An IELTS essay is a ‘discursive essay’ where you may have to discuss an issue, give an opinion, explain the advantages or disadvantages, write about problems or causes of problems, and give solutions. There are 5 variations to an IELTS discursive essay. In this blog post, there are 7 model answers for IELTS writing task 2. These are based on essays my students have written with help from me to correct them and make them more concise and clear.
First, let’s look at these important points.
In a problem-solution essay or an advantage-disadvantage essay, the instruction words will ask something like:
What problems does this cause, what solutions can you suggest?
Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
Notice the plural form here, advantages and disadvantages. Many students (and IELTS teachers) think they have to write more than one advantage and disadvantage or more than one problem and solution. Yes, you can certainly do this but you can also make it much simpler by writing about one advantage and one disadvantage. The same goes for a problem solution essay.
Another point to consider is that you may run out of time if you write 2 of each. You will have only 40 minutes for the essay. Planning time is around 10 minutes so that means 30 minutes of writing. Another danger of writing about 2 of each is that your word count will go well over 300 words.
What does the marking criteria say?
Band 8 Task Response states->‘presents a well-developed response to the question with relevant, extended and supported ideas…’
There is nothing mentioned in the marking criteria about having more than one advantage or disadvantage only that it needs to be well-developed, relevant, and supported. So you can take one advantage and one disadvantage, explain them well, and support them with a specific example within an essay of between 260 to 300 words. Same for a problem solution essay, one problem one solution.
Band 7 coherence and cohesion it states-> ‘presents a clear central topic within each paragraph…’
So you can run with one central idea or one main advantage and disadvantage, or problem/solution, as long as you can explain it well and give a clear relevant example. You will see this technique in the model answers below.
In the first causes solution model answer below there are 2 problems and 2 solutions. The only issue though is that it tends to end up as a very long essay at way over 300 words. Realistically, you will not have the time in the exam to write an essay over 300 words and you will have more chance of making mistakes.
You do not get a higher band score with a very long essay, for example, a 380-word essay. I have often been sent these kinds of essays to mark and it is frustrating, just keep it concise between 260 to 300 words.
Causes solution essay (long version)
All over the world, societies are facing a growing problem with obesity. This problem affects both children and adults. What are the reasons for this rise in obesity, How could it be tackled?
Nations worldwide are dealing with the increasing issue of obesity which is a cause for concern for all age groups. There are two main causes, over-consumption of fast food and lack of exercise. Possible solutions would be a government tax on fast food and special incentives for gym membership to get people to exercise.
One of the reasons that people are becoming overweight these days is that they are eating more junk food, ready meals, and convenience food rather than cooking healthy meals at home. This is because many people tend to lead a busy life, so after a long day at work, it is easier to just buy convenience food or get a takeaway. For instance, research by the UK government found that sales of these types of foods have risen considerably in the past two decades. To tackle this issue the government should take steps to increase taxes on trans fats, high sugar, or unhealthy foods. Therefore, people would think twice about the foods they consume which could lead to them losing weight.
Another problem that needs to be considered is a lack of exercise. As a result of leading a hectic life with work commitments, many people are just too tired to go to the gym or join a sports club. For example, after work, the vast majority of people prefer to come home and sit in front of the TV. Furthermore, when people have time off they tend to relax rather than go to a gym. One possible solution is for employers to consider the well-being of their employees and offer in-house company gyms or special incentives, such as discounts to join sports or fitness clubs. If this is implemented it would have a positive effect on people’s health and a reduction in weight gain.
In conclusion, being overweight is an increasing issue because of the consumption of fast food, convenience foods, and not enough exercise due to work commitments. The government needs to look at taxing fast food and companies should set up incentives for gyms, sports, or fitness clubs.
The word count here is very high at around 345 words. This is because I chose to include 2 problems and 2 solutions. You can just take one problem and one solution as long as it is well-developed and explained. There is a shorter version below this.
Causes solution essay (shorter version)
All over the world, societies are facing a growing problem with obesity. This problem affects both children and adults. What are the reasons for this rise in obesity, How could it be tackled?
Nations worldwide are dealing with the increasing issue of obesity which is a cause for concern among all age groups. One main cause of this issue is the overconsumption of fast food and convenience foods. A possible solution would be a government tax on these foods with lower costs for fresh produce.
One reason that people are becoming overweight these days is that they are eating more junk food and convenience food rather than cooking healthy meals at home. This is because many people tend to lead a busy life so it is easier to just buy ready meals or get a takeaway rather than cook at home. For instance, studies by the UK government have found that sales of these types of foods have risen considerably in the past two decades. If the issue is not addressed soon there will most likely be an epidemic of obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes shortly.
