Special Strategy for IELTS Writing Task 2 Question Analysis

The very first thing you should do in IELTS essay Writing, is analyzing the question.  In fact, the quality of your essay depends on how you can analysis the question. There are so many students who start writing the essay directly without doing any analysis. They tend to be over confident considering the question analysis is a waste of time.

However, from the experience of helping thousands of IELTS candidates, we saw how many students end up with a very poor score. Unfortunately, it happened mostly because of writing the essay without a proper question analysis .

On the other hand, the students who spent only a couple of minutes for analysing the question before starting the essay, came up with a 7+ band score in IELTS Writing. 

How to Analyse a Question

Let's show you step by step how you can analyse an IELTS Writing section question.  

At first you need to find three types of words in the question sentence:

  1. Topic Words

  2. Micro-topic Words

  3. Action Words

We are going to explain how you can go through these stages. Look at the example question below:

"Major development of information technology is helping people to share data in a split second almost all around the world.

Do you think advantages of this outweigh disadvantages."

The question above is an actual test question taken from previous years. We are going to analyse this question below:

1. Topic Words / Keywords

Topic area is the general area of the discussion. Though it will not help you find the answer, but certainly it will help you discover the specific area that need to focus on. We will show you soon how a general topic can help you find the specific area that you must discuss about.


However, Information technology is the topic in this question. It's important to find the topic words at first. Because once you know this, there is no possibility of discussing beyond this area. 


But just finding the topic words is never going to be enough. There are so many branches of Information Technology such as, Computer Programming, Computer System Analysis, Database System Administration, and Computer Network Architecture etc. If you keep discussing on Information Technology generally, you are at the risk of being distracted by the wide area of the topic.


Therefore, you must be very specific in your discussion as you will have to give a clear answer using only 250 - 300 words. Don't panic. You can do it easily because you have a good friend named Micro-keywords. These words will save you from being too general in the discussion. Lets see how we find this friend and how it can help us.

2. Micro Keywords

If you take a closer look at the question sentence, you can easily find the specific message that the statement is conveying. Information technology is not the message, it's just the major topic area. We recommend you use our 6 question strategy to find the specific area that you need to address. To put simply, you will ask the Topic the following queries:

Who?                      What?

Why?                      Where?

When?                    How?

However, you might not find all these 6 queries in one question sentence. In fact, you will mostly find two or three of them. Let's apply this strategy in our example question that we stated above on this page:


Information Technology is 

What? helping people

How? Sharing data

Where? Almost all around the world

This is how you can find the micro-keywords in a question sentence. Your discussion has to be centered around these keywords. If you write anything beyond this areas, you are not answering the question properly.


You've just identified both the general topic and the specific discussion area under the topic. That means you have found both the city map (Topic Words) and the address (Micro-keywords) that you need to reach. Now you need to know how you can reach your destination. Otherwise, it's like driving a car without a specific direction. Here the Action Words come into action.

3. Action Words

You have already identified the general topic(Topic Words / Keywords) and the specific focus area (Micro Keywords) under that topic. Now it's time to understand what is your role and how you can play it. Look at the sentence below (taken from the example question that we stated above):

"Do you think advantages of this outweigh disadvantages."

The words above are the action words or the instruction words, whatever you say. These words state clearly what you need to do. That means you will drive toward which direction.

Look closely, the examiner is expecting you take a side, either advantage or disadvantage. Whatever the side you choose, you must provide and explain the supporting logic. Look closer, just explaining the logic supporting your side is not enough, the examiner wants you also explain why the other side is not so strong. 

Finally, you found the topic area, narrowed it down for uncovering the specific  discussion area, and then you've just identified what the examiner is expecting from  you. In other words, you were given the city map where you located the destination address, and eventually you've just identified the direction toward the address.

Impressive! You have completed analysing  the question at its best !!! You've just spent the very first 3 minutes out of 10 minutes of your IELTS Task 2 essay planning.


Take our words. If you can apply the analysing technique discussed above, you are ready to write a band 9 essay for sure. Observing our discussion it might seem a time wasting task to you, because we've used so many words discussing the details of question analysis. But the reality is, you will do it in your head and write only a few keywords during exam. Therefore, you can easily complete this part in 3 minutes.


However, you might need some extra minutes for the first few times. Please, don't give up. This hard work is nothing comparing the massive reward that you will avail. Just practice this strategy for 5/6 times. Certainly, you will be pretty handy in applying this band 9 technique.

We hope now you can understand the importance of question analysis in IELTS essay writing. Question analysis is the very first part of IELTS Task 2 essay planning. We recommend you go through all the planning stages. We have a complete guide on band 9 essay planning secrets. We strongly suggest  you check it now, if you haven't already.

Remember, We help students with a guarantee of 7+ band score in IELTS Writing section. Check the details how you can avail the maximum benefit from our IELTS Writing Assistance.

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