IELTS Thesis-led Approach & Argument-led Approach Examples | Writing IELTS Answers for Academic and General Training Writing Modules

What is important when writing IELTS answers?

Writing IELTS answers requires certain writing skills and you need to use certain formats which are considered acceptable by the IELTS writing examiners. Here we will look at some of the points you need to keep in mind when you are writing IELTS tasks.
First, let’s look at the format of the IELTS writing section which consists of two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2. Remember there are two different IELTS writing modules: Academic and General Training, and the writing IELTS tasks are different in each module.

You are allowed 60 minutes to complete the two tasks. The recommended time for Task 1 is 20 minutes and 40 minutes for Task 2. Task 1 is worth less marks (1/3 of the total) than Task 2 (2/3 of the total) so it is important to not use more than 20 minutes to complete Task 1.

Writing IELTS Academic Task 1 Answers

In Task 1 some data is presented relating to a specific topic. The data or information is normally given in the form of a diagram, graph or table. However, the format of the question is basically the same. When writing IELTS Academic Task 1 answers you should remember to:
  • include an introduction of the data
  • explain the most important points relating to the data shown
  • identify trends using the data given
  • finish with a conclusion
Try not to copy words or phrases from the question in the IELTS writing test booklet as these words will be discounted from the total word count of your answer. You do not need to explain every single detail of the data – only the main features or the most important points, identify trends and make comparisons and contrasts where appropriate.

To write a good answer you should include a variety of sentence structures and avoid being repetitive. The aim of your conclusion should be to comment on the main trend or feature presented in the data.

When you are writing IELTS Task 1 answers and you want a band 8 score, or higher, then you will need to make sure that your answer:
  • achieves all the task requirements
  • has no spelling or grammar errors
  • complies with the minimum (150) word count and is easy to read
  • contains a variety of grammatical structures and vocabulary to describe the data
If you interpret or describe the data incorrectly, you will not score band 8 even if your writing is excellent. Take time at the beginning to make sure you understand the information presented and identify the important points you are going to report when writing IELTS Task 1 answers.

Writing IELTS Academic Task 2 Answers

In Task 2 you will need to write an essay based on a statement or question provided. You need to be able to discuss an argument, give opinions and suggest ideas and possible solutions. You will be presented with details related to an opinion, a problem or an argument and you will be asked to write a discursive response to the question.

Typically you may need to consider a given opinion or compare the pros and cons related to an argument and also express your own personal view or opinion on the matter. You may also be required to discuss the various factors related to a problem and present your own ideas for how to solve it.

The writing skills you will need to develop to score well in this section of the IELTS writing test are:
  • arguing in favour or defending a point of view by providing examples and supporting evidence
  • identifying possible causes of a problem and suggesting a solution
  • making comparisons and contrasts between opinions
  • analysing the results of a course of action

Example of IELTS Academic Writing Task 2 Question:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic.

Young people in some countries often make the decision to travel or work for a period of time before starting their university course. Discuss the possible benefits and drawbacks of doing this.

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

Write at least 250 words.

Strategies for writing IELTS Task 2 essay answers

There are two common ways to approach writing IELTS task 2 essays, either an argument-led approach or thesis-led approach.

Consider the following two examples:
  • These days we are producing more and more rubbish. Why do you think this is happening? What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced? [two questions]
  • These days we are producing more and more rubbish. What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced? [one question]

The first example requires you to give reasons why ‘we are producing more and more rubbish’ and also offer possible solutions linked to the reasons you give. This would be best done using an argument-led approach.

The second example only asks you one question and so a thesis-led approach would be most suitable for the task.

Writing IELTS General Training Task 1 Answers

Task 1 is a letter which you will need to write. Normally you will need to explain something, complain about something or ask for some information. These are typical writing functions you should be able to handle.

Writing IELTS General Training Task 2 Answers

Task 2 is an essay and you may need to discuss a statement, give an opinion or suggest solutions to a problem.