The Writing module of the IELTS Academic Test has 2 sections and lasts a total of 1 hour. It is recommended that test takers spend approximately 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. The reason is that Task 1 is shorter, requiring a minimum of 150 words, and Task 2 is a bit longer, requiring 250 words. Moreover, Task 2 is the more important task in that it is given more importance with regards to your final Band Score.
The Writing module of the Academic Test is a bit different than that of the General Test. Task 1 in the Academic Test requires students to write an essay in which they analyze a graph, table, chart, diagram or map. The student must lay out the essay in a very specific fashion.
Writing Task 2 is the same in the Academic and General Tests. This task generally requires students to write an opinion essay in which they choose a side of an argument and defend their thoughts, siting relevant examples and real life experience.