How to Answer IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Writing Task 2 is the second part of the writing test.  You will be asked to write an essay at least 250 words in length and complete it in 40 minutes or less. 

This 3-step process will show how to answer IELTS Writing Task 2 and achieve a good Band Score.

  1. Plan

How to Answer IELTS Writing Task 2Spend up to ten minutes on this step.  The time spent will be worth it.

A. Decide on the question type.

To achieve a good score it is important to realise that there are different types of questions and they are each answered in a different way.  The five most common question types are:

        • Discussion – discuss both views and give an opinion
        • Agree or disagree – give an opinion
        • Advantages and disadvantages
        • Problem and solution
        • Direct questions

B. Analyse the question.

Understand the question so that you can answer it correctly and give the information that the examiner requires. This is so important.  So many students don’t read the question fully and lose marks because they didn’t answer the question fully.

For example,  you may get a question like:

“Some people think that rich countries should help poor countries with their education, health and trade.  Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your experience.” 

So, this is an opinion type essay and you are being asked to give your opinion on whether rich countries should help poor countries in three specific areas, education, health and trade.  An analysis of the question shows that it is about government spending and whether rich governments should help poor governments.  

C. Generate ideas

Ask yourself relevant questions like:  

      • why should governments help other governments?
      • how could governments help other governments?
      • Could this be done better by the private or voluntary sectors?

These are all questions that are relevant and should keep you on topic as you write your essay. 

D. Plan the structure

A common error that students make is to ramble, not answering the question because they haven’t got a good structure.

A good structure to answer this question would be:

      • Introduction
      • Body – Paragraph 1 and 2
      • Conclusion
  1. Write the Essay

Having planned your essay structure you can start writing.  First the:


A good structure for the introductory paragraph to this question would be:

        • Paraphrase the question
        • Clearly state your opinion
        • State the main ideas


Create two paragraphs for your body.  In the example above, one could be the reasons for and the other against helping other governments.  Keep to one idea for each paragraph so that each paragraph should introduce an idea, explain it and give an example.


There should be no new ideas in your concluding paragraph.  Instead, clearly state your position and summarise your main ideas. 


  1. Check Your Work for Accuracy

It’s very important to leave yourself some time at the end of the essay to check it for mistakes.  A few grammatical errors can mean a lower score.

To ensure a higher score get some online lessons from a qualified IELTS tutor who will show you how to answer IELTS Writing Task 2 .



Paul Andreas

Paul Andreas is a Certified Speaking Coach and qualified TEFL Teacher Online English Lessons delivered by Skype for IELTS exam preparation and conversational English. Get a free trial lesson.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Che Lopez

    Thank you so much. This is so helpful and easy to understand. I also like the illustration image and the length of this blog so it doesn’t bore the reader. Good job!

  2. Shawn

    I like this blog. From the colors, visual, to font size. This is very helpful especially for foreign people who wanted to take the language exam.

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