IELTS Essay – Tips to Write a Good IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay


Hi, I’m Mikey. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn how to write
an IELTS task two essay. Task two in the IELTS writing exam is the
biggest challenge in IELTS for many students. You have 40 minutes to write an essay, which
could be on almost any topic. In this lesson, you’ll see a model question
and a possible answer to it. You’ll learn how to write your own IELTS
essay, and we’ll share useful tips to help you improve your IELTS writing score. Let’s start with our sample question: Some people believe that everyone should be
free to make their own lifestyle choices, even if those choices are unhealthy. Other people think that the government should
intervene to influence people’s choices, for example by putting high taxes on unhealthy
products. Discuss both of these views and give your
own opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any
relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. So, where do you start? You’re under time pressure in the IELTS
writing exam. This means that many IELTS candidates read
the task quickly and start writing as fast as possible. It’s understandable, but it’s also a mistake. To write a good answer, you need to understand
the task well, and you need to have a plan for what you’re going to write. It’s easy to misunderstand the question,
or to misunderstand a key word in the question. This will hurt your score. So, you need to analyse the task. How can you do this? First, read the question and try to explain
what it’s asking in your own words. Look at our sample question again. Could you rephrase this question in your own
words? Try to make it as simple as you can. Think about it. Here are some suggestions: Should people be allowed to make their own lifestyle
choices, even if they’re very unhealthy? Should the government try to make people live
healthier lives, even if it means that people lose some personal freedom? Of course, there are other possibilities. This is an important step; if you don’t
have any ideas here, it suggests you haven’t understood the question fully. That means you need to go back and read it
again, and think about it more. What’s next? Secondly, you need to identify how many things
the task is asking you to do. Not all IELTS questions are the same. Some questions ask you to do one or two things. Other questions ask you to do three or four
things. What about here? How many things is this question asking you
to do? You have to ‘discuss both of these views’. That means you need to discuss the idea that
everyone should be free to make their own lifestyle choices, and you also need to discuss
the idea that the government should intervene to influence people’s choices. You need to give your own opinion, so you
need to reach a conclusion about which viewpoint you agree with. Finally, you need to give reasons for your
answer and include relevant examples. So, you need to do four things here. When you read the question in your IELTS exam,
add numbers to the task, like this. This way, you can check when you’re planning
or writing, and make sure you aren’t leaving anything out. Let’s review: when you analyse the task,
you should try to rephrase the question in your own words, and then work out how many
things you need to do. What comes next? This is a super-important step, even if you
feel that you don’t have time. If you don’t plan, it’s hard to write
a clear, well-organised essay. This makes it difficult to get higher scores. When planning, you need to: One: decide what your conclusion is going
to be. Two: decide how many body paragraphs you’re
going to have. Let’s think about these steps for our sample
question. There are three basic conclusions you can
reach here. You could say that people are free to make
whatever unhealthy choices they want, and the government should not get involved. You could say that the government should intervene
to influence people’s decisions, and that people are not free to make absolutely any
bad choices they want. Or, you could go for a balanced conclusion,
where your position is a compromise between both sides. What do you think? If you were writing this essay, what would
your conclusion be? Remember that one conclusion isn’t better
than another. You can say whatever you want. However, you should know what your conclusion
is before you go any further. Otherwise, it’s impossible to make a coherent
plan. Next, you need to plan your body paragraphs. An important point: each body paragraph should
have one main point, and only one main point. Don’t put many different ideas in one paragraph. You also need to make sure your body paragraphs
are consistent with your conclusion. If your conclusion is that people are free
to make unhealthy choices, then you can’t include a body paragraph talking about the
negative effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices. Let’s look at three sample plans: Body paragraph 1: people are free to decide
what to do with their own bodies Body paragraph 2: it’s not the government’s
job to be a parent to people Conclusion: people are free to make whatever
unhealthy choices they want Here’s another possibility: Body paragraph 1: people’s unhealthy choices
have a negative effect on other people and society as a whole
Body paragraph 2: the government should make unhealthy lifestyle choices expensive, difficult
or illegal Conclusion: people are not free to make any
unhealthy choices they want, and the government has a duty to intervene
Finally, here’s a third possible plan: Body paragraph 1: people are free to decide
what to do with their own bodies Body paragraph 2: people’s unhealthy choices
have a negative effect on other people and society as a whole
Body paragraph 3: the government should encourage healthier choices, and discourage less healthy
ones Conclusion: people are free to make whatever
unhealthy choices they want, but the government should also push people towards making healthier
choices Which plan is better? They’re all good plans. One isn’t better than another. And, of course, there are many other possibilities! It depends on the ideas you have. For this lesson, we’re going to use the
third plan to write a model IELTS essay. Let’s review quickly: your plan needs to
do two things. One: your plan needs to be consistent with
your conclusion, so that all your ideas support your final point. Two: you need to have one (and only one) main
idea in each body paragraph. At this point, you’re ready for the next
step. There are three things you can do in your
introduction: First, you can provide a ‘hook’: something
