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Lesson 1: IELTS Academic Task 2 Types

There are two possible types of IELTS Academic Task 2 writing tasks: OPINION tasks and IDEAS tasks. Let’s explain the difference, because this is very important. 1. Firstly, there are OPINION tasks, which ask for your opinion on a topic, such as whether you think something is good or bad. These OPINION tasks take two […]

There are two possible types of IELTS Academic Task 2 writing tasks: OPINION tasks and IDEAS tasks. Let’s explain the difference, because this is very important.

1. Firstly, there are OPINION tasks, which ask for your opinion on a topic, such as whether you think something is good or bad. These OPINION tasks take two forms.  

a. Some of these are OPINION > DISCUSSION tasks, which typically say ‘Some people think that X is a good thing, while other people disagree. Discuss both sides and give your own view.’ Remember that the exact words used could be different (for example, it might say ‘consider both aspects’ or similar) but the concept will be the same. In these OPINION > DISCUSSION tasks, you should write about each side of the discussion, and finally give              your opinion at the end of your essay.  

b. The other type of OPINION task is the OPINION > PERSONAL VIEWPOINT These tasks typically say ‘X is a good thing. To what extent do you agree with this statement?’ Again, the exact words will often vary (for example, it might say ‘Many people support the suggestion of X. How far do you support this proposal?’) but the concept will be   the same. In these OPINION > PERSONAL VIEWPOINT tasks, you should state your personal viewpoint at the beginning of the essay, and then explain why you have this opinion.  

2. The second type of task are IDEAS tasks, which ask you to think of some ideas on a topic (such as the reasons for a problem or some ways to solve it) or to evaluate a situation. In these IDEAS tasks, you will get high marks for thinking of a number of ideas on the topic, but you will lose marks if you give a strong personal opinion. The common IDEAS tasks are IDEAS > PROBLEM/SOLUTION, IDEAS > CAUSE/EFFECT and IDEAS > EVALUATE.

In the exam, you should analyze the task carefully before you start writing, to make sure you understand which type you need to write. Ask yourself:

  • Is this an OPINION or an IDEAS task?
  • Is it asking me to give my personal view, or is it asking me to think of some ideas on a topic?
  • Which type of OPINION or IDEAS task is it?

Then you should spend a few minutes planning your essay with some simple notes.