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How to get a high IELTS writing score

IELTS Writing Guide: Prepare for IELTS Writing Task 1 and IELTS Writing Task 2 with Free IELTS Writing Samples

In this guide you can start a free IELTS writing task 1 or IELTS writing task 2 practice test with IELTS writing sample essays. Learn basic and advanced lessons for IELTS general writing task 1 and IELTS academic writing task 1. You'll also learn how to answer IELTS writing task 2 to improve your writing skills and successfully prepare you for your IELTS writing test. This page contains everything you need to know for a high IELTS writing score.

First off, if you're looking to take a free IELTS Writing Practice Test or are just curious to see what an IELTS writing exam is like, then click the button below.

IELTS General Training Writing Test IELTS Academic Writing Test

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IELTS General Writing Task 1 practice test questions

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IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 practice test questions

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Table Of Contents

IELTS Writing Test Information

The writing test consists of 2 writing tasks and you'll have a total of 60 minutes to complete both. You can complete the tasks in any order, just make sure you manage your time well and spend around 20 minutes on IELTS writing task 1 and 40 minutes on IELTS writing task 2.

IELTS Academic Writing Task VS IELTS General Writing Task

The IELTS offers two test versions. The Academic version is for people looking for higher education, while the general Training version is for those looking to simply migrate or perhaps a lower education. There are more criteria for both versions, so please contact IELTS customer service to learn which test is right for you.

So which test harder? The academic test, as you may have guessed, is more difficult than the general training test. The difference between the two is IELTS writing task 1's difficulty. Luckily, only Writing Task 1 is different. IELTS writing task 2 is the same for both test versions. The table below summarizes the two types of IELTS writing tests.

Type of test Task 1 Task 2
Academic Writing In IELTS academic writing task 1, you are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words.

In IELTS writing task 2, you will need to write a traditional style essay in response to a question. You must write at least 250 words

General Writing In IELTS Genral Writing Task 1, you are asked to write a letter about a given situation. This letter will be one of the following types:

- Formal (Formal letters are sent to people that we do not know or have never met.)
- Semi-formal (Semi-formal letters are sent to people that we do not know well.)
- Informal (Informal letters are sent to people that we know well such as our friends)

IELTS Academic Writing Task Overview


How IELTS Writing Test is Scored

In the IELTS writing test, your writing score will be scored based on four categories. These are known as Task Achievement/Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy. Refer to the following band descriptors which IELTS examiners use to score the writing section of the test:

- IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Descriptors
- IELTS Writing Task 2 Band Descriptors

Note that the scoring criteria for both tasks include:

  • Task Achievement/Task Response  - Did you fully answer the question and present a fully developed answer?
  • Coherence and Cohesion  - Does your argument or analysis make sense? Is it well thought-out and presented in a complete way?
  • Lexical Resource – Did you use a wide range of vocabulary in a natural, formal tone?
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy – Is your essay virtually error-free? Did you manage to use a wide range of grammatical structures?

Are IELTS Writing Task 1 & IELTS Writing Task 2 Worth the Same Amount of Points? Well Just like how you will spend double the time writing IELTS writing task 2, it's also worth around double the points. Now it's not exactly double. Another way to look at it is to add the score for writing task 2 score twice. So take the band scores 7 for task one and 4 for task two and you get the following formula on how to calculate your IELTS writing score:

(7 + (4 x 2))/3 = 5.

Therefore, the total IELTS writing band score is around 4.5 - 6. You see we can't give an exact number because IELTS has not made their scoring formula public, but the formula presented here is fairly accurate up to a difference of about 0.5 points.

IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

In IELTS academic writing task 1, you are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.