which shows why the topic you’re writing about is interesting or relevant. This could be some background information,
a rhetorical question, an interesting fact, or something similar. Secondly, you can reframe the question to
show how you are going to approach it, and how you are interpreting the key ideas in
the task. Finally, you need to give an indication of
what your essay will talk about, and what your conclusion will be. The first part is the least important. If you can think of a good hook, great! If not, don’t worry about it. The second part—reframing the question—is
important if you’re aiming for higher scores. If you’re aiming for a lower score, you
don’t have to do this. Be careful with reframing and paraphrasing;
many IELTS candidates have problems with this. Not doing it at all is better than doing it
badly. The third part is essential. Your introduction must signal which direction
you intend to take, and what your conclusion will be. This shows the examiner that you have a coherent
plan, and you know where you are going. Let’s look now at a model introduction: Are you free to destroy your own health? If I want to smoke 60 cigarettes a day, eat
fast food for every meal, or drink a litre of vodka daily, am I free to do so? In this essay, I will show that while you
cannot stop people from making bad choices, the government can and should play an active
role in encouraging people to live more healthily. You can see all three parts in this introduction. The first sentence is partly a hook, partly
a reframing of the question. You’re using a rhetorical question to address
the topic directly. The second sentence reframes the question
in terms of personal freedoms. This is relevant, because in the body of the
essay we’re going to focus on this aspect of the task. The third sentence explains very clearly where
the essay will go. Reading this, the examiner will know what
your conclusion is going to be. That’s a good thing: in a coherent essay,
your conclusion should not be a surprise. Let’s review quickly: when you write an
introduction, you absolutely must signal which direction you’ll take, and what your conclusion
will be. You should consider reframing the question
to highlight the ideas you want to focus on in your essay. You can optionally include a hook or some
background information, but it isn’t necessary. After your introduction, you need to move
on to your body paragraphs. Start your body paragraph by writing a topic
sentence. The topic sentence summarises the main idea
of your paragraph. Let’s remember the plan we’re using:
So, our topic sentence for the first body paragraph could be the sentence from the plan: People are free to decide what to do with
their own bodies. Or, you could say something more sophisticated,
like: People frequently make self-destructive choices,
and to a certain extent they should be free to do so. This is better, not only because it uses more
advanced grammar and vocabulary, but also because it also signals the conclusion: people
are free to make bad choices, but that freedom has limits. After your topic sentence, you need to develop
your idea by going into more detail. For example: Choosing what to eat or drink, how much exercise
to do, how many hours to sleep, and whether to smoke or not are personal matters and very
basic freedoms. This is fundamentally the same idea as the
topic sentence, but more detailed. Where the topic sentence is general, the second
sentence is more specific. If possible, add an example to support your
point, like this: For example, consider a man who does no exercise
and regularly eats large amounts of processed junk food. His habits are clearly unhealthy, but equally
clearly they are his decisions to make. You can see that the paragraph starts with
a generalisation, and then gets more and more specific. This is a good pattern to follow in your body
paragraphs. Finally, it’s good to end your paragraph
with a mini-conclusion which restates the central idea of the paragraph: It is hard even to imagine a world in which
people are forced to exercise regularly, or prevented from eating what they wanted; the
idea is manifestly ridiculous. So, in the last sentence you’re going back
to generalisation, but using the specific ideas you mentioned in the paragraph. Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s easy
for you, but I don’t have the vocabulary to write something like that.” Maybe, maybe not, but you can still follow
the same ideas. Start with a topic sentence, go into more
detail, add an example if possible, and then restate the central idea of the paragraph
at the end. Follow the same structure for your remaining
body paragraphs, and then it’s time to write your conclusion. When writing a conclusion, you need to do
two things: One: state your opinion clearly. Two: connect all of the key ideas from the
task that you’ve discussed in your body paragraphs. Start your conclusion with a very clear, direct
statement of your opinion. For example: I strongly agree that everyone should be free
to make their own lifestyle choices, including unhealthy choices. The government should do more to discourage
people from making unhealthy lifestyle choices. Both of the views expressed in the question
are correct. This shows the examiner that you’re addressing
the question directly and that you have a clear opinion. This has a big effect on your IELTS writing
score. Next, you need to connect the key ideas from
the task that you’ve discussed in your body paragraphs. Be careful not to simply repeat ideas. Look at a model conclusion now: Both of the views expressed in the question
are correct. People are, and should be, free to make unhealthy
lifestyle choices if they want to. However, because of the wider impact of such
choices, the government also has a responsibility to encourage healthier lifestyles and disincentivise
unhealthy habits. You can see that we cover the idea of personal
freedom from paragraph one, the idea that individual choices have broader consequences
from paragraph two, and the idea that the government should encourage people to make
healthier choices from paragraph three. This is a strong conclusion, because it provides
a clear position, and also connects everything together in a coherent way. You can see the full text of the model essay
on our website: Oxford Online English dot com. There’s a link underneath the video. We have a question for you: what topics do
you find easiest or most difficult to write about in IELTS essay questions? Please let us know your ideas in the comments! Thanks for watching! See you next time!

