Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Have you experienced these, and felt a little lost? A tad confused? A bit unsure?

Not after today!

You can listen to a recent episode about IELTS mixed question types and the strategy to answer them, and then you can come back and read this article for more detailed examples.

3 Essay Types

Probably since the beginning of IELTS, oh so long ago, IELTS teachers and textbooks have taught you that there are 3 different essays you need to master.

The belief up until recently was that you could use one of these three to tackle every IELTS Task 2 essay question.

These 3 essays are:

  • Argument– Discuss both sides of an issue and give your opinion.
  • Thesis or Opinion– Mostly discuss your opinion, choosing one side. You still must acknowledge the other side, though.
  • Problem/Solution– Discuss the causes/effects/solutions of a problem.

As of this year, however, there have been more questions which do not fully fit in just one of these essay categories.

Examples of IELTS Task 2 Mixed Questions

People use the Internet for medical advice and to do medical check ups rather than directly meeting with doctors in an office.

Why are they using the Internet for this?

Discuss your viewpoints on this.

In order to answer this question completely, and get a high score on Task Achievement, you have to combine the essay strategies of Problem/Solution and Opinion.

If you see an IELTS Task 2 question like this, which presents an issue followed by two questions or two instructions, simply answer the first question/instruction in paragraph 2 and the second in paragraph 3.

So, to tackle this essay, you will discuss the causes of people seeking medical advice online in paragraph 2, and in paragraph 3 you will write about your opinion on this trend.

 How realistic is job satisfaction for all workers? 

Give your opinion on this and discuss the solutions.

This is a question similar to one found in the Cambridge IELTS practice test books. We discussed it in this lively and informative episode.

Again, you should approach this is in a clear and organized way. The simplest organization is always the best!

In paragraph 2, you will give your opinion on the likelihood that all workers can be satisfied in their jobs. (Impossible!)

Then in paragraph 3, you will discuss solutions to this lack of job satisfaction.

Some people feel that we are wasting our money in the Space Race. We need to spend money on earth.

Do you agree or disagree with this?

This was an IELTS Task 2 question from one of the Power Hour classes in our online course, 3 Keys IELTS.

In this question, we do not see two separate questions or instructions. This is a tough one!

So, we turn instead to the beginning of the question to help us organize our ideas and our essay. There are two different issues in the question.

Therefore, in paragraph 2 you should write about your opinion on whether or not we are wasting our money in the Space Race, and in paragraph 3 you should give your opinion on needing to spend the money on Earth.

More resources for mastering IELTS Writing Task 2

To find out the most simple, high-scoring Task 2 essay outline, watch this video.



Also, listen to this episode for high-level, academic linking words to use in your IELTS Task 2 essay.

What did you think of today’s advice? Have you seen mixed questions like these on the IELTS exam?

Write us a note in the comments section below!


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