IELTS Writing Task 2: Tips For IELTS Writing Task 2Updated on 22 June, 2022
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Study Abroad Expert
The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is one of the world’s most popular and standardized English language proficiency tests that evaluates the English language proficiency of non-native speakers for overseas education and employment. There are two types of IELTS exams: IELTS Academic and General Training. The test has four sections: Writing, Speaking, Reading, and Listening. The pattern of IELTS academic writing task 2 is similar to that of the general training. The IELTS Writing Task 2 requires the applicants to write an essay in response to a statement, or situation.
Writing Task 2 is the second part of the writing section of IELTS, where aspirants are presented with a point of view, argument, or problem and asked to write an essay in response to the question. The word limit for this response can be 250 words and has to be completed within a duration of 40 minutes. It focuses on evaluating the applicant’s ability to write a response that is in sync with the terms of content, ideas, accurate use of vocabulary, and grammar. The test-takers need to provide opinions and reasons behind arguments, and writing should be grammatically correct. The IELTS Writing Task 2 topics are designed to evaluate the writing skills of the applicants to determine if they are suitable to study and work in English-speaking countries.
A candidate is evaluated on the basis of the following parameters in the Writing Task 2 of IELTS. These assessment criteria are as follows:
While answering the Writing Task 2 of IELTS, candidates should divide their essay into four to five paragraphs. While doing so, they should follow the structure given below:
Success in IELTS Writing Task 2 is guaranteed if the right techniques are used. Listed below are some useful tips that aspirants can follow to score well in task 2.
Important Resources to Read About IELTS:
The IELTS Writing Task 2 has 66% of the total writing marks. It is important to do well in this task, to get band 7 and more. Writing skills are an important part of communication. Good writing skills allow candidates to showcase their language proficiency and achieve the desired goal of studying or working in English-speaking countries. Here are all the important writing skills for a good band score.
The writing score for IELTS is calculated on how efficiently a candidate can fulfill the criteria of task response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy. To achieve a band score of 8 or more, here’s a guide for all the aspirants.
It is important to keep in mind that candidates do not produce an essay that is close to a topic they have prepared previously, instead; they should answer what has been asked in the question. They should try to be specific and not overgeneralize, as this might affect how their ideas are presented to the examiner.
Before answering, applicants should read the question carefully and analyze how many parts are in it. To score a band of 8 or higher in task 2, all the parts of the questions must be answered. To explain that candidates possess an understanding of the question being asked, it is necessary to present a clear position when answering the statement throughout the essay.
|Question type||How many parts||Opinion required?|
|To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?||1-part question||Yes, agree or disagree and state why there is an agreement or disagreement|
|Why is this so? Give reasons for this and solutions?||3-part question||A situation is presented on why it is a particular way. Applicants have to state the reason for this issue, and solutions to solve the issue.|
|Discuss both views and give your own opinion.||3-part question||Yes, the opinion might be one of the views or a combination of both.|
|Why is this so? What effect does it have on the individual and society?||3-part question||Yes, reasons must be given for the statement, and then its effects have to be presented both on the individual and society.|
|Do the disadvantages of international tourism outweigh the advantages?||2-part question||Yes, it must be clearly stated if there are more advantages or more disadvantages|
Ideas in an essay must be organized and ordered clearly - starting with an introduction, then moving to the supporting paragraphs, followed by a through a conclusion. If it is asked to present an opinion as well as both views, state the opinion at the beginning and then move on to present both views in the essay. Lastly, candidates can come back to their own opinions and conclude the essay, thereby presenting a logical way of expressing ideas. Use a range of linking words and adverbial phrases but do not overuse them. Do not use headings or subheadings, one-sentence paragraphs, or start every sentence with a linking device.
To organize the essay into clear parts, paragraphs can be used. Each paragraph should consist of a clear and developed topic with a minimum of two sentences. The acronym “PEEL” can be used while writing the essay - Point, Example, Explain, Link.
Point – introduce the topic
Example – support the point with a relevant example
Explain – state the reason behind why the evidence supports the point
Link – transition to the next topic or paragraph
Enough paragraphs should be formed to show a structured response. Here are some ideas on how many paragraphs can be included in an essay.
|Question type||How many paragraphs?||What to include in the paragraphs?|
|To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?|
Reason behind agreeing or disagreeing
Concession paragraph on not agreeing or disagreeing
|Why is this so? Give reasons for this and solutions?|
|Discuss both views and give your own opinion.|
|Why is this so? What effect does it have on the individual and society?|
Why this is so?
Effect/s on individual
Effect/s on society
|Do the disadvantages of international tourism outweigh the advantages?|
Introduction (more weightage on advantages)
An IELTS band 8 aspirants should be able to skillfully uses uncommon lexical items. When we learn a language, we use common and uncommon terms. Uncommon terms are used to talk about a specific topic or idiomatic language (phrasal verbs). Words that are not used in everyday speech should be avoided.
If candidates are using a synonym, they must know which one goes correctly in a particular situation. The meaning should remain the same and must not alter the idea being presented. For instance, the terms adolescent/teenager are similar and can be used interchangeably, but toddler/baby have quite different meanings. Candidates should also master the art of the correct use of collocation. Collocations are words that go together.
While discussing child crime, the term ‘minor’ should be applied as this is a legal term used to describe children under the age of 18. On the other hand, while using phrasal verbs, correct prepositions must be used or else it can change the meaning. For instance, throw out/away = discard, throw up = vomit/get sick
Examiners can easily spot any memorized language, phrases or examples. Therefore, it is better to avoid them as they cause a negative impression about a candidate’s ability to write fluently. Overuse of idioms, phrases, proverbs, and clichés should also be avoided. For instance, phrases like, The grass is always greener on the other side, Off the top of my head or A friend in need is a friend indeed.
