IELTS Essay Format: Solving Writing Task 2 Easily


Essay writing question in Task 2 of the IELTS Writing test is considered to be one of the most difficult questions. This is due to a very strict evaluation of the test by examiners. Each and every aspect of grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice, sentence structure, paragraph structure, presentation of arguments, and logical development of ideas are scrutinized.

In this lesson, we will focus on IELTS essay format based on various types of questions.

We get 40 minutes to write an essay which is at least 250 words long. Within this time constraint, it is extremely difficult to fulfil all the criteria for scoring high in the Writing test.

Look at the sample question below.

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Owning a home is better than renting one.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.

house

IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

The question appears inside a box in IELTS Writing Task 2.

It always begins with a statement to set the context of the question. Often a debatable topic is introduced in one or two sentences.

In the above example, an opinion is mentioned: Owning a home is better than renting one. Our answer should not deviate from this topic of home ownership.

Then, the next part of the prompt is the actual question. In the example we are discussing, your agreement or disagreement with the statement is the question. As this is your personal perspective on the issue, you can freely pick a side and present your opinion on it.

Below the box, you will see instructions on how to go about writing a response. As the requirement maintains, you have substantiate your opinion with justification and illustration. This means you have to write several paragraphs explaining your point of view and defending your assertions regarding the topic.

IELTS Essay Types

Basically, all essay questions in IELTS are argumentative essays. In other words, you have to analyze the topic given in the question, choose a position for or against the claim, and present evidences as well as examples to support or refute the claims.

Agree or disagree

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Judicial punishment for violence against animals should be the same as violence against humans.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


One of the most common type of essay question in IELTS Writing Task 2 is an agree/disagree question.

Like the name suggests, you are asked to either support or oppose an arguable issue.

You can either completely agree, completely disagree, partially agree, or partially disagree with the assertion.

Such questions require candidates to write about only one aspect: agreement or disagreement.

Advantages and disadvantages

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Many people these days rely on information found on the internet.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Some questions simply ask you to report on the merits and demerits of an action or a situation.

There are two parts to the question because both the pros and cons need to be explored in the essay.

Advantages vs disadvantages

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In search of better educational and career opportunities, many people from developing countries are migrating to developed nations.

Do the advantages of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


Slightly different from the earlier type of question, here you should not only write about both benefits and drawbacks but also pick a side.

Although you have to write from both sides, you have to make one side stronger than the other.

You can write about more advantages and fewer disadvantages. Conversely, you can include more disadvantages and fewer advantages. Ultimately, one side has to outweigh (or present more ideas) than the other.

Discussion and opinion

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people say that the government should be responsible for the health of its citizens. Other people believe that it is the individuals who should take care of their own health.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


This is a three-part question.

According to the question, two sets of people think in two different ways about a controversial issue. You have to present arguments to support both views. Then, you should also weigh in on the matter and express your personal views.

Problem and solution

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

A lot of fake news and erroneous information circulate on social media sites.

Why is this the case?

What problems does this cause and what can be done to solve them?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


There are certain questions in IELTS Writing Task 2 which ask you to elaborate on the cause of a situation, effect of the situation, the prevention of a problem, or solution to the problems caused by the situation.

Be careful about the wording of the question. Cause, effect, prevention, and solution are four different things. Only write about the parts which the essay question explicitly asks you.

Hybrid questions

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Education is so expensive these days that many people have to go under debt to afford a university degree.

What can be done about this issue?

Do you agree that university education is necessary for a successful career?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.


At times, apart from the four main types of questions discussed above, you might get a question that combines the different question types.

For an example, the same question may ask you agree or disagree with a statement as well as provide reasons and solutions.

a girl browsing books

IELTS Writing Task 2 How many paragraphs to write?

Depending on the question, the IELTS essay format we will learn here has four or five paragraphs.