Regardless of which visual information is presented to you, your job is to write a summary of the visual information. and describe the main trends, overall differences, main changes, or the main components of a system, or the main phrases of a process. You must write 150 words or more, and you should spend around 20 minutes on this part of the test. The writing strucutre can be as follows:

  1. Introduction: Paraphrase the question
  2. Overview: Describe the overall trend or write a general overview of the main groupings
  3. Body paragraph 1: Write in detail about the first grouping in a logical way
  4. Body paragraph 2: Write in detail about the second grouping in a logical way

So the steps to write the report for this task is very simple:

  1. Analyse the chart(s) and plan how to group the information
  2. Write an essay using the recommended essay structure
  3. Proofread essay

Let's look at each different possible type of visual graphs, tables, charts, and diagrams you could encounter in your IELTS writing test:

Line Graphs

In this type of task, you will be given one or more line graphs. Each line graph will have 1-8 lines showing how values change over time. The time period could be the past, the present or the future, or a combination of all three. Your task is to write a summary, covering the most important points and supporting your description by including data.

Sample Line Graph Question
The chart illustrates consumption of three kinds of fast food by teenagers in Mauritius from 1985 to 2015.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.



How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task - Line Graphs

In a line graph, there are usually multiple lines that show changes over time. In your writing, you need to group information based on lines having similar trends or values, so your essay structure will be as follows:

  1. Introduction: Paraphrase the question
  2. Overview: Describe the overall trend or write a general overview of the main groupings
  3. Body paragraph 1: Describe the first grouping of lines having similar trends or values.
  4. Body paragraph 2: Describe the second grouping of lines having similar trends or values.

Let’s write an essay for the aboved sample question.

Step 1: Analyse the graph and plan how to group the information

It is evident that hamburgers consumption and fried chicken consumption show an upward trend, whereas the pizza consumption shows a downward trend. Therefore, the best way to group the data would be as follows:

First grouping

hamburgers consumption and fried chicken consumption

Second grouping

pizza consumption

Step 2: Write an essay using the recommended essay structure

Now that you’ve analyzed the task and figured out how to group the information, let’s write the essay.

Model Essay

The chart illustrates the consumption of three kinds of fast food by teenagers in Mauritius from 1985 to 2015. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.  Write at least 150 words.


Important functional words are highlighted in red
Useful vocabulary and phrases are highlighted in green
Synonyms and topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Introduction

The line graph depicts the consumption of three types of fast food, (hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken) over a 30 year period by Mauritian teenagers.  Units are given as the number of times each kind was eaten per year.

Original task question:
The chart illustrates the consumption of three kinds of fast food by teenagers in Mauritius from 1985 to 2015.

How we paraphrase:

Task question

Our own words

The chart

The line graph

illustrates

depicts

three types of fast food, (hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken) over a 30 year period by Mauritian teenagers

Three kinds of fast food by teenagers in Mauritius from 1985 to 2015.

Overview

Overall, hamburgers and fried chicken had become the most popular foods by 2015 with the biggest increase in numbers eaten, while pizza that was the most widely-eaten at the start, declined precipitously in popularity.

Here we write a general overview of the main groupings. In the overview paragraph, you don’t need to mention percentages, details or numbers. The place for the details are the main body paragraphs. We summarise the rise in popularity of hamburgers and fried chicken, along with the fall in pizza consumption.

“Precipitously” means "sharply'.

Body paragraph 1

With regards to hamburgers, consumption showed a steady upward trajectory from 10 times eaten per year to over 70 times.  Likewise, teenagers in Mauritius ate fried chicken only 5 times per year in 1985 before rising dramatically to a plateau in 2005, then increased slightly at the end of the period to finish as the second most popular food.

Here we describe how hamburger consumption and fried chicken consumption changed over time. The past tense is used.

Body paragraph 2

On the contrary, although pizza was the most popular food with Mauritian adolescents in 1985, its consumption fell continuously from 60 times a year to just 10 pizzas by the last year.

Here we describe how pizza consumption changed over time. The past tense is used.

“On the contrary” is used to show a contrast with the last paragraph.

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the entire IELTS Academic Writing Task - Line Graphs lesson.

Bar Charts

In this type of task, you will be given one or more bar charts. The bar charts may show how values change over time (dynamic data), the differences between values at one point in time (static data), or the results of a survey or questionnaire. The information could be about the situation in the past, the present, or the future, or a combination of all three.

