Here is an entire breakdown of the IELTS General exam as seen in Brisbane on 12 May 2012 (including model writing Task 1 and 2 responses)!

A few very kind exam takers took the time to email me the writing questions they faced on their recent exam in Brisbane, Australia. One very kind student in particular shared the other sections of the exam, too. I’ve included all of the information they’ve shared plus two model writing responses to the writing tasks.

Have you taken the IELTS recently? Please don’t forget to email me and let me know what topics you see on the exam so that I can post them and add my suggestions. Often questions are repeated, so by sharing your experience you could be giving other students a head start in their preparation for the test!


1. Listening one was about an airline company. A customer was unhappy about the ticket’s price and was looking for details on how to file a compliant.

2. Listening two required the student label a map of several different buildings.

3. Listening three related to the importance of listening skills.

4. Listening four concerned the history of the bicycle.


1. Reading one detailed several different tourist hot spots. The question required test takers label paragraphs.

2. Reading two was about leave entitlements for employees who work in organizations or factories. The question type was short answer not more than 3 words.

3. Don’t remember.

4. Reading four was about the history and evolution of some Japanese sushi company. There were three questions types: T/F/NG, fill in the blanks and multiple choice.


Task 1

Write a letter to your friend and thank him/her for the advice he/she gave you in preparation for a press conference you held. In this letter write:

-what happened during the conference

-how his/her advice helped

-what you would like to do as a gesture of thanks

Dear Jeffrey,

I wanted to write and thank you again for the helpful advice you gave me regarding my press conference yesterday.

As I told you last week, I had never held a press gathering before. To say I was a little anxious sitting in front of so many reporters and TV cameras would be an understatement. However, your advice to address the reporters I have rapport with first really helped to put my mind at ease. As a result, I was able to engage the public much more confidently and believe this helped enhance my presence immensely. The conference has just aired on TV and I am extremely pleased with my performance.

As I couldn’t have achieved this success without you, I would love to take you out sometime as a token of my gratitude. Would lunch this Thursday be possible for you? I know a great French restaurant in your part of town.

Yours truly,


Task 2

Nowdays, pollution and waste levels are increasing rapidly. How does this effect ordinary people? What steps can be taken to overcome this problem?

Pollution levels around the world have been increasing at exponential ratesI argue that this trend affects the physical health of ordinary people and the future of the natural resources these people need to survive. To combat these issues, the solutions of government intervention and conscientious product buying will be analyzed for viability in this essay.

Firstly, to address the physical health problems people experience as a result of high pollution levels, it is argued that governments should work towards educating people about the role they play in the well-being of the natural world. For example, the Emirates used to have the highest rate of garbage production per capita on the globe. But after initiating a compulsory education program in all high schools across the country, this rubbish to person ratio was reduced significantly. Thus, it can be concluded from this example that education plays a very clear role in the fight against worldwide pollution.

Further, to encourage the preservation of natural resources, people should take it upon themselves to avoid buying products known to be environmentally harmful. For instance, in the United States it has become trendy for people to buy hybrid cars as opposed to petrol guzzling vehicles, such as Cadillac Escalades. The conscious purchasing decisions these people are making are clearly having results, as the American contribution to global warming is not swelling at nearly the rate it once was. Thus, promoting smart consumer choices is obviously an excellent strategy for combating issues related to pollution.

Following this look at the causes and potential solutions to the challenges associated with global contamination, it is felt that with a united effort humanity will be able to overcome this hurdle.  I thus hope the solutions suggested in this essay are adopted the world over.

About Ryan

I have been developing online IELTS training resources for over 10 years. For more information about me and how I can help your preparation for the IELTS, please email me:
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23 Responses to Here is an entire breakdown of the IELTS General exam as seen in Brisbane on 12 May 2012 (including model writing Task 1 and 2 responses)!

  1. Fantastic resource for students!

    Good work Ryan!

  2. Alla says:

    Thank you very much for your modeling answers and sharing! It’s of a great help to us!

  3. Thanks for your response to task2.You used a wide variety of vocabulary.I really like them. says:

    Thanks for your response to task 2.I really like it . You used a wide variety of vocabulary .I hope I use them in a right way.

  4. neha handa says:

    hi ryan
    i have my academic exam on 19th may. and speaking on 17th may.
    i need 8 each in listening and speaking and 7 in other two
    last time i got 8 overall (L9 W7.5 S 6.5 R8.5)
    i hope i could clear this time
    thanks a lot for all your lessons which are really very helpful even if i clear or not

  5. Anonymous says:

    Writing task was not on press conferene . It was related to job interview

  6. Ryan says:

    @Ben Thank you!

