Ultimate Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 - Score Band 8.5

Ultimate Guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 - Score Band 8.5

The Writing Task 2 requires you to write at least 250 words. You will be presented with a topic and will be tested on your ability to respond by giving and justifying an opinion, discussing the topic, summarizing details, outlining problems, identifying possible solutions and supporting what you write with reasons, arguments and relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1. You are expected to produce a written argument on a given topic and to organize your answer clearly, give some examples to support your points. You will have to write at least 250 words and, as Task 2 is longer than Task 1, you are advised to spend approximately 40 minutes on this task.

Usually, IELTS essay is one of the following types:

  • Giving your opinion
  • Agree/disagree
  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Suggesting a solution
  • Compare/ Contrast
  • Discussion
  • Miscellaneous

Depending on the topic, decide what is your opinion on it and why. Have a clear position. Then find examples you will use for this task.

Write your answer using the following structure: You should spend a few minutes on planning.

Introduction - You need to Paraphrase the topic and briefly give your opinion. You scan pick words from the topic and rephrase it in your own words.

Body Paragraph 1                      "Develop your point of view by giving 
Body Paragraph 2           ►            reasons and supporting them    
Body Paragraph 3                            with appropriate examples"

Conclusion - Sum up what you have written and give your final thoughts on the problem. It should not contradict with your introduction, so similar information would be appropriate or appreciated.

Your essay style

  • Use various words and structures, linking words and avoid repetition.
  • Use some words from the word list like synonyms or similar words.
  • Do not use informal style and avoid irrelevant information, you will receive less points for your work.
  • Avoid contractions (it’s instead use It is) and avoid symbols like & (instead use and)
  • Also, do not forget to write at least 250 words, writing less will affect your mark negatively. You should aim at 260-280 words. You will not get more points for a longer essay. Under length and Over length can be penalized.

Penalties: Penalties are the number one reason people fail to score high in the writing module. If you can avoid the penalties and write a structured essay, you have an excellent chance of scoring high.

Use Paragraphs: Just by writing right paragraphs, you could aim for a high score. Do not just write one long paragraph; you will not score high because one paragraph is not technically an essay. Use paragraphs and use them correctly.  

Linking Words:  This is half penalty, half skill. Basically, you should have a list of linking words at your disposal, so that you can easily form complex sentences.

Task Achievement: Address fully all parts of the task. Present a fully developed position in your answer to the question with relevant, fully extended and well supported ideas.

In order to score well on the Task Achievement, the most important thing is to make sure you respond to what is being asked, is the prompt asking for an opinion, a discussion of a problem, a solution to a problem, or some combination of these? If you provide an opinion and not a solution when you are being asked for a solution, you are not going to score well in this area.

Read the question carefully!

The goal here is for things to sound natural and not forced. How do you connect your ideas (ensure cohesion) without it sounding forced? I think there are 2 possible ways:

  • Explain your ideas in a logical order so that you do not need many linking words. This is probably what you do when writing in your own language.
  • Use easy linking words like and, but, also, firstly, secondly, finally, for example. These are so common that they attract almost no attention.