Your task is to write a summary, covering the most important points and supporting your description by including data.

Sample Bar Chart Question
The chart below gives some of the most reported issues among people living in UK cities in 2008 (%).
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.




Sample Essay
The chart illustrates several important living issues faced by inhabitants of seven major UK cities (Newcastle, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, and London) in 2008. Units are given in percentages.

Overall, health services proved to be the most important living issue in most cities, with education and training a close second. Least worrisome of all to UK residents was air pollution that year which on average seems around 5 times less important to city populations there.

In five of the seven cities, health and safety was the biggest concern with over 50% of city residents stating it as their number one living issue. This was especially true in Belfast and Cardiff where almost 60% of residents were worried. Education and training fell a close second in those same cities with a less than 10% difference between the two results, with the exception of Glasgow (53%) and London (52%) where it had become the biggest problem.

Regarding air pollution, only Manchester (16%), London (14%) and Cardiff (12%) had more than ten percent of their inhabitants concerned. Least of all worried about air pollution were those in Newcastle of whom only 5% of people stated this as an issue.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Bar Charts

Bar charts are pretty common in IELTS writing task 1 academic. There are three different scenarios you will encounter in a bar chart task:

  1. A bar chart with categories on the x axis
  2. A bar chart with dates or years on the axis (functions as a line graph)
  3. Two bar charts presented

Each scenario requires you to write the report differently. Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the following bar charts lessons:

- IELTS Academic Writing Task - Bar Charts Part 1 lesson.
- IELTS Academic Writing Task - Bar Charts Part 2 lesson.
- IELTS Academic Writing Task - Bar Charts Part 3 lesson.



Pie Charts

In this type of task, you will be given one, two. or three pie charts. The pie charts may show percentages of a total figure. If you have one pie chart, it will represent one point in time (static data). If you have two or more pie charts, they may represent how the percentages change over time or compare different countries or groups.

Your task is to write a summary, covering the most important points and supporting your description by including data.

Sample Pie Chart Question
The pie chart below shows the native languages spoken by students at Bakersfield Senior College over two separate years.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.




Sample Essay
The pie chart depicts the proportion of attorneys using four kinds of smartphone operating systems, Iphone, Android, Blackberry and Windows, in the US in a given year.

Overall, a clear majority of attorneys prefer using the Iphone operating system on their smart phones, though other systems are also regularly used.

Iphone usage accounts for almost two thirds of total smartphones with 62% of all attorneys using the system. This is in stark contrast to the other three operating platforms, namely Android, BlackBerry, and Windows, which together only comprise 28% of all US attorneys total smartphone use.

After the Iphone platform, Android is the second most widely-used system at 20% while Blackberry and Windows struggle to make up the remainder at 5% and 3% respectively, proving that very few if any attorneys use those platforms. Particularly of note are the 10% of US attorneys who use no smartphone in their day-to-day business or chose not to declare in this survey.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Pie Charts

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the IELTS Academic Writing Task - Pie Charts lesson.



Tables

In this type of task, you are given a table containing data. can show dynamic figures which change over time or static data for one point in time.

Often there is too much information, so you won't be able to include every detail. Your task is to write a summary, covering the most important points and supporting your description by including data.

Sample Table Question
The table below shows a survey of the percentage of adults in California by age group who enjoyed different types of leisure activities in 2011.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.




Sample Essay
The table displays the percentage of different types of leisure activities enjoyed by four different age groups in California in 2011.

Overall, social pursuits like watching TV and spending time with family and friends were the most enjoyed leisure activities by all age groups, though there were clear differences between ages for some. The least popular activities in general were individual-based such as gardening and playing video games for all survey respondents.

Regarding social activities, watching TV was a popular activity for the entire adult population increasing from 76% of 18-30 year olds to 89% for the over 60s. On the contrary, spending time with family or friends rapidly declined with age from 58% of those under30 to under a third of those over 60 as people spend more time alone.

