POST
Back to List
Task Two IELTS Writing

IELTS is a communications test, especially in Speaking & Writing. Don't fall into the question memorisation learning trap! Instead, learn how to communicate your message to the examiner. 

 

In this post, I want to concentrate on task two IELTS writing. Whether AC or GT the question is always in the form of an essay. Most, if not all questions present a position, which you are asked to argue for or against, although it may be phrased differently. State your opinion, present your view/s, etc.

 

Task two IELTS writing is basically an argumentative essay, where you argue your viewpoint by presenting your opinions and logical arguments to support those views. If the question indicates that you should present reasons for and against the presented viewpoint, then you have to not only explain why your viewpoint is correct but why the opposing viewpoint is wrong or at least not as valid as yours!

 

5 Paragraph Essay Structure

5-paragraph-essaySuch questions can be best answered using the classic 5 paragraph essay, although it does not actually need to be 5 paragraphs, as explained later. The idea is to follow the basic principles, of having an introduction, main body, and conclusion; presented in the format as outlined next.

 

The idea is to follow the basic principles, of having an introduction, main body, and conclusion; presented in the format as outlined next. 

 

 

Paragraph 1

'INTRODUCTION'

introduction-smallerThis should contain a brief explanation of the topic, some background information (context) and a thesis statement. 

Here, your thesis will be a statement of your position on the topic.

End the paragraph with a transition sentence.

 

Paragraph 2

The first of three MAIN BODY paragraphs. Name and explain the most important reason for your stated position. Introduce an opposing opinion [concession] and then explain why it is not valid [rebuttal].

End the paragraph or begin the next with a transition sentence.

 

Paragraph 3

The second of three MAIN BODY paragraphs. Name and explain the second most important reason for your stated position. Introduce an opposing opinion [concession] and then explain why it is not valid [rebuttal].

End the paragraph or begin the next with a transition sentence.

 

Paragraph 4

The third of three MAIN BODY paragraphs. Name and explain the third most important reason for your stated position. Introduce an opposing opinion [concession] and then explain why it is not valid [rebuttal].

End the paragraph or begin the next with a transition sentence.

 

Paragraph 5

'CONCLUSION'

conclusionRephrase and recap your position on the issue and reasons for it and then write a concluding sentence. The conclusion might emphasise your position, expand it, offer a solution, or express a hope or prediction for the future.

 

If you are wondering how you can fit all the above into 250 words, then, good;  you are paying attention! The basic structure of an essay is to write about 15%-20% of the total word count, in both the introduction and conclusion (paragraphs 1 & 5)! The main body paragraphs would, therefore, contain between 60%-70% of the total word count. At most that would give under 180 words, which if split between 3 paragraphs, would be under 60 words per paragraph. 

 

An alternative format, for a short 5 paragraph essay, would be to use the three main body paragraphs, to deliver just one position. In other words, paragraph two would present reasons to support your view. Paragraph three delivers an opposing view and support for that, with the final main body paragraph four, countering the previous paragraph. This would be the better approach, if the essay is going to be limited to 250 words!

 

5-paragraph-essay-2-smallThere is no standard format for the three main body paragraphs. The only thing to remember is that there should be more supporting arguments than there are opposing ones. Furthermore, all counter propositions should be followed by a rebuttal, or indication that it is of less importance than your arguments. This way, you can discount an opposing argument, even if you agree with it. 

 

Many students find the 5 paragraph concept very confusing, and it is true that it does take a little effort to fully grasp. It is, however, well worth the effort, for it provides a structure that can be followed for most task two questions. The benefit being that you can focus on your arguments, sentences and paragraphs, knowing that the overall structure will meet the IELTS writing requirements. 

 

no-structure-smallToo often, from my experience, most task two IELTS writing answers have little or no overall structure, which can also be difficult for the examiner to decipher. The rigid structure provided by the 5 paragraph approach, makes it easier for the examiner. It is also worth remembering, that IELTS writing is about communication your ideas, and not the correctness of your ideas. Being well structured and easy to understand, even if the arguments presented may not be very good or even incorrect, represents good communication!

 

IELTSResults.co

Saving you time and money
Making IELTS simple

 

Back to List
Posts List
  • Don't Just Memorise Questions & Answers
    IELTS
  • IELTS Examiners Have to Pass Tests Also!
    IELTS
  • Task Two IELTS Writing
    IELTS
  • Who Can Become an IELTS Examiner
    IELTS
  • IELTS Speaking Part One
    IELTS
  • Good IELTS Speaking & Writing Training
    IELTS
  • Great IELTS Training
    IELTS
  • Correct Preparation for IELTS Speaking & Writing?
    IELTS
  • Wasting Your Time on Sub-Standard IELTS Training?
    IELTS
  • How to Succeed on the IELTS Writing Test
    IELTS
Newsletter - sign up