The 4 types of IELTS Task 2 writing questions

The 4 types of IELTS Task 2 writing questionsThe 4 types of IELTS Task 2 writing questions. Every IELTS Task 2 writing question falls into one of the 4 different ‘types’ below. It is important to identify which type of Task 2 essay you are writing about because this will have an impact on the  way you plan your essay and how you structure your ideas into paragraphs.

The 4 types of IELTS Task 2

Type 1: give an opinion or challenge a point of view

The most common type of Task 2 requires you to give an opinion or challenge a point of view. Here are some examples of this question type:

  • Air travel causes pollution, therefore it should be restricted. Do you agree or disagree?
  • In some countries men are required to spend some time in military service.  What are your opinions on this?
  • In many countries, young people have difficulty getting a good job. Therefore employees over the age of 50 should be made to retire to make way for younger people. Do you agree or disagree?

The basic point of these questions is that you are presented with a situation or a statement that you have to give opinions about. Here are the common task words used with this type of IELTS question:

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • Do you think…?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
  • Is this positive or negative?
  • What is your opinion?

Here is the best structure for Type 1: give an opinion or challenge a point of view IELTS essays:

Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3
Your strongest opinion Your second strongest opinion Consider the opposite point of view (the concession paragraph)

Type 2: compare points of view

With type 2 essays, you will need to discuss both both sides of an argument, then give an opinion.

  • An increasing number of mothers are choosing to return to work. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages then give an opinion.
  • Some prefer to donate money to the local community, while others like to give money to international organisations. Argue both opinions and give your view

The important point here is that with this type of Task 2, you have to consider both sides of the argument BEFORE presenting your point of view. Here are the common task words used with this type of IELTS question:

  • Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  • Consider both sides and give your view.
  • Argue both views and give your opinion.
  • Discuss the two points and give your opinion.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
  • Discuss the two situations and give your view.

Here’s the best paragraph structure for Type 2: compare points of view IELTS essays.

Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3
One side of the argument The opposite side of the argument Your opinion

Type 3: give solutions to a problem

With this question type, you are presented with a problem or situation and you need to present ways of solving or reducing the issue. Here’s an example:

  • Many people prefer to drive their own private vehicles rather than use public transport. What can be done about this?
  • Many people are not recycling as much as they could. How can they be encouraged to recycle more?

Here are the common task words used with this type of IELTS question:

  • What measures should be taken…?
  • What can be done about this?
  • What is the solution to this?
  • In your opinion what are the solutions?
  • How can the situation be improved?

Here’s the best paragraph structure for Type 3: give solutions to a problem IELTS essays.

Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3
Your strongest possible solution Your second strongest possible solution (Possibly not necessary if you have enough words already)

Type 4: discuss a given situation

Task 2 questions which require you to discuss a given situation can be tricky. You are not talking about advantages or disadvantages, or even solving a problem – you just need to write about the situation you are given. These essay types mostly focus on reasons or explanations for why something is the way that it is. Here are some examples:

  • Fewer people are reading books these days. Suggest possible reasons why.
  • Many people speak a second language. What are the benefits of this?

Here are the common task words used with this type of IELTS question:

  • What problems does this cause?
  • What are the advantages of….?
  • In your opinion what are the problems associated with this?
  • What are the disadvantages of….?
  • What benefits does this bring?
  • What factors contribute to…?

Here’s the best paragraph structure for Type 4: discuss a given situation IELTS essays.

Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3
Your strongest point Your second strongest point (Possibly not necessary if you have enough words already)

Can you identify the 4 different types of Task 2? Click the link in the table below to take a quick test!