In IELTS Writing Task 2, you are required to write an essay in response to the statement or premise given. There are five different types of questions that can appear in IELTS writing task 2. It is important to read the question carefully and to answer it relevantly. Being familiar with each essay type is crucial as it determines the structure of the essay you will write and influence your cohesion and coherence. If you know what are the different essays in IELTS writing task 2, how to identify them, and how to approach each essay type, then it will have a beneficial impact on your task achievement and save you a lot of crucial planning time.
Type 1: Opinion Questions: Agree or Disagree
They are the easiest questions to deal with. You have to either agree or disagree and then write 2 paragraphs with claims that back up your answer.
Here are some typical questions that might be used in this type:
a) What is your opinion?
b) Do you agree or disagree?
c) To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Sample Question: Foreign visitors should pay more than local visitors for cultural and historical attractions. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
It is important to make a decision and to clearly express this in your introduction. Decide if foreign visitors should pay more than local visitors or not. If you think, yes they should pay more, then give two or three reasons to support your opinion and examples from your own experience (the situation in your country. Follow the same process if you think, no foreign visitors should not pay more than local visitors.
What’s more, you do not need to write what you think in reality. Just pick the side you think gives the most arguments during the brainstorming.
Type 2: Advantages and Disadvantages Questions
This question asks you specifically to decide if there are more advantages or more disadvantages.
Sample Question: E-mail has had a huge impact on professional and social communication, but this impact has been negative as well as positive. Do the disadvantages of using e-mail outweigh the advantages?
To answer this question type, decide on your position – are there more advantages, or more disadvantages? Present the advantages or the disadvantages. Repeat your position in the conclusion.
Type 3: Discussion Questions
The first part of the question for a discussion essay will be a statement containing two opposing views. You will be required to discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion.
Sample Question: Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some ways to identify if it’s a discussion question:
a) Discuss both views and give your opinion.
b) Discuss both these views and then give your own opinion.
c) Discuss both sides of this argument and give your own opinion.
In this question type, you must give equal attention to both sides. A common mistake IELTS candidates make is to provide a stronger argument for the view they favor. This can lead to an unbalanced essay and you will get a low IELTS score.
Type 4: Problem Solution Questions
This type of question is the most challenging essay type for many IELTS candidates.
Sample Question: One problem faced by almost every country is pollution. What do you think the causes are? What solutions can you suggest?
To answer this question, you must choose 2-3 problems and pick solutions directly linked to them. Explain them and give examples. Avoid these mistakes when answering this type of question.
a) Focusing on just the solutions and not problems
b) Not developing your ideas
c) Not linking the problems and solutions
d) Not being specific enough
Type 5: Double Question Essays or Two-Part Questions
These are the most complicated questions as you need to discuss 2 parts. There will be a statement and they will then ask you to answer 2 separate questions.
Sample Question: As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual well-being.
What factors contribute to job satisfaction? (question 1)
How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers? (question 2)
To answer this question, you should present two ideas in your introduction, which will become your two main body paragraphs. After the introduction, the first main body paragraph should contain one topic sentence, an explanation sentence, and an example sentence. Repeat the same structure with the second body paragraph. The conclusion should be a summary of the main points in your essay and should never introduce new ideas.
Once you understand the different question types in writing task 2, you should start working on test samples. Practice is the only way to improve your skills. Whatever question type you get in the IELTS test, take your time to understand the question and brainstorm some ideas. You will have to write an essay of at least 250 words in the 40 minutes allowed in the exam. So practice and then practice some more! When you’re ready to take the IELTS writing test, book your test date in advance.