Academic Writing Task 2 Tips
The second Academic writing task is designed to assess the candidate's
ability to discuss a problem, point of view or argument. The issues
raised are of general interest and suitable for candidates entering higher
Read the task description carefully. It is very easy to have an
incomplete understanding of the topic. If so you will be marked down
because you have not satisfied the requirements of the task.
Once you clearly understand the requirements of the task you must plan
your essay. Use the question paper to do this.
Introduce the topic in your own words. Do not copy the task from the question paper or it will be ignored and
not included in the word count.
You may be required to present an argument for or against a proposition,
compare and contrast points of view, justify an opinion or evaluate evidence.
Brainstorm your ideas and try to organise them into
paragraphs. Your essay should be about four or
five paragraphs in length, with an introduction, body and conclusion.
It should not be a list of bullet points, but a properly organized essay,
written in full sentences.
You need to state your thesis,
provide evidence or reasons to support your argument and write a strong
Use topic sentences to clearly
identify the main theme in each paragraph.
You could use the guide below to structure your essay:
Restate the topic, indicate
Main idea, supporting idea,
Main idea, supporting idea,
Summarize ideas, restate position
you don’t have enough pros or cons to make a paragraph, you’ll need to write a
one sided argument (unless the question specifically asks for both sides). Make
sure you still organise the ideas into clear paragraphs by making links between
different ideas. The quickest way of doing this is often just to circle ideas
to put them together.
you are going to give a one sided argument, state if you agree or disagree in the
first paragraph (introduction). This doesn’t need to be your real opinion, just
the side that you came up with most ideas for in the brainstorming stage. The
conclusion can be difficult for this format, you basically need to just
summarize what you said before (in different words and very briefly) and
emphasize your point of view.
you are going to write a pros and cons, don’t give your view until the
first few sentences of any Task Two should restate the question, analyse it
and/ or say why it is topical, interesting and/ or important. The final line of
the introduction should say what is coming up (basically explaining the
paragraph structure) - this shows how important planning is!
introducing one or two new points in the final paragraph unless you are
desperate to get up to the minimum number of words in time. If that is the
case, if you have done a one sided argument you can write "Although there are
many counter arguments such as…” If it is a pros and cons essay you can write
"Due to the arguments given above and other relevant factors such as…, my view
is that…” In both cases, just list points rather than expanding on any of them
(which would make them worthy of a paragraph of their own).
are no points for good ideas, only for language. As soon as you have enough
ideas to make a piece of writing, write!
You must write at least 250 words. Failure to do so will be
Tips only mainly for those needing very high
- Try to avoid repeating language, use synonyms etc to avoid it
- Avoid phrasal verbs (but sometimes there is no non phrasal verb way of
saying something, in which case it is okay)
- Try to use academic English (although you can get perfect marks
without being very academic and formal, it can’t hurt and shows a high level)
- You can use British, American or Australian English and even mix them
up a little if you like, but try to make your spelling etc as consistent as
possible, e.g. don’t write "kilometer” and then "centimetre”
Yes, that was very briefly! I could (and do) go on for much longer than
that in my classes…