The writing module of the International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is just one of the exam’s various sections that test the student’s aptitude in the English language. The writing portion itself has multiple parts, such as Academic Writing Task 1, which asks the test taker to examine data visualizations and analyze the information represented.
Following this, the IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 asks the test taker to write an academic-style essay on a provided topic. This part of the exam is challenging, as it will be testing your ability to discuss, summarize, outline, reason, and argue complex ideas in the English language. For tips on acing this part of the exam, check out this IELTS Academic Writing course. For information on what to expect from the Academic Writing Task 2 part of the exam, specifically, continue reading.
What is the Academic Writing Task 2?
The Academic Writing Task 2 is a forty minute section of the IELTS exam’s writing module. You will need to write at least 250 words on a single topic, which is the toughest part about preparing for this exam. You won’t know what the topic is beforehand, so you won’t be able to research anything about it. Instead, you need to prepare yourself in others ways by knowing what kinds of critical thinking and writing skills are required to pass this part of the test, and how to actually format the essay in the first place.
Example Academic Writing Task 2 Topics
Just to give you a better idea of what kinds of topics to expect, see the list of examples below. This is not a guarantee of exact topics you’ll see on the test, but should give you a good idea of what the format of this task will look like.
1. Certain fast-food chains have considered replacing their employees with robots, who can automate most of the work and would not need to be paid like human workers. What are the pros and cons of this system? Write at least 250 words.
2. Some researchers have suggested that violent video games, television shows, and movies promote violent behavior in young children, while others say the media has no negative influence on children at all. Which side do you most agree or disagree with, and why? Write at least 250 words.
3. In some cities, the local government has banned the use of allegedly unhealthy products, such as transfat, in meals prepared by restaurants. Some say this is for the best, while others believe it is not the right of the government to say what people can and cannot consume. Which side do you most agree or disagree with, and why? Write at least 250 words.
What Do I Need to Know?
For this part of the exam, you’ll be tested on your ability to present a clear answer to the topic’s question, identify critical elements of the subject to support your argument, justify your opinion with important details, observations, and facts, and tie it back in to the larger topic.
Having an opinion is easy, but justifying it is much more complicated, especially when you need to put that argument into words that carry the same strength of reason that you understand in your head. You can take a course on presenting logical arguments, or read up on argument writing in this guide, for some detailed explanations of how to do both successfully.
Some words and phrases you can use to connect your arguments to the material and vice versa are:
- by contrast
- rather than
- on the other hand
- on the contrary
- instead of
- in addition to
- according to
- for example
You can learn more persuasive writing tips in this guide, but remember, the key is to choose your words wisely and tie it back into the material without rambling. You are not tested on the right or wrong answer, but your ability to present an opinion and articulate your reasoning. In a way, you don’t even need to pick an argument that you agree with. Pick the argument that is easiest to argue for, and write that one.
Regardless, your essay should be formatted like so, for organizational purposes:
- Intro paragraph. State the topic and your position on it.
- Body paragraph. State one main idea, and support it with examples.
- Body paragraph 2. State your second main idea, and support it with examples.
- Conclusion paragraph. Summarize your main ideas, and tie it back into your position.
Check out this course on how to write academic essays for some extra help writing solid, well-structured arguments.