Academic Ielts Writing Task 1 Topics For Persuasive Essays

IELTS Essay Structures

Knowing how to structure your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay is an essential skill that can make the difference between the getting and not getting the band score you deserve. With that in mind, we have outlined the most common IELTS Writing Task 2 structures below.

Nearly all of my Task 2 essay follow this basic structure:

The sentences you put in each paragraph will depend on what type of question you get.

The five most common IELTS Writing Task 2 questions are:

  1. Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
  2. Advantages and Disadvantages
  3. Problem and Solution
  4. Discussion (Discuss both view)
  5. Two-part Question

Below I will outline examples and a structure approved by experienced IELTS teachers and examiners for each type of question. This will help you write a clear, coherent answer and hopefully boost your IELTS band score. I also include an example answer for each type of question so you can see what the structure looks like in a real essay.

Please note that these are general structures and they may vary slightly depending on the particular question.

Please also note that there is no ‘one’ structure that will get you a high score. There are many types of structures that can get you a high score. These are just the ones I think are most effective and easiest to learn.

For more detailed guidance on each type of question please visit the lessons below. I have provided a link at the end of each section.

Opinion Questions (Agree or Disagree) 

Typical Question Words

What is your opinion?

Do you agree or disagree?

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Direct question.

Example Question

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity, improving the neighborhood or teaching sports to younger children).

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Structure 

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement (It is agreed…/It is disagreed…/This essay agrees/disagrees…)

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence (This essay will discuss….)

Main Body Paragraph 1 

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary and opinion

Sample Answer

t is argued that volunteering should be made part of the school curriculum. This essay agrees with that suggestion completely because of the benefits it brings to pupils. The essay will first look at how voluntary work can help students develop soft skills and then discuss how these extracurricular activities are valued by universities and employers.

Education should not be limited to strictly academic pursuits and those in education should also develop life skills, such as teamwork, empathy and self-discipline, and one of the best ways to hone these aptitudes is through community service. Serving those less fortunate than ourselves teaches us many lessons including how to work with people from other backgrounds and the value of hard work. For example, I personally volunteered to spend 6 weeks in Africa teaching disadvantaged children and this led to a much higher work ethic when I returned to my studies.

Many colleges and companies are also increasingly looking for this type of experience. Most school leavers have the same grades and charitable works can help set you apart from the herd. For example, Cambridge and Oxford receive thousands of applications from straight-A students every year and can only accept a small percentage of applicants. What you have done outside the classroom is often the thing that differentiates you from everyone else and gets you that coveted spot.

In conclusion, teenagers should be made to partake in unpaid work as part of their schooling because it will help them learn things they wouldn’t ordinarily learn from their teachers and it will also boost their chances of getting into third level education.

For more detail on how to answer agree or disagree questions please visit our opinion essay lesson. 

Need help writing essays like this? Check out our ESSAY CORRECTION SERVICE.

Advantages and Disadvantages Questions

Typical Question Words 

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

Example Question

Computers are being used more and more in education.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State One Advantage

Sentence 2- Expand/Explain Advantage

Sentence 3- Example

Sentence 4- Result

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State One Disadvantage

Sentence 2- Expand/Explain Disadvantage

Sentence 3- Example

Sentence 4- Result

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- Opinion

Sample Answer 

It is argued that technology is playing an every increasing role in schools and universities. This essay will firstly, discuss student freedom as one of the main advantages of this and secondly, outline decreasing levels of face to face contact as one of the main disadvantages.

One of the principle advantages of an increase in the use electronic devices in education is the autonomy it provides students. Students have the freedom to focus on whatever topic or subject they want and study it in depth through the internet. A prime example of this is the amount of online university courses available to students, covering a myriad of subjects, that up until recently were unavailable to most learners. This has resulted in more people studying third level degrees than ever before, at a pace and schedule that suits them.

The main disadvantage associated with increasing use of technology in education is the decrease in face to face interaction between students. Students spend more time looking at computer screens by themselves than interacting with each other. For instance, the recent explosion in smartphone use has been at the expense of genuine human interaction. This results in soft skills, such as verbal communication and empathy, being affected.

In conclusion, the benefits technology brings to education, such as student autonomy, must be weighed against the drawbacks, such as negative effects on human interaction. Overall, the educational benefits outweigh the disadvantages because human beings will always want human contact and most people will not solely use IT for education.

For more detail on how to answer advantage and disadvantage questions please visit our advantage and disadvantage lesson. 

Discuss Both Views Question (Discussion Essay)  

Typical Question Words 

Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Example Question 

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question and/or state both viewpoints.

