IELTS Essay Length: Video Lesson Advice

Learn about the recommended number of words you should write for your essay in IELTS writing task 2. You must write over 250 words and if your essay is under the word count. you will be penalised. Watch this lesson to find out what is the best length to aim for in task 2.

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Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video: How to write an essay introduction, click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Video Lesson: Ideas Tips, click here
Model Opinion Essay Band Score 9, click here


hello in this lesson I want to look at a
very important question

that many students ask me about IELTS

writing task 2 here’s the question do I

a higher band score if I have

a longer essay now this is a very
important question

how long should you essay be there are a
number of points I want to explain to


about the length of your essay so

the first point is of course you must

over 250 words that

is the task given to you those are your

and if you write under that

there could be problems and yes the
examiner will check

how many words you’ve written number two
and here is a direct answer

to the question you do not get

more marks for a longer essay now

I know that for many of you at

if you write a longer essay you get
better marks

but this does not apply to IELTS

the examiner is not looking for

a long essay the examiner is looking for

ideas number three the other point

is you only have about 35 minutes to

you essay now they recommend

that you have forty minutes but at least

5 minutes should be spent planning your essay

you need to look at the statement given
to you

need to analyze it and you need to plan

relevant ideas for your answer

it’s very important to have

five minutes for planning your ideas and
you answer

are worth 25% if your marks so
that means

you only have about 35 minutes to

actually write your essay so

aiming for longer essay will not give
you more marks

and will be very difficult in

the time you’ve got the next point

is a lot of students when

they try to extend their writing to

over 300 words they put

lots of extra information in that essay

and this information is often a little

relevant or it’s off the topic

now in IELTS you will lose

marks if you write irrelevant

or if you go off the topic in your essay

so is a very bad idea to try to write

300 words if the information you are

adding will go off topic so

the recommendation I recommend you aim

for between 260 and 280

that is enough words to extend

and develop each main idea

in order to get a higher band score

if you found this lesson useful please
share it with your friends

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if you want to get

the regular lessons or check my blog and
you can find

all my free IELTS lessons see you next time


  1. Mam, you are so helpful. I’m your great fan. I read every day your articles and watch YouTube video.

  2. Hi,

    will it be fine if i write around 75 words for introduction?

    • It’s a waste of time. It won’t help your score at all. So, why waste your time and words? Aim for between 40 and about 55.

  3. Rajesh dontamala says

    Hello liz,
    First of all i would like to thank you for your lessons which really are helpfull.
    I have a question, in my ielts exam which i took today, i only wrote 160 words in writing task 2 in fear of leaving the essay incompete because of less time i had.
    How bad this is going to effect my score , i mean how much would be the penalty??


    • Writing only 160 words will greatly affect your score, unfortunately. How you must wait and see your results to know how much impact it will have. It depends on your performance on all criteria.
      All the best

  4. Hi liz,

    i have major issues in writing, i put so many details in form of so many informations which cause more then 350 words, actually so many ideas come to my mind at same time.kindly suggest me for good writing

  5. Maricar says

    Hi Liz.
    It is my first time to comment here in you blog though I had been following it for some time now. I have this question about discussion essays that also asks for our opinion. How am I going to structure my topic sentences in every body paragraph? Must I write it impartially or must I make it clear in each topic sentence that I agree with this idea? Likewise, how am I going to do it, if in case, I choose and agree with both ideas?

    You are such a nice person to create such a wonderful blog. Its totally helping a lot of aspirants, like me.

    • If you agree with one side, put your opinion with that body paragraph. If you do not agree with any side, have a separate body paragraph. Don’t forget to also introduction your opinion in the introduction as well. You can’t agree and disagree at the same time. For more detailed training in the discussion essay, see my online course:
      All the best

  6. JASPAL SINGH says

    HELLO MAM, My ielts exam on 01-08-2015 at Jalandhar Punjab task-2 was about the career of youngsters . I could not understand properly what should write about it .Can you help to clear about it? Thanks

  7. Sagar says

    Yesterday in exam, I wrote writing task 2 ,which consists 414 words ,now I’m worrying that does it effect my score of wiring task 2 ?

    • There is no upper limit of words. You can write as many words as you want. However, writing more means that you might have included information that wasn’t 100% relevant to the essay question. It also means there is a bigger chance you have made grammar and vocabulary errors. If you write a fully focused, accurate essay, you will be fine.
      All the best

  8. sukhraj singh says

    Hiii mam….am again here to get some help…my question is that can we skip any data in writing task 1 if the given data is very large and we are going above the word limit….plz tell me…

    • If there is a lot of information (such as in a table), you will need to select which information you will put in your report.

