IELTS Essays: Five Types of IELTS Essays

There are 5 types of IELTS essays which can appear in IELTS writing task 2. These types of essays are for both GT and Academic writing task 2. Below you will find sample essay questions for each type of essay and links to model answers.  Please note that IELTS teachers sometimes divide essays into different categories based on how they teach.

1) IELTS Opinion Essay

This type of essay is where you are presented with someone else’s opinion and you are asked if you agree or disagree with it. The opinion is often flawed or extreme in its views. Some teachers call this the Argumentative Essay. The instructions can be written in a number of ways. Below are a few examples:

  • To what extent do you agree?
  • Do you agree?
  • Do you agree or disagree?
  • What is your opinion?

No matter how the instructions are written, you can take any position you want: agree, disagree or partial agreement (balanced view). Below is an example essay question:

Opinion Essay Question: Some people think that only electric cars should be allowed on the road by 2040. Do you agree?

2) IELTS Discussion Essay

This type of essay presents you with a statement and you must present the two sides. This might be two sides of the same issue:

Some people think there should be free health care for all people, but others disagree. Discuss both sides.

Or it might be two separate issues which you need to discuss:

Some people think that urban spaces should be used for parks rather than for housing. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

3) IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essays

There are two types of questions in this category.

i) Advantage and Disadvantage Essay

This is similar to a discussion essay where you are given a statement must present the positive and negative side of the issue:

Some people think it is good for students to take a gap year before going to university. What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

ii) Outweigh Essay

This is by far the most difficult of the two essay types in this category. It requires you to present an opinion and explain your opinion.

Some people think the world will eventually have only one language. Do you think the advantages of having one global language outweigh the disadvantages?

4) IELTS Solution Essays

There are a number of types of possible questions in this category:

i) Solution Only

Some children have serious weight problems. What are the possible solutions?

ii) Cause Solution

Children in rural areas are being left behind in their academic development. Why is this is the case? What solutions can you suggest?

iii) Problem Solution

More and more people are moving to cities to look for work. What problems does this cause? What are the possible solutions?

5) Direct Questions Essays

Some teachers call these the Two Question Essay. However, these types of essay questions might contain one, two or three questions for you to answer. Below are some examples.

Pollution around the world is becoming a serious problem. Do you think this is a problem that should be solved internationally or on a local level?

In the question above, you are asked one specific question. Your whole essay must tackle this question only.

Some people spend a lot of money on weddings. Why do they do this? Do you think it is good to spend a lot of money on weddings?

The question above asks you to present reasons and then to give your opinion by evaluating if it is good or not. 

News editors decide what to print in newspapers and what to broadcast on TV. What factors do you think influence these decisions? Do we become used to bad news? Would it be better if more news was reported?

As you can see there are three questions to answer in this essay question. It is not common to get three questions. If you get three, just tackle them one at a time in a logical order.

Practice Essay Questions for IELTS

You can find over 100 essay questions to practice on this page: 100 IELTS Essay Questions. The questions are divided first into topics and then into essay types. This way you can get lots of practice before your actual test day.

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much Liz for the work you do. Your videos, website and materials helped me in my preparations. I just got my results, it was a band 8 overall.
    Have a splendid 2022.

  2. Hi Liz
    I’m from Sri Lanka.
    Thank you for all your guidance.
    Today I sat for IELTS academic paper. Task 1 was a bar chart, percentage of young people in higher education in for countries in 3 years.
    Task 2- news has no connection with people’s life so it’s a waste of time to read best from newspaper and watch news program on tv. To which extent do you agree.
    I hope these will help you.
    Waru

  3. Hi Liz,
    I follow all your videos and they are very helpful.
    I gave my speaking exam last week. But now I think the cue card question was to describe a leisure activity I enjoy and I talked about a leisure activity I am planning to enjoy.
    I am really worried if it will affect my band score. But my talk was fluent . Can you give me your insights?

    • It won’t make any difference to your score. As long as your talk is based on the main topic (leisure activity), it’s ok. Your score won’t be negatively impacted in any way at all.

  4. JANET OTIENO says

    Hi Liz, Im Janet from kenya. thank you for the good work you are doing. im preparing for my exams in 4 weeks time. your content is very helpful and I like the way you explain things. im a slow learner and i find your pace very good for me. Thank you again. keep up the good job.

  5. Thank you Liz

  6. Hi Liz, hope you are doing well.
    Liz I have silly question I know but I’m really stuck in this problem and I was wondering if you can help me with this issue..
    The problem is writing a topic sentence, you said in advanced lectures that topic sentence should be written carefully because it is kind of more important .. Please can you tell me that among these 2 topic sentences of BP1, which one is okay and looks relevant?

    1] Although we are living in prosperous times, with people in many countries enjoying a higher standard of living than ever before, there are still millions of people in the world who are living in poverty.

    2] Instead of wasting lots of money on exploration of space, governments ought to focus on local problems such as poverty eradication. There are millions of……

    Essay statement;
    Space exploration is a luxury that we cannot afford. Instead of spending billions of dollars on space programs, governments should use this money to fight global problems such as poverty, disease and climate change. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion.

    Kind regards

    • The first step is to underline the key words in the essay question: space exploration, spending billions, fighting global problems (examples). Now make sure your topic sentence covers those aspects. Neither of the topic sentences you have listed really works because, while the second one is obviously more carefully connected to the essay question, it doesn’t leave room for any other paragraph as you are tackling all problems in one paragraph. Also it switches from global problems to local problems which is confusing.
      However, in terms of which of your sentences connects to the essay question properly, it is the second one. This essay is all about funding for space exploration and whether it is relevant in today’s world or not given all our global problems.

