In this tutorial we are going to look at the different types of essay structures for your IELTS writing task 2 test. If you have taken the IELTS exam before or if you are preparing for the first time, it is important to be well prepared and to have had lots of practice in writing all kinds of essays to be really confident and ready!
So – what are the five types of essay commonly seen in IELTS writing Task 2?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree? (note to what extent..)
- Discuss both views and give your point of view?
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages?
- Discuss the problems and possible solutions OR discuss the causes and what problems it causes?
- Two questions, for example: Why is this happening? Is this a positive or a negative development?
In this tutorial we are going to focus in particular on ‘To what extent’ essays, Discussion essays , and problems and solutions questions and to make this more relevant for your IELTS exam essay preparation and to illustrate how the structures are different, I am going to share with you some fantastic extracts from essays which have been sent in to us be our students for correction . These are all students who are taking one of our courses or essay correction packs and know that by getting lots of positive, personised feedback is the quickest way to improve rapidly and score really well in their exam.
So, what is an IELTS essay structure? What features should these essays include in order to score really highly on Task achievement and Coherence / Cohesion (these both account for 25% of the total).
The answer to that question is relatively simple: An essay structure is really the shape, design or framework of your essay. This means that it is the order in which your sentences are presented, how they follow one to another, how your argument or discussion is developed and how you add examples and then conclude each point you are making. IELTS essays are very structured and this can seem quite restrictive if you are used to writing in a more flamboyant or informal style! Another problem is that the essays are relatively short – we suggest that you would need to write around 350 -370 words in order to develop your points as much as you need to for a Band 7 or above and your other challenge is that you need to do this in around 40 mins! You can see how important it is to get lots of practice!!!
Let’s start with a look at an overall, general essay structure and this would work Opinion essays – To what extent do you agree / disagree, Discussion essays (advantages / disadvantages) and Problem / Solution essay types.
- Introduction : Be sure to state the question in your own words for your introduction so that you introduce the topic of your task 2. Your introduction needs to include a general statement (this is the paraphrasing but not JUST paraphrasing – you really need to show the examiner that you understand the question so I strongly recommend you take time to THINK when you do your planning. For an opinion essay, you need to indicate your opinion and which way you are going to argue and then your final sentence will introduce your essay. Sentences such as ‘This essay will discuss these key issues using examples from X and Y ‘ . These three elements are all equally important. For me, your intro needs to GUIDE the examiner and help them read the essay fluently and coherently.
- Support your opinion: In your intro, you have stated your opinion and now, in your first paragraph you have to provide facts to justify your choice. The structure should be an impactful topic statement, two or three supplementary sentences to build on this statement, making clear points, adding information, developing them before adding a relevant example and then summing up that particular paragraph.
- State the opposing point of view. This may start with words such as ‘However, Although, Despite, which indicate that you are changing direction. You do not have to persuade the examiner about the opposing opinion, but it is important to state what it is. The structure will then follow the same as the introduction, developing arguments answering those questions – why, how etc
- Summarise your opinion. Your conclusion is a very important shorter paragraph which serves to sum up your ideas and restate your opinion . This is very important for the “To what extent” and “discussion essays” but less so in the “Problem / Solution essays” where you can state your opinion but it is not necessary. Remember – do not start throwing in new ideas in the conclusion!!
You can download or listen to the audio version here: