The Best IELTS Task 2 Writing Template

ielts writing task 2 academic band 9 - image by Magoosh

Whether you’re taking the Academic or the General Training exam, the IELTS Writing Task 2 is always the same: write a formal essay on a social topic. So what can you do to score in IELTS Writing Task 2 academic band 9? In this post, we’ll look closely at an IELTS Writing task 2 sample that you can use as a template for Band 8 or Band 9!


 

Table of Contents


 

IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Template

What’s the best IELTS essay format for Writing Task 2? Keeping in mind the demands of the IELTS writing format, here’s the essay structure I recommend:

Tree diagram showing IELTS Task 2 response structure

If you’re unsure about how word count works, check out our post on how many words to write for IELTS and the word count penalty. Now, let’s examine what this looks like in practice. See how to use this template on an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample prompt below!

Government investment in the visual arts, the kind you commonly see in art galleries, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

Introduction — Sample and Explanation

Now, take a look at IELTS essay introduction samples for an essay on this topic. Explanations about the purpose of each sentence follow!

(1) These days, many local governments spend large portions of their budget not only on public services, but also on the visual arts. (2) Although I agree that it is important to invest in local amenities, I do not think spending on the visual arts is a waste of money. (3) This essay will discuss this issue using examples to support arguments and demonstrate points.
 
Explanation:
(1) Paraphrase the task question: The author rephrases “government investment” as “portions of their budget.” They use some of the same phrases as the prompt (“public services,” “visual arts”), but provide a basic overview of the topic that serves its purpose.

(2) State your opinion: The author clearly states their opinion: this is not a waste of money. Notice that though they agree with part of the premise (“it is important to invest i local amenities”), they clearly reject the second part of the premise (that spending on the visual arts is a waste).

(3) Give an essay overview: The author briefly wraps up the introduction by explaining how they will prove their point: giving examples that support arguments and demonstrate points.

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

Supporting Paragraph — Sample and Explanation

The two supporting paragraphs should include your ideas and supporting examples to answer the task question. Aim to write only two supporting paragraphs with roughly 85 words in each. Each paragraph should contain the following four sentences and stick to one idea per paragraph.

Here’s an example of one of the supporting IELTS task 2 paragraphs for the essay topic above, along with an explanation of why it works.

(1) On the one hand, spending a significant amount of the government budget on public services is beneficial for society. (2) Providing for basic amenities, such as hospitals, roads, and schools, helps to determine the quality of life that most citizens will have. (3) For example, studies consistently reveal that countries that spend more on schools have a population that is higher in literacy, compared to those that dedicate no money to education. (4) Therefore, it is apparent that spending on public services is a worthwhile investment for the government.
 
Explanation:
(1) State your first position: The author gives a basic reason that they believe in their thesis: government spending on public services helps society.

(2) Explain why you hold that position: The author clearly then explains why this is a good reason. Here, it’s that the spending will improve lives.

(3) Give an example that backs up your idea: The author has done this here by citing a recent study. (Note that you do not need to name specific sources or give exact statistics, since you won’t have those sources with you on test day. That said, you certainly can use more precise academic information if you feel comfortable doing so.)

(4) Summarize the paragraph showing how your example links your idea/argument back to the main idea. The author does this here with the word “therefore,” then a restatement of the thesis (government spending on public services is a good thing).

Now, here’s an example of the second body paragraph of this essay, so you can see how they work together. I have again numbered the four parts of the body paragraph below. (1) States a position, (2) explains why the writer holds that position, (3) gives a specific example, and (4) summarizes the paragraph.

(1) At the same time, visual arts are a form of public service, and hold more value to the public than people might at first assume. (2) An investment in local visual arts can enrich the education and even the wellbeing of a community. (3) For instance, education includes classes in culture and art, and a trip to a locally funded art museum can certainly greatly enhance that aspect of learning. Additionally, studies have shown that adding sculptures to public spaces can increase a sense of community belonging and pride. (4) So even if visual arts are not as essential of a service as the basic amenities, there is benefit to funding them.

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

Conclusion — Sample and Explanation

For the conclusion, aim to write just one or two sentences that paraphrase what you’ve discussed in the essay. Try to keep to under 45 words.

