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IELTS Writing Task 2: Essay

In IELTS Writing Task 2, you are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, an argument or a problem. The essay has to be formal or semi-formal in style and at least 250 words.

Here is an example how the task prompt looks like:


You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some people think that one should retire at the age of 60 or 65. Others say that people should be allowed to work for as long as they want to.

What is your opinion about this?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample answer

How to write an essay for IELTS Writing Task 2?

You must start with spending some time reading the instructions. It is very important that you fully understand what you are asked to do.

You should spend at least 2 minutes planning your essay:

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  1. Read the instructions thoroughly
  2. Brainstorm, write down the main keywords and ideas
  3. Introduction: paraphrase the topic
  4. Essay body: organise your essay into 2–3 body paragraphs, develop your ideas, add supporting points and provide examples
  5. Conclusion: sum up what you have written and make sure you do not introduce new ideas and thoughts that you have not covered in your essay

Use cohesive devices to link your ideas.

How is IELTS Writing Task 2 scored?

IELTS Writing Task 2 gives you 2/3 of your total writing score, whereas the Task 1 is worth 1/3 of your score. Hence the recommended time for both tasks: for Task 1 it is 20 minutes, for Task 2 it is 40 minutes.

Your essay will be evaluated on the four marking criteria:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy

Each criterion gives 25% of your total score for the task.

For more detailed information, see the IELTS Writing Task 2 band descriptors.

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Academic vs General

What is the difference?

There is no significant difference between the IELTS Writing Task 2 Academic or General module in terms of format.

The tasks are both evaluated on the same four marking criteria and candidates are required to write at least 250 word.

Even though the task format is the same, the IELTS Academic and General test candidates will not be given the same task prompt. In other words, if you take the IELTS General test, you will not get the same essay topic in IELTS Writing Task 2 as those who are taking the Academic module.

The main difference between the two test modules is that the IELTS General Training essay topics are often a little bit easier.

Essay topics from Cambridge IELTS 8 book

To illustrate the difference in the level of difficulty, see the following IELTS Writing Task 2 prompts from Cambridge IELTS 8 book:

Writing Task 2 Academic

Increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve growing traffic and pollution problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

What other measures do you think might be effective?

Writing Task 2 General

Today more people are travelling than ever before.

Why is this the case?

What are the benefits of travelling for the traveller?


As it can be seen from the comparison, the IELTS General Training topic is more general and relatively easier, whereas the Academic one is more specific.


IELTS Writing Task 2: Essay Sample (Corrected)

Some people think that one should retire at the age of 60 or 65. Others say that people should be allowed to work for as long as they want to.

What is your opinion about this?

Demography in western countries indicates that there will be more and more elderly people in the future. Due to better healthcare systems that are available and stricter requirements for working environments, the life expectancy of people has risen inover/with time. This has made people discussing whether people in their retirement age should stop working, or just the opposite, they should be more engaged in society and offered a chance to work as long as they want in spite of their highadvanced age.

On the one hand, according to the fact that population is ageing in western countries, itan ageing population is gradually putting more pressure on younger generations who have to support elderly people. For instance, providing that there is an increasing number of elderly people, the people in theirof working age will have to pay more tax to provide elderly people with access to healthcare services and to enable government to support them financially. Therefore, allowing people at the age of retirement to work as long as they want to would be something that both the government and pensioners could benefit from.

On the other hand, the list of occupations that would fitbe suitable for/be opened to older people should be limited. There are many specific work tasks that may not be very suitable for older people, especially work duties that require agood physical fitfitness. Thus, aA good example would be a policeman who has to have agood physical stamina in order to stop criminals or even a firefighter who may have to climb on theladders or roofs. However, it would be reasonable to assess a person's suitability for a certain position regarding tohis or her age individually and on a case by case basis.

To sum up, I personally believe that offering elderly people a choice to be engaged in work and to stay active instead of quitting their job is better both for the whole society and themselves.

(314 words)


Band Score Estimate
(prior to corrections)

Brief comments:

  • thus = and so
  • regarding / with regard to / regarding to
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