IELTS Task 2 Writing – Cheap or Durable – Band 9

IELTS Task 2 Writing

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Some people think that companies should produce products durable. Others think that they should be as cheap as possible. Discuss both views and give your opinion. 

Write at least 250 words

Certain individuals believe that manufacturers ought to make products that stand the test of time while others believe that goods should be made as affordable as can be. 

5 paragraph essay – 300 to 350 maximum

***The Writing Section of IELTS is the most subjective! Even though there are ‘guidelines’ for the people marking, it is subjective. (Even when you get the paper remarked by another examiner by contesting your score, their marking is biased because they know that you have already received a score that you are not happy with)

How can I remove as much of the subjective perspective of the examiner as possible?

F: Write as much as possible – NO – It is better to go 10 – 20% over the limit, but not more – at that point focus on quality if you have more time. 

You ideally should have at least 4 minutes at the end of Task 1 and 6 minutes at the end of task 2 to review and revise your essay, making corrections and improvements. 

***The quality of your writing, vocabulary, grammar, content are much more important than quantity. 

C: Do not take the question or the mark personally

P: Try to be diplomatic in your response

R: Write essays to satisfy criteria for a specific band (This would be great if anyone actually knew what that truly was!) I challenge you to search for official British Council, IDP, band 7, band 8 and band 9 sample essays where they clearly state that this is a band 9 essay (and not just, here is a sample response)

***Not in Cambridge IELTS Books – because the publishers of Cambridge IELTS books are not actually the same entity as those who grade your essays. 

O: Give real examples

M: Illustrate a wide range of possibilities – NO, definitely not! Your essays must be detailed and original! During the instructions, the invigilator states “memorized responses will be marked down”.

F: Use more academic words – YES! Absolutely, this is one of the revisions that you should focus on while you are reviewing your essay. 

… I was able to clearly communicate my ideas to the students…/I clearly conveyed my theories to my pupils

If you get a band 5.5 and ask for a remark, your score might improve; however, if you get a band 8 and you hope to get a band 8.5/9, it is unlikely that your score will go up since not only is the difference very slight, but the person remarking cannot ignore the fact that you are requesting a remark because you did not get a band 8.5 or 9. 

What is your idea, durable or inexpensive?

My opinion, durable is better because, 

  1. Better experience
  2. Environmentally friendly
  3. Save money in the long-run
  4. Save effort (having to purchase again)

Why do some people prefer cheap products?

  1. So it can fit their budget
  2. Have more products – afford more

5 Paragraphs (body paragraphs will be three sentences maximum):

  1. Introduction
  2. Body 1 – cheap products (start with the side you do not agree with)
  3. Body 2 – durable products
  4. Body 3 – my opinion
  5. Conclusion 

Introduction – hook, background, thesis (one sentence each)

STRATEGY – think of a valid and effective example for these argument points BEFORE beginning the body paragraphs.

Ex. Shoes, TV, cooking pot, kitchen knife 

TIP – Rather that reviewing and revising your essay at the end, you may want to do it after each paragraph, as this will give you a better idea of your time management.


(Hook) Consumers constantly decide between quality and price when buying products. (Background) Most goods that are made-to-last cost more as they demand extra materials and labour, and this affects users’ experiences. (Thesis) Although some shoppers prefer cheaper products for affordability, I think that well-made merchandise is better for the customer and environment.

Body 1 (3 sentences for each body paragraph – topic sentence, explanation + example, connection)

(Topic) Certain shoppers prefer to be frugal and spend less on products while some like to consume more to fit budgets and desires. (Combine example and explanation – shoes) People wish to own five different kinds of shoes, a color for each occasion, at $20 a piece, lasting maybe a few months, rather than having one pair of quality sneakers, like Adidas, which last well over a year but cost $150. (concluding/connecting sentence – short and simple) In the long-run, this is not the better choice.

(In some cases this works well, but it most cases it does not.)

(However, this attitude is often counterintuitive.)

BODY 2 – 3 sentences, topic, explanation + example + connection

Usually, shoppers can save time, energy, and effort when buying quality products which last, as well as being able to enjoy the experience that quality merchandise offers.  Buying five cheap kitchen knives at $10 a piece that dull quickly are not only more expensive than one quality knife at $30 that does not dull easily, but cooking is also more enjoyable and demands less effort. These are some of the reasons I prefer to buy brand products that cost more and are durable. 

BODY 3 Topic sentence, explanation + example (2 sentences)


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