Of the other activities, whereas reading declined from 22% for the youngest age group to 16% for the eldest, the amount of time spent gardening increased greatly over the four age groups from 7% to 26%. Playing video games and listening to music showed the greatest decline with age, with over 40% of young people 18-30 engaged in these activities, yet only 2% of those over 60 doing the same.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Tables

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the following tables lessons:

- IELTS Academic Writing Task - Tables Part 1 lesson.
- IELTS Academic Writing Task - Tables Part 2 lesson.



Process Diagrams

For this type of question, you will be given a diagram which shows how something works. The diagram may show a machine, a system, or a natural phenomenon.

Often there is no data or little data included. Your task is to summarize the information shown in the diagram.

Sample Diagram Question
The diagram below shows the process of milk production.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.




Sample Essay
The diagram illustrates the way by which milk, cheese, cream and butter are produced, processed and packaged to be sold. Overall, there are eight stages shown from grazing to cows to the sale of milk to supermarkets and shops.

Initially, cows are grazed in the field then brought to a milking machine where they are milked twice a day. Following this, the milk is moved into large refrigeration tanks for storage, before being transferred to a milk tanker for transport to the Dairy where it will be processed further. This process occurs on a daily basis.

Once at the factory, the milk is subsequently processed into its various ancillary products: milk, cheese, cream and butter. To make it safe to drink, the milk undergoes pasteurization to remove any bacteria and pathogens. When the latter process is complete, it is ready to be packaged. As soon as packaging is complete, the final product is shipped off to supermarkets and shops for customers to purchase.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Process Diagrams

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the IELTS Academic Writing Task - Process Diagrams lesson.



Maps

For this type of question, you will be given one, two or three maps. The maps may show a town, city, island, or other geographical area. Maps usually show the changes which occurred in the area during a period of time. The changes could be related to construction (e.g. developing an area for tourism) or destruction (e.g. how an area was affected by a natural disaster such as an earthquake)

Your task is to write a summary of the changes which took place and cover the most important points.

Sample Map Question
The two maps below show an island, before and after the construction of some tourist facilites.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.




Sample Essay
Overall, the island’s coastal features, which were largely untouched in the past, have been developed for tourism with significant infrastructure and building development in land.

In the past, the island remained mostly undeveloped except for a small pier and scientific research station on the east coast. A few trees occupied the island’s interior, with a small beach and rocks in the north and a natural spring in the west.

Today the island has changed considerably. The small scientific research outpost has been replaced with a large hotel complex and swimming pool. In order to accommodate large cruise ships, the small pier has been extended, and a minor road built to the hotel. To the west of the complex, an open restaurant with BBQ area has been established. From there, several paths connect to the rest of the island’s features.

Along the coast, a bike path circumnavigates the island connecting new tourist features including a scenic lookout next to the rocks, and swimming area by the beach. A café has also been newly constructed alongside the natural spring.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Maps

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the IELTS Academic Writing Task - Maps lesson.



Mixed Data

In this type of task, you will be given two sets of data. The data will be different types. For example, one set might be change over time while the second set is static. Alternatively, one set of data could show percentage whereas the second set shows numbers. You may also be given an illustration (e.g. a diagram or map) and a set of data (e.g. a bar chart, line graph, pie chart, or table)

Your task is to summarise both sets of data.

Sample Mixed Data Question
The bar chart below shows the preference for different types of Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies among US adults in 2007. The table lists which therapies where the most popular over two years.

Summarise the data by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

- Write at least 150 words.
- You should spend around 20 minutes on this task.





Sample Essay
The bar chart illustrates the top ten Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies preferred by the proportion of all adult US citizens in 2007. The table lists how the popularity of four of those therapies increased over five years in percentages.

Overall, deep breathing and massage therapies increased the most in popularity over the five year period, while natural products was the clear favorite among U.S. adults in 2007.

Between 2002 and 2007, certain alternative therapies showed higher gains than others. Deep breathing and massage saw the biggest gain in use of approximately 4%, while meditation and yoga rose by a less significant 1.9% and 2% respectively.

