DCSIMG

How to prepare for IELTS Writing Task 2

If you’re preparing for your IELTS test and want to know more about what’s in the exam, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog, we explain everything you need to know to about the Writing section of your IELTS test, and in particular Writing Task 2.

About the Writing section of the IELTS test

The IELTS test is split up into four areas, Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.

You are given 60 minutes in total to complete the Writing section of the test, with two tasks to finish in that time. It is recommended that 20 minutes is spent on Writing task 1, then the final 40 minutes on Writing task 2.

Writing Task 2

Whether you are taking the Academic or General Training IELTS test, your exam paper will have a section called ‘Writing Task 2’. For both test types, you will be expected to write 250 words on your provided topic.

There are various types of IELTS task 2 questions, see below for three examples:

Task 2: Example Questions

Example 1:

“Some people believe that teaching children at home is best for a child’s development while others think that it is important for children to go to school.

Discuss the advantages of both methods and give your own opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.”

 

Example 2:

In many countries today there are a lot of highly qualified graduates who are unemployed.

What factors may have caused this situation and what, in your view, can/should be done about it?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

 

Example 3:

Some people think that having a set retirement age (e.g. 65 years) for everybody, regardless of occupation, is unfair. They believe that certain workers deserve to retire and receive a pension at an earlier age.

Do you agree or disagree?

Which types of workers do you think should benefit from early retirement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Notice that for all question types, you need to write at least 250 words and that you have to give reasons for your answers and support these by giving examples. Giving reasons and example is especially important as these will help you to write enough to words that are required for the task (250 words).

How is your IELTS Writing Task 2 Marked?

Your writing submission is marked by a trained IELTS examiner. The examiner will assess you on four key areas:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Some questions to consider for each marking criteria are:

  • Task achievement: Have you covered the points of the question (e.g. If you are asked to give advantages and disadvantages, have you provided both?) If you asked to give your opinion, have you done so?  Have you given reasons for your points and have you provided relevant examples? Have you written the required number of words?
  • Coherence and cohesion: Are your ideas easy to understand? Is your essay well organised and does it have a logical flow?  Do you have clear paragraphs which makes it easy for the reader to follow your ideas?
  • Lexical resource: Are you using the correct vocabulary? Are you using a range of different words? Are you spelling words correctly?
  • Grammatical range and accuracy: Are you using complex sentence structures? Are you using the correct verb tenses?  Do you show a variety in your sentences?

It is important that you practice essay writing a lot so that you are ready for test day.  To help you, here are some top tips for IELTS essay writing:

  1. Make sure you read the task carefully. Spend a bit of time reading the task carefully. Make sure you understand what you need to do. Turning any statements into questions can help with this. For example, you can create some questions from the statement we saw previously to help you answer the task:

“Some people believe that teaching children at home is best for a child’s development while others think that it is important for children to go to school.

Questions to think about:

Is teaching children at home best for a child’s development? Why?

How important is it for children to go to school? Why?

Don’t write these questions on your answer sheet, just use them to help plan your answer and think about ideas for the topic.

  1. Don’t waste time thinking of complicated ideas. The examiners are more interested in the quality of your English rather than the quality of your ideas. Keep your ideas simple and easy to understand.  This way, it will be easier to express them and it will be easier for the examiner to understand.
  2. Spend some time planning your essay. Take about 5 minutes to think of ideas and plan your work.  Make sure that during this time, you think of reasons for your opinions and relevant examples.
  3. Plan your time well. Keep an eye on the clock! You should allow for about 40 minutes to do your essay.  Make sure you leave some time to plan and review your work.
  4. Check your work. Allow for a few minutes at the end of the writing test to review your work. Check for any common errors. Have you completed the task? Have you written the required number of words?
  5. Prepare. It is important that you practice essay writing so that you are ready for test day. The British Council provides practice material for this on our preparation page. You can even use our IELTS Tutoring service to get valuable feedback from our trained network of teachers. They will highlight areas where you may need to improve so you can work on these areas before test day.

Remember, practice makes perfect!  Best of luck with your IELTS preparations!

Learn more about General Writing Task 1

Want to know more about writing task 1 in the IELTS General test? Read our blog for everything you need to know.