5 Essential Tips For Writing Task 2 Success

Every successful band 7+ student completes these 5 important things.

Are you:

  • Struggling to make sense of all the confusing IELTS information online?

  • Confused about how to write a perfect Task 2 Essay?

If you answered ‘YES’ to either of these, make sure you read on… 

Here’s some wise words from an IELTS Examiner: 

If you don’t feel confident about the IELTS, you MUST improve your knowledge before taking it. 

British Council IELTS Examiner

Most students fail to achieve the IELTS writing band score they want because they don’t know how to answer the questions effectively.

Here at IELTS Excellence, we want you to succeed and to be able to write the perfect task 2 essay. So we have listed 5 things which will maximise your band score.

Here they are:

Tip 1: Learn the Format of Each Question

Did you know there are 5 different types of essay question?

You will get asked just one of them in the exam. The problem is, you won’t know which one until you’re sat in the exam.

Each one of them is a little bit different, and you are expected to answer them differently too.

Therefore, it is ESSENTIAL to understand the different types of essay question and how to answer each one of them.

The different types include ‘Advantages & Disadvantages’, ‘Problems & Solutions’, ‘2-Part’, ‘Agree or Disagree’ and ‘Discussion/Opinion’.

Below is an example of what a ‘Discussion/Opinion‘ question may look like:

Would you know how to answer it to a high standard, with minimal errors?

There are many things to consider when writing a great Task 2 Essay, including how to structure the essay well.

Here’s the basic structure you should master to maximise your band score:

    • Introduction
    • Discuss one MAIN aspect of the question 
    • Discuss another MAIN aspect of the question
    • Conclusion

These parts should be written over 4 paragraphs, and each paragraph should have its own purpose. 

The examiner wants to see that you know how to structure your answer properly, so they can award you maximum marks for that part.

Want to know what the examiner wants you to write?

Check out tip 2 below:

Tip 2: Understand How the Examiner Marks Your Essay

Examiners are experts in finding errors in your answers. They are trained to find your mistakes.

Remember: If you make too many mistakes, or don’t do as the examiner wants, you will fail.

But here’s the good news…

The good news is that you can find out EXACTLY how they mark your essay. 

When an examiner marks your answer, they follow a set framework known as ‘Band Descriptors‘ (basically a checklist of things you must do to score a certain band score for your writing tasks).

We want to make your IELTS study as easy as possible, so we have included the Task 2 Essay Band Descriptors below:

Task 2 Essay Band Descriptors

Study these band descriptors CAREFULLY.

As you can see, Band 9 is the highest score and Band 0 is the lowest score.

Most students require band score 6 or above.

The problem is most people fail to achieve the score they need, which results in wasted time and money. Unfortunately many students give up on their dream because they can’t pass the IELTS.

Now, I can GUARANTEE you, those students who fail the IELTS never learn exactly how the examiner marks their essay – don’t fall into the same trap!

Make sure you study the band descriptors carefully and understand EXACTLY what the examiner wants you to write.

We cover this in great detail in our Writing Task 2 Study Guide.

Tip 3: Learn How to Analyse the Essay Question

Ever heard of the “Snowball Effect“?

It means a small problem can lead to a BIG problem.

For example if you don’t know how to analyse a Task 2 Essay question, you will fail the whole exam:

To avoid the snowball effect causing you to fail the writing section, you must learn how to analyse a Task 2 Essay question PROPERLY.

Here’s a summary:

  • Identify Key information

Every question will have key information. It is up to you to identify the KEY POINTS. One of the best ways to choose the key words is to pick out significant words in a sentence.

Look at this Task 2 question for example (we have highlighted key words):

In many cities, the cost of living is increasing at a higher rate than employee wages. However, there is a greater number of young people who are starting their own business or becoming self employed.

  • Decide On The Requirements Of The Question

What are the essentials of the question? The ‘must-do’s’?

Each question will have its own requirements, but here’s an example:

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being self employed and give your own opinion.

Write at least 250 words.

Analysing essay questions is a little tricky at first, but if you follow a proven framework and practice often you will become better. 

It’s one of the BEST ways to maximise your Task 2 Essay band score – so make sure you practice doing it regularly.

Again, if you need further help with analysing an essay question, we show you the EXACT strategies in our Task 2 Study Guide so you’ll be a pro in no time!

Tip 4: Improve Your Task 2 Vocabulary & Grammar

Your ‘vocabulary’ is one of the main things the examiner looks at in your Task 2 Essay. 

It’s the words you use in your essay.

If you don’t use the correct vocabulary in your answer (or you fail to show a broad range of vocabulary) , you will fail the IELTS.

It’s THAT important.

The problem is knowing the correct vocabulary to use. 

Because your vocabulary will depend on the topic of the question (for example, is the question about health, technology, family, marriage, the government etc.)?

ONE of the things we teach in our Task 2 Study Guide is how to improve your vocabulary for each of the common task 2 topics and the most effective synonyms to use in each question.

You should never try to learn a really long list of words – this is not a good way to spend your time. 

But a short list of words that you could use in most questions is very important.

For example, let’s say you got this question:

“Agriculture is under increasing pressure due to a greater demand from consumers and a reduction in economic investment.”

What are the problems with an increased demand on agriculture? Discuss some solutions.

What words could you use in a question about agriculture to improve your band score?

Here’s some examples:

      • Farming/Farmers
      • Crops
      • Cultivation/cultivating
      • Livestock
      • Agronomy
      • Resources
      • Economy
      • Population

Now ask yourself: 

Do I know what each of these words mean and do I know how to use them in a sentence?

Your answer is probably:


Remember, the IELTS examiner wants to see that you have a ‘wide range of vocabulary‘ and you use it accurately (see the band descriptors above). 

So, what can you do to improve your vocabulary?

You can learn a short list of new words for each of the most common essay topics before you take the IELTS. This way, you will be able to easily use them in the real exam and impress the examiner with your vocabulary.

If you master IELTS vocabulary and grammar, you are over half way to achieving IELTS band 7 or above.

Sounds good, right?

Tip 5: Follow a Study Plan & Use a Task 2 Study Checklist

One thing all successful students do is follow a study plan.

A good study plan makes IELTS preparation easier and helps you learn quicker…

Meaning you pass the exam with less effort in a shorter timeframe.

We see many students who have failed the IELTS several times because they don’t know how to study effectively.

We give them a study plan, show them how to follow it and help them make progress straight away.

That’s the power of a good study plan.

If you want to achieve band 7 or above as quickly and easily as possible, you need to follow a proven study plan.

You can make one yourself or purchase one of our 4, 8 or 12 week plans – whichever you prefer.


A checklist is a simple but effective way for you to make sure you are ready for the exam.

Here’s an example Task 2 Essay checklist which you can use:

Could you tick off each one of these?

If so, great! You are well on your way to writing a great Task 2 Essay.

If not, we strongly suggest you improve your IELTS knowledge and follow a proven study routine.


If you don’t feel confident about the IELTS, you MUST improve your knowledge before taking it. 

British Council IELTS Examiner

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If you follow the exact methods and strategies we teach in our study guides, you will be successful in the IELTS . As long as you’re dedicated, put in the hard work and use the information we teach.

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