The first paragraph obviously is the Introduction paragraph, whereas the last is the Conclusion paragraph. The two or three paragraphs in the middle are where we present ideas and expand on them with reasons and examples.

  1. Introduction
  2. Argument 1
  3. Argument 2
  4. Argument 3 (for some questions only)
  5. Conclusion

IELTS Essay Format for Agree or Disagree Question

ParagraphsFormat for AgreeFormat for Disagree
1IntroductionIntroduction
2Points on why you agreePoints on why you disagree
3More points to support your argumentMore points to support your argument
4ConclusionConclusion

IELTS Essay Format for Advantages and Disadvantages Question

ParagraphFormat
1Introduction
2Some advantages
3Some disadvatanges
4Conclusion

IELTS Essay Format for Advantages vs Disadvantages Question

ParagraphFormat for more advantagesFormat for more disadvantages
1IntroductionIntroduction
2Three advantages of the situationTwo advantages
3Two disadvantagesThree disadvantages
4ConclusionConslusion

IELTS Essay Format for Discussion and Opinion Question

ParagraphFormat
1Introduction
2Arguments for the first view
3Arguments for the second view
4Your opinion
5Conclusion

IELTS Essay Format for Problem and Solution Question

ParagraphFormat
1Introduction
2Different causes of the problem or the problems caused by the issue
3Ideas for solution or prevention of the problem
4Conclusion

IELTS Essay Format for Hybrid Questions

ParagraphFormat
1Introduction
2First part of the question
3Second part of the question
4Third part of the question
5Conclusion

IELTS Essay Writing: How to get a high score?

Let us break down the scoring into separate parts.

Task response

Under this criteria, examiners evaluate whether you addressed all aspects of the question by logically developing ideas. You have to present a clear and relevant position and support them.

Over generalization and/or repetition of ideas may affect scores.

Moreover, writing about things not asked by the question or going off topic should be avoided.

Coherence and cohesion

Words, sentences, paragraphs, and ideas need to be linked together in an essay to form a wholesome response.

There should be a logical sequencing of information. This can be achieved by using cohesive devices and discourse markers.

Here is a list of some common cohesive devices you could use in your next test.

Adding information

LikewiseSimilarlyMoreover
FurthermoreAdditionallyOn top of that
Apart from thatAlsoBeyond that
BesidesIn additionWhat is more

Comparing and contrasting

HoweverOn the other handIn contrast
By comparisonMeanwhileNevertheless
NonethelessWhereasConversely

Lexical resource

You need to learn a wide range of technical words which convey precise meaning for securing high marks in the IELTS Writing test.

Repetition of a limited number of words, using words in wrong contexts, and making frequent spelling errors will result in a lower score.

As a general rule of thumb, you should read newspapers, especially op-ed articles on everyday topics like society, technology, and environment, in order to equip yourself with academic and formal words to present arguments.

You may like:

ielts writing

Complex sentences

In grammar, complex sentences refer to a specific sentence structure and not just sentences which are difficult to understand.

Consider this sentence:

Agricultural methods have modernized vastly from the past.

This sentence has one subject (Agricultural methods) and one verb (modernized). Such sentences with just one verb are usually called simple sentences.

Consider these two simple sentences:

Agricultural methods have modernized vastly from the past. There still are food shortages in some parts of the world.

There are multiple ways of combining two related simple sentences. One method is by using a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Look at the following sentence which combines the two sentences from earlier into one long sentence.

Agricultural methods have modernized vastly from the past, but there still are food shortages in some parts of the world.

When two simple sentences are joined using a conjunction, a compound sentence is formed.

But there is another way to combine simple sentences. Consider the next example:

Even though agricultural methods have modernized vastly from the past, there still are food shortages in some parts of the world.

This is a complex sentence. In this example, the words “Even though” are used in the beginning in order to avoid having to use a conjunction. A comma separates the two parts of the sentences. The part before the comma states a fact and the part after the comma describes a situation in spite of the fact. Also notice that if we divide the sentence into two parts by putting a full-stop (or period) instead of the comma, we get this:

Even though agricultural methods have modernized vastly from the past. There still are food shortages in some parts of the world.

