7 model answers: IELTS writing task 2

ielts model answers writing task 2
A model answer for each type of IELTS essay

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 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 are able to 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)

Task Question

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?

Model Answer

Nations worldwide are dealing with the increasing issue of obesity. This 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 exercising.

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. After a long day at work, it is easier to just buy ready meals in the supermarket or get a takeaway. For instance, In the UK sales of these types of foods have risen considerably since 1990, this is due to busy people seeing cooking at home as time-consuming. To tackle this issue the government should take steps to increase tax on high fat, high sugar or unhealthy foods. Therefore, consumers would think twice about the foods they consume which could lead to them losing weight.

Another problem that needs to be considered is lack of exercise. As a result of leading a hectic life with pressures at work, many people are just too tired to go to the gym or join a sports club. For example, after a hard day at work, most people prefer to just 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 health and 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 peoples health and a reduction in weight gain.

In conclusion, being overweight is an increasing issue because of 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.


Notes:

The word count here is very high at around 350 words. This is because I chose to include 2 problems and 2 solutions. in fact you should be aiming for under 300 words. You can just take one main 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)

Task Question

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?

Model Answer

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 over consumption 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 take away. For instance, a 2015 Report by the UK government found that sales of these types of foods have risen considerably in the past 20 years. If the issue is not addressed soon, there will most likely be an epidemic of obesity related illnesses such as diabetes in the near future.

To tackle this issue governments need to increase 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 healthier life. To illustrate this, in 2014, 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 in 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. Administrations need to look at taxing these foods and make healthier options more available.


Notes:

This essay is 293 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 ‘administrations’.  Yes, there is some repetition of words such as fast food etc…  you can actually 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 and may make a lot more mistakes as it will be a very long essay.


Discussion essay with opinion.

Task Question

Some people believe that school children 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.

Model Answer

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. In my view, youngsters need to be assigned homework for better exam results because it gives them a chance at entering higher education.

On the one hand, some people hold the view that too many home assignments is of no real benefit and becomes a burden to school children. This is because pupils spend their whole day studying at school and they feel tired after returning home, then they have the added stress of finishing their homework. To illustrate this, in Japan the majority of youngsters are under pressure to complete large amounts of homework. If they fail to finish their assignments they cannot get into a good high school. I think that pupils ought to be given home assignments but should not be put under this kind of pressure.

On the other hand, others feel that homework plays a vital role in the development of knowledge for students. They believe this because it helps pupils understand school subjects better, which then gives them the opportunity to attain higher grades. For example, if a pupil regularly does mathematics or English studies at home, they will definitely expand their knowledge concerned with those topics, which could not be gained from solely studying at school. I agree with this view as it improves a child’s chances of entering tertiary education and eventually obtaining a well paid job.

To conclude, although views differ with regard to whether children should be given homework or not. I believe home assignments are necessary to help pupils get high grades, which allows them to secure a place at university and improves their career prospects.


Notes:

Word count is 295 words, this is long enough for an IELTS essay. Notice the way I have used specific language to mention peoples views.. ‘ some people hold the view that…’  / ‘ others hold the opinion that …… They believe this because….’  This is needed in a discussion essay. I also stated my views in every paragraph, my position is very clear.


Opinion essay.

Task Question

Students today can easily access information online, so libraries are no longer necessary. Do you agree or disagree?

Model Answer

There is an argument that libraries are unnecessary these days due to the fact that 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, a poll carried out by Oxford University in 2015 stated that around 62% of students spent a large proportion of their time in the library researching and writing. They claimed that a silent academic atmosphere helped them to study and get better results in their 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.


Notes:

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.

Task Question

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?

Model Answer

Housing and traffic congestion issues are on the increase in large urban areas, there is an argument 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 of these is that many employees have settled with their families and own their own homes. Moving to a rural area would uproot them and their families, in addition, they may not be suited to life in the country so this could cause stress and motivation issues. To illustrate this, the Guardian newspaper carried out a survey in 2014 of employees who were transferred to new offices in small towns and rural locations. 58% of them said they were unhappy with the move and had trouble settling down.

Despite these downsides,, I believe that the advantages of moving out of big cities far outweigh the disadvantages. One of these is that housing is larger and much more affordable. For instance, 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. An office space 15 miles out of London tends to be much bigger and overall rental costs are considerably lower than that of London. Another obvious benefit is that traffic congestion is no longer an issue in rural areas or villages.

In conclusion, even though 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 and business rents are much lower.


Notes:

Word count is 295 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.

Task Question

Some parents buy their children a large number of toys to play with. What are the advantages and disadvantages for a child having a large number of toys?


Model Answer

There are some parents who purchase a huge amount of toys for their children to play with. The advantage is that it helps to develop a child’s cognitive abilities and motor skills, however, the downside is that children will take too many toys for granted and lose interest quickly.

The advantage of giving children a lot of toys to play with is that they can develop their cognitive abilities and coordination. This means that If a young child has access to building blocks they learn about balance and coordination, additionally, if they play with puzzle type games they can develop their thought processes, therefore, having various types of toys can be beneficial. For instance, a report in the New Scientist magazine in 2015 stated that a vast majority of children under the age of 9 who played with various kinds of toys, tended to have better hand-eye movement and were able to do basic math very quickly.

On the other hand, there is a downside to children having too many toys. It is easy for a child to become bored and restless with having so much choice. For example, my nephew has a huge collection of toys, after he gets a new present for Christmas he becomes bored within a few days and throws the toy to one side. Many children are similar to him and lose interest quickly, so their attention span becomes much shorter as a result of having so many toys to choose from which can then lead to impatience.

In conclusion, even though there is the advantage of a child’s thought processes improving due to having a wide choice of toys, there is a downside in that having too much of a selection leads to boredom and impatience.


Notes:

In this type of advantage disadvantage essay it does not ask a direct opinion, so I just clearly stated what the advantage and disadvantage is 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…’


Two part question essay.

Task Question

Most people agree that money cannot buy happiness. Why is happiness difficult to define? How can people achieve happiness?

Model Answer

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 concept of happiness is a very difficult thing to define because many people have different ideas as to what contributes 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, a study carried out by leading psychologists in the USA in 2007 over a two year period, which polled over ninety thousand people, showed that opinions varied greatly. A 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 by 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, 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, a person can achieve far greater happiness than if they focus 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 many differing views, I think that through meditation, introspection and time in nature an individual can develop a greater sense of well being.


Notes:

Word count is 290 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 thesis statement also answers the 2 questions in a concise way, my whole introduction is simple and concise at 43 words.


Free PDF

If you need guidelines for essay structures, you can download this free PDF showing specific structures for the 5 types of IELTS essays. There is no special magic structure but these guidelines will help you when planning your essay and help to really organise your ideas. Click the blue button below to get it.

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