IELTS – Academic Module
In Writing Task 2 of the academic module, IELTS candidates are asked to write an
academic essay. You are tested on your ability to:
• put forward a point of view on a given topic and justify opinions
• argue in support of or against a given statement
• compare and contrast evidence or opinions
• discuss a problem and present a solution
• speculate on implications of a given issue
IELTS candidates are given a discussion topic and presented with an opinion, an
argument or a problem. You need to discuss the question with two or three main
points and supporting detail for each point.
Your performance in Task 2 will be assessed on the criteria below:
• Arguments, Ideas and Evidence - being able to present a clear, logical, well-
supported argument without including irrelevancies.
• Communicative Quality - being able to write fluently enough to make your
message clear to the reader, being able to write cohesive sentences and
• Vocabulary and Sentence Structure - using a range of appropriate vocabulary,
using a variety of sentence structures
• Spelling and punctuation.
Task 2 is the more heavily weighted of the writing tasks. In the IELTS test, you
should spend more time on this writing task. You have to write at least 250 words.
You are advised to spend 40 minutes on this task.
Academic essay types and structure
You need an introductory statement, body and conclusion in an academic essay. The
structure for your essay will depend on the type of question you are answering. For
example, in an argument essay your introduction will have a general statement
introducing the topic, background information, the main points you will make and an
outline of your opinion. Your first body paragraph contains a 'for' argument and a
reason or justification for this. This paragraph will need a topic sentence and 3
supporting sentences. Your second body paragraph will follow a similar pattern, while
your third body paragraph will need a 'con' or against argument and a refutation
which points out the problems with the con-argument and strengthens your own
argument. Your conclusion is a restatement of your opinion and a summary of your
In a problem solutions essay, your introduction will outline the problem and the main
point you will make. Paragraph 1 will contain problem 1 – cause or effect. This
paragraph will need a topic sentence and 3 supporting sentences. Your second body
paragraph will follow a similar pattern, while your third body paragraph will need
solutions to problems discussed in paragraphs 1 and 2. For each solution you should
evaluate both the pros and cons. Your conclusion will be a summary of your main
points and your view on the best solution.
In a compare/contrast essay, your introduction again contains background
information, the main points you will make and your opinion. Your first body
paragraph, which contains a point of comparison 1, will need a topic sentence and
supporting sentences. Your second and third body paragraph will follow a similar
pattern. The conclusion is a restatement of thesis and summary of your main points.
In IELTS task 1 you are asked to choose and clearly describe the most important
and relevant visual information which may be presented in the form of one or more
related diagrams, charts, graphs or tables or diagram of a machine, a device or a
process and asked to explain how it works.
Writing Task 1 is assessed based on the following criteria:
• Task Achievement
• Coherence and Cohesion
• Lexical Resource
• Grammatical Range and Accuracy
You must be organised as well as accurate in your use of language. The tone of your
report should be academic. You need to write at least 150 words. If your answer is
too short, you will lose marks but will not be penalised for writing more than 150
words. However, remember that a longer Task 1 answer may mean you have less
time for your Task 2 writing. Task 2 is worth more marks than Task 1 so make sure
you leave yourself enough time.
To improve your writing, you need to focus on three things: practice,
reading and planning. Reading not only helps your vocabulary increase,
but helps with your writing.
Become familiar with as many sample questions as you can and practice
underlining the key points and identifying topics. Make brief outlines for
each topic. At Selfaccess we think it is better to increase the time spent on
planning, and reduce the time spent on writing and checking. If your
writing is well planned, you should be able to write quickly without having
to stop to think, and there should be fewer problems to correct.
Planning is essential.