Of the ten most common CAM therapies, around 1 in 5 adult Americans preferred to use natural products, substantially greater than the second most widely-used technique of deep breathing which stood at 12%. Following these, around a tenth of Americans were likely to do either meditation, chiropractic, massage or yoga, whereas a significantly smaller proportion of under 3% of American adults did the remaining four CAM approaches shown.

How to tackle IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Mixed Data

Sign up for a 7 day free trial to access the IELTS Academic Writing Task - Mixed Data lesson.



Vocabulary for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

To score high on this task, you need to learn how to use appropriate words and phrases to present the data given in a pie/bar/line/mixed graph. We suggest you sign up for a 7 day free trial and complete the following lessons:

  1. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Lesson - How to write about numbers
  2. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Lesson - How to write about percentages
  3. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 Lesson - How to write about changes in data

IELTS Writing Task 1 Samples

This section presents a list of IELTS writing samples for IELTS Academic Writing Task 1.

  1. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Line Chart Questions
  2. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Bar Chart Questions
  3. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Pie Chart Questions
  4. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Map Questions
  5. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Process Diagram Questions
  6. IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 - Mixed Data Questions

IELTS General Writing Task 1

In IELTS general training writing task 1, you will be presented with a situation and will need to write a personal response in the form of an informal, semi-formal or formal letter of at least 150 words. The situations you are asked to write about are common, everyday ones such as:

  • writing to a college accommodation officer about problems with accommodation,
  • writing to a new employer about time management problems they are having,
  • writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport,
  • writing to a renting agency to sort out problems with the heating system in their house.

In regards to the situation, you will be given information in the form of three bullet points that you must include in your response. You may be required to request or give information and/or explain a situation. To do this, you may need to do some of the following:

  • ask for and/or provide general factual information,
  • express needs, wants, likes or dislikes,
  • express opinions or complaints,
  • make requests or make suggestions/recommendations.
IELTS General Writing Style

The writing style you'll use depends who you're asked to write to (i.e. the audience) and how well you're supposed to know them. You need to write in a style that is appropriate for your audience and that will help you to achieve your purpose for writing, e.g. writing to a friend (informal) or writing to a manager (semi-formal or formal). You do not need to include any addresses at the head of your letters.

How to Avoid Losing Points in IELTS General Writing Task 1

As mentioned, don't spend any more than 20 minutes on this task and make sure you write at least 150 words or you will be penalised. While you will not be penalised for writing more than 150 words, you should remember that a longer task 1 answer may mean that you have less time to spend on task 2, which contributes twice as much to the Writing band score.

You should also remember that you'll be penalised for irrelevance, if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). You will be severely penalised for plagiarism (i.e. copying from another source).

IELTS Writing Sample Task 1 General Training Question
A friend has agreed to look after your house and pet while you are on holiday.

Write a letter to your friend. In your letter

- give contact details for when you are away
- give instructions about how to care for your pet
- describe other household duties



Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear .....................,

IELTS Writing Sample Essay

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you for agreeing to house-sit for me. If you need to contact me during my holiday, I’ll be staying at the Imperial Hotel in Bundaberg. If it’s urgent, however, please ring my mobile phone, which I’ll keep with me at all times. I’ve written the numbers on a sticky note which I’ve left on the fridge.

My cat needs to be fed twice daily so each morning and evening put a handful of cat biscuits in his dish. You will find these in the kitchen pantry. Also, please check throughout the day to make sure he has fresh water. You can give him a small bowl of milk in the evening.

I would like you to water my plants, too. The indoor ones in the lounge only need water once every few days but the plants on the balcony need to be watered daily unless there has been heavy rain. Finally, for security, please clear my mail box every day and keep the outside lights on at night.

I look forward to seeing you on my return.

Yours,
Katie

Sample essay source: IELTS British Council Sample Answer

IELTS Writing Task 2

In IELTS writing task 2, you will need to write a traditional style essay in response to a question. You must write at least 250 words. If you do not write enough words, you will be penalised. There are 6 different question types in task 2.
  1. Causes and effects
  2. Discuss both views and give your own opinion
  3. Advantages and disadvantages
  4. Problems and solutions
  5. Two-part question
  6. Opinion

Now, let's look at sample questions and model essays for each essay type.

