IELTS Task 2 Writing

5 IELTS Pre-Writing Tips: Task 2 Essay

You’re sitting in your IELTS writing exam (more about this exam here). You are ready. You have your 5 IELTS pre-writing tips. The invigilator says ‘Turn over your paper and begin.” You think back to your English class and how your teacher has prepared you for this moment of truth. You remember these 5 tips:

1. Plan!

Do not start writing straightaway. Take 5 minutes to plan. Examiners can tell when you haven’t planned.

2. Analyse the question

We would suggest doing this BEFORE you look at the topic of the essay. The type of question will affect how you deal with the topic.

Which one of these types is it?

Opinion Essay
Discussion essay
Solution Essay (can also be cause and solution, or cause and problems)
Direct Questions Essay
Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

In this blog, we will deal with the Opinion Essay.

3. Identify the topic.

More specifically, identify what the question is. But I hear you say, surely its right there on the paper? What we mean by this is:

What is the question that YOU need to answer BEFORE you can start planning and writing.

For example:

Some people think that more money should be spent on protecting endangered species while others think it is a waste of valuable money. 

What is your opinion? 

So this means: Do I think that more money should be spent on protecting endangered species or do I think that spending money on protecting endangered species is a waste of money?   Then decide what your answer is. For example:

YES, I think that spending money on endangered species IS a WASTE of MONEY.

Once you have decided what your answer is, you can brainstorm for ideas.

4. Brainstorm

Ask yourself: Why do you think spending money on endangered animals is a waste of money? Write down ALL your ideas. There is no such thing as a bad idea when you are brainstorming. Your notes might look something like this:

  • There are more important things to spend money on e.g. poverty, education, food
  • It’s not working anyway
  • We have zoos.
  • Soon we will be able to clone animals anyway
  • Animals are not important, only humans are

Two of these ideas will be the main ideas of each of your main body paragraph (in a four paragraph essay, paragraph 2 and 3). Remember you must only use ONE MAIN IDEA per paragraph.

Now,  which one of those five ideas do you think that you can write a good, well-supported paragraph about?  In other words, which of those ideas can you support with reasons, explanations, causes, results, definitions and examples? Choose the TWO ideas that you have the most evidence for.

Here I would choose

  • ‘There are more important things to spend money on’ because it is such a broad topic,


  • ‘Soon we will be able to clone animals anyway’ because science and technology is an easy topic to write about.

5. Plan your supporting evidence

On this topic (There are more important things to spend money on) you could support your argument with the following supporting evidence:

Example: education

Reason: Why is this more important? It will have a greater impact on more people than spending money on endangered species.

What will be the result of this? There are many more people than animals who need help, and giving humans education will raise their standard of living and raise life expectancy, making a better world

An extra fact
: spending on money on education MAY actually benefit the animals as well because people will be better educated about them,

Concluding sentence
: Better return on investment

And there you have five or six sentences that will make up a good paragraph.

Now repeat the above five steps for your third paragraph.  Once you have completed that, start writing your essay!

So there you have your plan of attack for doing well in your IELTS Task 2 essay:  plan, analyse the question, identify the topic, brainstorm and plan your supporting evidence.  With these 5 techniques, you will get the mark that you want.  Good luck!

Follow our blog for specific tips and strategies on the IELTS writing and other papers.

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