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6 Types of Essays in IELTS Writing Task 2

Updated on 12 June, 2024

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

different types of essay in ielts task 2

Did you know having a command over different IELTS essays can help you improve your band score? Wondering how? I was also left pondering about the same when my friend received a 8+ band in IELTS writing! The secret? She had mastered the art of writing IELTS essays by understanding different types of essays and how to go about each differently.

Being aware of the distinctions between each type of essay not only helps when you come to clear up your thoughts, it also means that your composition will meet the standards which examiners are looking out for in IELTS tests.

Let’s look at different types of IELTS essays in detail.

Types of Essay in IELTS Writing Task 2

In IELTS Writing Task 2, test-takers need to respond to a point of view, argument or problem. To score high in IELTS Writing Task 2, you must have a clear grasp of the various essay types that could come up in the exam.

This essay may be the difference between a low band and a high band overall for your writing. Here are the different types of essays in IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 that will help you understand the pattern and format.

  1. Discussion Essay
  2. Opinion Essay
  3. Two-part Essay
  4. Advantage/Disadvantage Essay
  5. Cause/Solution Essay
  6. Mixed Type Essays

1. Discussion Essay

In discussion essays, you get a question with opposing views, where you have to discuss both sides of a statement and give supporting points. Start with mentioning general opinions on both the views based on what others think about it. You can state your personal opinion only if you are asked to do so.

The easiest way to approach this type of IELTS Task 2 question is to choose one point of view to agree with and disagree with the other. For this, you need to understand the question well and then draft the essay in such a way that it does justice to both sides. This is up to you to decide whether you agree with the statement or not.

Example: Many consider television is good for students, while some think it is a bad influence. Here, you need to speak for both sides and finally pen down your opinion. The structure of the discussion essay looks like the following:-

  • Introduction: stating both the views
  • Paragraph A with opinion of others on one view
  • Paragraph B with opinion of others on another view
  • Conclusion: Summarizing both the sides and ending with a personal opinion (only if asked)

2. Opinion Essay

The opinion essay is the most common type of IELTS Task 2 question. Here, the question will be presented with a particular opinion. you need to either agree or disagree with the opinion and provide your opinion based on relevant information, ideas, and experience.

This is also an argumentative essay where the opinions are discussed, and contrary statements are produced. There should be suitable reasons behind agreeing or disagreeing with the particular opinion in the question. It is important to discuss both views, from agreeing to disagreeing points of view, and end the essay with your opinion.

Example: A big salary is much more important than job satisfaction. Do you agree? Do you disagree? What is your opinion? This is a high scoring essay, but it is essential to understand the question and present a relevant opinion with the support of evidence and ideas. The following is the structure of the opinion essay:-

  • Introduction with paraphrasing the question and stating your opinion
  • Paragraph A with no topic sentence but a core idea
  • Paragraph B with the expansion and supporting examples of the core idea stated in paragraph A
  • Conclude with your final thought or opinion on the question

3. Two-Part Essay

In the two-part essay type, you get one statement followed by two different questions. These questions may or may not be linked. This essay type is also known as a two question or direct-question essay. Below is the structure of the multi-part essay:-

  • Introduction: paraphrasing the question and highlighting the sentences that answer the two questions
  • Paragraph A: answering the first question with a topic sentence, explanation, and supporting examples
  • Paragraph B: answering the second question with a topic sentence, explanation, and supporting examples
  • Conclusion: highlighting the key points of both the answers

4. Advantage and Disadvantage Essay

An advantage and disadvantage essay type is also a two-part essay, where you need to enlist all the advantages and disadvantages of a particular thing, event, or situation. given in the statement.

It is essential to understand the question; only then will candidates be able to note down all the perks and drawbacks of a certain sentence. For example, a topic like “Some people think it is good to take a year gap before joining the university.” Write the advantages and disadvantages of this statement. Here, you are not supposed to write your own opinion or agree or disagree with the statement. It is an informative essay where you discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a particular event or thing.

Make sure the points are valid for both sides. The question type could be any of the following three categories where:-

  • you have to write advantages and disadvantages only.
  • you have to decide whether the number of advantages outweighs the number of disadvantages or vice versa.
  • you have to write advantages and disadvantages along with stating your opinion.

Also, when writing the advantage and disadvantage type of essay, the below essay structure must be followed:-

  • Introduction: rephrasing the question and highlighting the view points from there
  • Paragraph A: mentioning one or two advantage(s) along with a detailed explanation and one example
  • Paragraph B: mentioning one or two disadvantage(s) along with a detailed explanation and one example
  • Conclusion: highlighting the key takeaways and your opinion

5. Cause and Solution Essay

A cause and solution essay type gives you a question stating a problem. Here, you are expected to mention the causes of a certain situation or event, along with all the solutions or precautions to avoid such problems.