To tackle this issue governments need to increase the tax on high-sugar or unhealthy foods, especially those that contain trans fats. This would mean that consumers would think twice about the food they consume, so in the long run, this could lead to them losing weight and leading a much healthier life. To illustrate this, recently Norway implemented tough regulations and higher taxes on food containing high levels of sodium and saturated fats. They also fixed a lower price for organic vegetables to attract more consumers of fresh produce in supermarkets. This had a dramatic effect on reducing the consumption of junk foods.
In conclusion, being overweight is an increasing issue for children and adults globally because of the consumption of fast food and convenience foods. Authorities need to look at taxing these foods and make healthier options more available.
This essay is 297 words long. It takes one cause of the problem and explains it, then in main body 2, the solution is given. Notice the conclusion just rephrases the introduction. I paraphrased the word ‘governments’ to ‘authorities’. Yes, there is some repetition of words such as fast food, etc… you can repeat words as long as this is done sparingly.
You can write about one problem and one solution and still get band 7 as long as it is well-supported. The issue with a two problems two solutions essay is that you will run out of time as it will be a very long essay. Aim for under 300 words in writing task 2.
Discussion essay with opinion.
Some people believe that schoolchildren should not be given homework by their teachers, whereas others argue that homework plays an important role in the education of children. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Some people think it is not a good idea for teachers to assign home study tasks to school children, while others say it is an essential part of learning. I believe youngsters need homework to achieve better exam results as it gives them a chance of entering higher education.
On the one hand, some believe that homework is of no benefit and becomes a burden to school children. This is because pupils spend their whole day studying, taking part in after-school clubs, and feel exhausted after returning home. For instance, in Japan, the majority of youngsters are under pressure to complete vast amounts of homework along with extracurricular activities. If they fail to finish their assignments they may not do well in exams, meaning they would be unable to get into a good high school. I think home assignments are beneficial but children should not be put under this kind of pressure.
Other people would say that homework plays a vital role in the development of knowledge for students and I agree with this. One reason for this is that home study tasks help pupils understand school subjects better and allow them to attain higher grades. For example, according to extensive research, pupils aged between 10 and 16 who are given a large amount of mathematics homework do far better in tests than those who are not given any home assignments. I believe that home study tasks improve a child’s chances of entering tertiary education and eventually obtaining a well-paid job.
To conclude, although views differ concerning children being assigned homework, I would argue that home assignments are necessary to help pupils get good grades, which allows them to secure a place at university and improves their career chances.
Word count is 294 words, this is long enough for an IELTS essay. Notice the way I have used specific language to mention people’s views.. ‘ On the one hand, some believe that…’ / ‘ Other people would say that …… One reason for this is….’ This is needed in a discussion essay. I also stated my views in every paragraph, my position is very clear as I agree with the side that says homework is necessary for children.
Students today can easily access information online, so libraries are no longer necessary. Do you agree or disagree?
It is argued that libraries are unnecessary these days because students have easy access to information via the internet. I disagree with this because libraries allow people to attain specialised types of information and are important for students to study in a quiet environment.
Even though it is true that students find it much easier to get specific academic information connected to their studies on the internet, I think that libraries are still essential in schools and universities as well as public library facilities. One reason for this is that some types of specialised information cannot be found on the internet. For instance, most well-known academic authors do not immediately publish their recent work online, instead, they publish books explaining their analyses and results. Therefore these books are usually found in university or school libraries before they appear on the world wide web.
Another reason why I believe that they are necessary is that students need places to concentrate and focus. Libraries are perfect environments for this as they are very quiet and everyone there is motivated to investigate and study. As a result, they create an academic environment that encourages deep concentration. To illustrate this, there is some evidence to suggest that more and more students are spending a larger proportion of their time in the library researching and writing. This is because a silent academic atmosphere helps them to study harder which leads to better results in exams.
In conclusion, although the internet is of great benefit to students, I believe that libraries are still necessary as they grant access to specialised sources of information and their facilities provide better conditions for studying.
Word count is 282 words here, long enough. I have disagreed with the opinion presented in the task question. In main body one is the first reason why I disagree, in main body two is the second reason why I disagree. The conclusion rephrases my views. My opinion and examples do not have to be true (actually I think academic authors first publish online rather than in books) but this doesn’t matter as I have taken the main idea and developed it. The examiner wants to see how you use language.
‘Outweigh’ Advantage Disadvantage essay.
Traffic and accommodation problems are increasing and the government should encourage businesses to move from cities to rural areas. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Housing and traffic congestion is a growing issue in metropolitan areas, and it is argued that the government ought to persuade companies to relocate to the countryside. I think that the advantages of this outweigh the downsides because housing and business overheads are more affordable and there are fewer traffic problems.
