Writing Task 2 – What Type Of Questions Will I get?

For this section of the IELTS Academic Writing Paper you have to write an essay of about 250 words in length.

The time you have to do this in is approximately 40 minutes, therefore just like Writing Task 1, a good structure will help you write a good essay in this short time.

What type of essay questions are there?

There are basically THREE different types of essay question that you might get in Writing Task 2 of the IELTS:
1) Agree or Disagree – This can also be called an Opinion Essay.
2) Problem/Solution – This can also be called Cause/Effect Essay.
3) Discussion – This can also be called an Argument Essay.

How do I know which essay it is?

Step 1

When attempting WRITING Task 2 is to identify and understand what question it is, so you can write an appropriate structure for it and answer the question.

Look at the following essay question and decide which essay type it is:

Television is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in today’s society. However, watching television is said to be bad for children. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Write an essay of about 250 words and state your own opinion.

You can usually tell what type of essay it is because of certain words. Sometimes, though, this is a little more difficult.

A: Identifying Agree/Disagree or Opinion Essays

Words that tell you the essay question is an Agree/Disagree one are:
•    Agree
•    Disagree
•    Statement
•    One Opinion or View
•    To what extent

Another way you can tell whether the essay question is an Agree/Disagree one, is that there is ONLY ONE opinion or statement about the IELTS topic. Look at the examples below and see if you can work out what the ONE opinion is.

1) Sport is popular in countries all over the world. However, professional sports people especially football players earn too much money. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Write approximately 250 words and support the answer with your opinion.

2) Competition for jobs in today’s society has got more difficult. A university education is the only way to guarantee a well-paid job. Do you agree with this view? Write approximately 250 words to support your answer.

Hopefully you should now be able to identify an Agree/Disagree Essay question for Writing Task 2.

B: Identifying Problem/Solution or Cause/Effect Essays

Words that tell you the essay question is a Problem/Solution one are:
•    Problem/Issue/Concern/Difficulty
•    Solution/Answer/Remedy
•    Cause/Reason
•    Effect/Result/Consequence

Look at the following examples and identify the words which tell you they are Problem/Solution essays:

1) With an ever growing population, congestion has become a real problem in many cities all over the world. What do you think are some of the reasons why this is true? What solutions can you think of to ease it? Write approximately 250 words and give your own opinion to support your answer.

2) Illiteracy is a global concern. Many adults cannot read and write. What consequences do you think this has for them and how do you think we can remedy the situation? Write about 250 words to explain your answer.

3) Truancy is an issue in teenagers in today’s society. The law states that everybody should go to school, yet children still are still absent for long periods of time. What do you think are some of the causes of this? What suggestions can you give to stop this social problem? Write approximately 250 words and express your opinion too.

C: Identifying Discuss or Argument Essays

There are quite a few words that tell you that the essy question is a Discuss/Argument Essay:
•    Discuss/Compare
•    Advantages/Disadvantages
•    For/Against
•    Positive/Negatives
•    Some people think, others believe
•    Benefits/Drawbacks

Another way in which you can recognise that the essay question is a Discuss/Argument one is that unlike Agree/Disagree which only has ONE Opinion or View, there are TWO Views or Opinions in these essay questions.

Look at the examples below and see if you can work out what the TWO different Views or Opinions are:

1) Technology is growing at a very quick rate. As a result more and more people are using the internet which is according to them, advantageous. However, there are many drawbacks to using this innovation. What is your opinion? Write about 250 words to support your answer.

 

 

2) Vegetarianism is becoming very popular nowadays among many teenagers. Some people believe that is a healthy choice for the youth of today, while other people think it is an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Compare these two contrasting views and give your own opinion. Write about 250 words.

These are the 3 main types of closed essay question which you might get in WRITING TASK 2.

There are others, which are called Open Essay Questions.

An example of one of these is:

Is Television ruining our lives? Discuss. Write 250 words to support your answer.

This could be an Agree/Disagree or Discuss/Argument question. It is up to you how you want to write it and that is why it is called an Open Essay Question.
Lesson Summary

In this lesson you have learnt that there are three different types of essay question that you might get in your Writing Task 2 and that the most important step is to be able to recognise them.
•    Agree/Disagree or Opinion essays have 1 opinion or view and can be recognised by words such as agree, disagree, opinion, statement.
•    Problem/Solution or Cause/Effect essays can be recognised by words such as issue, concern, remedy, suggestions, reasons, consequences and result.
•    Discuss or Argument essays have 2 opinions or views and can be recognised by words such as advantages, disadvantages, positive, negative, for, against, some people think, other people think.
•    Open Essay questions, however, can be answered both as an agree/disagree or discuss essay.

IELTS EXAM PRACTICE
Imagine you are sitting down in your IELTS exam. You have written your Writing Task 1. Now you turn the page and find this essay question for Writing Task 2. Identify which type of question it is:

Writing Task 2:
The recession is a global concern. There are people who believe it has positive effects, while other people who have a different view which is that of pessimism. What is your opinion? Write approximately 250 words to support your answer.

 

CONGRATULATIONS YOU HAVE COMPLETED WRITING TASK 2 QUESTION TYPES.

For more info on IELTS writing task click here: www.ieltspodcast.com/ielts-writing-task/ielts-writing-start-ielts-writing-task-2/

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