(1) To sum up, although there are clear benefits of ensuring a large amount of investment goes into public services, I do not believe spending money on the arts is a waste of money as this also provides important benefits. (2) In the future, governments should consider budgeting for both.
 
Explanation:
(1) Summarize the essay: Here, the author provides a linking phrase (“To sum up”), as well as an overall summary of what they’ve just written.

(2) Provide a final thought: This doesn’t have to be profound. Here, the author makes a suggestion that is simple but effective.

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

How to Achieve a Band Score 8 and 9

The IELTS examiners are really clear on what makes a high-scoring IELTS essay. The IELTS rubric shows that you’ll be graded in four separate categories:

  1. Task Achievement
  2. Coherence and Cohesion
  3. Lexical Resource
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy

This is why it’s so important to follow the IELTS Writing Task 2 template provide above. By using this IELTS essay writing structure, you’re ensuring that you both succeed on task achievement and get points for coherence cohesion.

The lexical resource (vocabulary) category will depend on your ability to paraphrase and use complex words correctly. Similarly, your grammatical range and accuracy score will depend on how well you use a variety of grammatical structures correctly.

Nevertheless, by using the template above, you’ll be able to focus more on showing off your vocabulary and grammar and less on meeting the demands of the task by writing a coherent essay.

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

What’s the Difference Among a Band 7, 8, or 9 Score?

At the top levels, it can be hard to differentiate among Bands 7, 8, and 9…but there are definite differences, and understanding them can help you boost your score!

The IDP explains the necessary requirements for a Band 7 essay. In short, the answer is thorough (it answers all parts of the question), and it uses a clear structure (divided clearly into discrete paragraphs). Furthermore, there’s a range of vocabulary, and the author uses both simple and complex sentence.

When you read the IDP criteria for a Band 8 essay, you’ll see that there are many similarities. However, in this case, the author has taken a more advanced approach to paragraphing and linking. They avoid sentences that last an entire paragraph or very long paragraphs that take up the whole page. They also use less common terms in their vocabulary, and use them correctly. This includes avoiding cliches and overused phrases. Finally, the essay includes a variety of complex sentence structure types.

The difference between an 8 and 9 is thus subtle—but it’s still there. Scoring differences at this level come down partly to accuracy—a level 8 essay can have “occasional inaccuracies” in word choice, spelling, and word formation, as well as grammar. However, these must be “very rare” and appear only as “slips,” or minor mistakes, in a Band 9 essay. The other major divider between band 9 and band 8 is thoroughness. Per the rubric, Band 9 essays “fully” respond to the question, while band 8 responses are merely “sufficient.” The differences between a full and sufficient response are very subtle indeed, and it ultimately depends on the quality of the essay’s supporting details.

What does this look like? Take a look at how I’ve used the IELTS Writing Task 2 template below to create two samples: one IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic Band 9 and one at Band 8. Here’s the prompt:

Children today spend too much time playing on screens and not enough time doing physical activity. We need to get rid of our children’s devices to avoid severe strains on our health system in the future. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample: Band Score 9

Keeping the template from above in mind, here’s the IELTS Writing Task 2 sample:

With the rise of streaming services and the prevalence of video games, contemporary children spend a significant amount of time on screens and less time engaging in physical activity. Although I agree that physical activity is vital, I do not think it and screen time are mutually exclusive; I therefore disagree that we need to eradicate screens fully to keep our children healthy. In this essay, I will discuss this issue using examples to support arguments and demonstrate points.

On the one hand, screen time can lead to an overall decline in physical health. When children pass hours frozen, watching a video, they harm their bodies and their minds. For example, doctors agree that children who spend more than the average amount of time on screens per day without moving are more likely to be obese than children who spend below average time watching screens. Therefore, minimizing static screen time is indeed a worthy goal.

However, this does not mean that the only way to do this is by getting rid of screens. Recently, programmers have developed a variety of applications that encourage children to move. By training them to dance, perform martial arts, or do calisthenics, these screen-based activities actually encourage movement. In fact, it has been noted that, on average, using such applications burn more calories per day than a game of kickball. Encouraging children to use their screen time on such applications would therefore give them the best of both worlds.

To sum up, although a sedentary lifestyle has clear dangers, screen use is not necessarily an indication that children will burden our health system; by using screens to promote, rather than replace, physical activity, we can prevent widespread health issues due to lack of movement. To this end, parents should consider encouraging children to use movement-based apps.

