IELTS Academic Writing Task 2: The Complete Guide
Posted: Aug 11, 2019
Ielts Academic Writing Task 2 is the second of two writing tasks on the IELTS. Even though Task 1 is by no means easy, most students find IELTS Writing Task 2 more challenging. The purpose of this guide is to help you master the IELTS Writing Task 2 skills you need in order to do well on this important section of the IELTS exam. In addition to the basics of IELTS Writing Task 2, we’ll cover how to organize your essay, the question types you’ll see on test day, and share our favorite practice resources.IELTS Writing Task 2 BasicsIELTS Writing Task 1 vs. IELTS Writing Task 2
IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 involves composing a formal five-paragraph essay in 40 minutes. The first section—Task 1—should take you only 20 minutes. Why spend more time on IELTS Writing Task 2? This basic comparison offers a few reasons:
- Points: Task 2 counts more towards your Writing band score
Task 1 = 1/3rd of your score
Task 2 = 2/3rds of your score
- Word count minimums: Task 2 is longer
Task 1 = 150 word minimum
Task 2 = 250 word minimum
- Planning your response: Task 2 questions require more thought
Task 1 = transfer of information from a visual into writing
Task 2 = answer an open/abstract question with no clear or "correct" answer
Let’s look at some basic IELTS essay writing tips for IELTS Writing Task 2:Handwritten Responses
The IELTS is a pencil and paper exam, so your responses will be handwritten. It is essential that you handwrite your practice essays for Task 2. Writing by hand helps you develop a sense of pacing. In other words, you will learn how quickly (or slowly!) you write with pencil and paper in English.
Importantly, as you’re probably aware, precious points will be deducted if you do not meet the minimum word requirements in the Writing section. But it is a huge waste of time to actually count your words on exam dayTiming
Writing speed varies a lot from student to student. How you allocate time depends a lot on how fast you can write. The more you practice Task 2 responses, the quicker you will become. Your goal should be to allow enough time for these three things:
- Essay planning 2 – 10 minutes
- Writing 25 – 32 minutes
- Editing 5 minutes (or more if possible)
As you practice, try very hard to cut down on the amount of time it takes to plan your responses before writing. Some students can take up to 10 minutes to brainstorm and plan. For most people, however, using 10 minutes at the beginning will take away too much time from writing and editing. I usually recommend three to five minutes of planning as a reasonable target. The more practice questions you answer, the faster you will become at generating ideas before you write.Academic/Formal Writing
The IELTS expects you to use an academic/formal writing style. This means you should use the same kind of language that you would when writing a report for work or an essay for school. Obviously, you would avoid using "slang" words. You would also write in complete sentences and use proper punctuation.
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