IELTS Writing Task 2: Question Types

Updating ….

Here are the different kinds of questions in IELTS Writing Task 2:

  1. Opinion
  2. Discussion + opinion
  3. Problem + solution
  4. Two-part question
  5. Advantages/Benefits outweigh Disadvantages/Drawbacks

1. Opinion (Argumentative essay)

Example questions:

• Some people think that the only purpose of working hard is to earn money. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

• Children watch too much TV nowadays and this is bad for their education and development. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

• Some people think that scientists experimenting with animals in a laboratory is the only way we can guarantee new products will be safe for human use. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

• Research indicates that the characteristics we are born with have much more influence on our personality and development than other experiences we may have in life. Which do you consider to be the major influence?

Important points to remember:

• An ‘opinion’ question is normally characterised by question sentences like: “To what extend/How far do you agree or disagree” OR “what are your opinions on this”.

To what extend do you agree or disagree = How much do you agree or disagree

• It asks for your view, not the views of other people, and you don’t have to give both sides of the argument. Just make your opinion clear in the introduction, then explain it in the rest of the essay.

2. Discussion with/without opinion (Discussion essay)

Example questions:

• Some people believe that punishment is the only purpose of prisons, while others believe that prisons exist for various reasons. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

• Some people say children no longer need to develop handwriting skills. Others believe that handwriting is still important. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

• Some people fear that technology is gradually taking over control of our lives, while others think that it has led to many positive developments in all aspects of their lives. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

[Discuss two views only – no opinion] Many people believe that an effective public transport system is a key component of a modern city. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of public transport.

Important points to remember:

• A ‘discussion’ question requires you to write about both sides of the argument, and you should write a similar amount for each view.

• If the question also asks for your opinion, you don’t need an extra paragraph. Just make it clear in the introduction and conclusion which of the two views you agree with.

Structure for ‘discussion + opinion’
  1. Intro – topic, rephrase claim, write your clear opinion
  2. Body Para. – Discuss one view: Topic sentence + explain + examples
  3. Body Para. – Discuss second view: Topic sentence + explain + examples
  4. Conclusion – restate your opinion

3. Causes/Effects/Problem and Solution

Example questions:

• The number of plants and animals is declining. Explain this problem and suggest some solutions.

• Crime rates tend to be higher in cities than in smaller towns. Explain some possible reasons for this problem and suggest some solutions.

• People naturally resist change in their lives. What kind of problems can this cause? What solutions can you suggest? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. [See a structure here]

• The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also created problems that did not exist before. What are the most serious problems associated with the Internet and what solutions can you suggest?

Important points to remember:

• Simply write a paragraph explaining the problem(s) and a paragraph explaining the solution(s). Some questions ask about ’causes’ or ‘effects’: these would be part of the ‘problem’ paragraph.

Four paragraph structure:
  1. Introduction– introduce topic and give your clear answer to the task question
  2. Problems – give examples and supporting details
  3. Solutions – give examples and supporting details
  4. Conclusion – restate your answer to the question
or
  1. Introduction –  introduce topic and give your clear answer to the task question
  2. Main problem #1  & possible solutions  – give examples
  3. Main problem #2  & possible solutions – give examples
  4. Conclusion – restate your answer to the question

4. Two-part question

Example questions:

• Many people around the world are choosing to move to live in cities. What problems do people experience in big cities? Should governments encourage people to move to smaller towns?

• To some people studying the past has little value in the modern world.  Why do you think it is important to do so? What will be the effect if children are not taught history?

Important points to remember:

• Just answer the two questions. Write one paragraph about each.

5. Advantages/Benefits outweigh Disadvantages/Drawbacks

Example questions:

• In some countries, governments are encouraging industries and businesses to move to regional areas outside the big cities. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?

 

Sources:

http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2012/03/ielts-writing-task-2-four-question-types.html

http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2012/04/ielts-writing-task-2-question-types.html

http://yourieltstutor.com/7-types-of-task-2-questions-for-ielts/

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