When writing your IELTS task 2 essay, it is vital to have a good conclusion. However, many candidates don’t know how to do this. They wonder what a conclusion should include, and what it shouldn’t include. The process of writing a good conclusion is, to many, a complete mystery.

In fact, the conclusion is usually the easiest part of your essay to write. There is no mystery to it, and in this article I am going to explain clearly how to do it. I will show you, step-by-step, the best way to write an effective conclusion for your IELTS task 2 essay.

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What sort of essay requires a conclusion?

First of all, before we get into how to write an IELTS conclusion, I will tell you that you do not need to write a conclusion for task 1. You only need to write a conclusion for task 2. This is because, for task 1, the information that would go in a conclusion could easily be stated within the introduction. You have to identify general trends and overall ideas about the data, and this really doesn’t need to be done in a conclusion.

As for task 2, it is really important. For both Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion, you would need at least some sort of conclusion in order to score highly. A conclusion functions as a way of reviewing and summarizing the data included in your essay, and adds to the value of the essay by formalizing and improving its structure.

So, to review:

Task 1 No conclusion
Task 2 Conclusion

Writing a conclusion for IELTS

Every IELTS task 2 essay needs a conclusion. This should simply sum up the main idea of the essay and very briefly restate the main arguments. It can be as short as one sentence, although it may be better to write two or three.

Writing a good conclusion can seem a little difficult, and it is hard to teach because it depends on the type of question and also the content of your essay. However, some important points to consider are that it should be brief, contain no new information, and avoid repeating anything from the rest of the essay. It is also very important to make sure that your position in the conclusion is the same as in the rest of your essay.

Let’s examine an example answer to see how the conclusion matches the rest of the essay.

Question

The prevention of health problems and illness is more important than treatment and medicine. Government funding should reflect this.

To what extent do you agree?

Answer

I am going to give you my sample answer here, and below I will format it into a table so that you are able to see an explanation for each sentence:

In many countries, government spending on healthcare is a major economic burden.  Problems like obesity and heart disease are crippling healthcare systems, and some people suggest that rather than raise taxes to pay for treatments, more money should be invested in preventing these illnesses in the first place.  This essay will argue that prevention is better than treatment. 

The most obvious benefit of putting prevention before treatment is the reduction in human suffering that would inevitably result.  Some of the biggest health problems in modern societies are utterly preventable, and therefore it is reasonable to suggest that money spent this way would cause less anguish.  Government campaigns to reduce smoking would reduce cancer rates and this would increase people’s quality of life, and of course end the suffering of people who lose loved ones. 

From a purely financial standpoint, it is beneficial to focus on preventing sickness rather than curing it.  The cost of treating sick people with expensive medical procedures, equipment, and medicines is vastly higher than the cost of educating people not to smoke, eat unhealthily, or otherwise lead unhealthy lifestyles.  Government campaigns have led to huge decreases in smoking in many Western countries, and it is likely that similar campaigns would yield similar results elsewhere. It would be wise for other countries around the world to implement this sort of system.

In conclusion, preventing a disease makes more sense than waiting to treat it.  The benefits to average people and also to governments are significantly higher than simply investing in treatments.

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Here, I will put the same answer into a table. In the right-hand column, you will see an explanation of the sentence in the middle.

Introduction In many countries, government spending on healthcare is a major economic burden. State the overall issue.  
  Problems like obesity and heart disease are crippling healthcare systems, and some people suggest that rather than raise taxes to pay for treatments, more money should be invested in preventing these illnesses in the first place. Explain the specific details.  
  This essay will argue that prevention is better than treatment. Thesis statement.  
Paragraph two The most obvious benefit of putting prevention before treatment is the reduction in human suffering that would inevitably result. First argument.  
  Some of the biggest health problems in modern societies are utterly preventable, and therefore it is reasonable to suggest that money spent this way would cause less anguish. Explain.  
  Government campaigns to reduce smoking would reduce cancer rates and this would increase people’s quality of life, and of course end the suffering of people who lose loved ones. Example (hypothetical situation).
Paragraph three From a purely financial standpoint, it is beneficial to focus on preventing sickness rather than curing it. Second argument.  
  The cost of treating sick people with expensive medical procedures, equipment, and medicines is vastly higher than the cost of educating people not to smoke, eat unhealthily, or otherwise lead unhealthy lifestyles. Explain.
  Government campaigns have led to huge decreases in smoking in many Western countries, and it is likely that similar campaigns would yield similar results elsewhere. Example.  
  It would be wise for other countries around the world to implement this sort of system. Explain the importance of the example.  
Conclusion In conclusion, preventing a disease makes more sense than waiting to treat it. Restating the main idea of the essay.  
  The benefits to average people and also to governments are significantly higher than simply investing in treatments. Restating the main arguments of the body paragraphs.  

Looking at this conclusion, we can see that it is short and simple, yet very effective. In just 30 words, it reflects the whole of the essay. Although it presents no specific details, it alludes to everything that can before it in quite general terms. It also presents us with a simple structure for making a good conclusion:

Sentence one Restate the ideas in the introduction
Sentence two Restate the ideas/arguments in the body paragraphs
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Just remember that you don’t have to say everything again! Notice that in my second sentence, I don’t completely rewrite the ideas from my body paragraphs, but instead allude to them by saying “the benefits to people and governments…” The word “people” refers to paragraph two and “government” refers to paragraph three. Without repeating myself or writing too much, I have concisely summarized my essay.

Finally, you may have noticed that in my example essays throughout this book, I have used “In conclusion” to start every conclusion. You may wonder if this is too basic or too boring. Of course, it may seem repetitive in a book with many essays, but for IELTS you are only writing one conclusion, so it doesn’t matter. Some students think that they need “more exciting” language for their essay, so they try to think of a new phrase to begin their conclusion. However, “In conclusion” is perfectly fine. It is simple yet effective. You could also use:

  • To conclude
  • To sum up

I have seen some people write “All in all” and “In a nutshell”. These are not acceptable, as they are too informal. My advice is to use “In conclusion” because it is easy and always appropriate.

Conclusion

Here is my conclusion to this article on conclusions 😄:

5 Things to Remember about Conclusions

  1. You should always write a conclusion at the end of an IELTS writing task 2 essay.
  2. Summarize your essay without repeating.
  3. Refer to your main ideas.
  4. Try to write 1-3 sentences.
  5. Never try to include some new ideas in your conclusion.
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