The key to IELTS Writing Task 2 success is to give the examiner exactly what they want and nothing else.
Below you will find everything you need to achieve a high score in IELTS Writing Task 2.
- IELTS Writing Task 2 Lesson: From Band 6.5-8
- Essential Information
- Task 2 Preparation
- Essential Skills
- Sentence-by-Sentence Structures
- Common Topics
- Full Lessons On All Question Types
- Grammar and Vocabulary
- Sample Answers
- How This Student Scored a Band 8.5
- What to Do If You Keep Failing the Test
- The 1 Thing That Will Improve Your Task 2 Score
- Correction Service and Online Course
- Easy to Understand Infographic
IELTS Writing Task 2 Lesson: From Band 6.5-8
IELTS Writing Task 2 requires you to write an academic-style essay on a common topic. You have 40 minutes to write at least 250 words.
Task 2 can be broken down and thought about more easily in 5 steps:
1. Question Analysis
You must first understand the question to know exactly what the examiner is looking for. One of the biggest mistakes students make is not answering the question properly. If you do not answer the question fully, you can’t score higher than a Band 5.
In order to do this, you must first identify the question type, then identify the keywords in the question and finally identify the instructions words in order to find out what the examiner wants you to do with the question. We will look at these skills in more detail below.
The students who get the highest marks plan before they write and they often plan for up to 10 minutes. Planning helps you organise your ideas and structure before you write, saving you time and helping you write a clear essay.
The introduction should tell the examiner what the rest of the essay is about and also answer the question directly. This tells the examiner that you know what you are doing straight away and helps you write your main body paragraphs.
4. Main Body Paragraphs
This is where you give the examiner more detail. You do this by stating your main points and supporting these with explanations and relevant examples.
Here you provide a summary of what you have already said in the rest of the essay.
That’s it you’re done!
See below for articles on the specific skills you need to do this and full lessons on each different question type.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Essential Information
Below are 10 essential facts about Task 2. Many students worry about these small details instead of focusing on what really matters- improving your performance. These facts will help you understand what the test is and how it is scored so that you can move on to improving your performance.
- You must write an essay in response to a question.
- It is important that you write 250 words or more.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this part of the test.
- Task 2 is worth 2/3 of your total mark on the Writing test.
- General Training and Academic are essentially the same for Task 2, but different for Task 1.
- There are certain types of questions you will be asked, such as opinion, discussion etc. See below for more detail on these.
- You will be assessed in four areas:
- Task Achievement (25%)
- Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
- Lexical Resource (25%)
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy (25%)
- The questions will be about common topics that most people in the world should be aware of.
- The most important thing is that you can demonstrate that you can clearly communicate in English.
- The key to doing well is to know exactly what the examiners want and giving it to them.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Preparation
Many people know that they need to improve their writing, but have no idea how to do that. Below is the methodology that I use with all of my successful students.
You must first understand what the IELTS Writing Task 2 is, what the examiners expect you to do and how to give the examiners what they want. This is the first stage and one that is often overlooked. There are a huge number of online resources, often with conflicting and poor quality information, so finding a reliable source of information is key.
If your car broke down, you would try and identify which part caused the problem. If you are sick, your doctor will run tests to find out the exact cause of your symptoms.
Task 2 is exactly the same. We must first identify WHY you are not getting the score you need before we can move to the next stage.
However, be very careful! You wouldn’t ask the average man on the street for medical advice, so make sure you find someone who actually knows what they are doing to help you with this.
Now that we know what the problems are we must fix these problems.
If your grammar needs work, fix those issues. If your vocabulary is lacking, work on fixing this issue.
Just like a good doctor will be able to help you fix a medical issue, a good IELTS teacher will be able to help you fix your particular issues.
Practice and Feedback
Practice alone is not going to help you. It is an essential part of your preparation, but you must also get feedback on your work if you are really going to improve.
You wouldn’t try to teach yourself how to drive without an instructor, would you?
Find someone who will give you accurate and helpful feedback on your work. If you don’t, you will not be able to move to the last stage.
Now that you understand what you need to do, you’ve identified the exact areas you need to work on, you’ve improved those areas and got feedback on your work, you are ready to improve and get the score you need. You are not ready to get the IELTS Writing Task 2 score you deserve.
Essential Writing Task 2 Skills
No matter how good your English is you still need to learn some IELTS writing skills before you do Writing Task 2. Below are helpful guides that will take you through each of these skills step-by-step.
