IELTS Academic Writing (Task 2)

Written by
Nicholas Wheeldon

Academic Manager at Milestones English Academy.

Overall Tip:

In Writing Task 2, you should make sure that you read the task carefully and provide a full and relevant response. Task two is worth 60% of the overall writing score, therefore, if you do not attempt to answer this task you will greatly reduce your chance of achieving a good band. It is also important to remember that you will be penalised if the response is off-topic or is not written in full connected text (do not write in notes or bullet points for example). 

Finally, make sure that you do not write directly from the question paper. You must write your answers in the answer booklet provided. You need to write at least 250 words.

There are six common essay question types:

Agree/ Disagree 

The agree/disagree essay question gives you a topic and asks if you agree or disagree with an idea related to that topic.

For example:

Less and less parents these days are smacking their children. Some people think that this is leading to a generation of misbehaved children. Do you agree or disagree with this view?

This question is related to the topic of smacking children. The idea that not smacking is actually a bad thing. The question is asking if you agree with that idea.

Your essay will have to answer that question by giving your opinion and then explaining why with supporting ideas and examples.

Advantage/ Disvantage

The advantage/disadvantage essay question gives you a topic, and then asks you to discuss the advantages and disadvantages. 

For example:

Some graduates prefer to travel for a year between graduation and gaining full-time employment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this.

Here you will need to present both sides of the argument (one per paragraph) with supporting ideas and examples for each.

Discuss both views

The discuss both views question gives you two views or opinions related to a topic and asks you to discuss both. 

For example:

Some people think it’s the government’s responsibility to tackle environmental issues. Others believe it is up to each individual to be environmentally responsible.

Discuss both sides.

Here you need to write one body paragraph on each opinion, giving explanations and examples as to why people may hold each view.

Discuss both views and give your opinion

The discuss both views and give your opinion question is very similar, but instead of just asking you to discuss two views, it also asks you to state which one you agree with.

For example:

Some people think it’s better to educate boys and girls in separate schools. However, others believe that boys and girls benefit more from attending the same school. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

To write this essay question, you need to discuss both opinions (one in each paragraph) and give explanations and examples to support each one. You also need to say which one you agree with.


The problem/solution essay question presents you with an issue which you need to discuss and then provide possible solutions for. 

For example:

The overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems. Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments can tackle these problems.

Here you would talk about the problems caused by overpopulation in the first body paragraph, and suggest some government-led solutions in the second body paragraph.

Double question

In the double question essay, you’re actually asked two questions, and you need to make sure you answer both. 

For example:

Today more people are travelling than ever before. Why is this the case? What are the benefits of travelling for the tourist.

Here you have two questions to answer. 1. Why are people travelling more than before. 2. What are the benefits of travelling? You should write one paragraph on each question.

Good luck on your test!

Written by
Nicholas Wheeldon

Academic Manager at Milestones English Academy.

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