Are there 4 task 2 questions? No, there aren't.

ielts task 2 questions

Nearly every IELTS book and IELTS teacher says there are 4 IELTS question types. They are wrong.

1. The 4-IELTS Question Myth

The myth is simple. IELTS Books and IELTS teachers nearly always say there are “4 kinds of IELTS Task 2 Questions.” They usually say the four kinds are:

  1. Advantages and Disadvantages
  2. Problem / Solution
  3. Discuss two different views
  4. Discuss / Give your opinion about a statement.

2. Why this idea is wrong

Well, if they are right, what kinds of questions are these 4? (Apart from 1, which is fairly obvious).

There is a short discussion below each question.

Question 1

In many countries, governments are thinking about banning smoking in public places.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

This one is the basic “advantages and disadvantages” question. It is obvious, but you don’t get questions this simple very often.

Question 2

In many countries, governments are considering whether to ban smoking in public places, or whether to ban it everywhere.

Discuss both suggestions and give your opinion.

Question 2 combines evaluating 2 solutions, and then saying which one you think is best overall.

In other words, this question is a mixture of evaluating “the advantages and disadvantages” of two “solutions”.

Question 3

Some believe smoking should be banned in public places, while others believe it should be banned everywhere.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Question 3 combines discussing 2 points of view with talking about solutions, and then saying which side or view you agree with.

Question 4

In some countries, governments are thinking about banning smoking in public places.

Discuss this idea, suggest another alternative, and give your opinion.

Question 4 combines evaluating a solution, describing another solution, and then saying which one you think is best overall.

In other words, this question is a mixture of discussing “the advantages and disadvantages” and describing two “solutions”.

Question 5

In some countries, governments are thinking about banning smoking in public places.

Discuss this idea and give your opinion.

Question 5 is a typical discuss a statement question.

In other words, you can answer this kind of question anyway you like as long as you stick to the topic and answer the question provided.

3. Why this is important for you.

This is important because if you look at questions like 2, 3, and 4, and you think “This is a problem – solution question”, you will very likely not answer the question completely.

Do you remember the description for Task Response? Here is a quick summary for bands 5, 6, and 7.

Task Response – Answering the question

  • Connector.

    Band 7

    Addresses all parts of the task.

  • Connector.

    Band 6

    Addresses all parts of the task
    although some parts may be
    more fully covered than others.

  • Connector.

    Band 5

    Addresses the task only
    partially. (This means “in part”, or “not all parts”.)

  • Connector.

    Band 4

    Responds to the task only in a
    minimal way or the answer is
    tangential. (This means it talks about something unrelated to the question.)

In other words, if you misunderstand the question because it must be “one of the 4 types” you can easily do poorly on Task Response.

When I was an IELTS examiner, I often gave people 5, 4, or even 3 for Task Response because the IELTS candidate did not answer the question.

I don’t want you to have this problem!

4. What should you do instead?

What you need to do is actually very simple. It is what native speakers do when they are asked these kinds of questions.

To find out what they do, wait for the next post: The only Task 2 Writing introduction strategy you ever need! Coming soon!

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