Word Count: 301

So just what did the author of this IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic Band 9 essay do to get such a high score? Take a look!

  1. Task Response: This essay fully addresses all parts of the task: it discusses screen time, whether it is replacing physical activity, and whether this will be a problem for the health system. It also presents a fully developed position with extended and well-supported ideas: it doesn’t just say yes or no, but rather says, this is not necessarily linked.
  2. Coherence and Cohesion: The author here uses a variety of cohesion words and phrases (“In fact,” “To sum up,” “To this end”) that allow the essay to read smoothly, attracting no attention. They also use paragraphing well, according to the IELTS Writing Task 2 template above.
  3. Lexical Resource: The author uses a wide range of vocabulary here, correctly: words like “eradicate,” “decline,” “sedentary,” “and “calisthenics” all show a high level of natural and sophisticated language use.
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This author uses a wide variety of sentence types. Note that in addition to just simple and complex sentences, the author also uses a variety of constructions, including a semi-colon. Importantly, they do so correctly.

IELTS Back to Top button-Magoosh


 

IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample: Band Score 8

Now let’s take a look at an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample that scored an 8 band:

With the rise of streaming services and the commonness of video games, children today spend a lot of time on screens and less time in physical activity. I agree that physical activity is important, but children can also gain physical activity by using screens. I will discuss this issue using examples to support my arguments.

First, it is true that too much screen time can harm physical health overall. Staring at a screen for a long time without moving isn’t good for the body. For example, doctors say children who have above-average amounts of screen time are likely to get obesity than children who do not have much time on screens. Because of this, lowering screen time is indeed a worthy goal.

However, this does not mean that the only way to do this is by getting rid of screens. There are many applications that encourage children to move. In fact, some physical activity app activities are noted for burning as many calories as a game of kickball. Encouraging children to use their screen time on such applications would therefore give them the best of both worlds: they could enjoy screen time while staying healthy.

To conclude, a sedentary lifestyle has clear dangers. But getting rid of screens is not necessary. Instead, we can use screens to help our children move more, and this will stop our health system from becoming overwhelmed, as children will benefit from physical exercise while having fun. To this end, parents should consider encouraging children to use such apps.

Word count: 254

This author of this IELTS Writing Task 2 template Band 8 essay makes the same points as the previous (Band 9) author, but with a few key differences. Take a look!

  1. Task Response: This essay sufficiently addresses all parts of the task. The argument isn’t as nuanced as in the first essay (there’s no elaboration on what the apps in the second paragraph involved, which weakens that key point), but the ideas are all here; the response overall is relevant, extended, and contains supported ideas.
  2. Coherence and Cohesion: The author uses some basic transitions here: first, however, to conclude. These aren’t quite as fancy or sophisticated as in the Band 9 essay, but they are here! The paragraphing also works.
  3. Lexical Resource: The author uses many vocabulary terms here, though these are more basic than in the Band 9 essay (“commonness” instead of “province,” for example, or “lowering” instead of “minimizing”). There are a handful of cases in which the author misuses terms or idioms: “gain physical activity” instead of “increase physical activity,” or “get obesity” instead of “become obese.”
  4. Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This author uses a variety of sentence types. However, these are often simple sentences with linking words at the beginning, with one or two complex sentences thrown in. This is fine, and shows a range of grammatical mastery, but it’s not quite as sophisticated as in the Band 9 essay.


 

Final Thoughts on Achieving a Top Band Score: IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic Band 9 and 8

Overall, is the Band 8 essay above bad? No! The IELTS Writing Task 2 template (band 8) worked well here. Overall, it’s a strong example of an essay responding to this prompt. However, the main differences between it and the IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic Band 9 essay have to do with fluency and sophistication.

These are factors that take time to develop. If you have a few months to prepare for the IELTS, practice reading as much complex material as you can before test day. Then, use new words and phrases as much as possible in your practice.

Band 9 scores don’t happen overnight. However, the more you polish your English skills, the closer you’ll get to achieving your goals. It can be a slow process, but you can get there! Good luck! And to boost your luck even more, you should definitely check out our complete guide to IELTS Writing Task 2.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

Most Popular Resources

Author