IELTS Writing Task 2: The Complete Guide

Hand writing IELTS writing task 2 essay

For Task 2 of IELTS Writing, you’ll be asked to give your opinion on a social issue. Want to know how this section works? Read on for our complete guide to IELTS Writing Task 2, with tips and tricks, sample essays, and more!

(Note: This guide is a handy supplemental resource for those who use our IELTS study schedules. In fact, we specifically recommend consulting this guide on Day 4 of our one week IELTS study plan!)


Table of Contents

Click on a section in the table of contents to skip directly to that topic, or continue reading below to start learning all about IELTS Writing Task 2. If you’re looking for IELTS Writing Task 1 tips, click here!

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Basic Information

When you give your opinion on a social issue for IELTS Writing Task 2, you’ll work under the following basic rules and standards:

  1. This task will either be handwritten or completed on computer, depending on what format of the IELTS you take. Your recommended time limit for this task is 40 minutes, and the task takes up 2/3 (66%) of your score. For a full introduction to formatting, timing, and scoring, check out “The Basic Facts of IELTS Writing Task 2.”
  2. You need to write a 250 word minimum for your response. If your word count is below the minimum, it will hurt your score. For more information on how this works, see the IELTS Writing word count penalty for IELTS Task 1 and IELTS Task 2.
  3. The good news is that keeping the right word count is one of the simplest ways to aim for a top Task 2 IELTS Writing score! For more guidance on how to do this, check out our post on how many words to write in your IELTS essays.
  4. Your Task 2 IELTS Writing essay should be formal, reflecting the same tone you’d take in an introductory university academic writing class. For this skill, Magoosh has you covered! See our tutorial on formal writing in IELTS Writing Task 2 for guidance.

IELTS General Task 2 vs. Academic Writing Task 2

This is an IELTS Task 2 basics question I often get: what is the difference between IELTS General Task 2 and IELTS Academic Writing Task 2? The answer is that there is no significant difference. Writing Task 2 Academic usually looks exactly the second IELTS Task 2 on the General Training version of the IELTS.

There is one very small difference: the wording of IELTS General Task 2 prompts is sometimes slightly shorter and simpler. But even then, the same things are being asked. And your essay will need to meet the same scoring standards no matter which version of the test you take.

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Organization and Example

A well-organized essay is your passport to a top score. Take a few minutes to plan and outline your essay from the beginning, following a good template. If you can do that, you’ll have a strong introduction, body, and conclusion that will really impress the scorers for the Task 2 IELTS essays.

How to Organize Your IELTS Essay

Below are a few resources to help you organize Task 2 IELTS essay in an efficient, impactful way:

  1. Brainstorming Essay Topics for Task 2 IELTS Writing
  2. The Best IELTS Writing Task 2 Template
  3. IELTS Writing Task 2 Body Paragraph Structure

Example Essay Template

The Task 2 IELTS Writing template contains a full model Task 9 essay. However, each section of the sample IELTS Task 2 essay is in a different part of that article, with instructions and explanations between the paragraphs. It may be helpful to also view that sample essay as it would look on a real exam. To see our model essay all in one piece, check out this PDF.

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Task 2 IELTS Sample Essays

But wait, there’s more! Magoosh has one model essay for each of the five most common question types for Task 2 IELTS Writing prompts! Click the links below for each sample IELTS Task 2 essay, with scorer commentary:

  1. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Sample Essay
  2. Model Essay for a Two-Part Question in Writing Task 2 IELTS
  3. Task 2 IELTS Writing: Causes and Solutions Sample Essay
  4. Task 2 IELTS Writing: Agree/Disagree Sample Response
  5. Model Advantage Disadvantage Response for Task 2 IELTS Writing

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Improving Your Score In The Second IELTS Writing Task

Now that we’ve shown you several model Band 9 essays, you may ask yourself: how can I get a top score on my own IELTS Task 2 essay? To be sure, looking closely at those model essays can help. But it also helps to take a closer look at the four categories in the official rubric for IELTS Writing Task 2.

In brief, the four IELTS Task 2 rubric categories you’ll be scored on (and their share of the score) are:

  • Task Response (25%)
  • Coherence and Cohesion (25%)
  • Lexical Resource (25%)
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy (25%)

These categories actually apply to both IELTS Task 2 and Task 1. For a detailed description on how to get high marks in all four categories across the whole writing section, check out:

Last but certainly not least, we have tips and tricks for success in each of the four rubric categories:

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Task 2 IELTS Tips and Tricks

Beyond the advice I’ve given you so far, Magoosh offers many other free tutorials for boosting your IELTS Writing Task score, and writing powerful essays within the time limits of the test. Here’s a roundup of our best Task 2 IELTS Writing resources to guide you on the road to test day:

Tips and Tricks From the IELTS Blog

YouTube Videos


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IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Resources

In addition to Task 2 IELTS Writing tips and tricks, Magoosh also offers you some great resources for practicing IELTS questions! Earlier in the post, I already showed you the practice set for the five most common types of Task 2 IELTS essay questions. But wait, there’s more….

Task 2 Practice Material

Youtube Videos


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Prepare For IELTS Writing Task 2 with Magoosh!

If you like what you see here, there is still even more. With a subscription to Magoosh IELTS you’ll get well over 100 video lessons, more than 600 practice questions, and email tutoring help from our teachers at no extra charge. We also offer a subscription to an IELTS essay scoring service that will assign a band score to your IELTS essays. You can also try a free one week trial of either service! 🙂

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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