Finding Ideas for IELTS Writing Task 2

Before your test for your preparation, you need to find and develop ideas for IELTS writing task 2 topics. Your ideas and the way you present ideas make up 25% of your marks in writing task 2. So, you need to prepare ideas for common topics.

Follow the links to find a list of common topics for writing task 2 and also to get a list of over 100 IELTS essay questions. You can also follow the next link to see recent IELTS topics and questions posted by students after their IELTS test. Use these questions and topics as a starting point to develop ideas.

Developing Ideas For IELTS Essays?

There are two ways you can find ideas for topics before your test. Below are your two options:

1.  Using the Internet for Ideas

Take an essay question or topic and type it into google. Then start researching. There are always plenty of model essays, which although not always safe to use as models for IELTS, are good for gaining ideas and vocabulary. You can also visit debate websites which show you pros and cons of different topics or different world issues. 

2. Ideas for Essay Topics E-book

You can purchase an e-book which contains ideas and vocabulary for over 150 IELTS essay topics. 

The ideas in the e-book are presented as exercises to help you remember the ideas and learn the vocabulary. Don’t forget that vocabulary counts for 25% of your writing task 2 marks so you will need to review or develop your word knowledge. Click here: Sample Chapter. Click here: E-book in Liz’s Store

The method you choose for developing ideas will largely depend on the time you have before your test. If you like convenience, get the e-book. If you have lots of time, do your own research.

Planning Ideas During Your Test

It is important that you take time to analyse the essay question and plan your ideas properly. You are being marked not using relevant ideas, presenting them clearly and explaining them fully. Use at least 5 mins to make plans before you start writing. Remember – you control the time during the writing test. You have 1 hour for task 1 and task 2. It is your choice how long you spend on each one and which order you do them in. Click here: IELTS essay planning tips.

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  1. Hi Liz,
    I was confused about how to use this e-book to develop my writing task 2.
    Firstly, Is these ideas in e-book should be used as main ideas or supporting ideas in my essay?
    Secondly, how to use this e-book more effectively after finishing the exercises in the e-book?

    Thank you for your useful information on this website. I benefit a lot.
    Best wishes.

    • As the essay question is always paraphrased by IELTS and the instructions vary as to the type of essay, you learn the ideas and adapt them to suit the question. IELTS is not just a memory test. You don’t memorise ideas and that is the end. You learn the ideas and must adapt them. It is your skill of presentation that will be marked as well as the ideas. So, use the ideas as they need to be used based on the question and instructions you get. Now that you have all the ideas in your head, how would you approach different essay questions – can you adapt and recycle ideas? See this page to practice questions:

      The exercises are to help you develop more accuracy with vocabulary and to help you learn the ideas more easily. That is the purpose. It is now your choice whether or not you check how much you remember and how much you have learned. You are responsible for your own development and your own self-learning – you must apply what you have learned. This e-book is designed to give you loads of ideas for all common topics and to help you learn useful vocabulary. What you do with that learning is up to you – as it everything in life.

  2. Hi
    Thank you for your amazing website and Youtube channel, and also your ever-smiling face.
    I need a favor, I’m desperately in need of an idea book for the IELTS exam. I’ve searched the Internet a lot, yet there is nothing useful but some deficient PDFs. So, can I have your advice?Do you any book(s) for this purpose?

  3. Carla Cristina de Aquino says

    Hello Liz,
    I have a question about task 2.
    When we have to write a duscussion essay (for example advantage and disadvantages, or cause and effect, or cause and solution), and we are not giving an opinion, then do we have to introduce our main points in our Thesis on the Introduction, or it is enough to say something like “the advantages and disadvantages will be discussed”?

    Thank you for your help.

  4. Sammani perera says

    I find it difficult to limit the number of words to 250. I usually end up writing long essays usually with around 600 words. Is this bad? would I lose marks because the essays are too long? In the exam can I ask for more paper?

  5. Hi Liz, I’m Charos. Could you inform me about improving writing skills? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Charos, I suggest you get my advanced writing task 2 lessons: Each lesson covers one type of essay in great depth, explaining the techniques needed for a high score. Some students find that just one lesson is enough while others prefer to get more.

