IELTS Writing Task 2 or essay writing

IELTS Writing Task 2 or essay writing

In this free series of lessons on IELTS Writing Task 2, you will learn how to write an essay efficiently. But first, we must know about the IELTS writing section.

IELTS Writing Section

Irrespective of the fact whether you are appearing for IELTS General Training or Academic, you will have to face Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. Writing task 1 for the General Training module is Letter Writing, whereas, for Academic module, it is Report Writing.


IELTS Writing Task 1

IELTS Writing Task 2

Report Writing

Essay Writing

20 minutes

40 minutes

150 words minimum

250 words minimum

Less important than task 2

2 times important than task 1

On the other hand, writing task 2 is always essay writing for both the modules. As shown in the table, IELTS writing task 1 demands that you write at least 150 words, whereas writing task 2 requires that you write a minimum of 250 words. As far as time is concerned, the total time for writing section is 60 minutes. It is advised by IELTS that you spend 20 minutes on writing task 1 and about 40 minutes on writing task 2.

Before we move further, let’s try to understand what is an essay writing in general.

What is an essay?

An essay is used to present a set of Ideas to pursue someone on the topic of discussion so that the reader can look at the topic of discussion from a writer’s point of view. On IELTS as well, the examiner should be convinced about your view in the essay after reading it.

As far as IELTS is concerned, the essays are general in nature and do not need any specialised knowledge to write an essay.

A sample IELTS Writing Task 2

Many students don’t read the whole task well.

Improvements in medical practices have improved the overall life of human beings. However, it has given rise to population explosion.

Now some of the students may write about improved medical practices while others may write on population explosion. The question is who is correct because It could be understood from the statement that medical practices and population explosion are significant terms in the topic statement. Also, both these terms are so vast that you cannot express them in just 250 words. In real IELTS examination, you will never face such a vague topic. IELTS will ask you for direct and specific questions so that you can express your thoughts in a structured way.

What should you notice on IELTS Writing Task 2?

Let’s look at the IELTS version of the same task. The topic remains the same.

You should spend about 40 minutes on the task.

Improvements in medical practices have improved the overall life of human beings. However, it has given rise to population explosion. (Topic)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of such medical improvements? (Instruction 1)

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience. (Instruction 2)

Write at least 250 words. (Instruction 3)

Topic statement of IELTS Writing Task 2

The topic statement is always the most important statement on the task, as it conveys the subject of discussion. From this statement, you can know whether you will write an essay on education or pollution or any other thing.

Instruction 1

Instruction 1 determines the scope of the essay. It defines the boundaries of the essay and helps you understand exactly which aspects of the topic you should write.

Instruction 2 and 3

Instruction 2 would always demand the reasons and examples to support your answer. It will never change whatever the case is. Lastly, Instruction 3 will always ask you to write a minimum of 250 words.

The ideal structure of IELTS Writing Task 2 or essay

From our experience, we advise that you write for about 270 words approximately in total. Writing less than 250 words is of no use as you are clearly instructed to write more than that.

At the same time, writing more than 300 words is unnecessary as it is time-consuming. Understand, the more you write, the more time you consume. That means you are left with even lesser time even to check what have you written. And so, you will commit too many mistakes.

The essay that you write must have an introduction, body paragraphs and an end paragraph.



45 words

Explain the scope of the essay

Body Paragraphs

180 words

Write 4 points and 2 examples

End Paragraph

45 words

Summarise all points and write opinion if asked

IELTS Writing Task 2

270 words

Whole essay

The introduction should explain the scope of the essay in about 45 words at the start of the essay. In this way, the reader knows what to expect in the actual article.

The body paragraphs, which are the main components of an essay, would have about four Points and two examples. These paragraphs would contain a total of about 180 words.

Lastly, the end paragraph summarises the points and presents an opinion in about 45 words.

Where should I write IELTS Writing Task 2?

IELTS paper-delivered tests

Sample Letters Writing Answersheets

You must write your essay on an answer sheet. The IELTS shall provide you with a writing answer sheet which would look very similar to the one shown on the screen.

If your handwriting is quite regular, you can write about 8 words in one line; this answer-sheet would be enough for you. In case needed, you can ask for a supplementary sheet in the examination.

IELTS Computer-delivered test

IELTS Writing Task 2 Computer delivered test

On IELTS Computer-delivered test, you will notice that your screen is divided into two parts. On the left-hand side, you will read the task, and on the right-hand side, you must type the actual essay using the keyboard.

The screen has a count-down timer for your convenience. Also, you need not count the number of test on this task as the word count will be displayed.

Evaluation Criteria of IELTS Writing Task 2 or essays

Critical IELTS Evaluation criteria that an IELTS examiner employs while checking your writing task 2 are as follows.

  1. Task Response (TR)
  2. Coherence and Cohesion (CC)
  3. Lexical Resource (LR)
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (GRA)

Let’s explore them briefly. 

1. Task Response (TR) on IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS will give you full scores in this criterion if your essay has at least 250 words with fully developed reasoning to back your position. Additionally, the essay should not have any repetition of ideas. And lastly, you must have also included examples either from knowledge or from experience to support your reasons and ultimately your position. If you fail to add any of these components, you won’t score well on Task Response.

2. Coherence and Cohesion (CC) on IELTS Writing Task 2

It deals with the overall structure of the essay. Coherence asks for clear ideas which are organised logically. It merely means that the ideas that help you explain your position must leave no ambiguity in the reader’s mind. At the same time, Cohesion deals with the appropriate usage of cohesive devices and checks whether the essay has a clear-cut representation of subtopics in paragraphs. In short, if your essay contains well-developed ideas organised in appropriate paragraphs, you can full score well on Coherence and Cohesion.

3. Lexical Resource (LR) on IELTS Writing Task 2

The essay reader checks whether you have used a range of words without compromising the sentence’s meaning. And, so you must use all your words with precision. The examiner will also be impressed if you could use typical phrases and collocations used by the native speakers. Lastly, he or she will also look for spelling mistakes. Yet keep in mind IELTS will ignore a few minor spelling mistakes which actually don’t change the sentence’s meaning.

4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy (GRA) on IELTS Writing Task 2

According to the norm, you should be able to use tenses appropriately. The IELTS examiner would be very happy to see a variety of sentence structures which are used accurately. Lastly, your writing must also have appropriate punctuations without any mistakes.

I hope the basic concepts of IELTS Writing Task 2 are clear to you.

How many words should you write on an IELTS Essay?

To read the next lesson,

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