How to answer IELTS Task 2 question on “suggesting measures”

Here’s a question my student asked about:

More and more city workers are deciding to live in the country and travel into work everyday. The result is increased traffic congestion and damage to the environment.  What measures do you suggest that would encourage people not to travel such long distances to work?

This question requires you to suggest measures, or  proposed plan or action or legislation. Here’s how I approach this:

1. I  analyze the question – see my post on how to analyze the question. Do not get sucked into writing about traffic problems and damage to the environment – make sure you understand what the question is asking.

2. Looking at the topic keywords and key vocabulary words associated with “measures”, I quickly brainstorm for 2 ideas. Topic key words: workers, traffic congestion

When I’m asked about “measures”, I often think of government subsidies, tax-breaks and incentives applied to companies and individuals to do a certain task or act.

3. Brainstorming ideas: I only need 2, so I automatically think about how to encourage or support telecommuting.

  • Government to give subsidies or tax-breaks to city-based companies who allow for a certain percentage of their employees (workforce) to telecommute per week.
  • Government to build or give subsidies to private companies to build a small satellite office buildings outside of cities  for remote workers/telecommuters to work in.

4.Think of useful vocabulary that belongs with this topic:

  • telecommuters/ remote workers/ remote employees
  • employees/ staff / workforce
  • city-based vs. outlying suburbs / surrounding suburbs
  • office centre, office hub, satellite office
  • subsidies, incentives, tax-breaks, government-funded

5. Organizing my 4 paragraphs for my essay:

  • Introduction: Rephrase task question and include my measures
  • First Measure: Provide tax breaks or subsidies to city-based companies to employ telecommuting workers or allow for a specific percentage of its workforce to telecommute. Include examples & details.
  • Second Measure: Build remote office hubs/ centers to give companies an easy option to have remote workers – saves them on expensive city office space too. Include examples & details.
  • Conclusion: reword my two measures and state that it will help reduce long commutes.

6. Write your essay according to your plan! Do not sway away from your plan. Stick to it.

See my full sample essay here. If you have questions or want to have a go – please try!


I'm an English teacher specializing in IELTS preparation - especially writing and reading. If you have any questions, please ask! You can also sign up for weekly tips and lessons for IELTS and English!

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  1. […] previously wrote about approaching and organizing this essay question: More and more city workers are deciding to live in the country and travel into work everyday. The […]

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