To score an IELTS band 8, it is expected that a wide range of structures should be used accurately by a candidate to present their ideas and opinion. While using a wide range of structures, it is necessary to ensure that the sentences are error-free. The use of a combination of complex and simple sentences is necessary, along with accurate punctuation, correct use of capitalization, commas, and full stops. However, complex sentences should not be long and complicated. The most commonly made errors by candidates can be found below:
|Relative clause||Incorrect use of pronouns - who/that/which|
|Conditional clause||Choosing the wrong tense for the clause type|
|Passive voice||Choosing the wrong past participle|
|Present perfect/past||Choosing the wrong tense - had/have had|
|Countable nouns||Making errors with singular and plural nouns|
|Gerunds||Making errors with -ing|
|Subject/verb agreement||The girls ‘are’ – singular or plural|
|Articles||Incorrect use of a/the, or not using it at all|
|Punctuation||Incorrectly used, or not used at all.|
|Prepositions||Placing an incorrect preposition at the wrong place|
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While answering IELTS writing task 2 it is important to remember that the examiner would not have the option to seek clarity if they feel stuck. Therefore, it is important to explain every idea clearly so that they are easy to understand. Listed below are some of the most common mistakes that IELTS test takers make.
Candidates who prepare for the writing section of IELTS by learning long lists of vocabulary and then including them in their essays, end up using words with either wrong meaning or grammar. Possessing a good bandwidth of vocabulary is one of the factors for scoring band scores. However, the essay should not be forced with complicated words as that might lead to mistakes and reduce the score.
Candidates can develop their vocabulary by reading online newspapers, magazines or blogs and note their meaning whenever they come across a new word. It can be then reviewed regularly and when a candidate is sure about the word, that can be used in the IELTS Writing Task 2.
Even the candidates with a very good grasp of grammar make some silly mistakes. It is difficult to get over a band score of 6 if most of the sentences contain small errors. Some common grammatical errors include articles, countable and uncountable nouns, and subject-verb agreement. Aspirants should spare two to three minutes at the end of the test to proofread their writing. It is a health practice that they should conduct while preparing for the test as well as during the real exam.
Cohesive devices are terms like ‘For instance’, ‘in addition’, ‘despite this’ and ‘To conclude‘. They indicate the relationships between different clauses, sentences, and paragraphs. One of the biggest misconceptions about cohesive devices is that their use can make an essay stand out. However, that is a myth, they do have a purpose and they should be used only when necessary.
Many IELTS Writing Task 2 questions can have two parts or two separate questions. A question might require candidates to ‘discuss both views’, ‘discuss the advantages and disadvantages’ or ‘discuss the problems and solutions’. If eight sentences are written about one part and only two sentences about the other, both parts of the question are not addressed equally.
Both the parts of the question should be addressed equally to get one of the higher band scores for Task Response. It is important to plan the essay before writing and be aware of the different structures that can be used while writing as many students spend too much time on the first part and then only write one or two sentences about the latter part due to time constraints.
An essay that has great grammar and vocabulary, but misses the point while answering the question can create a negative impression on the examiner. The most common mistake that students make is writing everything they know about the topic rather than addressing the specific question.
For instance, if the question is “Computers are being used more and more in education and so there will soon be no role for the teacher in education. To what extent do you agree or disagree?” The general topic is computers in education, but the question addresses the effect it is going to have on teachers. Talking about computers in education, in general, would mean that question is not answered but a good answer would talk specifically about how computers affect the role of the teacher.
Have a proper understanding of IELTS Writing Task 2 and always follow these tips and strategies to score a band 8.
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To start writing task 2 in IELTS, candidates need a good introduction as it creates an impression about the quality of writing. To come up with a nice introduction, applicants need to give some time to read and analyze the question, then begin with a general discussion of the topic before getting into its details. Candidates should also state their position and the introduction should give an overview of where the essay is going to lead towards.
Some of the easiest ways to generate ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2 are by analyzing model essays, finding ideas on the internet, simplifying the question, asking yourself some questions about the topic, generating main ideas from specific examples, or imagining that a teacher or friend is asking the question.
Some of the tips to improve Writing Task 2 in IELTS are as follows:
To prepare for the IELTS Writing Task 2, aspirants have to understand the assessment criteria on the basis of which they will be marked - Task Response (TR), Coherence and Cohesion (CC), Lexical Resource (LR), and Grammatical Range and Accuracy(GRA). Reading IELTS model essays and reading texts, building vocabulary, practicing authentic essays and how to plan them, using the official answer writing sheet, and getting feedback from others are some of the ways to prepare for IELTS Writing Task 2.
It is best to put the examples after the main idea or topic sentence. They can also be used at the starting of a new sentence or in the middle of supporting sentences. Though there is no rule for where exactly to give examples in essays, logically they should come after a supporting sentence. However, many model answers suggest putting the examples at the end of the main body paragraph.
Read More About IELTS:
Writing an introduction for the IELTS Writing Task 2 is all about paraphrasing the question with different words having the same meaning. It should also include a thesis statement that is most important in an essay and describes the aspirants' thought process about the whole issue. Lastly, the introduction should consist of an outline statement. After paraphrasing the question and providing a thesis statement, an outline statement should give an idea to the examiner about what will be discussed in the main body paragraphs.
Making one or two mistakes might be overlooked by the examiner if the overall essay is good. However, making more mistakes than that can lead to lower band scores.
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