IELTS Writing Exam



The topic of study is common in the Academic IELTS Writing Task 2.

This is an example of a band 9 IELTS model answer with full explanations for each paragraph.

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ielts model answer


Here is a typical question for the IELTS Writing Task 2.

Studying Overseas – Typical Question

Many students now have the opportunity to study in other countries. Studying abroad may bring some benefits to some students, but it also has a significant number of disadvantages.

Discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion.

Before you start to write, study the question carefully and make a quick plan. The question asks you to do 2 things. First, it asks you to discuss both sides of the argument posed in the first paragraph.

Take a couple of minutes to think of 2 to 3 benefits of studying abroad and then 2 or 3 disadvantages. List them on your question paper. The examiner will not look at anything on the question paper.

ielts model answer

Next think about what your opinion is. Is it a good idea to study abroad or not? You can be on one side of the argument or the other or even somewhere in between. It’s unimportant as long as you have an opinion and state it clearly.

Now you can start to write your essay.


This is a band 9 IELTS model answer. Note the paragraphing with introduction, two body paragraphs and the conclusion paragraph.

Click here for more on IELTS Task 2 Writing Structures

ielts model answer



An increasing number of students are deciding to study overseas and many find the option very attractive. Whilst this is not something that every student would choose, it is, in my opinion, an extremely attractive proposition for those who would benefit from the opportunity.

You must structure your essay into distinct and obvious paragraphs. The first paragraph should be the introduction which usually be two sentences.

The first sentence is a paraphrase of the original question making sure that no phrases are copied. Overseas has been used as a synonym of abroad and other countries.

The continuous tense is used to show that what you are writing about is a situation that is happening now. A second option would have been to use the present perfect in “an increasing number of students who have decided to study…” which indicates that this started in the past, is still happening and is likely to continue. Either way, you need to demonstrate good use of more complex tenses.

To find something attractive is a common collocation. You will gain marks for using common collocations.

This second sentence of the introduction gives a clear position of the writer’s opinion. The question explicitly asks for your opinion. It’s a good idea to give your opinion in the introduction as this answers an important requirement of the Task 2 question.

The first part of the 2nd sentence gives a concession. You should always give concessions to show that you recognise that there are other opinions and options.

Note the use of the modal verb would rather than will. Would indicates a strong conditional possibility. Will indicates a future certainty or prediction which is not the case here as the sentence is conditional on a student receiving the option to study abroad.

An attractive proposition is a common collocation meaning an enticing or winning activity. It’s something pleasant to do. Remember to use collocations.


Learn More: IELTS Writing: 7 Study Tips to Increase Your Score

Studying overseas has many advantages for students. Firstly, it will give students the experience of other markets, cultures and perspectives. This means that those students with overseas experience would become more attractive to prospective employers operating in this increasingly globalised world.

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This type of question,where you are asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages, lends itself to a structure using body text 1 for one side of the argument and body text 2 for the alternative.

State the overall argument and position of the paragraph.

Use firstly (or first or to begin with) to introduce the first of your three arguments in support of your opinion.

You should give a result or an outcome for your opinion. This means introduces the result or outcome of your first argument.

Note the use of the noun perspectives instead of point of view or attitudes and the use of the adjective prospective instead of potential or probable. This is advanced level formal English vocabulary so try to learn some of these types of vocabulary in order to gain higher marks.

Prospective employers and overseas experience are common collocations. Use of collocations will gain you higher marks.

Note the spelling of globalised with an ‘s’ rather than a ‘z’. An ‘s’ is a usual spelling in British English, especially in London and surrounding regions. A ‘z’ is also used in other regions of the UK and some other regions of the English-speaking world and always in the USA. You can use either an ‘s’ or a ‘z’ but you must always use the same spelling for this and all other words that use this form of spelling such as ‘organise/organize’, ‘recognise/recognize’ etc. You’ll lose marks if you are not consistent.

Secondly, studying and living abroad will provide students with the opportunity of acquiring a second language at a social and professional level and, as a result, improving their contacts and employment prospects.

Secondly introduces your second argument and as a result introduces the outcome.

Note the use of acquiring a second language which is a common lexis at advanced level formal English for learning a second language. Try to remember this type of collocation / lexis to improve your mark. Social and professional level is also good formal lexis.

Employment prospects is a collocation. Use collocations.

Finally, the experience of studying and living in a foreign country would ensure that students become more independent, self-confident and self-reliant.

Finish off with your third argument using the signpost word finally.

Would ensure introduces your outcome here.

Notice the use of the conditional modal would rather than will. Remember that to an English speaker, the outcome, although very likely, is not 100% certain so the conditional would should be used rather than the future tense (will). Would describes a very high probability which is dependant on the student getting the experience of being abroad. Would is used rather than could as it shows that the outcome is more possible. Correct and natural use of modal verbs in your essay will gain you higher marks.


On the other hand, studying abroad could have some disadvantages in some circumstances.

Introduce the disadvantages.

Start the new paragraph with on the other hand to ‘signpost’ to the examiner that this is the counter-argument and concession.

Note the use of the modal verb could to show a future possibility that is not certain.

If students had to study in a second language, it could limit their performance and their success in their chosen subject.

Watch more: CAE Writing: Great Tips to Increase Your Score Dramatically

Use a 2nd conditional at some stage in your essay to demonstrate your ability to use advanced grammar. This sentence is your first concession. You must always show the other side of the argument and the question explicitly asked you to discuss both sides of the argument.

Xem Thêm : IELTS Exam Pattern

A second language is a collocation.

Furthermore, for many students, studying abroad would have no material benefit, for example studying English in a non-English speaking country or taking some technical subjects would appear to offer little benefit.

Furthermore is a good linking word to show that there is more information connected with your counter-argument.

Use of the modal verb would indicates a strong possibility but not an absolute certainty.

Always use at least one example to support your arguments, introduced and signposted by for example or for instance.


In conclusion, I believe that any disadvantages are heavily outweighed by the significant benefits that can come from studying abroad for those who would choose it or find it beneficial.

Signpost your conclusion clearly by using in conclusion or something similar. Use at least 2 sentences.

The question asks for your opinion so signpost it with ‘I believe’ and give your opinion clearly.

Note the use of the modal verb can with the verb come. This is a common expression to show possibility. We could omit the modal can and just use ‘benefits that come’ but this it too certain so we insert can to show that it’s a possibility.

To be outweighed is a good expression to express that one argument has more benefit (weight) than another.

Heavily outweighed is a collocation.

Not only would the experience gained from living in other countries be desirable to future employers but also gaining proficiency in another language can only be a benefit to their lives in general.

A nice complex grammatical phrase to finish your essay and impress the examiner. Firstly this is an inversion introduced by the adverbial phrase not only…but also

Secondly, note the use of the modal verb would and not will. The outcome is not 100% certain (will) but is highly probable (would).

Finally note the use of can (only) be. Can is a very common modal verb which is used here to express ability; the ability of a second language to be a benefit. Only strengthens the expression by focussing on the cause – another language.

To gain experience, (the experience gained) is a collocation.


If you found this article on an IELTS model answer useful you can click on the following link to see my IELTS model answer book with many other types of IELTS model answer with full explanations.

How to pass IELTS Writing Task 2

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