The essay for Task 2 of the IELTS writing exam is something that a lot of students are afraid of.
You must write about 250 words and this should be completed in approximately 40 minutes (because you also need to complete Writing Task 1 in the first 20 minutes of the 1 hour writing test).
To write the perfect answer and get the highest IELTS band score possible, you need to write quickly but also keep calm and focussed on writing your answer.
In all parts of the IELTS exam, you should try to show that you have a broad knowledge of English vocabulary, ensure that you write with correct spelling and avoid silly little grammar mistakes.
IELTS WRITING TASK 2 Best answer
The essay type questions for Task 2 are usually asking about some general thing in society. The topic could be education, health, age, gender roles, the youth, the environment... basically anything.
Therefore, you cannot learn an amazing sentence that you can insert into an essay, as it is very unlikely that you will be able to use it in your specific question that you have on the day of your test.
However, there is a system to use that gives you a great balanced structure which will help you get a good mark for answering the question... which is after all the whole point of this task - answer the question! Lots of IELTS candidates do not actually do this, as they are trying to impress the examiner with big posh words and forget to focus on actually giving a point of view and supporting that opinion with good examples and clear thought.
Read and follow these steps to give your best answer (or watch the video below):
STEP 1: INTRODUCTION
Repeat the question in your own words
In the essay introduction, you should start by repeating the question. This does NOT mean that you should COPY the question.
You should say the question again, but using different words that mean the same thing (synonyms).
For example, if your question was something like: Some people believe that capital punishment should never be used. Others believe that it could be used for the most serious crimes. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Then the opening sentence of your introduction should use synonyms to say the question again in your own words. for example: It is a commonly held belief that the death penalty is a Draconian penalty and not appropriate in modern society. However, there is also an argument that the most despicable crimes should have this most severe of punishments.
Now, don't worry about the high level of the example sentences above. I am a native English speaker and I am an English teacher, so the sentences should be good, shouldn't they?
But, from the example, you can see that it is possible to re-write the question using completely different vocabulary and still retain the original meaning and 'flavour' of the original question.
Give your opinion
As soon as you have restated the question, then give your opinion on the subject.
This gives the examiner an overview of what is to come in your essay.
It is important to note that it does not matter what your opinion is! There is no right or wrong answer to an IELTS essay question. You do NOT have to try and think "What will the examiner think is the right answer here". The examiner is only interested in the level of your English. So just give your first instinct opinion and don't try to out-think yourself.
STEP 2: Support your opinion
Now that you have given your opinion, you need to back it up.
The best way to do this is to give examples.
You can begin this paragraph with phrases like:
- Personally, I believe that...
- From my point of view...
- I am convinced that...
- In my opinion...
- In my view...
So, if your opinion was that you are against capital punishment, then as an example you could write about situations where people have been jailed for life for murder and then decades later they have been released as they were proven to be innocent. The relevant vocabulary here is "a miscarriage of justice".
Your argument would be that when a miscarriage of justice occurs, the prisoner would most likely have faced the death penalty and would have been killed even though they were innocent.
Another example could be that many murders are committed in 'hot blood' and often as an 'act of passion'.. This means that the murder was so angry about something that they were not thinking properly
STEP 3: Give the other side of the argument
In your next paragraph, you should look at the question from the opposite viewpoint to yours.
This shows the examiner that you have balance in your writing and it is a sign of a good essay.
You can start this paragraph with phrases such as:
- It can also be argued that...
- Someone who held the opposing view would say that...
- However, there is also another side to this discussion.
- In contrast, some people hold the view that...
STEP 4: Conclusion - Summarise your opinion
To finish off your IELTS task 2 essay, you need to summarise your whole argument as a conclusion.
Essentially, this means that you give your opinion again that you stated in the introduction.
To prove to the IELTS examiner that you have a good command of English vocabulary you should try again to use synonyms and not just copy your previous sentence. Now, you can add your expanded arguments (from step 2) into your opinion.
A conclusion that weighs up the arguments already mentioned is a really good opportunity to use a conditional sentence.
If capital punishment was reintroduced into society, I do not believe that it would act as a deterrent for heinous crimes. It is my strongly held belief that the death penalty would only result in future miscarriages of justice that serve no purpose in civilised society.
IELTS TASK 2 WRITING VIDEO
We have an IELTS course for you, no matter what your schedule or budget is...
IELTS evening course in Central London
IELTS intensive daytime course
IELTS exam preparation morning course
IELTS group and private lessons combination course
DON'T WAIT UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE!
A lot of students try to study for the IELTS exam at the last minute and leave everything too late. Then they are disappointed when they take the exam and do NOT get the band score that they need to enter their university degree course.
Listen to the advice in the video below from one of SGI's experienced IELTS teachers. He talks about how long it takes to go UP from one IELTS band score to another...
The Academic and General Training papers are graded to the same scale. You will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The average produces your overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.
Your overall band score
Your overall band score is calculated by taking the mean score of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). The score for each component is equally weighted. Your overall band score is rounded to the nearest whole or half band.
If you achieve 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.0 for Writing and 7.0 for Speaking, you will be awarded an Overall Band Score of 6.5. Total score of 25 ÷ 4 = 6.25 which is a band score of 6.5.
If you achieve 4.0 for Listening, 3.5 for Reading, 4.0 for Writing and 4.0 for Speaking, you would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 4.0. Total score of 15.5 ÷ 4 = 3.875 which is a band score of 4.0.
Listening and Reading scores
IELTS Listening and Reading components each contain 40 questions. Each correct item is awarded one mark, therefore the maximum raw score you can achieve for each component is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.
The tables are indicative of the number of marks required to achieve a particular band score.
Note: In order to equate different test versions, the band score boundaries are set so that all candidates’ results relate to the same scale of achievement. This means, for example, that the Band 6 boundary may be set at a slightly different raw score across versions.
Writing and Speaking scores
When marking the Writing and Speaking components of the test, examiners use detailed assessment criteria which describe written and spoken performance at each of the 9 IELTS bands.
Writing: Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2), Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. The four criteria are equally weighted.
Speaking: Examiners award a band score for each of four criterion areas: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation. The four criteria are equally weighted.
To get a better understanding of the level of performance required to attain a particular band score, you should familiarise yourself with the assessment criteria.
My IELTS result will only be valid for two years. Why?
The IELTS partners recommend that a Test Report Form which is more than two years old should only be accepted if it is accompanied by proof that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English.