Writing Task 2: techniques to do well in IELTS

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Task 2 of General and Academic IELTS is an essay of at least 250 words. You have 40 minutes to write it. There are five types of essays that could appear in IELTS Writing: problem-solution, discussion, advantages and disadvantages, agree or disagree, double question (or direct question) and

Here is some useful advice to improve your band score for IELTS Writing. These strategies include advanced time management, advanced planning, use of language, developing an argument, coherence and use of grammar.


Time management

You have 60 minutes to do Writing Tasks 1 and 2. However, as Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1, you should dedicate 40 minutes to Task 2. Take five minutes at the start of your task to plan your essay. Devote the rest of your time to writing the number of words in that specific amount of time



Apply careful reading to analyse the essay question. First, categorize the type of essay: is it a discussion, problem solution or other type of essay? This will help you understand how to approach it. Underline or highlight any key words to help focus you on answering the question correctly. Now, clarify what your main premise and make sure to maintain this idea throughout your essay. Create a clear outline of how you will present the idea in the main body paragraphs with topic sentences.


Use of language

Lexical resource is 25 percent of your band score, so it’s crucial that you use a rich range of language in your essay. Both paraphrasing and use of synonyms will help you to add variety to your use of language.


Let’s take a look at a question and see how we can paraphrase it:


Smart phones have had a big impact on our way of living. While some people say this is a positive change, others suggest that there are smart phones cause social problems. Express your agreement or disagreement.




Our lifestyles have been greatly affected by smart phones. Although certain people believe this is a good thing, other people say that smart phones are a source of serious issues for our society.


The paraphrase contains synonyms and matching expressions affected instead of impact, good instead of positive, issues instead of problems.


Developing a successful argument or description

Task 2 is the development of an argument. Present a clear opinion in your introduction. In the main body of your essay, use paragraphs to outline your key ideas with examples. There should be one idea in each paragraph that is introduced by a topic sentence and illustrated with a very specific, clear example. Conclude with a recap of your main idea.



For task 2, maintain an introduction, main paragraphs and conclusion Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence. Use cohesive devices to present, link, contrast and conclude all ideas.



Use both simple and complex sentences in your essay. According to the official IELTS band score criteria, you must use a range of complex sentences to reach band score level 6 and above. However, keep your ideas simple and don’t confuse the reader with long, complicated sentences. Use tense accurately and appropriately and avoid using only the present forms.