IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structures

IELTS Essay Structures

Knowing how to structure your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay is an essential skill that can make the difference between the getting and not getting the band score you deserve.

Nearly all of my Task 2 essay follow this basic structure:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Structures Summary

The sentences you put in each paragraph will depend on what type of question you get.

The five most common IELTS Writing Task 2 questions are:

  1. Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
  2. Advantages and Disadvantages
  3. Problem and Solution
  4. Discussion (Discuss both view)
  5. Two-part Question

Below I will outline examples and a structure approved by experienced IELTS teachers and examiners for each type of question. This will help you write a clear, coherent answer and hopefully boost your IELTS band score. I also include an example answer for each type of question so you can see what the structure looks like in a real essay.

Please note that these are general structures and they may vary slightly depending on the particular question.

Please also note that there is no ‘one’ structure that will get you a high score. There are many types of structures that can get you a high score. These are just the ones I think are most effective and easiest to learn.

For more detailed guidance on each type of question please visit the lessons below. I have provided a link at the end of each section.

Opinion Questions (Agree or Disagree) 

Typical Question Words

What is your opinion?

Do you agree or disagree?

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Direct question.

Example Question

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity, improving the neighborhood or teaching sports to younger children).

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Structure 

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement (It is agreed…/It is disagreed…/This essay agrees/disagrees…)

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence (This essay will discuss….)

Main Body Paragraph 1 

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary and opinion

Sample Answer

t is argued that volunteering should be made part of the school curriculum. This essay agrees with that suggestion completely because of the benefits it brings to pupils. The essay will first look at how voluntary work can help students develop soft skills and then discuss how these extracurricular activities are valued by universities and employers.

Education should not be limited to strictly academic pursuits and those in education should also develop life skills, such as teamwork, empathy and self-discipline, and one of the best ways to hone these aptitudes is through community service. Serving those less fortunate than ourselves teaches us many lessons including how to work with people from other backgrounds and the value of hard work. For example, I personally volunteered to spend 6 weeks in Africa teaching disadvantaged children and this led to a much higher work ethic when I returned to my studies.

Many colleges and companies are also increasingly looking for this type of experience. Most school leavers have the same grades and charitable works can help set you apart from the herd. For example, Cambridge and Oxford receive thousands of applications from straight-A students every year and can only accept a small percentage of applicants. What you have done outside the classroom is often the thing that differentiates you from everyone else and gets you that coveted spot.

In conclusion, teenagers should be made to partake in unpaid work as part of their schooling because it will help them learn things they wouldn’t ordinarily learn from their teachers and it will also boost their chances of getting into third level education.

For more detail on how to answer agree or disagree questions please visit our opinion essay lesson

Need help writing essays like this? Check out our ESSAY CORRECTION SERVICE.

Advantages and Disadvantages QuestionsIELTS Essay Structures

Typical Question Words 

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

Example Question

Computers are being used more and more in education.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State One Advantage

Sentence 2- Expand/Explain Advantage

Sentence 3- Example

Sentence 4- Result

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State One Disadvantage

Sentence 2- Expand/Explain Disadvantage

Sentence 3- Example

Sentence 4- Result

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- Opinion

Sample Answer 

It is argued that technology is playing an every increasing role in schools and universities. This essay will firstly, discuss student freedom as one of the main advantages of this and secondly, outline decreasing levels of face to face contact as one of the main disadvantages.

One of the principle advantages of an increase in the use electronic devices in education is the autonomy it provides students. Students have the freedom to focus on whatever topic or subject they want and study it in depth through the internet. A prime example of this is the amount of online university courses available to students, covering a myriad of subjects, that up until recently were unavailable to most learners. This has resulted in more people studying third level degrees than ever before, at a pace and schedule that suits them.

The main disadvantage associated with increasing use of technology in education is the decrease in face to face interaction between students. Students spend more time looking at computer screens by themselves than interacting with each other. For instance, the recent explosion in smart phone use has been at the expense of genuine human interaction. This results in soft skills, such as verbal communication and empathy, being effected.

In conclusion, the benefits technology brings to education, such as student autonomy, must be weighed against the drawbacks, such as negative effects on human interaction. Overall, the educational benefits outweigh the disadvantages because human beings will always want human contact and most people will not solely use IT for education.

For more detail on how to answer advantage and disadvantage questions please visit our advantage and disadvantage lesson

Discuss Both Views Question (Discussion Essay)  

IELTS Writing Structures Discussion

Typical Question Words 

Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Example Question 

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question and/or state both view points.

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State first viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss first viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State second viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss second viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- State which one is better or more important

Sample Answer

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

While the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap in to limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomena and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

For more detail on how to answer discussion questions please visit our discussion essay lesson

Problem and Solution Questions

IELTS Task 2 Structures (4)

Typical Question Words 

Problem and solution.

Cause and solution.

Example Question 

Students are becoming more and more reliant on computers.

What are some of the problems associated with reliance on computers, and what are some of the possible solutions?

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State Problem

Sentence 2- Explain problem

Sentence 3- Result

Sentence 4- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State Solution

Sentence 2- Explain Solution

Sentence 3- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- Recommendation or Prediction

Sample Answer

Learners are becoming ever more dependent on technology, such as the internet and mobile devices. This essay will discuss one of the main problems associated with dependence on computers and suggest a viable solution.

The principal problem with over reliance on technology, such as tablets and computers, is plagiarism. Students often use search engines to answer a question and simply copy the text from a website, rather than thinking about the question. This practice is not only prohibited in schools and universities, but also stunts a student’s intellectual development. For example, many teachers complain that students copy web pages straight from Wikipedia word for word rather than giving a reasoned answer to their questions.

