essay will explore some of the benefits and drawbacks of this recent trend.

Studying overseas has a number of advantages. Firstly, it may give students access to knowledge and facilities such as laboratories and libraries which are not available in their home country. Furthermore, by looking abroad students may find a wider range of courses than those offered in their country’s universities, and therefore one which fits more closely to their particular requirements.  For example, my brother moved to the United States last year to study a specialized law degree which was only available in that country.

However, studying in another country can present some difficulties. To begin, international study is extremely expensive, In addition to the high tuition costs, the international student has additional expenses, such as accommodation, transport and reading material.  Also, being in a foreign country can lead to a sense of isolation and being away from loved ones can be mentally difficult.  This can result in a student wishing to return to their home country before they complete their studies. For example, a few of my friends recently returned from the UK as they were not happy living there.  As a result, they did not complete their studies despite having paid a large amount in student tuition fees.

In conclusion, studying abroad has both benefits and drawbacks.  On the one hand, it gives opportunities to people to advance their skills and perhaps their future careers.  However, it can be expensive and emotionally draining.  In my view, I believe studying abroad is worthwhile and that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

(280 words)

Practice makes perfect!

The most important thing is to practice.  This is the key to success. Best of luck!

Want to improve your general English? Visit the British Council Learn English page

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