How To Understand Any Type Of Writing Task 2 Question

In this post, you will learn how to understand any type of writing task 2 question. There are various types of task 2 questions and some students do not always understand what the question is asking them to do. 

The examiner wants to see that you have clearly understood the question and written an easy to follow essay for them to read, with relevant information and specific examples. 


Question Analysis

You need to start by reading the question and analysing it >

  • What type of essay is it?

Is it an opinion essay, agree/disagree, advantages/disadvantages, discussion, cause and effect, problem solution etc? You need to identify what type of question it is so that you can think about the structure you are going to use to write your essay. This will also help you to understand the question when you know the type of ideas and opinions you should be thinking about.

  • What is the main issue?

You need to read the question and pinpoint the main issue. The main issue is often linked to a sub-issue. You need to look at this to make sure you stay focused and don't write generally about the topic. Stay on task and make sure that all of the information written in your essay is relevant.

  • What are the sub-issues?

The sub-issues are words that tell you more about the topic and the areas you need to discuss. 

  • What instructions are you given?

The instruction words are the words that are giving you a command, asking you a question that you should answer in your essay. For example - to what extent do you agree? or discuss both views and give your opinion.


Question Example 1

Look at this example Task 2 question below >

Many people find it hard to balance their work with other parts of their lives. What are the reasons for this? How can this problem be overcome?

  • What type of essay is it? > problem/solution
  • What is the main issue? > work/life balance
  • What are the sub-issues? > many people find it hard
  • What instructions are you given? > What are the reasons for this? / How can this problem be overcome?

You can see here that the question is a problem/solution essay. The main issue is looking at work-life balance with the sub-issue being that many people find it hard to have a work-life balance. If you discussed the benefits of working more or working while you are away from work, then you would not be answering the question. Next, you should look at the instruction words, that are asking you - what are the reasons for this? and how can this problem be overcome? give relevant answers that answer this specifically. 


Question Example 2

Look at this example Task 2 question below >

The maintenance of public libraries is a waste of money because of computer technologies which have the same function.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

  • What type of essay is it? > agree/disagree
  • What is the main issue? > money (wasted) being used to maintain the libraries
  • What are the sub-issues? > computer technologies can easily do this.
  • What instructions are you given? > To what extent do you agree or disagree?

You can see here that the question is an agree/disagree essay. The main issue is looking at money, being wasted on maintaining public libraries with the sub-issue being that computer technologies exist that can do that job. If you discussed the need for public libraries in society or the rate at which this type of technology is growing, then you would not be answering the question. You should think about which side of the argument you side with more, then make that the focus of your answer. Next, you should look at the instruction words, that are asking you - To what extent do you agree or disagree? give relevant answers that answer this specifically. 


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