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Basic structure of Task 2 Essay

Basic structure of an IELTS essay

Basically, an IELTS essay is structured like a typical academic essay. It mainly consists of three parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Conclusion

We will use following essay topic to illustrate the 3 different components:

[info]You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

The world is experiencing a dramatic increase in population. This is causing problems not only for poor undeveloped countries but also for industrialized and developed nations.

What are the effects of this problem and what solutions are there?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

You should write at least 250 words.[/info]To understand the structure, let’s take a look at all three components in detail:

1. Introduction

While academic essays that are written in university classes usually have a long introduction, you should keep your introduction for the IELTS essay short. Keep in mind that you only have limited time for this essay (40 minutes). So, you need to write your introduction rather quickly so you have enough time for the other parts.

A typical introduction consists of 2 components:

  • State the topic/theme of the essay by paraphrasing the information that is given to you in the question
  • Clearly state your position (opinion) about the topic. If the question does not ask for opinion, you need to state what you are going to write about.

Here is an example introduction for the above essay question about overpopulation:

[info]The last decades have seen enormous changes in the number of people inhabiting the earth. While this development may be a positive sign as it implies better health conditions and longer life expectancy, there are a number of negative effects for which poor undeveloped countries as well as industrialized and developed nations need to find solutions.[/info]

The first part of the introduction refers to the topic (overpopulation).

The second part, printed in bold, clearly states the writer’s position (in this case the opinion is not asked for, so it says what the essay will be about: negative effects). Make sure you always have a position in your introduction as otherwise you will lose marks.[divider_advanced color="#A3C3FF" thickness="4" width="500px"]

2. Body Paragraphs

Although there is not a required number of paragraphs in an IELTS essay, you should have 2 or 3 body paragraphs.

Each paragraph should be about one main idea, and have examples to support this.

Let’s look at the first paragraph for the essay about overpopulation. The essay is about the effects of and possible solutions for overpopulation, so these will need to be discussed in separate paragraphs.

Here is the first body paragraph:

[info]To begin with the effects for undeveloped nations, most poor countries do not have the capabilities or resources to cope with the needed amounts of food to feed a large population. Specifically countries that do not employ large-scale industrialized agricultural technology will not be able to supply enough food for their population. Consequently, this could result in a food crisis and famine.[/info]

The main idea in this first paragraph is the ‘effects on undeveloped nations’, and the example is used is the incapability to supply enough food which results in a food crisis.

The next paragraph is going to be about the effects on developed, industrialized nations.

The topic sentence in the next paragraph signals that we will now look at developed nations that also suffer from negative consequences:

[info]Similarly, developed and industrialized nations also face negative effects from overpopulation. For example, a prolonged life expectancy means that many industrialized nations have a large population of old citizens who don’t work anymore but are receiving money in form of pensions from the government. If there are more citizens receiving money from the government than there are people paying taxes, it creates a budget deficit which in turn has negative effects on the economy.[/info]

The final body paragraph illustrates possible solutions for the problems:

[info]In order to solve the problem of overpopulation, nations need to adapt guidelines and policies that will limit the number of citizens. To illustrate this, some developing countries like China have implemented policies to limit the number of children a family can have. Industrialized nations need to rethink their policies regarding age of retirement and the pension system as a whole in order to cope with this problem.[/info]

[divider_advanced color="#A3C3FF" thickness="4" width="500px"]

3. Conclusion

The conclusion should ideally repeat your position, and end with a final recommendation or thought about the future.

  • Re-state what the essay is about (re-write the last sentence of your introduction in different words)
  • Give a final thought

Here is an example:

[info]In conclusion, overpopulation is a problem that poor countries as well as developed countries face. The former have to deal with problems of food supply while the latter have problems with an aging population. If countries want to tackle these issues, they need to think of possible solutions and policies.[/info]

The complete essay would look like this:

[info]The last decades have seen enormous changes in the number of people inhabiting the earth. The world population is rapidly growing with no signs of slowing down. While this development may be a positive sign as it implies better health conditions and longer life expectancy, there are a number of negative effects for which poor undeveloped countries as well as industrialized and developed nations need to find solutions.

To begin with the effects for undeveloped nation, most poor countries do not have the capabilities or resources to cope with the needed amounts of food to feed a large population. Specifically countries that do not employ large-scale industrialized agricultural technology will not be able to supply enough food for their population. Consequently, this could result in a food crisis and famine.

Similarly, developed and industrialized nations also face negative effects from overpopulation. For example, a prolonged life expectancy means that many industrialized nations have a large population of old citizens who don’t work anymore but are receiving money in form of pensions from the government. If there are more citizens receiving money from the government than there are people paying taxes, it creates a budget deficit which in turn has negative effects on the economy.

In conclusion, overpopulation is a problem that poor countries as well as developed countries face. The former have to deal with problems of food supply while the latter have problems with an aging population. If countries want to tackle these issues, they need to think of possible solutions and policies.    (254 words)[/info]

About Ian

Ian is an experienced IELTS teacher trying to help people achieve better scores on the IELTS test.

One comment

  1. Respected sir.your classes through face book is very helpful.i am trying my ielts 2nd time…hope your classes will be there in future

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