13 Proven Rules to Follow in IELTS Writing Task-2

Thursday, May 14, 2015

In IELTS writing task 2 , you need to write an essay of at least 250 words. First of all, you can write whatever comes in your mind about the topic but make it lead high band score there are certain rules to follow which are discuss here.

Rule #1 : Identify the Keywords

May be you can write with great vocabulary and grammar but if you fail to task response, all your efforts can turn vague.

To overcome this shortcoming, you need to analyze the question first by slicing in little parts to understand it properly and save yourself from dropping down to poor band score.

identify keywords in IELTS Writing Task-2
Let`s see how you can do this from following example:

It is better to eat food which is produced by small farmers, rather than food produced by 'factory farming' and transported long distances. 
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

First thing you need to do is identify potential keywords in the question; which are: food production, small farmers, factory farming and transportation.

All you need to do is to write about these keywords which will make sure you are staying with the question and improve your chance to get higher band.

Rule #2 : Preplan your essay

In IELTS writing task-2, you are supposed to send 40 minutes on this task.

Therefore, if you spend 5 minutes on thinking how you will organize your essay, it still remains 35 minutes to write 250-275 words.

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Without proper planning, you can stuck in the middle of writing and consume more time-that`s the very good reason why you should plan first.

You can identify some vocabulary surrounding the identified keywords in Tips-1 and find some collocation words that will eventually flood you with ideas to write about any topics.

Rule #3 : Include Thesis Statement

This one of major facts what many IELTS candidate forget to add thesis statement while writing introduction.

Including thesis statement is a good practice in academic writing where in one sentence the writer creates an appeal for the reader to read the rest of the essay.

Thesis statement is what you want to prove in your essay with arguments and example. Click here to go through a great post  to guide to write a good thesis statement.

Rule #4 : Organize Your Essay

A reader will have a good experience in your writing if he/she do not have trouble to find what you are presenting.

Human eyes are prone to find sooth in smaller chunk of texts than big paragraphs and in the later case, the examiners mind faced with a sea of ideas and arguments to identify the cohesion in your essay.

IELTS essay structure

If you write all things in one paragraph, then it looks messy and makes the writing less appealing for the examiner which will leads to low band score.

Therefore, try to add at least four paragraph in your essay: introduction, two main body paragraphs and conclusion.

Rule #5: Start with a Purpose

It is better to start the first line of each paragraph (at least the body paragraphs) with a leading sentence.

First of all, make it clear what you want to say generally. This general statement wills leads to reasons (how can you explain the general statement) and examples like:

It is highly likely that the food production of local farmers will carry more food value than factory farming. The main reason why this will probably……….

Do not consider yourself that the shortest sentence of a paragraph will be the topic sentence. In fact this sentence could be long simple or complex sentence.

But, do not try to mingle reasons and examples in the topic sentence which will disorganize the sequence of idea flow in your writing.

IELTS Writinginfographics

Rule #6: Support with Reasons and Evidence

As we said earlier, the first sentence of a paragraph will state the single unifying idea i.e. argument of what you want to the examiner to believe.

The second sentence should state the reasons behind the argument which is not actually stated in the argument.

For example, if you say in argument (the first sentence of a paragraph):

The increasing ownership of private cars leads to traffic congestion and air pollution in urban areas of the country.

This statement is not true for just because you think/say so, you need to unlock the potentials of this argument with reasons. Like:

Because, more car will take more road space and exhaust more fumes to excel those problems."

Adding the reason makes the examiner care for your argument and amplifies the importance of your claim.

After giving your reasons, it`s the time to support it with real world examples like below:

For example, in some parts of the world, people are discouraged to use private cars with high parking cost and pollution taxes to reduce congestion and pollution in central part of the city.

You can see that our arguments gets stronger and stronger after stating reasons and evidence and that`s what the IELTS examiner wants from a candidate.

Rule #7: Gather all points together

It is better academic practice to summarize the most crucial ideas of your essay in conclusion by using new and interesting language.

Think of it like a overview of your essay, no need to elaborate it with examples that is already done in the body paragraphs.

It is better not to use phrases like "in conclusion" or "in summary" in this part of essay which can make it monotonous.

Rule #8: Provide Wider Perspectives

The purpose of a good conclusion does not finish by simply repeating the key points of the essay.

It should go beyond this and provide a new way of thinking about the subject matter of the essay. It will also make glad the examiner that they read your essay.

wider perspectives IELTS writing essay

On this respect, you can include a provocative insight or quotation from the arguments, reason and examples that you have already mentioned in your essay.

Rule #9 : Use impersonal language

IELTS writing Task-2 essay should be written in academic style which means it should not written for specific reader and with emotion.

To imply these strategies, you should limit the use of "I", "We" or "You". Don`t write for example: "As you can see air pollution is a big problem in our cities".

impersonal language IELTS Writing Task-2

You can use "there" to make the statement more impersonal like "There has been a significant concern of increasing air pollution in major cities of the world"

Rule #10: Use Academic Vocabulary

Most of the IELTS candidate makes the mistake of writing their essay like a newspaper, magazine or a blog article.

But, academic writing style is different which follows more formal approach of writing by omitting slangs.

Look at these examples:

  • We have seen an exiting movie this weekend (spoken English)
  • The film that has been watched this week is praiseworthy (academic English)

Rule #11 : Avoid repetition

Repetition means using same word or sentence structure again and again that lead the examiner to think that you have poor vocabulary and cannot use complex sentence structure to make the essay spontaneous.

To prove your vocabulary range, use synonyms or different expressions. But, it is inevitable that you will repeat the key phrases of the question topic.

Like, If you are writing about air pollution, then those words can recur in your essay. However, even keywords like "pollution" can be replaced by word like "contamination”.

Rule #12 : Use Linkers

Coherence is a key issue of marking IELTS writing which examines the logical sequence of the essay.

The best way to get a feel about this cohesion is to use linking words or phrases to relate point/idea to earlier and later points. Here are some list of useful linkers and connectors you can use in IELTS essay.

These signposting words are used to give a sense of natural flow in your writing without abrupt jumps or breaks between arguments, reasons and examples in the essay.

Rule #13 : Use mix of sentences

An academic IELTS essay must structured with mixed sentences between simple, compound and complex with varied lengths.

Too many simple sentences can make it monotonous. Like if you are wiring about air pollution, it could be

"Air Pollution is increasing in cities. It is bad for health. People are dying for this."

or it could be

"Air pollution is a persistence problem in many cities of the world. It is certainly bad for health as well as people can dye fast for this."

So, which one is better? Notice the use of linked "as well as" in the second writing.


Although there is no definitive guide of good or bad writing, but there are certain rules of academic writing. Using of these  tips make your IELTS writing task 2 essay more robust, natural and polished to lead in higher band score.


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