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IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Tips: How To Write An Essay

Many students have trouble writing an essay for IELTS Academic Writing Task 2. We’ve put together an easy-to-understand guide to essay writing for Writing Task 2.

What is the task?

Writing Task 2 in IELTS Task 2 is an essay writing task. You must write a short essay on a given topic.

How much time should I spend on an essay?

The IELTS Writing section consists of two tasks and goes for 60 minutes. Writing Task 2 (the essay) is worth twice as much as Writing Task 1, so it’s important to give yourself enough time to do the task well. You should spend around 40 minutes writing your essay for Task 2 (so make sure you only spend around 20 minutes on Task 1!).

Word Count

You must write between 250 – 350 words. You will lose marks if you don’t write at least 250 words, so it is very important to write enough. Also, given the time restriction, it is very unwise to write more than 350 words as you will have less time to finish and proofread.


Don’t use an essay template or memorize a model answer! Examiners are trained to recognize these and you will lose marks or have your essay marked as invalid. Furthermore, templates often lead students to make more grammatical mistakes than if they wrote it themselves.

How to Structure an Essay

  1. Plan your essay It is important to plan your essay before you start writing. Using a few words, including abbreviations and symbols, to plan what you are going to write. This will be a helpful guide to keep you on track while you are writing your essay.

  2. Introduction

  3. Write a sentence introducing the topic and giving some background facts about it

  4. Tell the reader what are you going to write about

Usually in an essay introduction, you can simply paraphrase the topic provided. That is, rephrase it in your own words using synonyms of the words in the topic. Here is an example: Question:

Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. Blood sports should be banned.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Sample IELTS essay introduction:

Despite the fact that killing animals for sport is popular in modern society, it remains a contentious issue. I believe that blood sports are cruel and uncivilized and so should be banned as soon as possible.

  1. Body paragraphs Your body paragraphs are the most important part of your essay as they make up the bulk of your essay. The key aspects of a strong paragraph are as follows:

Unity: A paragraph should focus on one main idea

Development: This idea should be developed (explained) in the other sentences

Coherence: The idea should be explained in a clear and logical way

Generally, you should have 2-3 body paragraphs. For even more great tips on writing good paragraphs, check out IETLS Buddy or attend a Task 2 Writing class at English Key in Melbourne.

  1. Conclusion It is important to have a clear conclusion that summarises your main points and (depending on the essay type) includes your opinion. You can usually restate the same points you made in your introduction.

Don’t forget to proofread!

Make sure you leave yourself a few minutes at the end to check what you’ve written. It is so important to read over what your have written and check for spelling and grammar mistakes. You can also ensure that what you’ve written makes sense. No point in losing marks for silly mistakes!

Practice makes perfect

The best way to improve your essay writing is through practice. By attending an IELTS preparation course at English Key in Melbourne, you can perfect your writing skills with the help of our highly skilled teachers. In addition, you have access to a range of IELTS Academic preparation materials, as well as weekly 1-on-1 sessions with a teacher, and the ability to send us an unlimited amount of essays which we correct and return to you with personalized feedback. Don’t wait, start an IELTS coaching course with us today!

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