A solution to this worrying problem is asking students to email their answers to teachers and teachers using anti-plagiarism software to detect copying. Moreover, students would be made aware of this practice and this would inspire them to answer questions using their own words, rather than someone else’s. For instance, many universities already use this kind software to scan course work for plagiarism and it could be extended to include all homework, by learners in both secondary and tertiary education.

In summary, one of the main problems with over-use of technology in education is plagiarism and this can be solved through the use of plagiarism detection software. It is predicted that more and more students’ will email their work to their teacher and this work will be scrutinised for plagiarism.

For more detail on how to answer problem and solution questions please visit our problem and solution lesson

Two-Part Questions

IELTS Essay Structures (5)

Typical Question Words 

There will normally be a statement and they will then ask you to answer to separate questions.

Example Question

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing.

What factors contribute to job satisfaction?

How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence (mention both questions)

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- Answer first question directly

Sentence 2- Explain why

Sentence 3- Further explain

Sentence 4- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- Answer second question directly

Sentence 2- Explain why

Sentence 3- Further explain

Sentence 4- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sample Answer

As the majority of adults spend most of their time at work, being content with your career is a crucial part of a person’s health and happiness. This essay will first discuss which elements lead to job satisfaction and it will then address the question of how likely it is that everyone can be happy with their job.

The two most important things that lead to someone being satisfied at work are being treated with respect by managers and being compensated fairly. If those more senior than you respect you as a person and the job you are doing then you feel like you are valued. A fair salary and benefits are also important considerations because if you feel you are being underpaid you will either resent your bosses or look for another job. There two factors came top of a recent job satisfaction survey conducted by Monster.com, that found that 72% of people were pleased with their current role if their superiors regularly told them they were appreciated.

With regards to the question of happiness for all workers, I think this is and always will be highly unlikely. The vast majority of people fail to reach their goals and end up working in a post they don’t really care about in return for a salary. This money is just enough to pay their living expenses which often means they are trapped in a cycle of disenchantment. For example, The Times recently reported that 89% of office workers would leave their jobs if they did not need the money.

In conclusion, being satisfied with your trade or profession is an important part of one’s wellbeing and respect from one’s colleagues and fair pay can improve your level of happiness, however job satisfaction of all workers is an unrealistic prospect.

Can I get a band 8 or 9 following these structures? 

Nobody can give you a structure that guarantees you a high score. You score is dependent on how good your grammar and vocabulary is and how well you answer the question. A good structure will help you answer the question to some extent and boost your score for coherence and cohesion, but you must use relevant ideas and use these ideas well to answer the question.

Next Steps 

Looking for some sample questions? Here are over 100 sample questions from past exam papers.

I hope you found this article useful. Now that you know the structures you should check out our task 2 sample answers to see how they have been used in practice.

Would you like me to check your essay and tell you how to improve? Check out our essay correction service.

The best way to keep up to date with more great posts like this and to access loads of practice exercises is to like us on Facebook.

For more help with IELTS please check out IELTS Preparation– The Ultimate Guide.

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Comments:

56 Comments

  1. Tina says

    Hello Chris,

    I really like your website since it explains in detail and not confusing at all.

    Anyway, I want to ask about writing Task 2. Is it possible for us to include data that we once read from a website as a supporting detail / example for our argument? (For example: According to X website, over 60% of people are……)
    Also, does it matter if we actually just make up those data and the source?

    Thank you very much. Hope to hear from you! 🙂

  2. Dev says

    Hi Chris – I quite liked the detailed structure you suggested for the various sentences to be framed within introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion for task-2.

    I notice that for the “Advantages/Disadvantages” type of question, you have NOT mentioned to put a thesis statement. Since these type of questions explicitly ask for your opinion, shouldn’t a thesis statement required here (just like ‘Agree/Disagree’ or ‘Both Views’ question types)..?

    cheers,
    Dev

  3. Ash says

    Hi Chris.
    Your website really helped me a lot. Your structure on IELTS writing task 2 is great, we just have to put sentences according to the structure. I wonder if you could post 5 sample answers for each kind of task 2. Because real examples are needed when practicing.
    Thanks

  4. perry says

    Hi Chris! I have been preparing for my IELTS this Septemeber. I have been practicing with your tips with some from my previous review center. I was just wondering if what would be your general assessment on this essay I made. Your comment for this one would be really appreciated.

    People are working everyday to satisfy and to fill in their daily needs. On the other hand, job satisfaction plays as a significant issue behind those exhausting working hours. This essay will talk about couple of factors affecting job satisfaction for every individual as well as how possible to incorporate an exemplary satisfaction for every worker.

    The first factor that came into my mind that will contribute to job satisfaction of individuals is the working environment. Workplace is an important factor in accomplishing one’s task, and if this mentioned factor fails, then it would mean an unproductive worker. The prime example of this statement is attitude of workmates that someone is dealing with every day, and also the availability of resources to finish someone’s work at given time. These would interfere on both company and employee’s growth.

    The second factor which is common and needs to be pointed out is the monetary compensation for every employee. Basic wages and excellent bonus commissions speak, somehow, to motivate workers to stay in the company and probably work harder. In the Philippines, most of the registered nurses are aspiring to work abroad, because they believe that they will benefit better compensation than in their home country.

    Unfortunately, job satisfaction is currently poor in most establishments. Studies show that workers nowadays are unsatisfied with their work. Employees kept on seeking for additional wage increase as well as demands for justifiable benefits such as health insurance and pension. Indeed, everyone’s needs and wants are also getting higher in relation to their status in lives.

    I conclude that the hectic schedule and demand of workforce in a certain company should be accompanied with satisfying monetary compensations and good working environment for employees. It would boost morale and may work harder if necessary.

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