Task 1 and 2: Similarities and Differences

May 9, 2018 by Ashlee Hunter Ashlee Hunter

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


Word Count

The most noticeable difference is the minimum word count. Task 1 needs a minimum of 150 words, while Task 2 needs a minimum of 250 words for both the Academic and General tests. Although the minimum word count is different, there is no maximum word count for either task.


Timing is the next significant difference between Task 1 and Task 2. The maximum amount of time spent on Task 1 should be 20 minutes and 40 minutes on Task 2. Regardless of how much time you spend on either task, always spend most of your time writing Task 2 as it's worth more towards your overall score.


Although Task 1 and Task 2 have some similarities in the structure of the writing, there are also some noticeable differences.

For both Task 1 and Task 2, there need to be body paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs depends on the writer.

For Task 1, the introduction only needs to be one sentence, which paraphrases the original task. For Task 2, the introduction 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 not necessary for Academic Task 1; however, it's crucial for Task 2. The conclusion for Task 2 allows you to wrap up your thoughts and opinions included in your essay.

Opinions, Experiences, and Knowledge

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

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

The above distinction between Task 1 and Task 2 is crucial to improving a candidate’s score.



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 keywords when answering.


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

Compare and Contrast

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

Revising and Editing

You should always take time at the end of the writing section to revise your writing by checking your content and ideas. You also should edit your work, by checking your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. This is vital for both Task 1 and Task 2. Taking the last few minutes of the writing section to revise and edit your work could mean the difference of a band score.

Finally, it's important to note that Task 1 and 2 are combined to produce a writing band score for the candidate. Despite their similarities or differences, always try to produce your best work for the test.

Ashlee Hunter

Ashlee has been involved in the ESL world for over ten years and has now planted her roots in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nothing gives her more pleasure than watching students and candidates reach their language and IELTS goals.

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