Understanding IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Types: Tips & Strategies

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is conducted to have a check on your four major skills of your language and one of the parts is your writing skill along with speaking, reading, and listening.

To check the writing skill, a writing exam is conducted for which a student is expected to master his/her skills for Task 1 and Task 2. This blog will particularly focus on essay writing which is Task 2. 

Essay writing is the art of explaining and conveying ideas to the reader through the writing of at least 250 words. These essay topics can vary as per different types.

Also read: IELTS Complex Sentences- Easy Ways to Write & Use It in IELTS Writing

IELTS Essay Types

There are basically 5 types of essay topics that can be asked in the IELTS exam. It becomes vital to differ among these types as each essay type demands different strategies to attempt the question. 

  1. Agree/disagree type of essay 
  2. Discussion or opinion-based essay
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of essay
  4. Causes and effects-based essay
  5. Reasons and solutions-based essay
  6. Two parts of questions type essay

1. Agree/Disagree Types of Essay

This type of essay is easily identifiable as the topic gets clear as soon as you read it. This essay topic will always be followed by some lines in the end which help to identify the type of essay. 

Last Lines – 

Do you agree or disagree?

Do you favor the statement?

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Essay Topic- Big salary is much more important than job satisfaction. Do you agree or disagree? 

2. Discussion Or Opinion Based Essay Types

Discussion is done between two or more persons and so, is the topic. This topic gets identified by where there are two statements and discussions is going on among some people. Here the question asks for your opinion on your message.

Last lines- 

Which view do you support?

Which statement are you in favor of?

Discuss both the views along with your opinion?

Which statement do you support?

Essay Topic- Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences. Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

Difference Between Agree/Disagree Type & Discussion/Opinion Based Type Questions-

Agree/ disagree type Discussion/ opinion type
One statement is given on the topic. Two statements are given.
The question asked is whether do you agree? The question asked is which view is correct?
Strategy to attempt- Fully agree. Fully disagree. Partially agree. Strategy to attempt- Completely support one view.

3. Causes & Effects Type Of Essay

 In this type of essay, a problem will be given in the topic and a student is expected to explain the different possible reasons for the same along with the effects which arise due to that problem.

Last lines-

Discuss the reasons and effects?

Give the causes of the problem and how does it affect people?

Essay Topic- Today more people are overweight than ever before. What is in your opinion the primary causes of this? What are the main effects of this epidemic? 

4. Reasons & Solutions Essay

Similarly to cause and effect, in this type of essay, a problem is given and its reasons and solutions to curb that problem are asked.

Last lines-

Discuss the possible reasons and solutions?

What can be the possible causes and how it can be overcome?

Essay Topic- Cities are becoming overcrowded these days. What are the causes of this situation and what can be done to improve this situation?

Differences Between Causes/Effects & Reasons/Solutions Essay:-

Question asked- how the problem arises and how does it affect it? Question asked- how the problem arises and how to curb that problem?
Vocabulary for effects- how does it affect? What are the effects? Vocabulary for solutions- Measures How to curb? Solutions How to overcome?
Strategy to attempt- One body paragraph for causes. One body paragraph for effects. Strategy to attempt- One body paragraph for reasons and another one for solutions Another method is to write the solution along with the cause simultaneously.

5. Advantages/Disadvantages Type of Essay

In this type of essay topic, a statement related to any progress or any new technological advancement is given and a student is expected to answer the question which asks about its merits and demerits.

Last lines-

What are its advantages and disadvantages?

What are its merits and demerits?

Strategy to attempt- This type of topic can be easily attempted and understood as a student is expected to attempt advantages or merits in the first paragraph and disadvantages or demerits in another paragraph.

Essay Topic- It is becoming increasingly popular to have a year off between finishing school and going to university. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the same?

Variation in this type of essay:-

Sometimes, a merits and demerits essay asks about your opinion about it.

For example:- In recent years, more and more people are choosing to read e-books rather than paper books. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

So here, you are required to discuss both pros and cons but along with your opinion that advantages are more or disadvantages?

6. Two Parts of Questions Essay

Again, this topic of the essay is easily recognized as in this topic, two types of questions are asked a statement, problem, fact, or figure.

Strategy to Attempt

This type of essay is easier to attempt too, as a student is required to attempt one answer in one paragraph and the other in the second paragraph.

Essay Topic-Music is one of the most important art forms. What is its significance in the world today? Do you believe that modern forms of music have superseded the traditional forms?

So here two question marks can be seen and this type of essay can be easily recognized. Well, a correct approach is to practice your essay enough times for each and every type of essay. Read your topic 4 to 5 times first, identify the type and go on writing with the correct strategy to attempt that question.


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