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.

More and more people are choosing to work from home. Is this a positive or negative development?

This essay question has just one issue and one question. You must explain what type of development you think working from home is.

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?

Above, you will see you have been presented with two questions to answer: reasons and opinion (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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  1. dear Liz
    i am very grateful to u for presenting helpful notes here. they are truly informative. i downloaded your series of grammar book last year and learned quite good topics that i used to find challenging. do you have any grammar notes for IELTS beginners?

    • Sorry, I don’t have anything for beginners. My Grammar E-book basically covers everything I can thing of. Is there something specific you are interested in? If you let me know, I could plan to create something.

      • Hlo mam ..I am not able to use proper grammer in task 1 ..and to be honest I don’t know which grammer is to be use in different graphs charts etc could u plz tell me mam..r can u plz tell me the accurate souce where ..would I find ..proper … instructions tht how to or what grammer we should use in task 1..I would be very helpful if u rply…??

        • I don’t have one page or one lesson which focuses on all aspects of grammar for all types of task 1 writing. I suggest you review all my model answers and make notes on sentence structure, tenses, prepositions, articles, noun phrases, clauses, word order etc etc. Model answers can be used for more than only studying structure or general content. Then review all practice lessons and also pay attention to the grammar being used. There’s a lot of free materials to study:

  2. deepa bhattrai says

    hy liz i want to sample answers of ielts academic writing task 2

    • Model essays and tips for writing task 2 are found on this page:

      • Hello Liz, please I want to be receiving updates to enable me prepare for my IELTS exam.

        • There are over 300 page of practice lessons, tips, model answers and topics on this website which you should be using now for your IELTS preparation. Go to the HOME page to learn how to use this website. I post new lessons and tips once or twice a month because my website already has so many tips and lessons.

  3. Hi Liz,
    Do I write and underline my headings for example, do I write an introduction underline, and do the same with other headings?

    My second question is do I write an introduction, overview, Paragraphs 1&2, then conclusion for task 2, essay writing?

  4. Fumie Maeno says

    Hi Liz, Kindly advise which are the two top essay types that frequently appears on the test day. I am expecting to take IELTS test two weeks from now and think I do not have enough time to practice all 5 question types. In addition, I assume that each question types are not equally tested. Thank you for your kindness.

    • No matter what people tell you, all the types of essays are possible. Focusing on only two is really taking a risk. You have two weeks before your test which is quite a lot of time to review the five types and ideas for topics as well. If I had to pick two types of essays, it would be the Opinion Essay and the Discussion Essay – but it really could be any type. Here is my advice, get my three advanced lessons for writing task 2, together they will cover three types of essays in three hours all together. This is a link to my store: For the other two types of essays, review my model essays on this page:, also review the linking words, how many paragraphs and other tips as well. Good luck!!

  5. Hello Liz, is it okay to use templates for writing task 2 that is available online some say it decrease our band score while others say it will increase our band scores. I am really confused at the moment.

    • If you are aiming for a low band score, it’s fine. If you are aiming for a higher band score, it won’t help. The examiners are trained to spot the difference between a templated essay with memorised language in it and an essay that shows your own level of English.

  6. Donatas says

    I learnt a lot from Your lessons and only because of You I achieved the score I was aiming for. Honestly, thank You very very much. You are doing a wonderful job.

    Best wishes from Lithuania!

    • I’m glad to hear you got the score you needed. Well done 🙂 Greetings to all in Lithuania!

  7. Hi Liz,

    I just want to ask, in the opinion essay, should we always present both sides? For instance, if the question only asks for our opinion on the matter (no mention of discussing both sides) should we still do it? Alternatively, can we just structure the essay to show our opinion and each paragraph elaborates on reasons why that is our opinion? Will doing it this way (not mentioning both sides) adversely affect our band score? Thank you!

  8. Faith Omoregbe says

    Thank you so much Liz. This video has been helpful.
    I have a question.

    In Britain, when someone gets old they often go to live in a home with other old people where there are nurses to look after them.
    Sometimes the government has to pay for this care.
    Who do you think should pay for this care, the government or the family?
    Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

    Is this an opinion essay which will follow exactly the structure you just taught or a discussion essay.

    • This is a Direct Question essay. Please remember that each teacher gives different names for essay types. I call this the Direct Question Essay because you are being given a direct question to answer. It might be one question, two or even three questions. Your whole essay explains your answer.

  9. Hi Liz
    Do you think this is a positive or negative development?
    What type of essay is this please?

  10. Zahid Hossain says

    Hello Liz:
    I recently came across this essay. My question is what type of essay is this? Do you have any model essays on this type of essay? The essay is:
    In your view, what is the most important thing for governments to spend money on: education, health, transportation, or something else? Give reasons for your answers and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

    • You said that you “came across” this essay question. Where did you come across it? Did you find it in one of the IELTS Cambridge test books? Only use authentic test questions. If you don’t use proper sources for your IELTS preparation, you will easily get confused about the test and this won’t help your preparation.

      • Zahid Hossain says

        Thanks, Liz! This is now clear to me as I came across the question from a ‘model IELTS Essay topics’. published by a local company.

        • That sounds like the problem. You ought to use the IELTS Cambridge test books which are real test published by IELTS. I have collected over 100 essay questions over the years and they are also safe to use. You can find them linked to the main writing task 2 section of this site:

          • Zahid Hossain says

            Thank you, Liz, for your comments and the link. I wish you good health and happiness!

  11. Sakina says

    Hi Liz,

    Hope you are keeping well. I am not able to score more than 6.5 in my writing test. I have scored 8.5 in Listening, Reading & Speaking but writing disappoints every time. Where can I find model answer to evaluate where am I lacking? I have taken 2 computer based tests for far and scheduled 3rd one in 5 days. I need band score 7 in Writing to achieve my target.

  12. Amafa says

    Liz, thank you so much for your help.
    Two weeks ago I took the IELTS exam and surprisingly get 9 in Reading section!


    Hi Liz,I really need help with opinion essays especially for the part that asks to what extent do you agree or disagree?am I supposed to discuss both sides,thank you

  14. Hammed says

    Your materials and videos have sincerely been helpful. Thank you very much for such a selfless act. My exam is in a week time, I have only 10days to prepare for my IELTS GT.
    I would give you an update on how it goes.

  15. Neha Shah says

    Hi Liz!
    I am preparing for my IELTS and I have found your website very helpful, very precise information is given and it talk to the point.
    thank you for providing good content. keep up the great work.

    Neha Shah

  16. Swati says

    Thanks a lot Liz . Your materials and tutorials helped me a lot in my preparation for my IELTS . Followed your tips and videos for 3 weeks . Able to score 7.5 overall.

    Thank you again for the great help you provide.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Thank you Liz

  22. 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.


        • 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.

  23. Miller says

    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.

  24. Reya says

    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.

    • Liz says

      That is an “outweigh” essay – do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

  25. 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.

  26. indira says

    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.


  27. Akshdeep singh says

    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.

  28. Dr. Lee says

    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 ….

  29. 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” ?

  30. Reeta Rani says

    Thanks mam these are quite useful essays.

  31. 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.

  32. 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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