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There is a lot of confusion about the types of essay questions for Task 2 of the IELTS exam, and the correct structure for answering these. Some people believe there are four types of essays while other believe two and others still, believe many more. In fact, these are all true and false at the same time. A much better way to think about ‘Task 2’ writing in the IELTS is to understand the nature of the questions. Almost always, the essay task is persuasive and first person voice. This essay can be asked in either an open or closed question format. Of course, there are a few different types of open and closed questions possible, each of which is further defined below. Keep reading.

The primary goal of ‘Task 2’ writing in the IELTS is to evaluate whether or not you are able to make a clear and convincing argument related to a specific topic question. This type of essay is called a persuasive essay because your goal is to persuade the reader of your opinion. In addition, this essay is best written in the first person voice – the subjective voice of the writer – using “I, me, my, and myself” in sentences; especially examples in body paragraphs. The way to be sure about the first person voice is simply to pay attention to the part of the questions which states, “use your own knowledge and examples to support your opinion”. The thesis, usually last sentence(s) of the introduction should indicate first person voice and style, ex. I believe that physical exercise should be mandatory in public schools in order to benefit children’s health and mood. This thesis shows an opinion and personal voice. As long as you know what a first person persuasive essay should read like you are on the right track.

The next point to pay attention to is whether the question is open or closed. Simply, open ended questions are those which can have many answers like, “What did you do today?” versus closed ended questions like, “Do you prefer to ride your bike or drive your car to work or school?” – These questions force you to choose among only a few options. In IELTS Task 2 questions are often closed questions because they are easier to answer and mark. But be careful, about one from five is open ended questions like, “What is important for job satisfaction?” or “How have computers changed education?” The trick is to decide quickly. If the question is an open question, think of two or three points which will be body paragraphs. For example: A good salary, schedule and atmosphere are important for job satisfaction. If the question is a closed question, and does not ask you to discuss both sides of the argument then stick to one side with two strong points, ex. I prefer to ride my bicycle to school because it is good for my health and environment. Then, develop these points into strong body paragraphs. Whether the question is closed or open, make sure to have a clear opinion. There is nothing worse than a writer who sits on the fence in an argument.

Now, some more details for closed ended questions. Here are the different kinds of closed ended questions that you may see for Task 2: discuss both sides, describe the advantages and disadvantages of (both), do you agree or disagree, which do you support and why. In the case of the first two, you are asked to give both opinions or the benefits and deficits of each. For instance, “Some people believe that higher taxes are better for society while others argue that no tax is the approach. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of either tax or no tax systems…” In this case, body paragraph one should explain the advantages and disadvantages of no taxation, and body paragraph two should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taxation; provided you believe that taxation is a better system. You should always emphasize the side you believe in more at the beginning (introduction/thesis) and end of your essay (last body paragraphs and conclusion). This is also true if you have to write about both sides of a debate, end with the side you believe in more. The logic is simple, leave your reader with the idea that you support. This is the law of first and last impressions. If the question does not ask you to explain both sides of the argument, stick to just one side with two or three strong supporting points outlined in your thesis. I have already given you an example in body paragraph two about ‘riding a bicycle to school’. Again, start body one with your weaker point (my health) and then end body two or three (depending if you have two or three points) with your strongest point (my environment). Again, you need to implement the law of first and last impression.

Given that all of the information provided in this essay is clear, you should now have a good idea about how to answer any type of Task 2 on the IELTS exam; regardless of the specific information or question that is being asked. The correct thinking is purely logical: know that the essay is first person voice and persuasive, the question is open or closed, asks to discuss both sides/pros and cons, or just one side of the argument. Based on the answers to this information you can formulate the right thesis with a good parallel grammar structure and begin to write. Just remember, stay on topic and give good examples! For lots more help with writing join our full course:

46 Responses to “IELTS Task 2 Writing – Question Types? – Answer Strategies:”

  1. Fidan Sultanova

    Very useful:) thanks:)It would be great if you wrote one big book which included all your tips and everything included in your videos in written form:) I have full course…But cannot open it on my tablet and iPhone…please do something for this…it would be great!

    • aeadmin

      Hi Fidan, We are currently in the process of publishing all lessons in HTML5 format which will allow you to view all IELTS materials on every device, iPhone/Pad, tablets, and android devices. This new version will be released soon, so hang tight.

    • A.K.M Mamunor Rashid

      You need to install adobe software. It helps to open your file.

    • aeadmin

      If you mean the ‘start of the essay’. You should always begin with a good hook. A ‘hook’ is a worldly fact or a case dealing with the topic of the question which will capture the interest of your readers. To find out more about this, look at the first part of the writing section in the full IELTS course.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Ann,

      Some students take two weeks, while some take 2 months. It is up to you how much you want to study. The course and videos take most students between 60-80 hours, although they can be completed in a shorter or longer time.

      Thanks for your question.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Ann,

      You can check out our list of videos from your demo account – check under the HD video tab!

  2. Tina Chan

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to improve my IELTS especially for the writing task 1 and task 2. However, I have two questions.

    1) Do I require to buy full course (can I just mere purchase the writing section)?
    2) I have watched the -Academic IELTS Task 2 writing example to get a high score PART 2 and find it that it is useful. If I sign up for the Academic English Help. How many video for teaching the writing section – Task 1 and 2.

    Thank you and Best Regards

  3. aeadmin

    Hi TIna,

    At this time, we do not allow partial purchases.

