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The second task of the IELTS academic writing exam is an essay. The word count is a minimum of 250 words.  You should spend 40 minutes on this task. It is graded according to the following criteria:

 

Task achievement This  refers to how well you respond to the question and the level of appropriacy and accuracy.
Lexical range Refers to your range of vocabulary and if it was used appropriately.
Grammatical range and accuracy

Refers to the range of grammar structures and if it was used accurately.

 

Coherence and cohesion Refers to the way your ideas are linked and sequenced. The format of your essay is important – you need to organise your ideas into clear distinct paragraphs.

 

What to expect? 

Examples of typical questions are:

Environment Global warming is one of the most serious issues that the world is facing today. What is ‘facing today’? What are the causes of global warming and what measures can governments and individuals take to tackle the issue? 

 

Education – Education is not a luxury but a basic human right and such should be free for everyone irrespective of personal wealth. Do you agree or disagree? 

 

Culture and traditionGovernment investment in the arts such as music theatre is a waste of money – government must invest this money in public services. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

 

When you write an essay, imagine that you are having a debate where there are always two opposing views about an issue. In the same way, these two opposing arguments are the opposing arguments in an essay, which would be the advantages and disadvantages about an issue.

 

As mentioned previously, the format of your essay is paramount, so inevitably, your essay should consist of four or five paragraphs.

 

Guidelines to writing your essay.   

You can use any of the 2 formats to structure your essay.

Format 1 (5 paragraphs)  Format 2 (four paragraphs)
Introduction – paraphrase the topic using synonyms and give some background or more details about the issue.   Introduction – paraphrase the topic using synonyms and give some background or more details about the issue.  
Second paragraph – describe one problem, give an example, or reason for the problem and provide a solution to the problem.     Second paragraph- describe at least three problems associated with the topic. Always give examples or a reason for the problem.      
Third paragraph – describe one problem, give an example, or reason for the problem and provide a solution to the problem.     Third paragraph – describe three solutions and give examples.

Fourth paragraph – describe one problem, give an example, or reason for the problem and provide a solution to the problem.  

Conclusion – summarise the essay, choose the most important issue and give your opinion.
Conclusion- summarise the essay, give your opinion about the most important issue.       

Useful writing tips
Sentence prompts to sequence idea

  • Firstly
  • Secondly
  • To begin with
  • Finally, or lastly

Sentence prompts to express your opinion

  • In my view
  • As far as I am concerned
  • In my opinion
  • I strongly believe
  • I am opposed to

Linking phrases of contrast:

  • Although
  • However
  • On the one hand / on the other hand
  • Despite
 DO’s DON’Ts
Use the passive tense Write less than 250 words
 Use synonyms to avoid repetition.

Use contractions, informal phrases, or slang. 

Use liking phrases to make sentences more complex.  Use emotive words like “disgusting” or “marvelous”, the register needs to be neutral and formal. 
Make sure you have time to read through your essay to check for any mistakes.   Use collocations with the word “get” it changes the register / tone to semi-formal.  

 

For more guidance on planning your essay before your write, click on the link below:  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUJV_okEACo

Conclusion

 I hope you find these guidelines useful in your IELTS preparation.     

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