IELTS Writing Task 2

Free IELTS tutorials and Tips to succeed

If you are prepared, there is no reason to fear writing Task 2 of the IELTS exam. The writing task is split into 2 parts and Task 2 is worth 66%. So, you should allocate 40 minutes to writing it. It must contain at least 250 words so waste no time, concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

The academic task 2 will require you to write a formal essay. The most common questions are advantage/disadvantage, opinion essays, direct questions and point of view discussions.

For the general task 2 writing exam questions are the same as for academic IELTS, however these topic questions are often simpler.  The structure of your essay will be the same and the scoring is done the same as for the academic test.

IELTS Mark allocation

The marks are allocated as follows for the IELTS Writing Task 2;

  • 25% for task response
  • 25% for vocabulary
  • 25% for grammar
  • 25% for coherence and cohesion.

It goes without saying, that to do well in task 2 you should avoid making silly grammatical errors and you must ensure that you demonstrate your vocabulary and command of the English language. Writing Task 2 of the IELTS test is really all about method.

The questions

The questions for IELTS Writing Task 2 are fairly general and could cover a wide range of topics. This is a formal essay and will take one of the following forms: give you opinion, discussions, advantages/disadvantages or provide solutions to problems. You can’t prepare the essay ahead of time, but you can prepare for the exam by using a system in the exam room and by practicing ahead of the exam.

Make sure that you read and understand the question and that you answer it in its entirety. Identify what type of question it is and then underline the keywords and instructions. Keep referring back to the question.

Take a look at some sample writing task 2 questions here.

We have free IELTS sample task 2 topics on various subjects that will help you practice and improve your IELTS vocabulary before the exam:

The essay structure

  1. Structure your writing task 2 essay well. Remember you should write at least 250words. Ensure that each idea and opinion is expressed in its own paragraph. There are no right or wrong answers in the IELTS exam so don’t be afraid to present your views. You can argue from any viewpoint.
  2. It is also a good idea to examine the opposing point of view. Remember that this is a test of your vocabulary and your ability to write fluently in English. It is not a test of your opinion or your world knowledge.
  3. A good IELTS essay has a clear introduction which should give the examiner an idea of what the rest of the essay is about. Make sure to paraphrase the question in the introduction. It is a good way to show off your vocabulary.
  4. The essay must also have a clear conclusion which should summarise the text and connect back to the question.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips

  • Be sure to Understand the question: A lot of students rush into writing the essay before they completely understand the question. It is important to identify the main keywords and understand what is expected from you in the essay
  • Plan your ideas for the essay before you start: It is important to map out your ideas before you start writing your essay. It will save you time and your essay will be more structured.
  • Get to know the questions asked in Task 2: When you're preparing for the exam, it is important to practice using common topics used in the task 2 test. This will help you think of different ideas and help you expand your vocabulary. It is also important to listen to podcasts, read newspapers and watch TV in English to expand your knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Manage your time: Time is very important, remember that you should only spend about 40 minutes on Task 2. Practice your time management skills before the exam.
  • Improve your vocabulary: Your vocabulary accounts for 25% of your final score so it is very important to improve your vocabulary before your exam. Examiners want to see that you can use a variety of vocabulary in your essay. Focus on learning some new vocabulary and phrases to improve your score.
  • Use paragraphs in your essay: A general rule to work on is to have one paragraph for one idea.  Explain each idea in detail with relevant examples in one paragraph. Then, start another paragraph with a new idea.
  • Take a look at our Band 9 checklist for your essay here.


Before the exam, practice and get as much feedback as you can. Learn from your mistakes and you’re sure to write a winning essay.

Here are some useful tutorials to help you prepare for the IELTS Writing Task 2:

Different IELTS Essay Structures

Sample Essay Plans

Tutorials and Tips to Prepare for Task 2

For a FREE Ebook of our Top 10 Sample Essays, click here!