How To Plan A Writing Task 2 Essay

How to plan an IELTS academic writing task 2 essay

In this post, we will look at how to plan a writing task 2 essay. Being able to plan your essay will help you to organise your essay structure and main ideas clearly before you start to write. 

Planning your essay before you start to write is an excellent way to get your structure and main ideas clear. Every sentence should be relevant and follow the structure you have learned from self-study or from your IELTS teacher.  Planning an essay for a few minutes can make writing the essay much easier because you will have already thought about the key elements needed for writing task 2 success. 

How Do I Make a Plan?

When you make your essay plan, you need to do the following >>

  • Analyse the question
  • Essay Structure
  • Ideas

Analyse The Question

You should start by analysing the question, looking at the keywords and what it is asking you to do. Take a look at this example >

Cause/Effect Essay Question

In current society, many people are struggling with obesity. What is the main cause of this? What are the effects?

The question is asking you to think about the main issue – that many people in modern society are struggling with obesity. It is also asking you to think about the main cause of this and the effects it is having. You need to look at all parts of the question in order to be able to answer it fully. If you do not answer all parts of the question you will score lower in task achievement.  

Essay Structure

You need to think about the type of structure you will use to organise the information for the type of essay question you are answering. The essay questions have slightly different structures needed when answering, for example, the agree/disagree essay structure differs slightly from the advantages/disadvantages essay structure. You can view the essay structures in the writing task 2 section and review them.

An essay plan for a cause and effect essay might look something like this >

IELTS essay plan

It should include your main ideas for the main body paragraphs and possible examples. You should also think about vocabulary that is connected to the topic. You should paraphrase the question in the introduction and use synonyms wherever possible. Don’t repeat the words used in the question over and over again, as this will lower your score.


Before you start writing the essay, make a plan with your ideas in note form. When writers plan out their articles, essays or reports, they normally plan out their work first, to make sure they have covered everything they need to include before they start writing. This helps to visualise the information and organise it. It might not work for everyone, but it is a good way to start planning, getting those thoughts out onto the paper. 

It might look something like this >>

Mind Map

You can make a mind map to get your ideas out onto paper or write them down in bullet points. Planning out your ideas first will really benefit your essay answer, as your information will become clearly organised.

We hope you found this post useful in helping you to study for the IELTS Test. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

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