Task 2 – Introductions – Gap year

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Study the Writing Task 2 question below and follow the instructions given.
You should end up with an introduction.  
Write yours before you read mine.
Task 2 Question

In some countries, young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this, and give your opinion.

What is the question about?
It's about ...
Opinions are divided ...
I believe ...
Comments on Task 2 introductions

The purpose of an introduction 

After reading your introduction, the reader should know

  • what the question is and
  • what your position is

Give your opinion in the introduction 

You should know your position before you start writing, so don't keep it a secret from the examiner.

Make it easy for him to give you a 7 for Task Response (presents a clear position throughout) by telling him your position in the introduction.



Background statements

Background statements are useful but it is not necessary to write one.  Candidates attempting to write a background statement often fall into traps like these:


  1. They write a very clichéd sentence with phrases like  Nowadays in the world, with advances in technology and globalisation,  etc.  Examiners are not impressed memorised sentences.
  2. They copy the premise of the question without changing the wording sufficiently
  3. They end up using incorrect paraphrasing of the question.  Here's an example of poor paraphrasing in an introduction to this question:

The advantage of using opnions are divided is that once you've changed the structure, there is no longer the need to paraphrase everything, so you can repeat words from the question.  For the question above, it would be much simpler and better to say

Opinions are divided on whether job satisfaction is more important than job security.  I believe [...] 

A higher level candidate might say more:

Opinions are divided on whether job satisfaction is more important than job security, or whether having a permanent job is better. I believe [...] 

Note the second whether, which is necessary because there's a second subject - underlined.

Is it necessary to include all the ideas from the question?

No it's not.  Just give the most important information, and you should not copy the examples.  Here's an example of what not to do:

For 2 part questions, I prefer a simple 2 sentence introduction, with each sentence addressing one of the two questions:


Supporting ideas in the introduction

There is no need to give supporting ideas in the introduction - save them for the main body paragraphs.  You don't want to repeat information, and neither do you want to forced yourself to have to paraphrase.

For more on Task 2 see here

For Task 2 introductions, see here

For Task 2 topic sentences, see here

For Task 2 paragraph building, see here

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8 years ago

Hi Nguyen

Exactly – two sentences are enough.

Did you read IELTS Simon’s comments on introductions?

You can write a background statement but it’s not necessary. Personally, I sometimes find it quite difficult to write a good one. Anyway, I would definitely not start a paragraph with “It’s about”


8 years ago
Reply to  AWG

Yes, starting the introduction paragraph with “It’s about..” doesn’t make sense.
I haven’t read IElLTS Simon’s comment in introductions yet, but I think your 2 sentences has enough information and I can remember easily 🙂

8 years ago

Dear teacher

Thank you for your post, but I am not clear much.

As in your post, I understand that the introduction paragragh for this task just includes 2 sentences “Opinions are divided on whether the advantages of taking a gap year outweigh the disadvantages. I believe that the risks of losing interest in their studies are too great to justify the possible benefits.” Am I correct? Or include the sentence at the begining “It’s about…”? (Sorry teacher, I am very new to ielts :))

Thank you again for your help.