Today, we are going to look at an IELTS task 2 question and I am going to show you how to analyse it, plan your answer, and then write a fantastic essay.

Let’s look at this in three parts:

  1. Analyse the Question
  2. Plan your Answer
  3. Write the Essay

Analyse the Question

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First of all, we need to analyse the question so that we can answer it properly. If you just look at the question quickly, you will not fully understand it and so you will not be able to write a good answer.

Every IELTS question will have two parts: the statement and the task. The task will depend on the type of question. If it is a two-part question, for example, it would look quite different from this. We need to look at both parts and find keywords. These can help us to decide what we are supposed to write about and what sort of thing we need to say.

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We can see here the two most important parts of this question. In the statement, you need to look for the main idea, which in this case is that people are visiting extreme places. In the task, you should look for the type of question and what that requires you to do. In this case, you are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Plan your Structure

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You should start by putting your ideas down on paper. This can be helpful because it allows you to create a strong structure for your essay. Here, we can see 4 ideas for advantages and 4 ideas for disadvantages.

It is ok to note down several ideas but please remember that you are not writing a 1,000 word essay. You do not have space to discuss all of these, so you should keep it short. Just one or two ideas is ideal. You can start by removing the weakest ones. Only include ideas that you feel confident about discussing at length.

Your essay structure should be simple. Don’t waste too much time planning it. It must contain an introduction, a conclusion, and two or three body paragraphs. For an advantage/disadvantage question, it is pretty easy to structure – you can just put the advantages in one body paragraph and the disadvantages in another.

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We can then begin planning our answer by building body paragraphs around our best arguments. As I have said before, we should use just one or two. If you list ideas, you will not be able to provide sufficient development… and that is essential for a good score.

Once you have chosen the point that you want to make, you can develop it further. This could involve: explaining more clearly or giving an example. You can see here what my plan would look like. In body paragraph one, I will discuss just one advantage but I will give lots of explanation. I will state an example but then relate it clearly back to the main point. In the next paragraph, I will give one disadvantage, explain it at length, and then provide one more.

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Let’s now look at body paragraph #1 and see how I would arrange the internal paragraph structure this part of the essay. Internal paragraph structure means how I have logically sequenced my ideas. This is really important if you want to score highly for Task Achievement and Coherence and Cohesion.

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Here is how I would arrange my paragraph. Remember that this is not the only way to do it. It is just one possible way. I would, of course, start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph. Next, we have 2 sentences that explain this idea a little more. Note the references that allow me to avoid repetition. This sort of language helps increase the logical flow of your writing and make the meaning perfectly clear.

Next, I will give an example and then explain it a little, before I finally wrap up the paragraph with two sentences that tie the example to my main point.

Writing the Essay

Once you have planned your essay, you should write it carefully. Stick to the plan so that you don’t go off topic. Leave yourself plenty of time so that you can check your answer at the end. You can find free PDF documents for planning your essay and also for checking your answer at this page: “Free IELTS Resources.”

Here is my sample band 9 answer to this question:

Sample Band 9 Answer

There has been a trend in recent years for people to visit very exciting and dangerous places as part of an adventure holiday. This essay will explore the ups and downs on this sort of activity.

The primary appeal of such difficult holidays is that they provide tourists with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they will always remember. This kind of holiday feels unique to them and will perhaps fulfil their lifelong dreams. It will give them a sense of great accomplishment because they have done something that few people have done before. Take, for example, the climbing of Mount Everest. This was only achieved for the first time in the 1950s; however, nowadays you can pay $30,000 to have a guide help you get to the top. You can claim to be one of the few people who have successfully made it to the peak of the world’s highest mountain. Any person who achieves this feat will remember it forever.

Of course, there are downsides, too. The most obvious of these is the fact that it can be extraordinarily dangerous. Going up Mount Everest is incredibly risky, and even twenty years ago one in six people who attempted it would die. It is not just dangerous for the tourist, though. Guides also are put at risk while they try to make money to support their family. Furthermore, the environment suffers as fragile ecosystems are exposed to human activity perhaps for the first time.

In conclusion, people want to go to challenging places for a number of reasons, but there are some serious drawbacks.