You must analyze and interpret the statement to find the causes and think of unique and competitive ideas that can stop or prevent those problems For instance, pollution has drastically increased with more and more people switching to personal vehicles. What are the other causes of pollution? Discuss the solutions to overcome the problem of pollution.

Follow the below-mentioned essay structure for cause and solution type of essay in IELTS Writing Task 2:-

  • Introduction: paraphrasing the problem statement given in the question
  • Paragraph A: mentioning the problem or cause, along with its explanation and supporting example
  • Paragraph B: mentioning the solution, along with its explanation and supporting example
  • Conclusion: mentioning the key points and your opinion 

6. Mixed Type Essays

A mixed type essay, as the name suggests, combines elements from different essay formats in IELTS Writing Task 2. Rather than stating a direct agree/disagree or problem/solution essay, it usually presents two separate questions related to the same topic.

These questions require you to analyze the cause or provide solutions (like problem-solution essays) or discuss advantages and disadvantages and then express your viewpoints (similar to opinion essays). Hence, these essays are also termed as Advantages and Disadvantages + Opinion Essays.

When writing IELTS mixed type essays, you must remember that both parts of the question are answered and connect to the central topic. You should carefully analyze the two questions before attempting to understand what each part requires and answer them meticulously.

Here is a brief breakdown of the structure of the mixed IELTS essays:-

  • Introduction: Briefly introduce the topic and remember to state the two parts of the question.
  • Paragraph A: cover the first part of the question with examples in one or two paragraphs.
  • Paragraph B: write one or two paragraphs dedicated to the second part of the question, which is to express your opinion on the topic. 
  • Conclusion: highlight the key points and state your opinion or provide a solution to the topic. 

Detailed Analysis of Each IELTS Essay Type

Definition and Characteristics:

1. Opinion Essays

Opinion essays require the candidate to express their viewpoint on a specific topic. The essay must clearly state whether they agree or disagree with the statement and provide reasons and examples to support their opinion.

2. Discussion Essays

Discussion essays ask candidates to discuss both sides of an argument and present their viewpoints. It involves a balanced discussion where both perspectives are considered before stating the candidate's opinion.

3. Problem-Solution Essays

Problem-solution essays require the identification of a problem and the suggestion of one or more solutions. The essay should outline the problem, its causes, and possible solutions.

4. Advantage-Disadvantage Essays

Advantage-disadvantage essays involve discussing the pros and cons of a given topic. Candidates must weigh both sides and provide a balanced view.

5. Two-part (or Direct Question) Essays

Direct question essays consist of two or more questions related to a topic. Candidates need to address each question comprehensively.

6. Mixed Type Essays

Mixed IELTS essays are the ones where the question has two parts, one related to the problem statement/cause or advantage/disadvantage and the other requires you to express your opinion.

Common Question Prompts:

1. Opinion Essays

  • "Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?"
  • "To what extent do you agree or disagree?"

2. Discussion Essays

  • "Discuss both views and give your opinion."
  • "What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?"

3. Problem-Solution Essays

  • "What are the problems associated with X, and how can they be solved?"
  • "Discuss the causes and effects of X and provide solutions."

4. Advantage-Disadvantage Essays

  • "What are the advantages and disadvantages of X?"
  • "Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of X."

5. Two-part (or Direct Question) Essays

  • "What are the reasons for X? What can be done to improve it?"
  • "Why do people X? What are the consequences?"

6. Mixed Essays

  • “What are the main reasons for X? Do you believe X?”
  • “Why is X? Discuss your viewpoints on this.”

Recommended Structure for IELTS Writing Task 2

Now that you have understood the different essay types, let me throw some light on the recommended structure for writing an effective essay in the IELTS Writing Task 2. You will get to know how your structured essay can make a great difference on your answer’s presentation.

Here’s the IELTS essay structure one must follow:


Briefly introduce the topic. Clearly state your thesis or main point.

Main Body:

  • Opinion Essays: Two or three paragraphs, each presenting a reason supporting your opinion.
  • Discussion Essays: One paragraph for each side of the argument, followed by a paragraph stating your opinion.
  • Problem-Solution Essays: One paragraph detailing the problem, followed by one or two paragraphs suggesting solutions.
  • Advantage-Disadvantage Essays: One paragraph each for advantages and disadvantages, followed by a conclusion.
  • Two-part Questions Essays: One paragraph per question, addressing each comprehensively.
  • Mixed Type Essays: One paragraph for the first part of the question, followed by one or two paragraphs on your opinion.


Summarize the main points. Restate your opinion or main point. Provide a final thought or recommendation if applicable.

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5 Tips for Writing Effective Essays in IELTS Writing Task 2

1. Understand the Prompt

Ensure you comprehend what the question is asking before you start writing. Often candidates make the mistake of going by what they see first and answering differently from what is expected as an answer. 

