Ielts Writing Opinion Essays
IELTS Opinion Essays
IELTS opinion essays are very common in the exam.
It can be a bit confusing, especially if you are new to IELTS, to work out the different types of essay.
Some people talk about 'argumentative essays', 'thesis-led essays', 'discussion essays', which can get quite confusing and it is usually not necessary to know this.
The important thing is to analyze each question as you see it and answer it.
The aim of this lesson is to give you a brief overview of the common types of essay that ask for your opinion.
Of course not everything will fit this pattern as there are a variety of ways a question can be worded, but the types below are common ways to be asked about your opinion in the test.
Task 2 IELTS Opinion Essays can broadly be put into three types:
1. Discuss ONE opinion
Advances in technology and automation have reduced the need for manual labour. (opinion) Therefore, working hours should be reduced.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
With these essays you are normally given ONE opinion, and then asked specifically if you agree or disagree with it, or to what extent you agree or disagree. You must make it clear whether you agree, disagree or partly agree and give your reasons why.
2. Discuss TWO OPPOSING opinions
(opinion one) A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, (opposing opinion) while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
With these essays you have TWO opinions that oppose each other. You have to discuss BOTH of them and also give your opinion. Your essay will get a lower mark for 'task response' if you don’t discuss both of the opinions or you don’t make your opinion clear.
3. Advantages and Disadvantages
The number of old people around the world is increasing dramatically.
Could this have more positive or negative effects on society? or…
Do the advantages of the trend outweigh the disadvantages? or…
Is this a positive development?
In these questions you are given a fact or facts and then you have to look at the positive and negative sides of this. They are all asking for your opinion so you must state this. In the first two you will need to look at both sides as the question is clearly implying there are both positive and negative impacts.
Don't mix this up with a basic advantage and disadvantage essay like this:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?
Although your organization, ideas and body paragraphs may be similar, this one is not asking for your opinion so you don't need to give it. It is simply asking you to present both sides of the issue.
This has been a quick and broad overview of some common IELTS opinion essay question types and it should be particularly helpful if you are fairly new to IELTS or if you have been studying for a while but are still unclear about the various types of essay.
Take a look at the model essays page and you can browse through some examples of these types of essays and how they can be answered by clicking on the links on the right of the page.
Look for these types of IELTS opinion essay:
- agree / disagree
- discuss two opinions
- advantages and disadvantages
IELTS Writing Task 2 Question
Try this opinion essay question about the cost of space exploration. It’s best to state a clear opinion for or against in your introduction.
Space exploration is much too expensive and the money should be spent on more important things.
What is your opinion?
IELTS Writing Task 2 Model Answer
There is an argument that exploring space is a waste of money and that there are more urgent needs to be addressed on earth, such as reducing poverty and preventing environmental destruction. However, I completely disagree with this opinion for two reasons.
First of all, many of the technologies we take for granted today were originated thanks to space research. Take satellite technology, for example, which we depend on for broadcasting and weather forecasting. Without satellites, we would not be able to follow global events as they happen, nor give populations any warning of approaching storms. Space research has also led to the development of new lightweight materials that offer us heat protection and enable food preservation. Therefore, the challenge of sending human beings into space has often driven the development of new technologies that benefit our everyday lives.
Second, we cannot foresee the distant future, so we ought to develop the capability to escape from the earth. Gradually, we are learning how humans can survive for long periods in space and even travel to other planets in the future. If space exploration is halted, this valuable knowledge will never be acquired. It is true that environmental destruction is also a serious issue, but it is also true that we remain dependent on our environment if we never accept the challenge of exploring other worlds.
In conclusion, while we undoubtedly face serious problems on our own planet, it is imperative that we continue to explore space. This will promote further technological advances as well as provide a possible means of escape should earth become uninhabitable in future. Ideally, all nations should cooperate in the advancement of space research.
(278 words, IELTS 8.5)
Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?
Task response: The introduction effectively paraphrases the question and presents a clear opinion. The writer’s opinion is supported in the body of the essay. Concrete examples are given. The conclusion restates the writer’s opinion and ends with a recommendation.
Coherence and cohesion: The model answer is divided into clear paragraphs and each body paragraph contains one main idea. There are cohesive links between all paragraphs and between most sentences.
Lexical resource: The key concept of space exploration is paraphrased several times. There are many words characteristic of academic writing such as originated, imperative, and foresee. Vocabulary is used with a strong awareness of collocation: take for granted, develop the capability, accept the challenge.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The model answer is free from grammatical errors. A good balance of simple and complex sentences is used to develop an argument. Verb tenses vary, and other grammatical devices such as conditionals and modals are used with high accuracy.
This IELTS Writing task simply asks you to give your opinion, which appears to be a very open question. As you have just 40 minutes to write your opinion essay, it is best to state a clear opinion in the first paragraph and stick to it, rather than try to deliver a more complex or nuanced answer. Use each body paragraph to add supporting points and restate your opinion in the final paragraph to provide a satisfying conclusion.
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