Prepare, Plan & Practice

Getting Ready for IELTS Writing Task 2

Sam Chandara, ACE Teacher


Writing is often considered the most challenging of the four skills in the IELTS test due to the need for both imaginative ideas and a good knowledge of sentence and content structure. To get a higher band score in IELTS Writing Task 2, careful preparation, planning and plenty of practice are key as ACE teacher, Sam Chandara, outlines below.


Know What to Expect

The first step of any IELTS candidate should be to take a good look at the IELTS Writing Band Descriptors (public version) which is widely available on the internet. This is similar to the Band Descriptors that IELTS examiners use to mark your writing and will increase your awareness and understanding of the four criteria they will look at when marking your work:

  • Task Achievement (Did you answer the question?)
  • Coherence & Cohesion (Does your writing make sense?)
  • Lexical Resource (Did you use a wide range of vocabulary?)
  • Grammatical Range & Accuracy (Did you use a variety of grammar features correctly?)


Understand the Question!

Make sure you correctly grasp the key points in the question and fully understand the type of answer that is expected. This will help you generate ideas, develop a clear structure and flow to your content, and organize your thoughts. Written work should always be executed according to a plan so be sure to spend the first few minutes brainstorming your arguments, explanations and examples.

In your introduction, restate the question to show you understand what is being asked, and clearly state your opinion.  There are lots of standard phrases which can be used such as, ‘I believe…’, ‘Many people think…’, ‘It is often thought that…’, ‘This essay will show…’, and these will prepare the reader for what you are going to write about.


Clear Structure

Following the introduction come two or three body paragraphs, each of which shares a similar structure: topic sentence (main idea), reasons and relevant examples. Correct use of suitable grammar structures such as infinitives/gerunds, relative clauses, conditionals, and so on, will improve your score. For the conclusion, paraphrase your main points, restate your opinion and resist the temptation to introduce any new ideas. After finishing, reread your work to find those mistakes that we always make in any writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar).


Both Sides of the Argument

Whether the question asks for your opinion, to discuss a topic, or to offer advantages and/or disadvantages, we always encourage students to examine both sides (positive and negative) before clearly stating which is closer to their own beliefs. IELTS examiners are not interested in your opinion specifically, but the reasoning and language used to express it. Showing you appreciate both sides before coming to a logical conclusion illustrates your ability to analyse opposing views.

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