The first sentence is incomplete. It is dependent upon the second part so as to complete the meaning. Such clauses (phrases) are called dependent clauses.

However, the second sentence is a complete sentence. It does not rely upon the first to give meaning. It can stand alone as a grammatically correct sentence. Such clauses are called independent clauses.

Therefore, a complex sentence is a sentence with one dependent clause and one independent clause. If both the clauses in the sentence are independent, then such a sentence would be a compound sentence. One part should be dependent and the other independent for a complex sentence.

Examples of complex sentences

Although buying a house is very expensive, we can save money due to not having to pay rent on a regular basis.

Since animals can provide us with many resources, they can be extremely useful.

Together with being fast and convenient, internet is an affordable source of knowledge and entertainment.

Besides facing difficulties in adjusting to the food and climate, migrants might also face discrimination from the native people.

If the government mandates labelling of nutritional facts in all food packaging, then people might be able to make better food choices.

To be able to pay for tuition fees, many college students do a part-time job.

On account of genetically-modified plants, crop yields have risen substantially.

As universities provide an environment for sharing ideas, they could be vital for personality growth.

Unless we do our own fact checking, we cannot rely on all the information found in media.

In all the examples above, the first part of the sentences before the comma are dependent clauses. They need the second part to realize their meaning.

Please note: It is not necessary to always have dependent clause in the beginning of sentences and independent clause at the end. But in the examples above, this has been done to make the concept clearer by using the comma as a separator. A reversal of the order of the two clauses and removal of the comma still creates complex sentences. For an instance, We cannot rely on all the information found in media unless we do our own fact checking.

You have to practice creating such complex sentences because it might be very difficult to write in such sentences naturally. You can follow the sentence structures of the examples above. To get a good score in the Writing test, it is compulsory that you use complex sentences.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure: Sample essay

WRITING TASK 2

You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Owning a home is better than renting one.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample answer:
Whether or not to buy a house to live in depends on personal preference. Although living on rent may have its perks, I would rather become a homeowner because having a house not only leads to better neighborhoods but also confers economic rewards in the long term. Therefore, I concur with the statement.

From my point of view, owning the house you live in helps to establish familial roots in the community. This is paramount if people wish to gentrify their neighborhoods as relationship and trust between households solidify due to permanence of residence. In other words, when people buy property, they have a vested interest in the security and infrastructure of the area. On top of that, mindful of the fact that they have to dwell side-by-side for the long run, neighbors would have a greater motivation to maintain friendly relations with each other. Ultimately, this leads to better communities.

What is more, despite a huge initial investment, buying a home instead of renting has financial incentives. Immediately, monthly payment of rent to the landlord is eliminated. More importantly, homes in residential areas almost always appreciate in value over time, thereby acting as a nest egg for dire times besides boosting the status of the residents. In my country Nepal, home ownership is therefore considered a gauge of a person’s success. Only young individuals who have migrated to cities for university education or jobs choose to, or are compelled to, live on rent.

Overall, together with creating pleasant and intimate communities, home ownership bestows direct monetary benefits. Unless there are barriers such as dearth of lump sum amount or high mortgage costs, people should opt in favor of purchasing homes to stay in.
Words: 284

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Hatake
Hatake
3 months ago

I think there is mistake in IELTS Essay Format for Advantages vs Disadvantages Question or maybe I’m wrong i don’t know

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden
2 months ago

western-overseas.com/expertise-in/ielts-writing-task-2

Above website has described advantage as well as disadvantage for an agree or disagree type question… even in those answers which says completely agree…
And pteielts says either agree and some more point to support answer or disagree and some more point to support that… so confusing

Last edited 2 months ago by Osama Bin Laden
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