IELTS Writing Task 2: Types of Essays

Different books, teachers and websites classify IELTS Writing Task 2 essays in different categories and types. Some say there are two kinds of essays, some say four, while some say there are as many as seven!

None of the books and teachers are incorrect. They just use different ways of classification.

I’m going to keep things simple and say there’s only one type of essay: the opinion essay. All Writing Task 2 question demand you to write your opinions. The difference lies in how they are worded. Here are the most common Task 2 question words:

  1. Do the advantages / benefits of … outweigh the disadvantages / drawbacks? or,
    Discuss the advantages/benefits and disadvantages/drawbacks of..
    Organize this essay
  2. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
    Organize this essay
  3. Which factor (…) is more important?
    Organize this essay
  4. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
    Organize this essay
  5. Two-part question: Why do you think this is important? What is the effect of …?
    Organize this essay
  6. Two-part question: What are the possible reasons for (this problem)? Suggest a solution.
    Organize this essay

Here is a basic four-paragraph structure to organize your essay. For more specific structures, see the ‘Organize this essay’ links below each question.

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