Admittedly, there are disadvantages to relocating businesses and companies to rural areas. One particular downside is that many employees have settled with their families and own their own homes, so moving to a rural area would uproot them and their families. Besides this, they may not be suited to life in the country, which could cause stress and motivation issues. To illustrate this, research has shown that many people who are transferred to new offices in small towns and rural locations feel bored, and lonely, and have trouble settling down.
Despite the downsides, I believe that the advantages of moving out of big cities far outweigh the disadvantages. This is because housing is larger and much more affordable in rural areas. That is to say, a small apartment in London costs three times that of a large apartment in Wiltshire which is in a very rural location. Company overheads are also far more cost-effective outside of cities. For instance, an office space 20 miles out of London tends to be much bigger, and overall rental costs are considerably lower than that of central London. Another obvious benefit is that traffic congestion is no longer an issue in rural areas or villages.
In conclusion, although there may be downsides to companies moving out of cities, I think that relocating to the countryside carries more advantages because of cost-effective housing, less traffic, and business rents are lower.
Word count is 285 words here. This is a special type of essay as you need to state your opinion, the question ‘Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? ‘means which side do you think is stronger? the advantages or the disadvantages? In this essay, my position is that ‘the advantages of businesses moving to the countryside is stronger than the disadvantages.’ You must also cover the disadvantages too, as I have done in main body one.
Advantage Disadvantage essay.
Some parents buy their children a large number of toys to play with. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a child having a large number of toys?
Some parents purchase many toys for their children to play with. One particular advantage of this is that these toys help to develop a child’s cognitive abilities and motor skills, however, the disadvantage is that children may take too many toys for granted and lose focus and concentration.
One benefit of giving children many toys is that they can develop their cognitive functions and coordination faster. This means that if a young child has access to building blocks they learn about balance and coordination. Additionally, when a child plays with educational games, such as alphabet soup or toy cash registers, they will develop their thought processes and overall brain function. For instance, there is evidence to suggest that children under the age of seven, who play with various kinds of handheld puzzle toys, play doctor kits, and coding kits, had better hand-eye movement and improve their basic math and phonics skills rapidly.
However, the downside to having too many toys is that it is easy for children to become bored and restless with so many choices. This is because they lose interest quickly and their focus tends to become scattered as they flit from one toy to another. For example, compared to when I was a child, youngsters nowadays tend to have a huge collection of toys. After they get a new present for Christmas they become bored with it, and within a few days, they ignore it. As a result, many youngsters become impatient and their attention span becomes much shorter. This can lead to a lack of focus particularly with studying and homework.
In conclusion, although a child’s cognitive processes improve with having a wide choice of toys, the downside is that this can lead to boredom, poor concentration, and impatience.
This type of advantage disadvantage essay does not ask for a direct opinion, so I just clearly stated what the advantage and disadvantage are in both main body paragraphs and explained it well. My position is clear throughout the essay even though I do not state ‘I think…’ or ‘In my view…’
I have taken one advantage and one disadvantage here. This is ok and can still get you a Band 7 as long as it is well-explained, relevant, and supported.
Two-part question essay.
Most people agree that money cannot buy happiness. Why is happiness difficult to define? How can people achieve happiness?
Many people agree with the idea that happiness cannot be bought. Happiness is difficult to define because everyone has a different concept of it. I think people can become happier by changing their mindset, spending time in nature, and working on themselves more.
The notion of what makes people happy is hard to grasp because of differing views as to what contributes to happiness. Some feel that money is key, others would say that family is the main factor, and yet others believe that freedom and self-expression contribute to a happy existence. To illustrate this, recent research by leading psychologists in the USA has shown that opinions vary greatly. The vast majority said that freedom and creativity were paramount, while many others cited a multitude of other reasons for happiness, one of those being financial gain.
In my view, people can become much happier with introspection and meditation. When an individual works on themselves and reflects on their inner feelings it leads to emotional maturity. All too often it is easy to focus on the outside world and materialism and this can lead to a shallow existence where success can become a hollow pursuit. I believe that by spending time in nature, such as walking in the forest, meditation, and working on inner feelings, we can achieve far greater happiness than focusing on material success such as a making lots of money or pursuing fame and recognition.
To sum up, although happiness is hard to clearly define due to varying opinions, I think that through meditation, introspection, and time in nature an individual can develop a greater sense of well-being.
Word count is 287 words. It is pretty straightforward here, just answer the first question in main body one: Why is happiness difficult to define? then answer the second question in main body 2: How can people achieve happiness?
The second question asks for my opinion as it says ‘How?’. The thesis statement answers the 2 questions concisely. My whole introduction is simple and concise at 43 words.