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
- How to Achieve a Band Score 8 and 9
- What’s the Difference Among a Band 7, 8, or 9 Score?
- IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample: Band Score 9
- IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample: Band Score 8
- Final Thoughts on Achieving a Top Band Score: IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic Band 9 and 8
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:
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!
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) 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.
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) 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.
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) 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.
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:
- Task Achievement
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical Resource
- 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.
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:
IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Sample: Band Score 9
Keeping the template from above in mind, here’s the IELTS Writing Task 2 sample:
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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:
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.