100 thoughts on “IELTS Essay – Tips to Write a Good IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay

  1. Thank you so much but i have a question. I think that the third method is a quite different to the the first and second methods. Because it says people are free when it comes to their own bodies and in the same time it says that government should intervene. Are these ideas tangled?

  2. The way you wrote the essay without giving a clear opinion (like I strongly agree or disagree), wouldn't you lose marks? I just wonder, correct me, if I am wrong. And thank you for the video, which is very useful.

  3. Thanks teachers !!! Can you make a video talk about teaching and learning (English class) ? For primary school. I know a lot of English from you. And I will teach to my students in my classes in Cambodia about new experiences. And I'm sorry if have a mistake with my writing.

  4. Hi! Thanks for all theses helpfulls lessons.However we would like you to most of the time correct(grammar ,writing etc etc) us when we post comments as we are learners of english language
    I hope you know what i mean

  5. Hello ! Friends
    I have some questions related to IELTS and its possiblity .
    1 ) what's the advantage of taking IELTS test ?
    2 ) Will we get certificate to do the IELTS in later ?

  6. You guys are doing a wonderful job, helping people like me to get back in studying mode and score good in such important exam

  7. Thanks so much for the valuable information. I have a request. Could you please make a video on "to" and "for"? Could you explain when we can use them correctly?
    From what I gather,
    to – exchange information/things
    for- benefit
    But I don't know the precise use.

    Thank you 🙂

  8. I have booked an exam on 1st of November.. Could you tell whether to write agree points in Body paragraph 1 or 2 … Please revert as soon as possible

  9. Hi I'm jayanthi I am in elementary level in writing and reading. How can I improve my skills on those. Please help me

  10. Thanks for your guidance!! If a student hasn't had vide range of vocabulary then what he can use, or could you explain mid range words, so we can use that as well.

  11. If I may ask, Task two is a formal essay right? Why do IELTS examinees should right a hook? Will that make the essay an informal one?
    Can you please elaborate more? Is task two supposed to really catch the attention of the examiner?
    Or provide another lesson if possible. It’s a bit confusing.

    And if I am not mistaken, junk food and processed food are synonymous to each other, would it be okay to put them together in a single sentence? I mean it’s the same idea. Right? And it sounds redundant.

    I hope you’ll answer my questions. Thanks you .

  12. Sir If they ask about to what extent do you agree or disagree…then how we can write conclusion…can we write I strongly agree or disagree?

  13. Please evaluate my essay:
    It’s argued that people have freedom to make their own choices when selecting products whereas others believe that state should interact with this type of issues and implement rules and regulation to prevent consuming unhealthy products. I intended to show that people have their own choices when consuming products, and also it’s not the government’s job to be a parent to people.

    In this modern society, people are heavily depend upon pre-packaged foods. Which was widely accepted by any part of the world. Because, it helps to overcome busy life schedule of peoples and they can concentrate more into routing activities. Nowadays, many consumers are engaging into food delivery services. For an example, famous vehicle rental service called Uber has been started a food delivery service to the home. As a result, many people would like to obtain their service.

    In the other way around, government wouldn’t interrupt of people’s choices, thus peoples have rights to choose what they really want for their balance life. I believe government can educate people through the knowledge development program, since it’s beneficial to make their own decisions. Moreover, the vital part of our society are children’s. Hence, government can introduce healthy meals for children’s and it will gently attract parents to think about healthy meals.

    To recapitulate, peoples have freedom to choose one choice from many, therefore, government wouldn’t be able to block there freedom. However, there are variety of different solution to educate people rather than implement high taxes.

  14. Sorry I don’t understand.. I thought the question is asking to discuss both of these views.. meaning
    1. Everyone should be free to make choice and
    2. Government should intervene.

    In your solution, you did not discuss both views, rather you pick either 1 and a neutral. I don’t understand why it was done this way. Can you please advise?

