Today I want to share with you one of the most worrying IELTS statistics: 57% of candidates do not know this really important fact!

Several months ago, I created a quiz to test people’s knowledge about the IELTS writing exam. Its purpose was to determine how well you know the four parts of the marking rubric: Task Achievement, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, and Grammatical Range and Accuracy.

Of course, IELTS is difficult and English is difficult, so there were many tricky questions to deal with. But I was really surprised when I saw the most common wrong answer. According to my data, 57% of the people who took my test did not know the right answer to one particular question.

The one that they did not know the answer to was this TRUE or FALSE question:

You do not always need to include a strong opinion in your task 2 essay.

So what is the right answer here?

statistics about ielts. this is the most commonly misunderstood question.

Of course, the answer is TRUE. You absolutely do not need to include a strong opinion in a task 2 essay. It is perfectly fine to give a balanced answer or to say that you only somewhat agree with an idea.

In fact, it can even be a positive thing to not give a strong opinion because using subtle and careful language, whilst weighing opposing ideas carefully, could be considered a very advanced approach! It shows strong thinking skills and a fine grasp of the language.

I wondered whether people had fully understood my question. Perhaps because the statement was negative, some people might have misunderstood and answered “false” by mistake. However, answers to a similar question showed that this was indeed a troubling issue.

Interestingly, a further 48% of people who took this quiz did not know the right answer to this TRUE or FALSE question:

Every IELTS task 2 essay should present a balanced viewpoint that equally addresses both perspectives.

a common misunderstanding about ielts writing.

You can see that it is extremely similar to the previous one. Here, the key word is “every.” Of course, there are some IELTS questions (namely “Discuss both views…” ones) that need both perspectives addressed, but not every essay needs balance.

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read my full article on whether you should present a balanced or strong opinion.

As for quiz, you can find that here.