Causes and effects

In this type of question, you will be given a problem or situation. Your task is to describe the causes of the situation and some of the effects of the situation.

Sample Question
The percentage of overweight children in western society has increased by almost 20% in the last ten years. Discuss the causes and effects of this disturbing trend.

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

Transition words are highlighted in red
Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Obesity among children has risen sharply over the last decade in western countries.  Such a trend is largely the result of a tendency towards convenience in society, yet its effects may be detrimental to children’s long-term mental and physical health.

The prime causes of obesity are unhealthy eating habits and an inactive lifestyle.  In recent years, there has been a surge in the consumption of convenience foods among modern families.   Busy parents with no time to cook rely on prepared meals to feed their families.  Such foods have little to no nutritional value which contributes to obesity.  In addition, children these days spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games than playing outside with friends resulting in insufficient physical activity each day.  For example, studies show that children in France exercise on average around 20 minutes per day as compared to 75 minutes 30 years ago.  

The possible effects of obesity are a range of health issues.  Regarding physical health, diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, are known to be higher in overweight children than their peers.  These put a child’s life in danger, and may further affect mental health growing up.  When children are obese, they are more likely to be bullied and ostracized by classmates because they look or behave differently.  This has been known to cause low self-esteem and depression in many, and thus shun friends in favor of time alone.

In conclusion, through poor diet choice and inactivity, obesity is a growing problem that can cause lasting damage to a child’s mental and physical development.   However, by addressing this problem while young, much can be done to aid a child in becoming a healthy functioning adult.


Discuss both views and give your own opinion

In this type of question, you will be given two opposing views related to an issue. Usually, the two views will be in separate sentences connected by a transition word such as "however" to indicate that the two views contrast. Your task is to write a discursive essay, contrasting both sides of the issue and presenting your own view.

Sample Question
Some people think that exercise is the key to health, while others feel that having a balanced diet is more important.Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

Transition words are highlighted in red
Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

According to some, good health goes hand in hand with regular exercise, yet others feel that it is more important to maintain a balanced diet.  In my opinion, I believe that exercise is more essential for the majority of people.

There are several benefits to a balanced diet for good mental and physical health.  For one thing, eating well lifts moods.  Simple foods that are varied in color and type can lift mood and lower the risk of depression.  Eating more fruits, colorful vegetables, proteins, and whole grains helps the body run efficiently.  This makes dieters feel good, and as a result more willing to be active which thus makes them healthier.  For another thing, eating well makes people less prone to getting sick by building a body less susceptible to disease. Vitamins and minerals in diet boost immunity, which protects the body against certain diseases like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

On the other hand, I believe that exercise is more effective at improving health since it encourages long-term health habits from the beginning.  Exercising not only burns calories, but makes people feel good.  While starting a diet is never a pleasant experience, cardiovascular exercises like cycling, walking or swimming trigger endorphins in the brain that immediately decrease stress levels, and enhance our sense of well-being.  Once people start feeling good from exercise, they are more likely to continue.  Moreover, exercise doesn’t have to be for long periods to achieve instant benefits.  Doctors usually advise exercising for 20 minutes three times per week, a sufficiently short enough time to make a habit of, and fit into busy schedules.

In conclusion, while good diet is necessary, exercise offers greater convenience, flexibility, and by making people feel good, encourages good health habits in the long run.  


Advantages and disadvantages

In this type of question, you will be asked to discuss the positive and negative aspects of a situation, solution or trend. You may also be asked to give your opinion about which side you think is more important.

Sample Question
It is becoming increasingly popular to have a year off between finishing school and going to university. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

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Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

More and more students are taking a year away from their studies between graduating from school and beginning university.  Students can save for and think about their future during this period, though there are several drawbacks to consider.