    The number of videos available is viewable in your “my student account”, even as a free user. Here is the list of writing videos available:

    Writing Task 1 Two Bar Graphs Together (49 min)
    Writing Task 1 Line Graph With Table NEW! (44 min)
    Writing Task 2 Question 1 Part 1 (42 min)
    Writing Task 2 Question 1 Part 2 (40 min)
    Writing Task 2 Question 2 Part 1 (41 min)
    Writing Task 2 Question 2 Part 2 (35 min)

  4. james jamisola

    hello sir good day i’m interested to take an online review for general I.E.L.T.S for preparation before i take the exam sir me i know you’re complete name and address so that i can send my payment trough western union will you please send the details to my email add. thanks

  5. ann philip

    Hello sir can upload more video lessons. In it help us to understand different type of questions and how to answer it.these two videos in writing task 2 is not that much enough.if u upload more it would be a great thing for us.thank u

    • aeadmin

      Hi Ann,

      We are always building upon our video library. Thank you for your suggestion. Keep an eye out for new videos in the future.

  6. sanjay murali

    hi sir,
    u have said about writing thesis on the introductory paragraph.wont it be like giving our conclusion on the first para? and is it necessary to give our opinion on the introductory para? waiting for the reply eagerly ….

    • aeadmin

      Hi Sanjay, These are some good questions. Yes, the thesis is an absolute must in the introductory paragraph! This is standard academic writing. It makes sense to give the thesis as this gives clear direction to the reader of what they are to expect. And yes, you must give your opinion since this is exactly what the question asks; contrary to popular belief, readers do not like to be kept in suspense for the writers opinion in such essays.

  7. sanjay murali

    the video is really useful and where can i find the part 3 where u talk about paragraph 2? i couldnt see it on the site.. it would be helpfull if u give the link or do i have to take full course just to see that video? thanking you for the earlier reply.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Jean,

      We have restored your access. Please check your email.


    why there s no information about pie chart and flow chart ?bc when i check writing videos there are only two videos 1*line graph 2*bar graphs

    • aeadmin

      Hi Caglar,

      We have sent you an email regarding this.

      Best of luck.

  9. Shughla hassani

    I have taken IELTS twice, the first time I got 5 the second times 5:5 without any preparation. I am almost done with the Ae help full course and have already booked my test as well. I hope I get the required score in this time which is 7.
    My concern is reading; let me know how can I well improve my reading please?
    I am really thankful of Ae help teacher’s hard working and useful lesions, thanks once again and I am sure I will get a better score than before INSHALLAH

    • aeadmin

      Hi Shughla,

      If you’ve done our course, then you know what we recommend when it comes to the reading section. Make sure you complete the AEHelp student workbook (especially the reading section) as well. And make sure to also read our blog posts on the topic!

      Good luck on the exam!

    • aeadmin

      Hi Spoorthi,

      You can see which videos we offer in your “my student account” under the “HD videos” tab. You can even see samples of many of the videos.

  10. Shughla hassani

    I have not see any video for writing task 1 explaining of ( Pie chat) If possible, to be added will be appreciated

    • aeadmin

      Hi Shughla,

      We will take your requests into account when we produce our next round of videos. Keep an eye out for them!

  11. erika siregar

    Hi, i’ve done my first writing practice with topic that I got from internet (not aehelp). Can I ask for corrections and feedbacks by using the “editing services” menu?
    p.s. I’ve already joined the ielts full course.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Erika,

      You may certainly submit it for editing and feedback. Please note, however, that this is a paid service. Good luck!

  12. Elkhan Soltanlı

    Hi,my main concern is that I cannot find any sample essay about Writing task 2 which is written in the type of “Discuss both views”.However,most samples that given in the books of Cambridge University (which use official examination papers) are in this form.Where can I get more information about it?
    Thanks for attention in advance.

  13. aeadmin

    Hi Elkhan,
    Thank you for your question. There is a quick description in this blog about how to write a question which asks for “both views”. Write a thesis which clearly shows that both views will be discussed an your opinion. Then, write one paragraph about one view and the second, the one you support more, about the next view. We do have more information about this in your ‘My student page’ in the writing section. As well. we have a couple of practice questions in the Task 2 option, top right in your ‘My Student’ page. Just make sure to submit it to our experts for editing and feedback. Good luck.



    • aeadmin


      You can have your essays edited and commented on at any time via your “my student account”. Please note the cost of this service is 6 cents per word and is not included in the cost of the full IELTS course package.

      Good luck. Your success is our success.

  15. zeyad Alsowi

    My computer can only open the full course package, when I try to open the videos or the test practices, they don’t open. I tried this on a different computer, it worked but unfortunately it wasn’t mine. Can you help me in this, please.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Zeyad, It is very tricky for me to assist you with this matter. It is likely that you may need to do either a system or software upgrade. Although our products are backwards compatible with most OS and devices we cannot guarantee that they will work on every platform. Make sure that all of your flash plug-ins are updated. ***Also, I strongly recommend for you to try Google Chrome as the browser for viewing. Let me know if you need further assistance and I will do my best to help.

  16. Chiara Niccolini

    I bought the Full Course 2 months ago.Now I can’t open the videos because it says I have to buy a Full Course. As the Course an expire date??? I don’t see it written down.
    Can you help me, please?
    Thank you.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Chiara,

      I think we have answered your question via email. All the best.

    • aeadmin

      Hi Shadreck,

      Are you encountering an error message? Please send us an email at with details of the error. Please note we recommend updating your flash player and using Google Chrome as your internet browser.

      All the best.

  17. ashish badanapurkar

    i registered for full course, is there any specific time limit for users to access the course content?

    • aeadmin

      Hi Ashish,

      The course time limit is 3 months (90 days). You may, of course, repurchase the course after this time.

      Best of luck.

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