Writing Task 2 | Essay Structure Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

In this series we have already looked at how to write an essay introduction paragraph and how to write a body paragraph.

Today we guide you through writing a conclusion paragraph. You are unlikely to get a good band score for writing task 2 unless you write a good conclusion for your essay. In this class you will learn how to write a conclusion paragraph for opinion and discussion essays, advantages/disadvantages essays and problem/solution essays.

Exercise 1

Below is an IELTS writing task 2 essay. Read the question and the sample essay. Are the statements about the conclusion true or false?
Some people say it is acceptable to use animals for our benefit, others say it is wrong to exploit them.
Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Open Sample Essay

The exploitation of animals is an issue which is often in the western media these days. An increasing number of people believe it is wrong to use animals for any reason, however, I agree with those who accept the use of animals for certain purposes.

A growing number of people disagree with the exploitation of animals on ethical and environmental grounds. Many people believe that animals have the same rights as humans since animals think and feel emotion and pain as humans do. In the same way people shouldn’t be exploited because of this, neither should animals.  Moreover, the exploitation of cattle and sheep for their meat creates a huge amount of methane from the animals themselves. Also, the shipping of meat around the world creates a lot of carbon dioxide. Both of these gases are increasing global warming and as responsible citizens of the earth we should try and limit global warming as it is a threat to everyone.

Although there are strong reasons against the use of animals, I believe that the use of animals for medical testing and the consumption of locally farmed animals is acceptable. Modern medicine, which saves countless lives, is tested on animals before humans. This is done in order not to endanger humans and without it, it is possible that many people would suffer. Furthermore, the consumption of locally sourced meat removes the concern of greenhouse gas emission from transportation. If the meat consumed is chicken or duck this further reduces the greenhouse emissions due to less methane being produced by these animals.

​In conclusion…

In conclusion, although there are ethical and environmental reasons for not exploiting animals, I believe that medical testing on animals benefits society and the consumption of locally produced meat does not have a negative environmental impact. Government and business should ensure that animals are responsibly used and that no abuse occurs.

(Conclusion | 51 words)

1. The conclusion should be the same number of words as a body paragraph.
2. The conclusion is shorter than the body paragraphs.
3. The conclusion is formed of only 2 sentences.
4. The purpose of the conclusion is to introduce new ideas into the essay.
5. The purpose of the conclusion is to summarise the main ideas in the essay.
6. The conclusion is signaled by the phrase ‘In conclusion,’.
7. The first sentence of the conclusion presents ideas which were not in the body of the essay.
8. The first sentence of the conclusion paraphrases the thesis statement in the introduction.
9. The points mentioned in the body paragraphs are mentioned in the same order in the first sentence of the conclusion.
10. The second sentence of the conclusion provides examples of problems of the exploitation of animals.
11. The second sentence of the conclusion provides a recommendation (suggestion) based on the ideas which the writer has presented.
12. The word ‘should’ is used to show that a recommendation is being made.

Language Note

The example above is a conclusion paragraph from a discussion essay. Use the same structure when you write a conclusion paragraph for an opinion essay (to what extent do you agree/disagree).

Here is the structure we recommend for a concise IELTS task 2 conclusion.


Exercise 2

Read the IELTS writing task 2 question below and choose the most appropriate conclusion paragraph.

International tourism has brought enormous benefit to many places. At the same time, there is concern about its impact on local inhabitants and the environment.

​Do the disadvantages of international tourism outweigh the advantages?

Conclusion A
In conclusion, there are problems brought about by modern tourism but there are also benefits of modern tourism. It is clear that the government should recognize this and make sure that tourism is well regulated.
(34 words)

Conclusion B
In conclusion, even though growth in the travel industry has negative social and environmental impacts such as increased problems of crime and increased pollution in the ocean at major beach resorts, these do not outweigh the contributions towards development such as increased tax for the government, which leads to better education and healthcare for the local community and improved infrastructure in tourist areas which benefit not just the tourists but also the locals .However, to be successful, the government must make sure that tourism development is regulated and eco-friendly so it benefits the local community.
(95 words)

Conclusion C
In conclusion, even though growth in the travel industry has accompanying negative social and environmental impacts, these do not outweigh the contributions made by this sector towards social development. However, to be successful, the government must make sure that tourism development is regulated and eco-friendly so it benefits the local community.
(51 words)

Conclusion D
In conclusion, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The government should pay special attention to this issue.
(18 words)

1. The most suitable IELTS essay conclusion is
conclusion A
conclusion B
conclusion C
conclusion D

Answer Explanations

Conclusion A

​In Conclusion A the writer doesn’t state whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or whether the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Therefore, the writer has not included his/her opinion in the conclusion and so is likely to receive a low score for task achievement.


In Conclusion B there is far too much detail. The detail should be in the body paragraphs but not in the conclusion. This conclusion is far too long.


​In Conclusion C the writer includes an adequate amount of detail and a good recommendation based upon his/her ideas. This is a good conclusion paragraph for an IELTS task 2 essay and it would be likely to receive a high band.


​In Conclusion D the writer does not include enough detail. For instance, what are the benefits of tourism? – the writer fails to outline them, while in conclusion C the writer tells us they are connected to development. Conclusion D is too simple and short.

Exercise 3

Read the IELTS task 2 question and accompanying essay introduction below.

More and more wild animals are on the verge of extinction and others are on the endangered list.

​What are the reasons for this? What can be done to solve these problems?

Many species today are becoming extinct or are at risk of becoming so. There are many reasons for this state of affairs and in this essay I will suggest solutions for the problem of habitat destruction due to illegal logging and the degradation of waterways by industrial waste.
(48 words)

Based on the question and essay introduction above are the following statements about the conclusion for the same essay true or false?

1. Habitat destruction will be mentioned in this conclusion.
2. Illegal logging will be mentioned in this conclusion.
3. Hunting of endangered animals will be mentioned in this conclusion.
4. The degradation of waterways by industrial waste will be mentioned in this conclusion.
5. The solutions to the problems will be mentioned in detail in this conclusion.
6. The solutions to the problems will be briefly mentioned in this conclusion.

Exercise 4

The ideas in the conclusion should be mentioned in the same order that they occur in the thesis statement and in the body paragraphs.

Complete the conclusion below with words or phrases from the box. There is one word or phrase which does not need to be used.

Click or touch a word above
, two major threats to wildlife are due to and the by industry. Both of these can be solved the government is willing to spend the money and hunt down those breaking the law.

Language Note

Notice how the writer uses an if clause to present the solutions in the second sentence of the introduction. This is another way to introduce a suggestion, rather than using modal verbs such as should or must.

Up next we recommend looking at our different essay types series, starting with opinion essays.