  9. mariya says

    Hey liz
    I had ielts test yesterday. Writing task 2 was ” students of schools and universities learn more from teachers than other source (books n magazines) .do u agree or disagree?
    I wrote,around 320-330 words which i realized in the end n couldnt decrease the word count by cancelling some points.
    I am afraid if that will affect my score. Really worried

    • As long as your English language was accuracy (you should aim for accuracy not quantity) and your ideas are relevant, you will be fine. There is no penalty for having over 300 words.

  10. Ishar says

    Hi Liz,

    First of all, thank you for this valuable site.
    I sat the IELTS exam on 11th July in Singapore and GT Writing essay topic is as follows:

    Some people believe foreign language can be best learn by living in a country where the language is spoken.
    What is your opinion?

    For this, My answer was:

    1st Paragraph = Introduction + my opinion(Not necessary to live in a country where spoken)
    2nd Paragraph = Why people think like that
    3rd Paragraph = Why I believe language can be learned everywhere
    4th Paragraph = Conclusion

    I got band 6 for writing.
    Do you think I got lower band because I talked about other people’s opinion in 2nd Para?
    ( Question only had “What is your opinion?)


    • Yes, that it probably the reason. That is an opinion essay and the whole essay should be about your opinion. It doesn’t ask for other people’s opinion.s However, I haven’t seen your essay so I can’t comment on your use of linking devices or the accuracy of your written English.
      All the best

  11. sukhraj singh says

    Mam…I usually adot this paragraph pattern for aggre/disagree or advantages/disadvantages
    4= DISAGREE(from other people’s point of view)
    Is I am adopting correct paragraph patterning…??

    • No. The opinion essay requires a clear opinion. Either one side or a specific opinion. All your essay contains your opinion and does not contain anything else. The advantage, disadvantage essay requires you to address both sides.

  12. Maria says

    Hi liz,
    Ur website n videos proved to be very beneficial for me…but unfortunately i didn’t get my desired band score in writing which is band 7.
    i got 6.5 :(…Although i didn’t write that bad but what i am thinking my biggest mistake that i didn’t answer task 2 completely
    Task 2 for UkVi academics on 11 july in Karachi was
    “Nowadays govt. is spending too much money on education,some people think that instead of spending so much money on education,funds should be allotted for other extra curricular activities for young generation”…you agree or disagree,give your opinion.
    Give some example from real life to support your opinion.
    I write quite much to support the idea that funds should be allotted for recreational and sports activities too but i forgot to give any example in support of my opinion…do u think this is the main mistake that made me fail to achieve my required bands?
    Need your advice, will be grateful to you!

    • If you agreed with the statement, then you must explain why too much money is spent on education and you must explain why more needs to be spent on activities. That means two body paragraphs for each point. If you gave a clear opinion and explained those points in the body, then the lack of examples will make no difference at all.

  13. sukhraj singh says

    Hiii mam ….ur website is very beneficial ….i also like ur response that u made for every post or comment….i want to clarify that can we use our emotions like can we laugh if there is something funny in our answer ….!!!

    • Sorry, I don’t understand. What is your question?

      • sukhraj singh says

        Am talking about the speaking part….can we give our emotions like laughing..

        • Sure, you speak naturally which might mean using body language, smiling, laughing. Of course, it’s not good to laugh too much because you lose the chance to add language which is the only way to get a high score.

          • sukhraj singh says

            Thanxxxx aa lot….my test is on 19sep…i have filled the test of IDP….some people say that the test by idp is diffcult….is it correct…???…and any suggestion or advice to me (as i have plenty of time to prepare )

            • The IELTS test is written by Cambridge ESOL for both BC and IDP tests. There is no difference. The examiners follow the same training course and follow the same band scores.
              All the best

  14. sukhraj singh says

    Hiii mam…..i want to ask you that is it correct to give any example in writing task 2 like a survey report….which we doesnt know that whether it is correct or not … Like a survey report of UNICEF reported that 40% children are undernourished….(i dont know it really happened or not)

    • You can give whatever examples you feel necessary. Examples don’t always need to have statistics in writing task 2. They can be examples of a situation instead.

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