IELTS essay structures for task 2

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In this tutorial, we are going to look at the different types of essay structures for your IELTS writing task 2 test.

The five types of essay questions 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 negative development?

250 words myth?

Although the official criteria from mentions nothing about 250 words, on official exam papers the 250 words instruction can be seen.

Either way, for a band 7 a word count of around 350 words is expected.

A 350-word essay allows you to fully develop your ideas and argue your position, with multiple reasons, facts and examples.

Because you are writing more you have more chances to improve your lexical resource (vocabulary) score.

In all the examples below we are allowing a paragraph for the introduction and a paragraph for the conclusion.

Four paragraph model

We teach this model because:

Often there are just two sides to the argument or two parts to the question, therefore a body paragraph for each part of the question works well.

Most of the points in Task 2 are picked up in the body paragraphs.

Therefore spending time and energy on two well constructed, fully developed cohesive paragraphs makes complete sense.

Also, you can go deeper into the reasons why your argument is correct, the five-paragraph model could mean your arguments are too shallow.

The vast majority of the students are aiming for a Band 7, and a four-paragraph model can do this, assuming all the other criteria are met.

Click here to learn how to plan and start a four-paragraph IELTS essay.

Five paragraph model

In our online course, we strongly advise against this structure because the time limit of 40 minutes would mean short paragraphs for most writers.

Short paragraphs make it difficult to develop your idea and argue your position.

It could get complicated quickly as to which paragraphs hold which position.

However, if you feel extremely confident and can write very quickly a five-paragraph model could work.

Band 5 students who have difficulty developing ideas, may find this model to work because they can limit each paragraph to one single idea.

How do you decide which essay structure to follow? 

Depending on your target band score will influence your decision. 

Also, try answering the same essay question twice, first with a four-paragraph essay, second with a five-paragraph essay. 

Most band 7 students find the four-paragraph model is easier. 

If you are still a little lost or frustrated then don't worry, lots of students find preparing for IELTS incredibly frustrating. 

One solution is to invest in yourself and get help to improve. 

The fastest way to improve is with feedback from expert IELTS essay correctors. 

We have ex-IELTS examiners correcting your essays and when you sign up for the IELTS email newsletter you can purchase the $5 essay correction immediately. 


Tutorials and Tips to Prepare for Task 2