Structuring an IELTS Task 2 Essay

In this post, I will give you advice about how to structure an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay. Having a great structure will push you towards a high band score, and it’s not difficult to learn how to do it right. You can’t just memorize an essay for IELTS, but you can memorize some very good structures that can be repeated.

Recently, I was tutoring some students on the topic of zoos. There was a question about whether you agree or disagree that zoos have no useful purpose. One of my students wrote a long essay full of reasons why zoos are useful. It didn’t really contain a coherent structure, and that’s a big problem in IELTS. So below I will outline a great structure for “agree/disagree” questions.

How to Structure your Essay

IELTS Structure Plan

Instead of listing dozens of reasons why you love or respect zoos, think instead of a plan that allows a logical flow of thoughts. The above plan is perfect. Start with the opposing opinion and then reasonably refute it. Pick just one or two main arguments of your own and explain them. It’s better to give one argument and expand it in detail, rather than listing too many. Learn how to create an engaging introduction and conclusion, too.

Practice

Look at the following 13 sentences. They come from a model answer to the above question and follow the structure demonstrated in the image. Try ordering these sentences to make a logical essay. Consider the structure I taught you above: main point -> explain -> example.

  1. The reasons why people dislike zoos are plentiful, but primarily they focus upon the fact that they keep animals caged in unnatural conditions and display them for the entertainment of humans.
  2. For these reasons, the animals can suffer greatly and develop mental and physical illnesses.
  3. Recently, many animals have come to the brink of extinction but zoos can preserve their populations and allow for their survival until their natural habitat is once again safe for their return.
  4. Some people claim that all zoos are innately cruel and that they serve no useful purpose in society.
  5. However, not all zoos are this bad.
  6. In conclusion, although many zoos are indeed horrible places, some zoos do serve a very valuable purpose.
  7. In most Western countries, zoos are held to a very high standard and the animals can enjoy large exhibits with plenty of space to play or even to hide from the visitors.
  8. There are thousands of zoos around the world, and they are of widely varying quality.
  9. Therefore, I cannot agree with the above statement.
  10. This is not an ideal solution, but it is perhaps the only real chance that many animals now have to exist or thrive in the modern world.
  11. They also function as places where endangered species can be rehabilitated before being reintroduced to the wild.
  12. This essay supports the view that not all zoos are useless, and in fact they can serve a valuable purpose.
  13. Zoos serve numerous important functions, including research, education, and breeding.

Answer

Once you have written down what you think is a good essay, following a 4 paragraph structure, check it against the following sample answer:

There are thousands of zoos around the world, and they are of widely varying quality. Some people claim that all zoos are innately cruel and that they serve no useful purpose in society. This essay supports the view that not all zoos are useless, and in fact they can serve a valuable purpose.

The reasons why people dislike zoos are plentiful, but primarily they focus upon the fact that they keep animals caged in unnatural conditions and display them for the entertainment of humans. For these reasons, the animals can suffer greatly and develop mental and physical illnesses. However, not all zoos are this bad. In most Western countries, zoos are held to a very high standard and the animals can enjoy large exhibits with plenty of space to play or even to hide from the visitors.

Zoos serve numerous important functions, including research, education, and breeding. They also function as places where endangered species can be rehabilitated before being reintroduced to the wild. Recently, many animals have come to the brink of extinction but zoos can preserve their populations and allow for their survival until their natural habitat is once again safe for their return. This is not an ideal solution, but it is perhaps the only real chance that many animals now have to exist or thrive in the modern world.

In conclusion, although many zoos are indeed horrible places, some zoos do serve a very valuable purpose. Therefore, I cannot agree with the above statement.

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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