This lesson will show you two IELTS Writing Task 2 essay structures that you can use for any question type.
- a 4-paragraph structure
- a two-sided (balanced) essay
- stating your opinion in the introduction
- using PEEL paragraphs
In the 2 examples below, you can see how this structure works for most essays.
This structure will help you meet the Band Criteria for Band 7 according to the IELTS Band Descriptors
- presents a clear position throughout the response
- logically organises information and ideas; there is clear progression throughout
- presents a clear central topic within each paragraph
Structures for ANY IELTS Writing Task 2 essay
- General Statement (No opinion, just a neutral observation)
- What’s the issue? (What do some people think – show awareness)
- What’s your opinion? (What do you think?)
- the advantages OR
- reasons to agree OR
- the problems
- the disadvantages OR
- reasons to disagree OR
- the solutions
- Summary of the issue.
- Summary of your opinion.
- A final thought, recommendation or consequence.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Structures: Example 1
‘Using animals to test the safety of cosmetics or drugs used for medical reasons is never acceptable’.
To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Before any new product is put on the market, whether it is a cosmetic product or potentially life-saving medicine, the manufacturers have to ensure that it is safe for humans to use. Advocates of vivisection would argue that testing products on animals is the only reliable method of doing this. Although I can see convincing arguments behind testing drugs on animals for medical purposes, I am strongly opposed to the practice of using animals to test the safety of cosmetics.
Paragraph 1 (in favour):
Animal testing has helped scientists to make great discoveries in the field of medicine, providing effective drugs against cancer, heart disease and other potentially fatal illnesses. As a result, many lives have been saved and prolonged. However, there are new ways of testing products, using cell cultures, which need not involve animals at all. Therefore I would prefer such testing to be kept to a minimum wherever possible.
Paragraph 2 (against):
On the other hand, when it comes to the cosmetic industry it is difficult to see why it is necessary to test these types of products on animals. For example, several well-known brands such as The Body Shop and Lush have always used human ‘guinea pigs’ to test their products without any detrimental effects. So in my view, we no longer need to exploit animals for the sake of human vanity, and this kind of testing is now completely unacceptable.
In conclusion, though testing on animals has undoubtedly brought advances in medical treatments, I believe it must be reserved for essential scientific work and to help end human suffering, and never for enhancing our appearance.
IELTS Writing Task 2 Structures: Example 2
Advances in technology have meant that they increasingly use machines to do jobs that were previously done by humans. The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
We are living in an age of fast-paced development, and machines are often chosen over humans as they are more efficient and cost-effective. Despite some undesirable outcomes such as physical inactivity and loss of jobs, I believe that there are more advantages than drawbacks and I will outline my reasons below.
Paragraph 1 (disadvantages):
The main argument against using machines is that they have made people redundant. In factories, for example, fewer people are required as the production line becomes more mechanised. This has led to unemployment and hardship for many people who relied on this type of job. Increased technology and mechanization have also affected our general levels of activity. For instance, in the past, most people would work in the fields, and manual labour kept people fit, whereas nowadays people are more like to invest in a labour-saving device to do the work for them. As a result, we have become less active and problems linked to this, such as obesity, are on the increase.
Paragraph 2 (advantages):
However, this development has brought with it some benefits. First of all, we have been liberated from certain household chores thanks to labour-saving devices like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. This means we have more time available for leisure activities and seeing friends and family. Furthermore, technology has actually created many jobs, from design to production and sales. In order to do these jobs, people need training which has led to more jobs in education and people having more highly specialised careers.
To conclude, although technology has had both desirable and negative effects, it has given us the potential to reach new heights that would not have previously been possible. I believe we should focus on ensuring that we receive a higher level of specialization in the workplace whilst not letting ourselves become less healthy and active.
- always write a plan
- always use 4 or 5 clear paragraphs
- always have a topic sentence for each paragraph
- always make the opening sentence a general statement about the issue – no opinion, just facts.
- always put your opinion clearly in the first paragraph and then throughout the rest of the answer
- always use a variety of linking words
- always explain your points – give an example or say why it is important
- always with end with a final thought, recommendation or consequence
5-paragraph IELTS Writing Task 2 structures
The examples of Task 2 essay structures in this blog are intended to give you very general guidance.
There are many other ways to structure essays, using 5 or sometimes 6 paragraphs (especially if you are a strong writer).
The structure often depends on the question, because the examiners do not want to read hundreds of ‘template’ essays that all sound the same.
For this reason, I often recommend a 5-paragraph structure, especially when you are writing a one-sided argument.
The one-sided argument is often in response to questions like:
- To what extent do you agree or disagree?
- Do you agree or disagree?
In these situations, you do NOT need to show both sides, and you can simply give 3 strong points to persuade the reader that your opinion is valid and correct.
I discuss these types of Task 2 Writing structures in a separate blog.
Get more advice about structures here.
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oladigbolu olagbenga says
Fina, this has really given me a great insight on how to go about my task 2 in writing.
This is very helpful.
Many thanks for your comment Oladigbolu.
I hope the blog helps you with your Task 2,
Anna H. Smith says
This article is very educative. I have learned new information about how to structure IELTS writing task 2 essay from your article, you are doing a great job. Keep it up. Thanks.
I’m so sorry I didn’t see your comment – thank you for posting,
Anna H. Smith says
I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read. I have learned new information about how to structure IELTS writing task 2 essay from your article, you are doing a great job. Keep it up. Thanks.
Thank you Anna!