This article is unique to anything we’ve published before. Read it now to access our 61-page Task 2 strategy.
Making a good plan actually saves you time when you write your essay. If you don’t plan you are more likely to get lost halfway through your essay and the result is normally a very confused piece of writing that is difficult to read. This guide will show you how to write a clear essay every time.
Thinking of good ideas is one of the most challenging parts of the test for some people. This guide provides 5 different methods to help you quickly think of relevant ideas that are directly linked to the question.
Complex sentences help you boost your score for grammar. Complex sentences are actually very simple to write and are not complex at all- in this article we show you how.
Paraphrasing is one of the essential IELTS skills, not just in Writing Task 2, but in all parts of the IELTS test. You should paraphrase the question in every essay and I recommend doing this in the very first sentence to help boost your vocabulary score.
Supporting paragraphs are the main body paragraphs and are the meat in the sandwich. This is where you provide the detail the examiner is looking for in the form of explanations and examples.
A thesis statement tells the examiner your opinion. Many IELTS Writing Task 2 questions specifically ask for your opinion and if you don’t write it clearly you have not answered the question properly. This article shows you how, where and when to give your opinion.
Around 250 words? Exactly 250 words or over 250 words? How many words over? How do I know how many words I have? This article answers all those questions.
A critical part of answering any question. This article shows you how to break down any Task 2 question and identify the keywords, micro-keywords and instruction words to help you answer the question effectively.
The introduction is the first thing the examiner reads and it is, therefore, essential that we give them a good first impression. I have a very specific sentence by sentence structure that I share in this article to help you write introductions quickly and effectively.
Do you know how Task 2 is marked? What is the difference between a Band 5 and a Band 8 answer? This article breaks the marking criteria down for you and explains it in simple language so you can give the IELTS examiners exactly what they want.
A good conclusion should be a summary of your main points. The conclusion is the last thing the examiner reads and if you can write a good one you will leave them with a very good impression.
Each of your supporting paragraphs should have a specific example that supports and illustrates your main point. This is an essential skill to learn if you want to get one of the higher band scores.
Cohesive devices, sometimes called linking words, are one of the most misunderstood and misused elements of writing. Learn how to use them and when to use them here.
Synonyms are very important, but they can also really reduce your mark if used incorrectly.
Learn how Tina went from a Band 6 to and Band 8 in IELTS Writing in just 6 weeks.
I recorded a video of me answering a Task 2 question live and thought out loud as I recorded my computer screen. This will give you an insight into how someone with lots of IELTS experience thinks about these questions.
This article will show you how to make your writing as clear and as easy to read as possible. It will also give you advice on whether to use a pen or pencil.
I have compiled these tips after years of teaching IELTS and all of them have been approved by IELTS examiners.
This is a video lesson that shows you in practical terms how to improve your coherence and cohesion score.
Writing Task 2 Structures
These structures give you a sentence-by-sentence structure for all the main Task 2 question types, making your job much easier on exam day.
One thing I would like to warn you about structures is that they are not a magic wand that will help you automatically get a higher score. They will help you, but please realise that they are just a small part of the overall score.
Writing Task 2 Common Topics
Knowing the common topics can help you prepare for the test more efficiently. Here are the 10 most common topics over the last few years. Studying hard is great, but don’t forget to study smart.
The article below will show you the top 10 most common IELTS topics.
The article below will show you how you can use the most common Task 2 topics to your advantage.
Full IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Lessons
Here are some lessons that I have used when teaching students about Task 2. I have changed them so that you can easily learn at home. They are very long but combined with the skills above, they contain all the information you need.
In this lesson, we look at how to tackle an ‘agree or disagree’ question. Many people worry about whether to take one side of the other or if to discuss both sides. They also worry about how to deal with ‘To what extent’ question. We allay all of these fears in this lesson.
‘Discuss both views’ question often cause confusion because you are asked to do many things in one essay. It is very important to remember that the question is asking you to discuss BOTH views AND give YOUR opinion.
These questions are much easier than you think. You probably discuss problems and solutions in your day to day life all the time. Keep it simple.
There are a couple of different types of advantages and disadvantages questions. This lesson will show you how.
Writing is a skill and just like any other skill, it is important to practice in order to improve.
