IELTS Task 2 Writing Basics
If you don’t know much about Task 2 Writing for the IELTS Exam, start here!
There is 60 minutes for the entire writing test. Most IELTS teachers recommend you spend 40 minutes on Task 2. However, you should practice writing Task 2 in 30 or 35 minutes.
The Task 2 instructions tell you to write at least 250 words. This is good advice. Even though you can write a little less than that, IELTS examiners do not count words the same way you do!
More important than Task 1?
Task 2 has more “weight” than task 1. In practice, this means if you get a 5.5 on Task 1 and a 6 on Task 2, you will receive a 6 for your writing score.
Task 2 Question Types
Most IELTS books, IELTS teachers, and videos on Youtube talk about 4-types. This is not correct, but this can hep you to get started. They are: discuss two views, discuss a statement, discuss a problem / solution, or advantages / disadvantages.
Questions about IELTS Task 2 Writing
My students always ask me questions about Task 2 Writing. If you are any, please email me them and I will add them to the Task 2 Writing FAQ!
How is IELTS Task 2 writing marked?
The IELTS Task 2 Public Band Descriptors below are from ielts.org. These are not the official ones that IELTS examiners use.
I have copied and pasted the descriptions for IELTS 7 and IELTS 6.
Task Response (TR)
Task Response is about how well you answer the question and how you develop your ideas. Have look at the difference between an IELTS 6 and an IELTS 7.
- addresses all parts of the task
- presents a clear position throughout the response
- presents, extends and supports main ideas, but there may be a tendency to overgeneralise and/or supporting ideas may lack focus
- addresses all parts of the task although some parts may be more fully covered than others
- presents a relevant position although the conclusions may become unclear or repetitive
- presents relevant main ideas but some may be inadequately developed/unclear
Coherence and Cohesion (CC)
Coherence and Cohesion is about how logical (organized) your essay is and how easy it is to follow your ideas. Poor grammar can make your CC worse too. Notice that CC is about the whole essay, paragraphs, between sentences, and between sentences.
In my experience, this the area that most IELTS students do not spend time on improving.
- logically organises information and ideas; there is clear progression throughout
- uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under-/over-use
- presents a clear central topic within each paragraph
- arranges information and ideas coherently and there is a clear overall progression
- uses cohesive devices effectively, but cohesion within and/or between sentences may be faulty or mechanical
- may not always use referencing clearly or appropriately
- uses paragraphing, but not always logically
Lexical Resource (LR)
Lexical Resource is just your vocabulary. It is about how natural your choice of vocabulary is and of course your control. This includes spelling and word forms.
- uses a sufficient range of vocabulary to allow some flexibility and precision
- uses less common lexical items with some awareness of style and collocation
- may produce occasional errors in word choice, spelling and/or word formation
- uses an adequate range of vocabulary for the task
- attempts to use less common vocabulary but with some inaccuracy
- makes some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication
Grammar Range and Accuracy (GRA)
Grammar range and accuracy is probably the easiest to understand. GRA includes the variety of your sentences as well as the complexity of your sentences.
It also makes it clear that mistakes that do not make it hard to understand are not a big issue. Even native speakers make “slips” that look like errors.
Finally, note that IELTs Band 7 talks about “error-free” sentences.
- uses a variety of complex structures
- produces frequent error-free sentences
- has good control of grammar and punctuation but may make a few errors
- uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms
- makes some errors in grammar and punctuation but they rarely reduce communication
I am sure you have more questions about IELTS Task 2 Writing, so please email me about them.
Or you can check out the other Task 2 Strategies and tips at:
The IELTS Task 2 Writing Resource Page
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