There are four IELTS Task 2 types in the writing test (Academic Module and General Training), and it is important to understand exactly which of the four types you are answering as this affect the organisation and structure of your work.
- Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
- Give solutions to a problem
- Compare points of view
- Discuss a given situation
The key to deciding which of the four types of essay you are writing about is given in the Task words (the words that tell you what you are required to do). Here are some examples:
Give an opinion / challenge a point of view
- Do you agree or disagree?
- Do you think that…?
- To what extent do you agree or disagree?
- Is this positive or negative?
- Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Give solutions to a problem
- What measures should be taken…?
- What should be done about…?
- What is the solution to this?
- In your opinion, what are the solutions?
Compare points of view
- Discuss both views and give you opinion
- Consider both sides and give your view
- Argue both views and give your opinion
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages
Discuss a given situation
- What problem does this cause?
- What benefits does this bring?
- What factors contribute to?
- What is the main cause of this?
In some situations, there are only minor differences between the task words that make the question slightly different.
Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? (asking you to give an opinion or challenge a point of view)
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages (asking you to compare points of view)
In the first question, your answer could be structured with only a short reference to the advantages or disadvantages. However, in the second question, you are asked to divide your essay into equal parts of discussing both the advantages and disadvantages – a passing reference to one side of the argument here would be considered a poor structure.