  15. The question says that you should discuss both views then give your opinion! Shouldn’t the writer discuss both views objectively first then give his/her opinion subjectively? I mean some of the suggested plans don’t mention ( the government interference at all) which affects task response?! I’m at a loss here! Moreover, hooks and rhetorical questions are always discouraged as far as IELTS task 2 is concerned!

  16. If you are asked to discuss both views, isn't 1st and 2nd (one sided) essay not including everything you're asked?

  17. Hello, I liked this technique. What I found is that my exam in writing lacked time in writing task 2, so I had to run to write a conclusion in 3 minutes. I will present it again and I will start with Task 2 first because if you have a good plan, the writing task 2 flies, hence your Task 1 which is the report and it is more deterministic doesn't need too much stylistic effort and imagination than task2. My task 2 on my IELTS was peer pressure amongst teenagers discussing whether the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. As you realize this question is social psychology … which I am absolutely no familiar, thus, I found my memory blank in the plan for two minutes to gather the ideas. If you start task 2 first the time pressure won't make you go blank for more than 5 minutes. Besides, when the third hour starts, we suffer from cognitive exhaustion. So my tip for academic writing, start all fresh with task 2. Your essay will fly with a coherent plan, and task 1 you describe patterns and trends and you have only 150 words.

  18. Hello, I liked this technique. What I found is that my exam in writing lacked time in writing task 2, so I had to run to write a conclusion in 3 minutes. I will present it again and I will start with Task 2 first because if you have a good plan, the writing task 2 flies, hence your Task 1 which is the report and it is more deterministic doesn't need too much stylistic effort and imagination than task2. My task 2 on my IELTS was peer pressure amongst teenagers discussing whether the disadvantages outweighed the advantages. As you realize this question is social psychology … which I am absolutely no familiar, thus, I found my memory blank in the plan for two minutes to gather the ideas. If you start task 2 first the time pressure won't make you go blank for more than 5 minutes. Besides, when the third hour starts, we suffer from cognitive exhaustion. So my tip for academic writing, start all fresh with task 2. Your essay will fly with a coherent plan, and task 1 you describe patterns and trends and you have only 150 words.

  19. topics that require personal point of views and are related to lifesyles which are more common among the majority of people are the easiest, and the topics that require specialized information are the hardest. one may not have any idea about politics or technology in theyre own language, let alone in english.

  20. Dear I feel very hard about reading and writing task how could I recover from that ,could I get help from you

  21. Plz mention basic tips for essay structure and tense use in it.

    Generally, students write 1st sentence in past perfect and 2nd in simple tense. How to reduce such error.

  22. now iam becoming confused ithought that in the question about disscuss both view i need to discuss the first proplem in the first body paragraph and the other view in the next one but now i confused can you explain if that i had thought is correct or not

  23. Fantabulous mam.nd.sir plz give me.a.video about reading module.i found it the.most.difficut.specially blanks.nd paragraph headings

  24. Thanks so much for your every lessons l love you! I need your help l gonna test exam P E R T next week .please help me.

  25. The best video so far that explained opinion essays. I always thought that i should discuss both views without altering them which was almost imposible to have any opinion other than a balanced one.

  26. i have mad lots of spelling mistakes… But my idea organised properly… What about of me how to develop what once…???

  27. Wonderful video. But, there is a topic that I don't know how to write properly. Some experts believe that is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.
    Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

    Looking forward to seeing your latest video.

  28. It not clear for me at 2:18, Saying "should people allowed to make their own life style choice, even if they are unhealthy?" . Here "they" means people or choices? If "they refer choice it may be " those "

  29. I am preparing for the IELTS exam and for me this video is very helpful. Step by step everything was explained in a simple and clear way. THANK YOU

  30. Your style of writing is different from others and is absolutely fantastic. I would like you to come up with opinion and advantage types of essays. Please share the link. Eagerly wanna read them. See you.

  31. Hi,
    Greetings!
    The main crux for me is how to paraphrase the question, bring ideas and plan it.
    Please I will need your help in that.

  32. You make a lucid and simple explanation on how to tackle the task 2, and get a decent score. Thanks for this awesome and informative video. I really owe you a lot.

  33. I think the model plans you gave are wrong because they don’t discuss both views. The importance of free choice is not mentioned in Model Plan 2, and the necessity for governmental intervention is not included in Model Plan 1.
    Your plans seem to answer an ‘agree or disagree’ question, like ‘Governments should intervene to influence people’s lifestyle choices. To what extent do you agree or disagree?’

  34. It is heard that making questions in the introduction is not a good idea and the examiner lose your score, does not it?

  35. Some people think that school should stop teaching students by using books because students find them borning and that children can learn from films, TV, video games and computer instead. To what extend do u agree and disagree. Nu explain krdo

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