To begin with, by taking a year after high school, students can avoid costly mistakes of starting a degree that they are not interested in.  A year is a good time to consider options and decide what subject is best to study.  Secondly, a gap year is excellent for character development.  When graduating high school at 18, most people still don’t know what life direction they wish to take.  Studies show that students who take a gap year doing something constructive like travelling do better in at university later on than those who do not.  Finally, a year away from studies provides the chance to save money.  That way, at university, students may focus more on classes, and less on debt.

However, spending such a long time away from studying may cause some students to lose good study habits, and gain bad habits instead.  After 12 years of continuous schooling, many teenagers may be distracted by the prospect of earning money, and lose the motivation to continue their studies.  Furthermore, individuals without a constructive plan for their education-free year may be tempted to procrastinate and waste time.  Lastly, travelling overseas can be expensive, and there is a real possibility that students may end up in more debt by the start of the university year.

To sum up, although students who take a year out can save money and achieve greater life-direction, this time may also be wasted, lead to greater debt, or cause unintended life decisions that may later be regretted.  


Problems and solutions

In this type of question, you will be given a problem or situation. Your task is to describe the causes of the situation and some solutions to the problem. The question may ask for general solutions (e.g. How could this problem be solved) or ask how specific groups can solve the problem (e.g. What steps can governments and individuals take to address the problem?). You do not need to mention the effects in detail, just briefly.

Sample Question
More and more people are migrating to cities in search of a better life, but city life can be extremely difficult. Explain some of the difficulties of living in a city. How can governments make urban life better for everyone?

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

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Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Before as now, emigration from the countryside to the city continues apace worldwide as people seek a better standard of living.  However, life in the big city is often hard on new immigrants.  There are several reasons for this as well as solutions for governments to handle them.

Most difficulties emerge since rural folk are unaccustomed to city life on moving there.  For a start, the cost of living is much greater than in a town or village.  City residents must pay more for utilities, housing, transportation and food, which causes many immigrants to share overcrowded housing in a bid to save money.  Secondly, unemployment in the city is a major challenge for new arrivals.  Many immigrants are unprepared for the fierce job competition when arriving in a city.  This inevitably drives unemployment up, which may quickly lead to poverty.  Finally, healthcare costs are often high in the city, and if made sick, many immigrants often lose meagre savings to pay for their medical care.

To solve these challenges, and improve life for all inhabitants, city governments have several options available to them.  Firstly, ensure an adequate housing supply to prevent overcrowding.  Developing low-end, cost effective housing for migrants would reduce living expenses and provide a base for first-time inhabitants starting a new life.  Secondly, establish job schemes and professional training programs for new city residents.  This would help them to find reliable work and figure out their next step.  Finally, make affordable healthcare available to all.  Guaranteeing access to affordable healthcare provides a social safety net for new city citizens as they adjust to city life.

In conclusion, given the diverse challenges faced by city immigrants, ensuring decent accommodation and healthcare, as well as creating job programs, can help many hit the ground running and begin contributing to city life.


Two-part question

In this type of question, you will be given two questions and you will need to answer both questions. The two questions will be different. For example, you might need to assess the importance of an idea or action (e.g. How import is it?) and say whether you agree or disagree (e.g. Do you agree or disagree?).

Sample Question
Art and music are considered some of the fundamental elements of society. Do you think art and music still have a place in today’s modern world of technology?Should children spend more time learning art and music at school?

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

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Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

Some people regard the arts as fundamental pillars of society, and even in today’s technology-dominated world, art and music are still important.  More than ever before, I believe it is necessary to teach children such subjects in school for the many benefits they bring society.

Art and music are central to life in developed civilisations. For a start, they help society to reflect on what it has become.  As society advances, artists help to interpret the changes and problems created by progress in unique ways.  Artists use their creativity to draw attention to key issues such as the increasing mountains of trash produced or the rich-poor divide. Secondly, artists make people more humble by helping them remember their humanity and their connections to the world around them.  Pictures of nature, society, tribal scenes, past and present make people think about their roots and consider where they’re heading.  Finally, music gives joy and inspiration to many people.  It helps to express emotion and lift mood when feeling down.  

