This IELTS Writing Task 2 post offers the insights of writing a great answer to an opinion topic. This task 2 question asks the candidates to provide their personal opinions on the continuous use of fossil fuels and the increase of alternatives such as renewable energy. In this post, you will find a plan that can help you to write this answer effectively along with a mind-map or brainstorming ideas. You will also find two great 7.5-band model answers written by two candidates who took my IELTS Writing Correction Service. I am hopeful that these answers can help you construct your own answers for other opinion topics.
Let’s take a close look at the question first:
What kind of essay structure should you follow?
In most IELTS Writing Task 2 essays, a 4-paragraph structure is followed. For this specific problem-solution essay, we should also follow a 4-paragraph essay structure.
Paragraph 1: Introduction (Introduce the topic with some background information and your thesis on the topic in 40/45 words)
Paragraph 2: (Explain why fossil fuels should not be used so much- with examples in around 100 words)
Paragraph 3: (Explain why alternative sources like wind and solar power are the best fit- with examples in around 100 words)
Paragraph 4: (Conclude the essay with a positive tone and what might happen if the solutions are not adopted. – 30/40 words)
How to plan for your answer to a problem-solution topic:
When you start writing your task 2 answers, what strategies do you follow? Do you have a plan that you arrange beforehand and apply it accordingly?
It is always a very good idea to plan before you write something; even it takes 5/7 minutes of your time. A good plan reduces your pressure of real-time thinking and writing together. It also improves your power of thinking and arranging ideas. So, utilize the opportunity of thinking beforehand and take some necessary notes that can help you to present your thoughts in an organized way.
For this kind of opinion topic, we need to analyze the question and try to understand what the task requirements are. Let’s look at this question again and find out what they want us to write:
Fossil fuels (e.g. coals, oil, and gas) are the main source of energy for most countries. However, alternative sources of energy (e.g. wind and solar power) have been encouraged for use by some countries.
To what extent is this positive or negative development?
As you can see, there is only one question on this topic and we should answer the question effectively. We should also remember to write a minimum of 250 words to illustrate our ideas, thoughts, suggestions etc.
So, here is a plan that I’ve made to establish my ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. You can do the same by doing some brainstorming and taking some notes. You need not be accurate to do this, just put down your thoughts and do some regular practice.
Now, let’s have a look at the plan:
Negative aspects of using fossil fuels:
- Coal, gas, oil – non-renewable sources, they will run out soon.
- May cause environmental problems.
- Propose the solution of using alternative sources of energy.
Positive aspects of using alternative power sources:
- Solar or wind power – renewable sources, no possibility of running out soon.
- promotes environmental awareness.
- However, producing power from these sources might be time-consuming and complex.
Now, here are two sets of model answers prepared by two recent IELTS candidates. In my opinion, the answers are quite organized and you can easily get a band score of 7.5 or more if you write your answers like these.
Model answer no. 1: Prepared by Trần Thư, Vietnam
Due to the shortage of fossil fuels, whether other natural power resources should be encouraged to harness or not, becomes a paramount concern for many countries. I believe, while this advancement may decrease awareness among people about protecting the fuels, it also solves the problem of the lack of energy sources.
First of all, fossil fuels which are the major energy resources in many nations are facing the threats of becoming obsolete due to the overuse by the human race in daily life. As a result, people should be encouraged to raise awareness of fuel conservation. However, the utilization of alternative natural energy sources could prevent people from doing this by reducing the fears of coals or oil that might be running out. Because there are other sources to use, they would use more energy generated from gas or oil without hesitation. In my personal opinion, the negative sides of using different resources of power could deteriorate the shortage of fuels.
Harnessing alternative power sources (such as solar or wind power), in contrast, could reduce the usage of fossil fuels in generating energy for a range of demanding activities such as heating, driving. While coal and oil mines are limited, natural resources such as wind and solar power are considered unlimited. This wind power or solar energy is consequently able to produce enough energy for human demand without the help of fossil fuels. As a result, it should be encouraged to be utilized in more countries in the world to gradually cut down the usage of fossil fuels.
To sum up, the encouragement of using natural resources (such as solar or wind) for producing energy has both negative and positive sides. However, I deem that humankind should consider using more power from solar or wind and less from coal and gas to protect the remaining parts of fossil fuels.
Model answer no. 2: Prepared by Somaiya Bari, Bangladesh
Coals, oil, and gas are some fossil fuels that are the most common sources of energy for the majority of the countries. On the other hand, some countries encourage the use of renewable resources like wind and solar energy. I believe this is a strongly positive development as we will be in grave danger if the world runs out of these natural non-renewable resources like fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are used in almost all industries and for running motor vehicles. We can minimize this by using alternatives wherever possible. If it goes on like this, we will soon have such a shortage of these fuels that can pose a threat to running things efficiently. For example, some industries can only run on coals or oils, though this is not the case for cars. Automobiles can easily run on electricity, and so we should limit the use of such fuels. Burning too much of these fossil fuels also contributes to air pollution. Thus, it is important to minimize usage wherever possible.
On the other hand, wind energy and solar energy take comparatively a longer time to generate and they are largely dependent on the sun and the wind. We do not have any control over them, so the production of goods might slow down if there is less generation of energy as we cannot, in fact, control the weather. Perhaps tropical countries, where there is an abundant amount of sunshine and wind, can be encouraged to use these natural sources and not waste fossil fuels. However, for temperate climates, this might not be an option. Dependency on nature can have slower production rates and lead to not meeting the deadline or having a scarcity in the market.
On the whole, I believe all the countries should be aware of the hazards of wasting too much of our natural reserves of energy and use them consciously and responsibly. Initiatives such as building consciousness about the issue should be taken to build a more environmentally friendly atmosphere.
After analyzing the answers, it is quite apparent that both the essays contain a clear 4-paragraph structure. The mind-map also has a positive correlation with the answer.
You should try to arrange your own answers using ideas from these two answers.