The problem that we seem to face with task 2 is the topic and ideas. Actually this is the least important thing about task 2! Much more important about IELTS writing is the language and how you can handle the language at band 7 to express your ideas. I know that anybody who lives in the 21st century, reads a newspaper, watches the TV and engages with the world will have more than enough information to formulate the ideas required for task 2. After all you are only writing 25 sentences and 6 of these will be introducing the idea (using information in the questions) and concluding (mirroring your introduction).
Also, if you are really a band 7 candidate you will have everything you need to create a good band 7 essay you just need to practice getting everything organised well.
So if you are worrying about ideas and topics stop right now – remember that you only need 2 or 3 points – and start focusing on your English language and vocabulary.
So here are some tips to help you change this focus:
1. Firstly, go through the band descriptors for bands 7 and 8 – do you know EXACTLY what the examiner is looking for when they assess your writing?
2. Learn how to plan effectively – this is the key to getting the perfect Band 7 writing done in the time and checked before handing it in.
3. Make sure you can do the following:
a. Construct complex sentences
b. Use linking words effectively
c. Use synonyms
d. Manage your grammar well
e. Construct noun phrases
f. Identify your mistakes (the ones you make a lot – there will be some).
4. Analyse model essays (use those written by teachers – isn’t this what you are aiming at?) Look at the vocabulary (make sure you look at how it is used and not just the word itself). Check good sentence structures and then try these out yourself in your own writing. Analyse how the writer uses nouns and tenses. Which sentences stand out as being really good – why? Copy these structures in your writing but with your ideas.
5. Learn how to check your writing. A really good way is to read it out loud which will highlight anything that isn’t right and then you can check.
6. Make a mental checklist of the mistakes you know you often make – missing or wrong articles, agreement of subject and verb, prepositions, tenses etc., this is mental checklist and you should have it in your head. Try to check these things as you are writing – this eliminates a lot of “silly” errors leaving your checking at the end for re-working or changing things that will ensure your writing is band 7.