Task Description

Task 2 is an essay (about 250 words) on a given topic. There is no choice of topic. It generally involves discussing an issue and giving your own opinion. You should spend around 40 minutes on Task 2, which has a heavier weighting than Task 1.

There are 4 grading criteria for Task 2:

  1. Content: addressing the question appropriately, supporting or justifying opinions, giving personal examples etc.
  2. Cohesion and coherence: how your content is organised; whether it 'flows', paragraphs etc.
  3. Vocabulary: (range and accuracy).
  4. Grammar: (variety, accuracy, and complexity of sentence structure etc.).

Skills Tested

  1. Presenting differing points of view and supporting these with your own ideas and supporting evidence.
  2. Communicating your ideas and opinions clearly and fluently.
  3. Using a range of grammar and vocabulary.
  4. Organising your ideas and sticking to the point.

What you should do

  • Practice writing timed essays of about 250 words before the exam so you are confident and not rushed. When you have completed a piece of writing, you can take it to one of the services in CILL for feedback on grammar, structure and cohesion (but remember, ELC teachers are not there to proofread scripts).
  • Spend a couple of minutes planning the structure of your essay before you start to write. 250 words is around 5 short paragraphs. The first of these should introduce the topic or pose the problem. The next 3 should develop relevant points or arguments, or give your own opinion, with support. The conclusion should summarise the points and restate your view or main argument.
  • Individual paragraphs generally have a 'topic sentence' stating the main point. This is often the first sentence. The rest of the paragraph supports this and the final sentence should lead into the next paragraph or prepare for the next topic sentence.
  • Cohesion is important: this is the way your writing 'hangs together'. Use linking words and phrases, relative clauses, transition and ordering phrases which emphasise the relationship between sentences, paragraphs and ideas. (For practice in 'cause and effect' phrases, click on the CILL link below).
  • The basic layout for a 'for and against' type of essay could be:
    First paragraph introduction
    Second paragraph arguments for
    Third paragraph arguments against
    Fourth paragraph your own opinion, with reasons
    Fifth paragraph conclusion
  • Examiners are looking for a range of grammatical structure and vocabulary, so let them see what you are capable of. Use interesting and varied vocabulary and a variety of sentence structures including more complex ones.

CILL links

For practice in 'cause and effect' and contrast phrases:




For practice in writing essay introductions and/or conclusions:


Practice Task

You should spend 40 minutes on one task.


Present a written argument or case to an educated reader on one of the following topics: NB in the exam, you will be given ONE topic only: there is no choice.

  1. Recent advancements in technology have led to many changes in our daily lives, but some people would argue that we are becoming too dependent on technology and that not all these changes are beneficial. Give your opinion and support your argument.

    Sample essay 1A      Sample essay 1B

  2. In many developing countries, children work in some form to bring in necessary income from an early age. In the first world, many people think this is damaging and wrong but others would argue that their work brings them a sense of contributing, belonging and responsibility. What is your opinion?

    Sample essay 2A      Sample essay 2B

  3. "Fundamental changes are taking place in the structure and habits of Asian families". Do you think this statement is true and if so, do you think it is beneficial or detrimental to family members?

    Sample essay 3A      Sample essay 3B

  4. "Professional sportsmen and women give millions of people a great deal of pleasure and fully deserve the extremely high salaries they earn." Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

    Sample essay 4A      Sample essay 4B

  5. Attempts have been made to measure the happiness of individuals and nations. What is happiness, and are people in richer countries happier than people in poorer countries? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

    Sample essay 5A      High Level Answer 5B

  6. Many countries around the world are losing their cultural identity and are beginning to appear the same. What are the possible reasons for this? Do you think this is a positive or negative development? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

    Sample essay 6A      Sample essay 6B      High Level Answer 6C