Essay Writing Structure For Ielts Test

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

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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...

Success in IELTS writing task 2 is based on using the right techniques. These free tips, model essays, lessons, videos and information will help develop the skills for writing task 2. This page will teach you how to maximise your IELTS writing task 2 score.

Essential Information for IELTS Writing Task 2

All IELTS students should read the pages below:

Information: Task 2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How your IELTS Writing is Marked: Band Scores 5 to 8 Tips

IELTS General Training Writing Differences

How your Total IELTS Writing Score is Calculated 

IELTS Practice Essay Questions

Practice essay questions to help you prepare ideas for topics in IELTS writing task 2. These questions have been written based on questions reported by IELTS students. They are not IELTS tests.

Over 100 IELTS Essay Questions

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Essential IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips

The most important writing tips for a strong IELTS essay in writing task 2. Learn about the recommended essay length, how to plan your essay, when to give your opinion and how to write an introduction etc.

How many paragraphs for an IELTS essay?: Essay structure

Key Linking Words List: Academic Vocabulary 

Video: How to write an introduction paragraph: Complete lesson

Essay Planning Tips: How to plan your IELTS essay

Common Essay Topics: 20 Most Common Essay Topics

Video: Essay Length Advice: How long should your essay be?

Video: Official Writing Answer Sheet Tips: Using the answer sheet

When to give your opinion: Opinion Essay Tips

Video Using the last 5 minutes: Exam technique tips

Video: Paraphrasing Tips

More Video & Tips for Writing Task 2

All Free IELTS Writing Task 2 Videos Lessons

IELTS Advanced Training

Buy Advanced Lessons for Writing Task 2. Is your target band 7? Is it difficult to hit band 7? Think about my advanced lessons: Advanced IELTS Writing Task 2 Lessons

Model Essays

Sample essays for IELTS writing task 2. These high score model essays will help you understand how to answer the essay questions and how to structure your writing.

Practice Lessons for Writing Task 2

Develop your IELTS writing skills and get useful ideas for many essay questions. Lessons are in order of date and new lessons will be added over time.

  1. Essay Questions Jan & Feb 2018: Reported by students
  2. Essay Questions for Dec 2017: Reported by students
  3. Paraphrasing Practice 1
  4. Paraphrasing Practice 2
  5. Paraphrasing Practice 3
  6. Essay Questions for 2017 – questions reported in the test this year.
  7. Using Passive Voice for Giving Opinions
  8. Essay Ideas: Employment Competition
  9. Writing Skills: Paraphrasing Practice
  10. Writing Skills: Improving Sentences (2)
  11. Essay Ideas: The Importance of History
  12. Essay Ideas: Housing & Trees 
  13. Essay Ideas: International Aid
  14. Essay Ideas: City Transport
  15. Essay Ideas: Salaries
  16. Essay Ideas: Function of Schools
  17. Essay Ideas: Female Staff in Senior Positions
  18. Writing Skills: Punctuation Practice
  19. Writing Skills: Linking Word Practice
  20. Essay Ideas: Littering in Cities
  21. Listen and Write Dictation: Natural Disasters
  22. Discussion Essay with Feedback: Music Topic
  23. Writing Skills: Improving Sentences: Ebooks Topic
  24. Essay Ideas: Banning Mobile Phones
  25. Two Question Essay with Feedback: Judging Business Success
  26. Essay Ideas: Tourism and Local Communities
  27. Essay Ideas: Traffic & Pollution
  28. Writing Skills: Improving a Thesis Statement
  29. Writing Skills: Improving Sentences (1)
  30. Essay Ideas: Handwriting Skills
  31. Writing Skills: Linking Word Practice
  32. Essay Ideas: Promoting to Children
  33. Essay Ideas: Older or Younger Leaders
  34. Writing Skills: Introduction Feedback
  35. Writing Skill: Opinion Essay Introduction Feedback
  36. Writing Skills: Opinion Essay Body Paragraphs
  37. Writing Skills: Opinion Essay Introduction
  38. Writing Skills: Opinion Essay Finding Main Points
  39. Writing Skills: Thesis Statement
  40. Essay Ideas: Public Services

Liz’s Advanced Writing Task 2 Lessons

NEW!! IELTS in-depth lessons about IELTS essay writing for a high score. Learn all the techniques needed for success in IELTS writing task 2. You can purchase individual essay lessons.

Main IELTS Pages

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