      • EllaLovesLanguages says

        Hi Liz,

        I love your lessons and tips. They are really helpful and you are extraordinarily devoting. Here I have a question about the answer you left under Khola’s comment. What do you mean by “no room left for other paragraphs as you tackled all problems in one paragraph”?

        Looking forward to your response.

        Sincerely,
        Ella

        • It means that if you put all your ideas into one paragraph, you won’t have any more ideas for other paragraphs. By choosing one main focal point for one paragraph, you have the ability to use other ideas for other paragraphs. So many people say “I can’t think of how to make my essay long enough”. The answer is to be more careful about how you use your ideas. First, brainstorm ideas. Then select the best ideas. Then decide carefully which ideas can go into which paragraph. Then pay attention as to whether some ideas should go together or some ideas should be separated into different paragraphs. There is a lot to think about in the planning stage. It is crucial to plan carefully and strategically.

  7. Electric cars are currently being developed by many well-known automotive companies. Many people still question whether electric cars are a feasible replacement for petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. In this essay, I will explore the opinions for and against the use of electric cars and their replacement of petrol and diesel-fuelled cars.

    On one hand, electric cars are environment friendly. They require no non-renewable energy and are clean to run and maintain on the road. To support this opinion, recent studies show that the use of electric cars helps to curb pollution in urban and rural areas. Clearly, electric cars are one way to tackle ecological concerns and support a ‘greener’ environment.

    On the other hand, electric cars are inconvenient to maintain and to dispose of. The driver of an electric vehicle must recharge his car approximately every 100 kms. In addition, the plutonium battery of an electric car is toxic to the environment and must be safely disposed of through expensive means. In brief, scientists are still exploring ways to produce these types of vehicles so that they are easier to manufacture, maintain and use safely.

    To sum up, it’s evident that there are both pros and cons of electric vehicles. Despite the expense of development and the inconvenience of recharging electric cars, I still believe strongly that it is well worth the investment to continue research and production of these vehicles. To conclude, we should remain open, supportive to the use of electric cars and to their development in the future.

  8. Recently i sat for IELTS exam, and the GT Writting Task 2 was about transport and they asked “ Do you think it has more advantages or more disadvantage?”

    For this would it be option question or Adv/Disadv question?
    How is the structure for that type?

    I wrote both sides and gave my opinion in the conclusion… but not sure if its right… i got 6.5 for writing.

    Also, if you can advise how they ask the questions to determine what type of essay it would be so it can easy for us to identify.

    Thanks and appreciate all your help.

  9. Hi Liz
    I have my exam this week and searching for model questions for April 2021. I checked on your site but model essay questions were available till March so if you can recommend me to follow something for latest
    Also, can you please share me the link for model answers of March Model Essay Questions?

    I am eagerly waiting to hear from you.

    • The model essays are to be used for all years of the test. The topics are often recycled and the techniques for essay writing are 100% the same as always. The test format hasn’t changed and neither has the marking. All pages of this site are 100% relevant to the test today.

  10. Hi Liz,

    I have purchased material from you in 2019 but somehow because of my system crash I could not recover anything. Please can you share the link to access the notes that will be very grateful as I want to reattempt IELTS again. Because of Corona, I was not in my town to connect with you regarding this.

    Thanks

  11. Akshdeep singh says

    Hi
    I booked my test in May 2021
    I was just wondering which one is latest book i can refer?
    I have heard Cambridge books are best but I’m not aware about which version i should go for.
    Your help would be really appreciated

    • The IELTS Cambridge books are numbered, at present, from 1 to 15. Number 15 is the most recent and was published in 2020. However, all the books provide useful practice. The general format of the test has not changed. I personally would recommend books from 7 to 15. In July 2021, book 16 will be published.

  12. Hello Liz, this is my first message ever. I would like to thank you for your devotion.
    Can I start a “ solutions” body in the problem solution essay with “ to get around these problems “ as I found this linking device from the “ new scientist” journal whose translation is seemingly appropriate to that, at least to me.

    • This means a way to avoid the problem rather that solve the problem. So, it wouldn’t be appropriate for an IELTS essay which asks for solutions. It is better to use:
      The most effective way to tackle this problem is…
      X is the way to deal with this issue
      The answer to solving this problem is ….

  13. Hi Liz,
    In my exam I got the question of “Are there more advantages or more disadvantages” Is it similar to “Do advantages outweigh disadvantages” ?

  14. Reeta Rani says

    Thanks mam these are quite useful essays.

  15. Ibuje David says

    In the public version of the IELTS writing marking criteria, some linkers are called mechanical and it limit your band score. Some teachers say words like firstly,On one hand,on the other hand are example. I notice you use such words or phrases in ur sample essays. Are they really mechanical? Can you enlighten on what the band descriptors calls mechanical linker

    • The linkers themselves are not mechanical. All the linking words you have written are suitable for IELTS up to band score 9. The problem is how people use them. It is there use that becomes mechanical. If you have three paragraphs and each one starts with a linking words: Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, it is similar to a machine that always does the same thing each time. So, to avoid this you must be flexible. So, use all suitable linking words, but use them flexibly. The mechanical use of linking words is typical of a band 6 in Coherence and Cohesion. This means that if you are aiming for band 7 and above, you need to use signposting more flexibly.

  16. Your website and materials helped me a lot in my preparations for my ielts test.

    I scored a band 8 overall after about 4 weeks of regular practice.

    Thank you Liz for the work you do.

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