This is my most comprehensive free lesson on IELTS Writing Task 2. We show you how we took one VIP student from Band 6.5 to an amazing 8.
Grammar and Vocabulary
Grammar is one of the four things you will be marked on in the Writing Task 2 test. Finding out what your common grammar mistakes are and then fixing them is a very powerful way to boost your score in this area. Here are some common grammar mistakes I have found after making hundreds of tests.
For most IELTS students, the problem is not grammar in general, it is the fact that they have 1-2 problem areas. Fix these main weaknesses and you’ll improve your grammar, and your writing, dramatically.
Hint- They aren’t as big of a deal as you think.
It’s very important that you have some good examples so that you can compare your writing and see if you are on the right track. Click the link below for lots of sample answers and over 100 questions.
- Task 2 Sample Answers
- Agree or Disagree Sample Essays
- Task 2 Band 9 Sample Essay
- Latest Real Task 2 Questions
- Official Sample Test Questions
- Cambridge Sample Questions
- Free Practice Test
- Recent Confusing Questions
- IELTS Writing Practice Guide
How This Student Scored a Band 8.5
Anna was a student of mine that scored a Band 8.5 in IELTS Writing Task 2 when she took the test in August 2019.
To show you what a Band 8.5 essay looks like, Anna recreated the essay she wrote on her exam day. In this special video, we’ll read through Anna’s essay together, breaking down the key things she did that helped her score a Band 8.5:
The 1 Thing That Will Improve Your IELTS Writing Task 2 Essays
Since I first started teaching IELTS in 2008, I’ve corrected around 10,000 Task 2 essays in total. Speaking to my students about their work has given me a deep understanding of the challenges you’ll face in the writing exam…But more importantly, it’s also taught me the BEST way to overcome them:
What to Do If You Keep Failing the Test
Failed Your IELTS Writing? Here's a 4 Point Plan.
Posted by IELTS Advantage on Monday, June 3, 2019
IELTS Writing Course
We offer personalised guidance and feedback to a very small number of students for IELTS Writing Task 2 and all other areas of the test. I do not believe that simply offering students lots of videos will help them to improve their score, so we do things very differently on my VIP Courses.
We believe that students do best when they have complete support and can get detailed feedback and help with their own specific weaknesses. We treat our students as individuals, not numbers in a classroom. To hear how you can join one of the most successful IELTS courses in the world, click here to learn more about my VIP Course.
Due to the success of our courses and overwhelming demand, there is normally a Waiting List >> you can join it here.
Essay Correction Service
Do you want detailed feedback on your work? Learn about my ESSAY CORRECTION SERVICE.
See the interactive tool below for the answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive about Writing Task 2:
We have two free courses for those that need to improve their Task 2 skills and strategy. They are both based online and completely free of charge. Learn more about them below:
If you need serious help or personalised feedback, you should check out our VIP Course. There is a waiting list, but you can add your name here:
The answer to this question is different for every individual IELTS student, as it depends on a number of factors, including your work ethic, English skills and exam strategy.
You’ll find a complete guide to answering this question in the article below:
If you need serious help with improving your IELTS scores, you should check out our online writing course. There is a waiting list, but you can add your name by clicking the link below:
Please click the link below and it will give you all the information you need about my writing correction service:
Check out my recent article on vocabulary for more help on this:
No, you should not use idioms in Task 2.
Yes, it is the last thing that the examiner will read so you should finish your essay with a strong conclusion. You will find an in-depth lesson on conclusions here:
Four - most IELTS Writing Task 2 essays follow the same basic four paragraph structure:
Supporting Paragraph 1
Supporting Paragraph 2
However, you can find more comprehensive help with structuring your Task 2 essays here:
I would highly recommend that you plan your essay.
A good plan acts like a map that guides you through the essay, ensuring that you give the examiner exactly what they need to award you the score you need. You can find a step-by-step guide to planning your essays here:
You must write at least 250 words in the Writing Task 2 exam (yes, the examiners will count them!)
I would suggest that you aim to write around 270-280 words in total. Aiming for 20-30 words more than the required amount makes you more likely to reach the word limit without setting an unrealistic goal.
Yes, if you don’t write the required number of words, you will lose marks in ‘Task Achievement’ for not answering the question fully. Read more here:
No, should not use contractions when you are writing an academic essay.
I recommend writing in pencil. This makes it much easier for you to edit your essay so that the examiner can clearly understand it.