To help students to prepare for the essay writing in Task 2 of the academic component of IELTS.


The notes that follow are to be used with the worksheet and answer key attached below. They will help your students develop writing, planning and editing skills as well as gaining confidence in this area of writing.  The overall aim is to help students add information to a skeleton text.The exercises may be used with different levels depending how much help you want to give your students.

The exercises are all variations of a sample text written by a student under exam conditions, which has been modified slightly. You may want to do several of the exercises with one group or several as homework preparation or follow-up. You may also want to adapt other texts in the same way.

Exercise 1

  • Put the students into groups and give them Exercise 1a. Tell them the text stands on its own but that they are going to practise adding additional information to expand the piece of writing.
  • Ask the students to decide how they could add information to the text in their own words. Allow them as much freedom as possible. For lower level students, you may want to give them some phrases as examples from the list in Exercise 1b or give your own phrases.
  • Ask the students to write their answers on a sheet of paper and when they have finished give them to another group to check or comment on. If the students have not written them in order, the second group can try to put their colleagues’ answers into the appropriate spaces.
  • When the students have finished check their answers. Keep a copy of the students’ answers so that you can use them for another class.
  • Give the students Exercise 1b and ask them in pairs to complete the blank spaces using the items in the list. Ask the students to compare their answers in 1a with those in 1b.
  • Point out to the students how the additional information is organised:

writing ex

  • Note particularly the use of the infinitive and the use of with.

Exercise 2

  • Repeat the process, as  for the previous exercise. This time you can ask the students to cover the items or ask them to do it without any preparation.
  • When they have done both parts of the essay ask them to work out the title. You may want to ask them to do this before you let them look at the alternatives given in the second part of Exercise 2.
  • For homework, you may want to give the students another essay from the list in part (ii). Ask them to adapt the information they have to write the essay.

Exercise 3

  • Give this exercise to students after they have done the other exercises to reinforce spelling. Limit the time according to the level of the class. For a high level group give them two minutes and be strict with the timing and when they have finished ask them to compare with a partner. With a low level class, ask them to complete the exercise in pairs.
  • A technique to teach the students to search for spelling mistakes is to ask them to go through the text backwards. This will enable them to see the word picture rather than looking at the meaning of the word as they read, which is distracting. This requires training.
  • As you correct the mistakes, try to get the students to work out why the mistakes were made.
  • Encourage students to leave about two minutes to do checking when they write an essay for homework or in class.

Exercise 4

  • In this exercise, there are two versions. Put the students into pairs/groups or allow the students to complete it alone and then compare.
  • Stop-watch the exercise so that you can limit the time. Even if the students do not finish an exercise it is still good practice for exam conditions.
  • You can give the unmarked version to higher level students.
  • The exercises can be varied by giving a class the marked version and then a few days later asking them to do the unmarked one.
  • As you correct the mistakes, try to get the students to work out why the mistakes were made.

Exercise 5

This is gap-fill with some help.

  • Put the students into pairs and then ask them to complete the gap-fill with the missing words.
  • Limit the time or let the students do it at their leisure.
  • When you check, ask them to try to supply other words as well to complete the blanks.
  • If you have an advanced class, limit the time according to the level to make it more challenging.

Exercise 6

Follow the procedure as in the Exercise 3 and 4.

When you are training to check for mistakes, it is a good idea to ask students to check in waves, i.e. to look for only one type of mistake at a time. For example, students frequently make mistakes with adding or leaving off ‘s’. As they become more efficient the students can then combine looking for all types of mistake at one time. It is very difficult to look for grammar, meaning, spelling, punctuation, corrections simultaneously.

Exercise 7

This exercise can be done independantly of the others (as with all exercises on the worksheet), or it can be done before or after the other exercises. By doing it before, the students will be able to compare what they have written with the model/sample text in the other exercises.

  • Give the students the exercise to do in pairs or groups. Ask them to complete the blank spaces with their own words.
  • Remind students to be conscious of grammar when completing the blank spaces.
  • Depending on the time available, you can divide the exercise up with one group doing the first two paragraphs and another doing the last two.
  • When the students have finished, ask the groups that did the same paragraphs to compare their texts.
  • Alternatively, photocopy the exercise on A3 so that it is poster size. Ask the students in groups to write the answers to fill the blanks on strips of paper.
  • When each group has finished ask them to give their strips of paper to another group to insert into the appropriate blank spaces.
  • Allow the students as much freedom as you can, while guiding them. Ask them about a problem rather than telling them: What type of word do you need here? Do you need a noun or a verb? etc, rather than: That’s wrong, you need …

Exercise 8

  • Give the students the exercise to do in pairs/groups/individually; you may wish to set a time limit.
  • Show the students a few examples, depending on the level of the class.
  • When the students have finished, give them a copy of the answer key and ask them to compare their findings. This will help their editing skills whilst also subliminally reinforcing the grammar in the text.
  • Alternatively, divide the students into groups of say four and give three of them a copy of the exercise. Give the fourth student a copy of the Key. Ask the fourth student to read the text several times and then take it away from him/her.
  • Ask the students to find the extra words with the fourth student acting as monitor for each group.
  • Weaker students could be given a copy of the answer key to study. After a short while, take the answer key away from them and then give them a copy of the exercise to find the extra words. Then let them look at the answer key to identify the words again.
  • After finishing, check the answers with the class as a whole.

Exercise 9

Give the students the exercise to do in pairs/groups or individually. Time limit the exercise if you are practising speed-editing. You may also wish to break up the exercises and do at different speeds. You may also wish to do the monitor activity that was described with Exercise 8 above.

Exercise 10

This exercise can be done in one or two parts. How much help you give will depend on the level of the class.

  • Ask the students to work in pairs/groups and give each pair the first two paragraphs of the text in note form.
  • Point out that the notes each box contains is a sentence in note form and they have to add the ‘small words’ to link them together.
  • You may want to limit the exercise to one or two sentences depending on the level of the class.
  • Ask students to explore different ways of making sentences in each case.
  • Once finished, ask the students to compare their answers with the answer key, then check the answers with the whole class.
  • Alternatively, follow the above procedure but do not allow the students to write anything down. Tell them they can look words up but not write notes. This will have to be monitored carefully, as the students will all want to write. Ask the students to hold the text in their heads.
  • When they have finished and you have finished checking, ask the students to write down the sentences.
  • Allow variations on what was decided and ask them to help each other.
  • Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the exercise.

Exercise 11

Repeat the same procedure as in Exercise 10.


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