While in school, there are key advantages to learning art and music.  For one, both give children the creativity to express themselves.  Children live in a world of adults; however, art and music classes allow all to be themselves which is good for their mental development.  For example, while older children are less inclined, younger children often find singing, dancing and painting to be among their favorite classes.  In turn, studying music has proven beneficial in helping children connect more with their emotions.  This produces more rounded adults able to connect with their knowledge through science and their emotions through art and music.

In conclusion, for adults and children, the arts bring not only joy, but inspiration, and helps both to remember who they are really are in a world dominated by science.


Opinion

In this type of question, you will be given a question which contains an opinion. Your task is to write an essay in response to the opinion. This type of question often asks if you agree or disagree with an opinion.


Sample Question
Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have had a huge negative impact on society.To what extent do you agree? Do you agree or disagree?

- Write at least 250 words.
- You should spend around 40 minutes on this task.

Model Essay

Transition words are highlighted in red
Topic vocabulary are highlighted in blue

It is said by many that social networking websites like Facebook are negatively influencing society.  Although I believe this the effect of social media on society is somewhat negative, there are also clear benefits to individuals from using it.

Regarding society, social networks are causing a decline in meaningful relationships.  Firstly, people spend less time having good conversation with each other face-to-face.   Most people spend more time having short conversations with dozens of people online, and less time having longer, meaningful conversations with friends face-to-face. This erodes close relationships over time and may be creating a more socially disconnected society as a result. Additionally, there is some evidence that social media sites like Facebook have created a more socially awkward and antisocial society.  The average European spends four hours per day chatting online, yet this familiarity with the screen is causing many to become more anxious talking with others in person as a result.

However, there are distinct advantages to the individual from using social media.  For one, it is very easy to find work when online.  Through group functionality on sites like Facebook, job seekers can easily find a job they desire in the right field, thus increasing job satisfaction when at work.  Finally, social networks bring like-minded people together in an unprecedented way. Whether it is friends looking to organize an event, or people looking to meet others with similar interests it is extremely easy to find people online. For example, just take the explosion in minor hobbies like board games clubs that have become popular due to the interconnected nature of social media.

In conclusion, in my opinion, although there is some evidence to show social networking may affect society badly in the long run, in the short term, its effects on individuals seem more positive.


IELTS Writing Samples and Strategies for IELTS Writing Task 2

In general, there are 4 steps to approaching the IELTS Writing Task 2:

1. Read and Understand - Although this step may seem self-explanatory, many test takers let their nerves get the best of them and do not fully understand the question at hand. This is why the first thing you will need to during Writing Task 2 is to fully understand the question and underline key words. Additionally, think of these two things:

  1. What type of essay will I need to write? (For example, it can be Problem and Solution).
  2. How familiar am I with this topic? (This question is important, because it may affect the outline you choose to use.

2. Plan your Outline - Now that you’ve understood what the question is asking as well as which type of essay you will have to write, you are ready to map out your outline. Do not skip this step. This should take only 2 or 3 minutesand will act as a reference for you going forward. Also, depending on how the question asks you, the outline will be different. To learn how to analyze question and plan the outline for each essay type, check out our IELTS writing task 2 lessons

3. Make Outline Notes - Now that you’ve chosen and drafted your outline, make notes in your outline using key words of the main sentences of each paragraph. This will help you “map out” your essay and give you a bird’s eye view of what it will look like. At this stage, you should already be able to understand the main topics of each paragraph.

4. Start Writing -
After planning your outline, begin writing with your introduction and continuing on from there. Be sure to use a formal tone (do not use contractions, write out numbers lower than 10, etc.) and indent after each paragraph.

The following blog posts teach you how to tackle each question type and contain over 100 IELTS writing task 2 questions and samle essays. Feel free to use them for your IELTS preparation.

  1. How to Answer Opinion Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2
  2. How to Answer Discussion Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2
  3. How to Answer Advantage & Disadvantage Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2
  4. How to Answer Problem and Solution Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2
  5. How to Answer Answer Cause and Effect Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2
  6. How to Answer Two-part Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2

All information on this page was referenced from the official IELTS website: www.ielts.org