IELTS Writing Task 2: Should we ask (rhetorical) questions?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,296 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 2019 in IELTS Test
A student wrote the following in a Task 2 answer:

All people wish to have a guarantee that any new product is safe for human use and some people believe that we can guarantee this by testing it with animals in a laboratory.  But can we trust these results? How much can we depend on these tests? I think we have to trust the results because it is the only way that we have.

What's wrong here?

The problem is the student has asked two rhetorical questions (But can we trust these results? How much can we depend on these tests?).  A rhetorical question is one which is written to make a statement but does not expect an answer.  Should we include them in a Task 2 response?  The short answer is NO.

While rhetorical questions can be useful in some genres (eg: investigative writing and oral presentations) they are not considered appropriate academic style for IELTS (or TOEFL).

To reiterate: do not use rhetorical questions in any Task 2 response. 

In fact, we recommend that you do not ask ANY questions (your job is to answer them) in your Task 2 response B)

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