    @Alla Thanks! You have a very nice website. Please produce more IELTS and TOEFL resources. I would be happy to link to you from here. By the way, I am sorry our recorded chat has not appeared on IELTS Cast. My computer has died and I’m waiting to have it repaired. All of my recorded conversations are inaccessible at the moment!

    @Neha Excellent work! Would you be interested in talking to me in a recorded interview for my podcast at I’ve sent you an email.

    @Anonymous Yes, you are not the first person to tell me that. I had one student label the letter ‘an interview’ and one label it ‘a press conference’.

  7. Denis says:

    12.05 Moscow general

    part 1: about yourself, climate
    part 2: describe something you made by youself, e.g. from wood
    part 3: hand-made, climate

    1: Your friend is going to visit your country together with his family
    – invite him/her to stay with you
    – give him some advices about places to visit
    – give other advices
    2: Today children play more in electronic games rather then physical toys.
    Is this good or bad development? Give opinion.

  8. Ryan says:

    @Denis Thank you very much, Dennis. I’ve noted both writing tasks and will post some sample responses over the next few days. However, I think your task 2 question looks familiar. Perhaps it appeared in an exam elsewhere.

    How do you feel you did on the exam overall?

  9. Denis says:

    > I think your task 2 question looks familiar

    task 1 is also almost exactly as I had in traning

    > How do you feel you did on the exam overall?

    I’ve performed everything, but my Achilles’ heel is accuracy so just hoping for fortune again 🙂

  10. Seham says:

    As usual ,very useful essay covered everything ,with a great examples easy to remember them. MANY THANKS RYAN.

  11. Cherry says:

    Hello Ryan!
    I have my academic exam on June 9th , 2012. Your english is too strong with powerful vocabulary. Wish I had a powerful vocabulary as well 🙁 .To let you know English is my second language and im giving my ielts for the very first time. Im just too nervous. I never took any training from any of the centres for this exam because my dad thinks I’ll just do fine 🙁 , to which i dont know if he’s right 🙁 .Do you think a girl who have studied english for maybe 6-9 years can pass this ielts exam with good marks? Your reply to my ”email” will be appreciated.
    By the way nice work Ryan!

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Cherry,

      Yes, of course it is possible for you to do well. Just last week I talked with a student who scored above band 7 in all sections on his first attempt. I think doing practice tests is very important. If you are very familiar with the testing process and the timing constraints, you will not be intimidated by the exam when you go to engage it.

      Good luck,

  12. Walaa says:

    Thank you for your efforts Ryan.

  13. Cherry says:

    He got 7 in all the sections probably because he belongs to some english speaking country maybe? Oh well so practising from road to ielts is enough?
    Anyway thanks for replying.

  14. Nick says:

    Hi Ryan

  15. Chigozie Onuzulike says:

    Many many thanks for this insightful write-ups.

  16. beatrix says:

    Can you post one example of the solution/problem or cause/effect problem essay, please? Thank you

  17. Radmila says:

    Hello Ryan,

    It seems to me that the comments are not available to your 16.May`s post, so anyway I have to put my question to you here:
    To illustrate this, the heightened probability of goal achievement and “the benefit derision” that occurs when one is prepared for the unknown will be analyzed in this essay.
    What does the phrase mean in this context?

  18. Patel says:

    Hi Ryan. I feel that videos that u have created for IELTS exam has helped me tremendously. Thanks a lot for your help. However, I have a little concern regarding the task 2 from the brisbane exam. Accroding to me, task requires to write on the two potentials topics i.e. health problems caused by pollution AND ways to combat these issues. I could not find much information on health problems. Does response has to be same way like u have mentioned above or should it address health issues too?

  19. Paul says:

    Hi Ryan

    Is it likely that the May general test will be given in June too? I’m slightly concerned over the actual content that is needed in answering the writing task.



  20. Ness says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I’m going to take my IELTS test this end of August.. I am watching your
    You tube videos and i find it very helpful.. can you give me more websites or links for practice test especially in listening and writing.. And also what advice can you give me to improve my speaking skills when I don’t have any partner here to help me.. Do you think talking to myself in front of the mirror is enough?.. I have 1 month left to practice. Wish me luck!

    Thanks in advance!

  21. Swastik says:

    Dear Ryan,
    Your answer did not said much about the question “How does this effect ordinary people?”. You just mention one line about it. You did not explain about it. What if we discuss about effect in one whole paragraph with explanation and the steps in another one paragraph? Will it be wrong approach to answer this essay?
    For instance:
    1st Paragraph: Introduction
    2nd Paragraph: Effects of pollution
    3rd Paragraph: Steps to minimize it
    4th Paragraph: Conclusion
    Thank you.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely agree with Swastik’s comments. The essay did not respond to “How does this effect ordinary people” question, which will result into significant cut in points for task response criteria.

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