IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Writing Task 2: Assessment Criteria

The second writing task to undertake in IELTS is task 2. This is an essay writing of no less than 250 words and you are to spend 40 minutes. Your writing is being assessed based on the criteria below:

  1. Task Achievement
  2. Coherence and Cohesion
  3. Lexical Resource
  4. Grammatical Range & Accuracy

For detailed IELTS Writing Task 2 Assessment Criteria, check here

Before you start writing

The first thing you need to do once you have been given your Writing Task 2 question is to TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION and WHAT YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DO.

Understanding the different question types is important. We will look at the Writing Task 2 question types later.
Once you have understood the question and what you are required to do, you then need to plan your writing before you begin to write for your writing to be organized.

Planning your writing means you will think of ideas and make some notes (short sentences) that will be expanded in the writing based on the question.

How to plan your writing


Identify the INSTRUCTION WORDS (Words that indicate what you are required to do)

E.g.  To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

The task requires you to AGREE or DISAGREE with the opinion expressed in the question below.

Essay Question 1

There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?


Identify the KEYWORDS (words that are primary to the understanding of the question)

E.g. Car use, global warming, undesirable effects, people’s health, and well being


From the instructions words, you will understand the question type.

E.g.  To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

The word AGREE or DISAGREE are indicative of your OPINION. Therefore, we can say this is an OPINION ESSAY.


You will think of the ideas and make some notes (short sentences) that will be expanded in the writing based on the question.


  1. The production of greenhouse gases by vehicles

      Some vehicles release carbon into the atmosphere e.g cars, and locomotive trains in Spain

       2.  Other chemicals released by internal combustion engines

       some other engines like electric power plants also release fumes

The essay structure

Once you have your ideas planned out, you are then ready to write. Start by writing the INTRODUCTION.

The introduction is the beginning paragraph of your essay, an article or a passage. It is the first impression you make on the examiner regarding your writing. 

It should begin with a BACKGROUND STATEMENT (a paraphrase of IELTS statement from the question)

Note that while paraphrasing, you are required to use your own words as much as possible.

Followed by a THESIS STATEMENT (A statement that shows your understanding of the question) and then, OUTLINE OF POINTS (the points you have highlighted in your essay plan which will be developed in the body of the essay; this is also known as TOPIC SENTENCE)

Writing the body paragraph

The body paragraphs of the essay are the parts of the essay that accommodate the points you intend to use to deliver your message. For example, if your outline of points is three, then it is ideal to have three body paragraphs (each point in each paragraph).

Each body paragraph will have:

TOPIC SENTENCE (the point that carries the message for each paragraph in the body).

ELABORATION (explanation of the topic sentence)

EXEMPLIFICATION (examples to buttress your point)

CONCLUSION (wrapping up the paragraph to transit to the next using cohesive devices)


Note that the language use of an essay is formal and the use of bulleting style is not appropriate.

You need to understand that your ideas must be organized (coherence) and must be clearly linked (cohesion). Sentences in each paragraph must be connected with one another in order to produce a connected essay.

Therefore, it is important to master the use of the following:


Although, that is, because of, however, in spite of, on the other hand, consequently, for instance, as a result of, not only…but also, in fact, also, whereas, etc.


Writing the conclusion

This is a separate paragraph where you reiterate your position or your thesis statement and then close the discourse.

Note: you must leave at least three minutes after writing your essay to check your writing for possible errors and corrections.

Check your:

IDEAS (POINTS) How logical and connected they are


GRAMMAR (Subject-verb agreement, tenses)



IELTS Writing Task 2: Question Types

Below are types of IELTS Writing Task 2 Question types.

  • Opinion Essay

This always requires that you make your opinion known on a matter. Be sure to clearly agree or disagree.


A big salary is much more important than job satisfaction. Do you agree or disagree? 

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

Write at least 250 words.

  • Discussion Essay

Here, you will need to discuss both sides of the motion and give your opinion if required.


Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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

Write at least 250 words

  • Direct Question Essay

This always requires you to answer two questions posed after a statement.


Fossil fuels are essential for producing electricity, powering industry and fueling transportation. However, one day we will reach a point when all the world’s fossil fuels have been depleted.

How can we conserve these resources?

What are some alternatives to fossil fuels?

  • Advantages & Disadvantages Essay

This essay requires you to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an idea and say if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.


A lot of places in the world rely on tourism as a main source of income. Unfortunately, tourism can also be a source of problems if it is not well-managed.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in the modern world? Do you think that the benefits of tourism outweigh its drawbacks?

  • Problem & Solution Essay

You are required to write about both the problem or cause and the solution to a specific issue.


One problem faced by almost every large city is traffic congestion.

What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?

Each of the above question types requires different strategies. We have put together these strategies that you can apply to get a high band score (Band 7.5 – Band 9).