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State first viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss first viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State second viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss second viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- State which one is better or more important

Sample Answer

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the Internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

While the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap into limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomena and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

For more detail on how to answer discussion questions please visit our discussion essay lesson. 

Problem and Solution Questions

Typical Question Words 

Problem and solution.

Cause and solution.

Example Question 

Students are becoming more and more reliant on computers.

What are some of the problems associated with reliance on computers, and what are some of the possible solutions?

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State Problem

Sentence 2- Explain problem

Sentence 3- Result

Sentence 4- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State Solution

Sentence 2- Explain Solution

Sentence 3- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- Recommendation or Prediction

Sample Answer

Learners are becoming ever more dependent on technology, such as the Internet and mobile devices. This essay will discuss one of the main problems associated with dependence on computers and suggest a viable solution.

The principal problem with over-reliance on technology, such as tablets and computers, is plagiarism. Students often use search engines to answer a question and simply copy the text from a website, rather than thinking about the question. This practice is not only prohibited in schools and universities but also stunts a student’s intellectual development. For example, many teachers complain that students copy web pages straight from Wikipedia word for word rather than giving a reasoned answer to their questions.

A solution to this worrying problem is asking students to email their answers to teachers and teachers using anti-plagiarism software to detect copying. Moreover, students would be made aware of this practice and this would inspire them to answer questions using their own words, rather than someone else’s. For instance, many universities already use this kind software to scan course work for plagiarism and it could be extended to include all homework, by learners in both secondary and tertiary education.

In summary, one of the main problems with over-use of technology in education is plagiarism and this can be solved through the use of plagiarism detection software. It is predicted that more and more students’ will email their work to their teacher and this work will be scrutinised for plagiarism.

For more detail on how to answer problem and solution questions please visit our problem and solution lesson. 

Two-Part Questions

Typical Question Words 

There will normally be a statement and they will then ask you to answer to separate questions.

Example Question

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing.

What factors contribute to job satisfaction?

How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

Structure

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Outline Sentence (mention both questions)

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- Answer first question directly

Sentence 2- Explain why

Sentence 3- Further explain

Sentence 4- Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- Answer second question directly

Sentence 2- Explain why

Sentence 3- Further explain

Sentence 4- Example

Conclusion 

Sentence 1- Summary

Sample Answer

As the majority of adults spend most of their time at work, being content with your career is a crucial part of a person’s health and happiness. This essay will first discuss which elements lead to job satisfaction and it will then address the question of how likely it is that everyone can be happy with their job.

The two most important things that lead to someone being satisfied at work are being treated with respect by managers and being compensated fairly. If those more senior than you respect you as a person and the job you are doing then you feel like you are valued. A fair salary and benefits are also important considerations because if you feel you are being underpaid you will either resent your bosses or look for another job. There two factors came top of a recent job satisfaction survey conducted by Monster.com, that found that 72% of people were pleased with their current role if their superiors regularly told them they were appreciated.

With regards to the question of happiness for all workers, I think this is and always will be highly unlikely. The vast majority of people fail to reach their goals and end up working in a post they don’t really care about in return for a salary. This money is just enough to pay their living expenses which often means they are trapped in a cycle of disenchantment. For example, The Times recently reported that 89% of office workers would leave their jobs if they did not need the money.

In conclusion, being satisfied with your trade or profession is an important part of one’s well-being and respect from one’s colleagues and fair pay can improve your level of happiness, however, job satisfaction of all workers is an unrealistic prospect.

Can I get a band 8 or 9 following these structures? 

Nobody can give you a structure that guarantees you a high score. You score is dependent on how good your grammar and vocabulary is and how well you answer the question. A good structure will help you answer the question to some extent and boost your score for coherence and cohesion, but you must use relevant ideas and use these ideas well to answer the question.

Next Steps 

Looking for some sample questions? Here are over 100 sample questions from past exam papers.

I hope you found this article useful. Now that you know the structures you should check out our task 2 sample answers to see how they have been used in practice.

Would you like me to check your essay and tell you how to improve? Check out our essay correction service.

The best way to keep up to date with more great posts like this and to access loads of practice exercises is to like us on Facebook.

For more help with IELTS please check out IELTS Preparation– The Ultimate Guide.

IELTS Writing Questions

On this page you will find examples of IELTS writing questions given in the IELTS exam for Task 2.

The essay questions have been divided into common IELTS writing topics.

This way you can easily see and understand the kind of areas of knowledge you will need to know about in order to help you do well in the test.

Some of the IELTS writing questions could of course be in more than one topic area.