2. Plan your essay

Take a few minutes to outline your main points. This can be done by creating a rough structure (paragraph-wise) of these points to give you a template to follow when you start writing. 

3. Use clear and coherent language

Avoid overly complex sentences that may confuse the reader. Stick to simple and grammatically correct language that gets the message across. 

4. Stay on topic

Ensure each paragraph addresses the essay question directly. Offer examples, but do not get into other territory. Stick to the main topic as much as possible. 

5. Review and revise

Leave a few minutes at the end to check for grammatical or spelling errors. Also, make sure that you stick to a reasonable word count for your essay.

Pro Tip: Improving your command of the English language can help to articulate your thoughts. Practice reading the English newspaper’s editorial section to gain a good knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Practice listening to English news channels daily to better understand topics that need your agreement or disagreement.

Sample Essay Breakdown

Here is an example of how to write an essay for IELTS writing task 2.

Sample Essay:

In recent years, the debate over whether students should be required to wear school uniforms has intensified. While some argue that uniforms promote equality, I firmly believe they restrict individual expression. I will illustrate my opinion regarding how uniforms should not be worn in order to avoid limiting personal expression.

It can be said that uniforms do promote a sense of equality among students. From a surface level, it may matter, considering how students come from varying family and financial backgrounds. Some may also argue that uniforms instill a sense of discipline and adherence to the rules and regulations of the educational institution. At the same time, they also work as identifiers of the institution itself, while building a sense of pride and respect among students in flaunting their association with the same.

Despite taking the above-mentioned considerations into account, I believe that wearing them amounts to restrictions on personal expression. In an increasingly competitive world, the one thing that works as a differentiator among learners is individuality. This is also linked intrinsically to personal expression, beliefs, creativity, and mental wellbeing.

Allowing students to not wear uniforms and instead cultivate their own style of dressing will have multiple benefits, in terms of freeing them up to showcase their personal styles, foster creativity, and give them an independent and confident streak that will help them excel in their later professional and personal lives.

In conclusion, while uniforms may foster equality, the restriction on personal expression is too significant. Therefore, I believe students should not be required to wear them.

Annotations for each essay part:

  • The introduction clearly states the topic and the writer's opinion.
  • Each body paragraph provides a clear reason supporting the opinion, with examples.
  • The conclusion succinctly summarizes the argument and restates the opinion.

Now, you must have a fair understanding of what you should include in each part of the IELTS essay. Make sure you check these carefully since this is how the examiner will evaluate the essay. 

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In conclusion, understanding the different types of essays in IELTS Writing Task 2 is crucial for candidates aiming to achieve a high score. Whether it's an argumentative, discussion, problem-solution, or opinion essay, each type demands a specific approach in terms of structure, development of ideas, and argumentation.

Success in this task hinges not just on linguistic proficiency but also on the ability to organize and present thoughts coherently, addressing the essay prompt effectively while showcasing a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. 

As candidates prepare for their IELTS exam, practicing these various essay types and receiving feedback on their writing can significantly enhance their skills, equipping them to tackle IELTS Writing Task 2 with confidence and precision.

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How many types of essays are there in IELTS?

There are mainly six types of essays in IELTS. These essays are: Discussion Essay, Agree/Disagree (Opinion) Essay, Problem and Solution Essay, Advantages and Disadvantages Essay, Two-part Questions Essay, and Multi-Part Essay.

What is the minimum word count and time limit for the essay in IELTS task 2?

In the IELTS writing task 2, students are asked to write an essay of a minimum of 250 words in 40 minutes.

How to write examples in an IELTS essay?

In the IELTS Writing Task, it is vital to be able to extend ideas to support a student’s viewpoint about a topic. This can be done with supporting points and specific examples. Using examples gives the examiner a clear idea of how a candidate develops the essay's main idea. Stick to one idea in each .

paragraph and explain it with the topic. The main concept must be relevant and particular to the question asked.

How many types of essays are in IELTS task 1?

The IELTS Writing Task 1 is different from the IELTS General test and IELTS Academic Test. In the general test, applicants are presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining a situation.

In the academic test, candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram and asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in their own words. In IELTS task 1, students are asked to write a report rather than an essay.

How to improve essay writing skills for IELTS?

Here are some tips to improve your essay writing skills for IELTS:-

  • Use your time wisely
  • Understand the task/prompt
  • Organize your ideas logically
  • Work on your grammatically range & lexical resource
  • Analyze and learn from your mistakes

What is the format of writing task 2 in IELTS?

IELTS Writing Task 2 requires candidates to write an essay of at least 250 words in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The essay should be well-organized, with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. It is important to address the task appropriately and provide clear, relevant arguments and examples, while completing the same within 40 minutes.

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Akansha Semwal

Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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