From A to Z of writing any essays of IELTS Writing Task 2

Steps to deal with each and every question of Task 2

For an analysis of how to apply these steps into writing a complete essay, please continue to read the next article after this.

1 Analyse the question: underline key words, to identify

  • How many questions

  • How many aspects of the issue & what they are exactly

2. Identify your viewpoints:

What your opinions to answer the question

  • Argument essays:       agree/disagree/it depends

  • Account essays:          more advantages than disadvantages or vice versa/ pros and cons/ causes of problems and solutions/ causes and effects/ similarities and differences

  • Discussion essays: support both view points: explain why people have view point A and then explain why they have view point B. Now, the essays have two directions to go:
  • (1) you find something good in 2 view points –> you write a third body paragraph to explain that the best approach is to combine good points a, b, and c of 2 view points OR you only need to write a conclusion where you include a sentence with keywords summarizing the 2 view points. For example, when the question is about whether competition or cooperation is good for educating children, you can write the conclusion: In conclusion, competition helps build competitive advantages for each young learner while cooperation improves their ability to be great team players in the world which increasingly demands coordination to solve complex issues. Therefore, there should be a combination between cooperation and competition in the education for children to help them develop comprehensively.
  • Or (2) you find one view point is sensible while the other does not make sense. –> You write body paragraphs 1 & 2 to explain those two views –> then you can write a third body paragraph refuting the view you oppose to. 

  • Two-question essays: opinions for question 1, opinions for question 2.

3. Make an outline: time for steps 1 + 2 + 3 is 10 minutes.

  • Brainstorm ideas if necessary

  • how many body paragraphs? What main key words and what small supporting key words?

4. Write the parts of the essay: Some numbers to keep in mind for an ideal essay of Task 2:

Total number of sentences: 12-14 sentences

  • Introduction: 2 sentences (1 for paraphrasing the question + 1 for answering the question)

  • Body: 10 sentences for 2 body paragraphs (each body paragraph has 1 topic sentence + 4 supporting sentences including example sentences)

  • Conclusion: 1-2 sentences (1 sentence to summarize your opinions to answer the question + an optional sentence for suggestion, or a further comment.

Some rules of academic writing to keep in mind: An essay needs:

  • Introduction: A clear promise in the introduction about what you will write in the body which is something like: “This essay will discuss/explore/address the benefits and draw backs/ the two viewpoints/ the reasons why I advocate something…

  • Body: A clear promise at the beginning of each body paragraph about what you will write in that paragraph. This topic sentence needs to be brief, and whichever words in this sentence need explaining in the paragraph –> don’t write many words, don’t promise much or else you will fail to keep your promise.

  • Conclusion: A clear summary of what your opinions are to answer the question in the conclusion.

Here is illustration of how these steps are applied in a real question. 

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