Animals

A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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______________________________

Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. All blood sports should be banned.

Discuss the main arguments for this statement and give your own opinion.

______________________________

Examine the arguments in favour of and against animal experiments, and come to a conclusion on this issue.

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Culture

Government investment in the arts, such as music and theatre, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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______________________________
It is inevitable that as technology advances, traditional cultures will be lost. It seems that we cannot have these two things together.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

______________________________

There are many types of music in the world today. Why do we need music? Is the traditional music of a country more important and should it be preserved or is international music that is heard everywhere nowadays more useful to a society?

______________________________

Many old buildings protected by law are part of a nation’s history. Some people think they should be knocked down and replaced by news ones.

How important is it to maintain old buildings?

Should history stand in the way of progress?

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Education

Some people believe the aim of university education is to help graduates get better jobs. Others believe there are much wider benefits of university education for both individuals and society.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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______________________________

Education is not a luxury, but a basic human right and as such should be free for everyone irrespective of personal wealth.

Do you agree or disagree?

______________________________
Some people think that children's free time must include educational activities otherwise they will waste their time.

What is your opinion?

______________________________
Formal examinations are the only effective way to assess a student's performance. Continual assessment such as course work and projects is not a satisfactory way to do this.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?



Environment

Developed countries have created many environmental problems in the World, particularly in their contribution to global warming.

What can be done to reduce the dangers of global warming?

______________________________
In order to solve traffic problems, governments should tax private car owners heavily and use the money to improve public transportation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a solution?

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______________________________
Global warming is one of the most serious issues that the world is facing today.

What are the causes of global warming and what measures can governments and individuals take to tackle the issue?

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______________________________
Logging of the rain forests is a serious problem and it may lead to the extinction of animal life and human life.

Discuss.

Health

Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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______________________________

The percentage of overweight children in western society has increased by almost 20% in the last ten years.

Discuss the causes and effects of this disturbing trend.

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______________________________
Eating a balanced diet is the most important factor for a healthy life.

To what extent do you agree?

______________________________

Do the dangers derived from the use of chemicals in food production and preservation outweigh the advantages?

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______________________________

Many of the medical problems that people are experiencing in today's world are due to the fact that we have a very sedentary lifestyle.

To what extent to you agree?

______________________________
Stress is now a major problem in many countries around the world.

What are some of the factors in modern society that cause this stress, and how can we reduce it?

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Media

Some of the methods used in advertising are unethical and unacceptable in today’s society.

To what extent do you agree with this view?

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______________________________

Are famous people treated unfairly by the media? Should they be given more privacy, or is the price of their fame an invasion into their private lives?

______________________________
These days, we are seeing an increasing amount of violence on television, and this is having a negative impact on children's behaviour.

Do you agree or disagree?

Society

Nowadays, families are not as close as in the past and a lot of people have become used to this.

Explain the reasons for this and discuss any possible effects it may have on society.

______________________________
Smokers have rights too, so they should be allowed to smoke in public places.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

______________________________
Smoking not only harms the smoker, but also those who are nearby. Therefore, smoking should be banned in public places.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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______________________________

Some people think that the best way to reduce crime is to give longer prison sentences. Others, however, believe there are better alternative ways of reducing crime.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

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______________________________

Levels of youth crime are increasing rapidly in most cities around the world.

What are the reasons for this, and suggest some solutions.

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______________________________
There is an increasing trend around the world to have a small family rather than a large family.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a small family rather than a large family?

______________________________

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

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Technology

In the last 20 years there have been significant developments in the field of information technology (IT), for example the World Wide Web and communication by email. However, future developments in IT are likely to have more negative effects than positive.

To what extent do you agree with this view?

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______________________________

People use computers when they work or go banking, but some argue that it will make people isolated and decrease their social skills.

To what extent do you agree with this viewpoint?

______________________________
Some people think that computers are more of a hindrance than a help in today's society. Others believe that they are such indispensable tools that they would not be able to live or work without them.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion.

______________________________
Nowadays many people have access to computers on a wide basis and a large number of children play computer games.

What are the negative and positive impacts of playing computer games and what can be done to minimize the bad effects?

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______________________________
Do you think that modern technology, such as the internet and computers will ever replace the book or the written word as the main source of information?

Science

Genetic engineering is an important issue in modern society. Some people think that it will improve people's lives in many ways. Others feel that it may be a threat to life on earth.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion?

______________________________

As people live longer and longer, the idea of cloning human beings in order to provide spare parts is becoming a reality. The idea horrifies most people, yet it is no longer mere science fiction.

To what extent do you agree with such a procedure?

Have you any reservations?

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