Once you are all geared up for IELTS, you must be itching to get your hands on the essay! The big activity where you can actually write out all the English you’ve been learning! Yes, we do know the feeling. 

Nevertheless, let us remind you that the essay also carries a greater share of the marks and you only get 40 minutes to write at least 250 words. But do not worry. We are here with all the details you need, in order to become a pro at essay writing!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Format

In the Writing Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

Here you will be asked to write a semi-formal/neutral discursive essay of at least 250 words in the answer book provided.

The task instructions give information about a point of view, argument or problem. They also tell you how to discuss this, which may involve providing general factual information, outlining and/or presenting a solution, justifying an opinion, evaluating evidence and ideas.

Topics are usually of general interest,  – such as: whether children’s leisure activities should be educational, why families are not so close as they used to be and how they could be brought closer, how environmental problems can be solved, who should pay for the care of old people, whether smoking should be banned in public places.

What Skills does it test?

This task assesses your ability to:

  • Follow English discursive writing conventions (i.e. what order to put information in, what style to use, how to start and finish discursive writing, how to paragraph).
  •  To organise and link information coherently and cohesively.
  •  To use language accurately and appropriately.

In both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions, Task 2 requires you to formulate and develop a position in relation to a question or statement. Your ideas should be supported by evidence, and examples may be drawn from your own experience. Responses must be at least 250 words in length. Scripts under the required minimum word limit will be penalised.

The other three assessment criteria (Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy) are the same for Task 1 and Task 2.

21 Essay Topics for IELTS Writing Task 2

There are quite a number of topics that come up in IELTS Writing task 2. While it may not be feasible to get familiarised with all of them, we can surely practice with the ones that are common. Here we have prioritised the most common topics that come in IELTS Writing Task 2:

  1. Health: Exercise, Dealing with epidemics, Modern treatment
  2. Environment: Endangered species and their protection, Environmental issues, Role of people and the government in preserving environment etc.
  3. Education: Importance of discipline in school, Role of Teachers, Educational aids to underprivileged countries etc.
  4. Crime: Types of Punishments, Criminal rehab, Psychology of a Criminal etc.
  5. Globalisation: International Marketing, 
  6. Public Transport: Necessity of public transport, Maintenance of Public Transport
  7. Food: Healthy diet, Fast food and obesity
  8. Society: Problem of Poverty, Overpopulation
  9. Technology: Social Media, Hacking, etc
  10. Government Spending: Is the Government spending enough on roads?, Should hospitals have more funding?
  11. Art: Learning art in school, Censoring Artworks, Importance of Funding etc.
  12. Business and Money: Small businesses, Multinational companies and their implications, Management and Leadership etc.
  13. Family and Children: Joint family Vs Nuclear family, Modern parenting etc
  14. Media and Advertising: Necessity of advertising, Media coverage of a particular incident etc.
  15. Personality and Communication: Types of communications, Development of character etc.
  16. Language: Travel language, Learning different languages, Relation between Language and Culture etc.
  17. Reading: Books and Education, Reading for Children, Books Vs e-books.
  18. Economics: Global economy, Cash Vs going Cashless, Internet Banking.
  19. Tourism: Tourism as an Industry, Travel and Culture etc.
  20. Work: Work ethics, Gender issues and jobs, part time work etc.
  21. Transport: Modern transportations and their limitations, Forms of transport etc.

These are just broad topics and each topic can have several subtopics. While you are practicing writing essays, these are what you would need:


  1. Prevention of health problems and illness is more important than treatment and medicine. Government funding should reflect this. To what extent do you agree?
  2. The number of people who are at risk of serious health problems due to being overweight is increasing. What is the reason of the growth in over- weight people in the society? How can this problem be solved?
  3. Healthcare should not be provided for free regardless of a person’s income. The health of a person is in their own hands and they should, therefore, be held accountable for that. Do you agree with this opinion?


  1. With deforestation, urban development and illegal hunting, many animal species are becoming endangered and some are even facing extinction. Do you think it is important to protect animals? What can be done to deal with this problem?
  1. Many people think it is very important to protect the environment but they make no effort to do it themselves. Why do you think this is the case? What actions should individuals take to protect the environment?
  1. Explain some of the ways in which humans are damaging the environment. What can governments do to address these problems? What can individual people do?


  1. Only formal examinations, written or practical, can give a clear picture of students’ true knowledge and ability at university level. Continuous assessment like course work and projects are poor measures of student ability. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  1. In many countries, schools have severe problems with student behaviour. What do you think are the causes of this? What solutions can you suggest?
  1. Many people say that the only way to guarantee a good job is to complete a course of university education. Others claim that it is better to start work after school and gain experience in the world of work. Discuss both views and give your own opinion


  1. In many countries, tourism is a major part of the economy, but it also causes environmental damage and ruins the places it exploits. It is argued that tourists should pay an additional tax to compensate for this damage. Do you agree?
  1. Some people think the advantages of international tourism outweigh its disadvantages. To what extent do you agree?
  1. It is said that travel broadens the mind. What can we learn by travelling to other countries? Should we first explore our own countries?

Things to Remember

Before you start writing the essay it is important that you know the following information:

  • You should make sure that you complete the task carefully and provide a full and relevant response.
  • You should organise your ideas clearly and make sure to support their argument with relevant examples (including from your own experience where relevant) or evidence. 
  • For this task, you need to be able to communicate more abstract and complex ideas and use a range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. 
  • Task 2 contributes twice as much to the final Writing band score as Task 1. Therefore, those who fail to attempt to answer this task will greatly reduce their chance of achieving a good score.
  • Here you are asked to write at least 250 words and will be penalised if the answer is too short. 
  • You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task.
  • Remember that you will be penalised for irrelevance if the response is off-topic or is not written as full, connected text (e.g. using bullet points in any part of the response, or note form, etc.). 
  • Keep an eye out for plagiarism. You will be heavily penalised if you are found copying from another source.

Recommended Reading

IELTS Cohesive Devices: The Complete Guide
Common Uncountable Nouns: Word List
IELTS Writing Task 1: Study Guide, Information & Tips
9 Superb Ways to Improve Your IELTS Writing
9 Common Grammar Mistakes to be Avoided in IELTS


IELTS Writing Task 2 can be the most challenging part of the entire exam system. Therefore it is highly recommended that you put in a lot of effort to score well in this component. You may consider getting a personal trainer who can tell you where you need to work harder and give you feedbacks on your writings. Remember, the key to a high score in IELTS is improvement.

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About the Author

Indulekha Prabha

My name is Indulekha Prabha. I am an English teacher and a content writer by profession. When I'm not working you can find me writing fiction, reading poetry and painting.

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