Two-Part Essay Questions in IELTS Writing Task 2

Learn how to answer Two-part essay questions in IELTS writing Task 2 with an overview, recommended approach and practice question.

by Tim Martyn

a young family coming out of a house


Two-part essay questions are a common question type in IELTS writing Task 2. You’ll be presented with a statement about some kind of trend or phenomenon. There will be two direct questions, which could ask for reasons, effects, solutions, advantages and disadvantages, or your opinion.

Here are some key points about Two-part essay questions:

  • You should spend no more than 40 minutes on the task.
  • You should write at least 250 words – you’ll be penalised if your answer is too short.
  • Task 2 is worth two thirds of your total writing mark; Task 1 is worth one third.
  • You must write in full sentences, not bullet points or note form.

Example question

Here’s an example Two-part essay question.

Write about the following topic:

In many countries, it has become difficult for young people to afford to buy their own home.

Why is this the case?

What can be done about this problem?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Practice question

Now it’s your turn to practise. Try the Two-part essay question below using the approach outlined above.

Write about the following topic:

In many countries, people from rural areas have been relocating to cities.

Why is this the case?

Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

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Click below for a sample answer.

Cities around the world have been growing as rural residents move to them in ever-increasing numbers, and there are several explanations for this. Overall, I see the trend towards urbanisation as a negative development.

People choose to relocate to cities for a variety of reasons. Economic opportunity plays a significant role as cities usually offer a wider array of jobs and industries. The limited opportunity in rural areas often means that people have no choice but to move to a city if they wish to improve their career prospects and earning potential. In addition, the range of services and amenities in cities can be strong incentives. For example, cities generally have better healthcare facilities, so those with health issues may decide to relocate to a city in order to have access to such facilities. Most urban centres also have a vibrant cultural and social scene, with diverse entertainment options including restaurants and nightclubs, which tends to attract younger people from rural areas.

I mostly see the phenomenon of people relocating to cities as a negative development. Rapid growth can place significant strain on a city’s infrastructure. For example, as more and more people move to a city, the number of vehicles on the road tends to rise significantly. This can lead to traffic congestion, longer commute times and deteriorating road conditions. Environmental degradation is another major issue associated with urbanisation as it contributes to air and water pollution and encroaches on natural habitats, which can lead to the extinction of animal species.

In conclusion, people have been flocking to cities because of the economic opportunity as well as the range of services and entertainment options available. However, I see this as a negative development because of the many issues caused by rapid urban growth.