      • ammara shehzad says

        Thanx alottt for ur response.ok .I bought one of your advanced lessons but haven’t got any email yet except the payment confirmation email from paypal.i have checked my junk/spam folder too.sorry to bother you, but just want to know that how long it usually takes to receive the video lesson?

        • I’ve just emailed you your link.

          • ammara shehzad says

            Thanx alot.i got it and watched it is really v helpful.learned alot from it.want to buy the others ones too but not sure as my test is on sat,the 28th may,that is the day after tomorrow….can you advice me in this regard

            • Each lesson is one hour or more in length and the techniques do vary between the essay types. You must decide if you want to learn more or you are happy just with the opinion essay lesson. Lots of luck in your test !! 🙂

  6. Hi liz,
    Thanks for guiding us to prepare for ielts exam. I am much poor in reading after putting lot of pressure still I am not reaching to my goal as I have to score 7 band. Please give me some tips so that I can come out with that problem.

  7. Hey I got 6 overall bands
    Listening 6.5
    Reading 6
    Writing 6
    Speaking 6
    Thankyou liz for help me now I will apply for canada
    Thankyou so much it was third attempt

  8. Hi Liz,
    Bundle of thanks for your guidance and lessons. I followed your advise for IELTs preparation particularly for writing task and it proved of great help. Your teaching style is very impresive. Loved your smile.
    I got my desired band . I got ;
    Overall .7.5
    Writing . 7
    Listening . 8.5
    Speaking 7.5
    Hurray ! I’m very happy. Stay blessed and keep it up.

    N.B Hope your health is better now , as you posted once that you are not well.

    Regards and love.

  9. Hi Liz:
    Thanks for your website. It really helps.
    Can I ask a question on writing task one? I am sort of confused when writing the first sentence which is usually about ”…shows the changes,number, figure or percentage, etc., of…‘. Should these four words be singular or plural form? It seems both forms are used in model essays.
    Await your answer sincerely.
    Best regards

  10. How can i improve my brainstorming and also my vocabulary.Reading test is difficult to me especially yes or no qstns

  11. Hi Liz,
    I am a potential IELTS candidate from Pakistan and have been regularly accessing your blogs, tips, and video lessons. After reviewing all of the above, I am pleased to state that all the information , as collated from your website is very useful and relevant to all the modules of IELTS ( Academic/ General Training) examination.

    The problem that i am currently facing is that I feel that i am diving too much deep down in to all other IELTS websites , books and learning materials, due to which I am falling behind my learning schedule especially considering so much materials to study in a limited time? I intend to appear for IELTS GT examination hopefully by 30th April, 2016.

    Kindly advise the learning techniques to speed up my learning process, especially when I am a full time employee , working 54 hours a week?

    Thank you for all your cooperation in advance.

    God Bless you and Family Cheers 🙂

    • I can only suggest that you make a list of things you want to know and weakness to improve on for each part of the test. Be focused and have a plan for your self training. Also review the types of questions that come in each part of the test so that you are familiar with them and have a technique to use. Lastly start developing ideas for topics as shown in Tony’s lesson above and also by reading model essays online. If you need detailed training in writing task 2, see my advanced lessons:
      All the best

      • Hi Lize,

        I have recently watched your video about how to wright introduction paragraph and it is very helpful for me.
        For more practice I Referring your 100 essay topics in that I get confused if in topic they ask to discuss both side and give your opinion. In this situation what should I have to do? I have to Gove my opinion in introduction paragraph or in the conclusion????

  12. Hello Liz
    First of all I want to thank you for your great efforts, I find this blog very useful and informative
    However could you please explain to me what this speaking topic really means
    Describe a vocation you think is useful to society.

    You should say:

    what it is
    what it involves
    what kind of people usually do this work
    and explain why you think it is useful to society.
    Thank you once again
    God bless you

    • This means describe a job that is useful to society. A good example is a doctor or teacher.
      All the best

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