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Similarities and Differences between Task 1 and 2 of the IELTS Writing section

Published on May 14, 2018

When sitting for the Writing section of the IELTS test, you may not think Task 1 and 2 are related at all at first glance. When tackling these tasks, however, there are similarities and differences to be aware of. Here are some of the differences and similarities when writing a Task 1 and 2 on the IELTS test.


Word Count

The minimum word count is the most noticeable difference. For both the Academic and General Training tests, a minimum of 150 words is required for Task 1, while a minimum of 250 words is required for Task 2. There is no maximum word count for either task even though a minimum word count is necessary.


The next major difference between Task 1 and Task 2 is the timing. For Task 1, 20 minutes should be the maximum amount of time spent on writing, while 40 minutes should be allotted for Task 2. Always spend most of your time writing Task 2 regardless of how much time you spend on either task, as it is worth more towards your overall score.


There are some noticeable differences in the structure of Task 1 and Task 2 as well as some similarities.

There needs to be body paragraphs for both Task 1 and Task 2. The number of body paragraphs depends on the writer.

The introduction, which paraphrases the original task, only needs to be one sentence for Task 1. The introduction for Task 2 should be 2-3 sentences, including a paraphrased original statement and some personal information such as an opinion statement or background information.

A conclusion is very important for Task 2, however, not necessary for Task 1 of Academic Writing. Your thoughts and opinions included in your essay can be summarized in the conclusion in Task 2.

Opinions, Experiences, and Knowledge

Do not add your opinion, any personal experiences, or previous knowledge related to the topic in Task 1. Only write about the information that is stated in the task.

However, your opinion is required on a certain topic for Task 2. You will also need to add personal experiences and previous knowledge about the topic to support your ideas. This will allow you to write a well-developed essay.

To improve a candidate’s score, the above distinction between Task 1 and Task 2 is crucial.



For both Task 1 and Task 2, always take time to prepare before writing the actual tasks. Read the questions very carefully, understanding the topic fully, as well as highlighting important words and phrases. Take time to think about appropriate synonyms that could be used in place of key words when answering.


For both Task 1 and Task 2, always paraphrase the question in your introduction. This shows that you understand the question and can write it in a different way.

Compare and Contrast

You may have to compare opinions or ideas depending on the essay. For Task 1, you may also need to compare and contrast different parts, such as lines on a graph. Demonstrate that you are able to do so accurately if the question asks for it.

Revising and Editing

Revising your writing by checking your content and ideas should always happen at the end of the writing section. Checking your grammar, spelling, and punctuation would be included in editing your work. For both Task 1 and Task 2, this is vital. The difference of a band score could happen by taking the last few minutes of the writing section to revise and edit your work.

Task 1 and Task 2 are combined to produce a writing band score for the candidate, which is important to note. Always try to produce your best work for the test despite the similarities and differences in Task 1 and Task 2.