1. Types of Task 2 essay

There are a number of different Task 2 essays that you must practice before taking the IELTS exam. All of these can be written with four paragraphs and can be divided into three main types:

Opinion Led – in this type of essay you are always asked a direct question

This is where your personal opinion is given first and then the two main body paragraphs justify this opinion. Your opinion is also given in the final paragraph.

  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  • Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
  • What is your opinion?

Argument Led – in this type of essay no direct question is asked

This is where the argument (or reasons for certain opinions) is given in the two main body paragraphs and is followed by your personal opinion in the final paragraph.

  • Discuss both points of view and give your own opinion
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages

Two Question Essay – in this type of essay you are always asked two questions

This is where the two main body paragraphs are used to answer the two questions, one paragraph for each question. The final paragraph is then a summary of these answers.

  • Problem / Solution
  • Cause / Solution
  • Opinion / Solution

2. Cohesive Phrases – Part 1 – Introduction

Cohesive phrases can be as simple as using a word like – and – to a much longer phrase like – There has been an ongoing discussion for many years about … . All of them, however, act to link together ideas within a sentence, between sentences, and between paragraphs.

They not only let ideas flow more smoothly but also help lift your level of writing to a better grade. Cohesive phrases, once you learn how to use them, can be used to help form a structure within your writing that allows you to write the essay more quickly.

When writing an introduction, for example, certain phrases will let you develop your ideas more quickly and with good grammar and good vocabulary.

For example:

1) There has been an ongoing discussion for many years about …… (add Task 2 topic)

While some people think that ……

Others are of the opinion that ……

This issue will now be discussed from both sides before presenting a personal opinion.

2) Nowadays, improving …… (add Task 2 topic) …… is one of the most controversial issues of our time.

3) One of the most controversial issues today relates to …… (add Task 2 topic)

3. Cohesive Phrases – Part 2 – Main Body

1) The primary reason why ……
2) By far the most important point to highlight is that there ……
3) One of the main causes of ……
4) One major problem caused by ……
5) The most important factor needed to help is ……
6) In order to achieve these goals ……
7) We can address this issue by ……
8) This policy if implemented would be able to make significant inroads into reducing this problem.

4. Cohesive Phrases – Part 3 – Conclusion

There are various ways to start the final paragraph but the simplest way is by writing.

– In conclusion.

Avoid the more informal (or clichéd) ways like –

In a nutshell
All in all

NOTE: The Opinion Led essays (where you put your opinion in the introduction and conclusion) can start the final paragraph with – In summary


It is often recommended, before starting to write, to spend a few minutes brainstorming for ideas.

When you first read the Task 2 introduction it is a good idea to underline the important words as this reminds you that these words need to go into your introduction. If left out, your introduction will not successfully introduce the topic and there is also a danger that your essay will begin to move off topic and so lower your grade.

Brainstorming is an excellent idea but this really only works if the ideas are somewhere in your brain to come out when thinking about them!

You might now ask how you put the ideas in your brain in the first place.

These ideas come through practical experience, conversations, reading, watching movies, documentaries and the like, listening to the radio and so on. Any of these can take time – a long time – and sometimes lots of money!

Luckily, there is a quick way to get these ‘experiences’.

By Googling with a few words you can often get great ideas in only a few minutes. Now, you can’t do this in the exam but this is a fantastic way to prepare for the exam. Take as many Task 2 questions as you can Link Task 2 and try this quick and easy way to develop ideas.


Task material – Task 2 (Downloads)