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
In an IELTS opinion essay, you can either agree, disagree or take a balanced approach which means to partially agree. However, you need to learn more so that you fulfil the requirements of the higher band scores.
See the answers to the 4 questions below. Also see useful links for writing task 2 below. All tips are for GT and Academic students.
1. Is it better to choose one side?
It won’t alter your score if you choose to support one side or partially agree. As long as you give a clear opinion, the examiner will be happy.
If you don’t understand a partial agreement essay, then choose one side. It’s easier to choose one side for most students and you can still get band score 9 by choosing one side.
Sometimes it might be hard to find enough ideas to support one side. In this case, go for a partial agreement. BUT if you need training to learn how to do this correctly.
2. Will you get a higher score if you partially agree?
No. It’s doesn’t matter what your opinion is – one side or partial. The only thing the examiner wants is a relevant opinion which is fully explained.
3. Can you write a discussion essay instead?
NO. Let me repeat that – NO !!! An opinion essay is only about your opinion. It is not about what other people think. You can’t change the type of essay you have been given. Look at the instructions below:
- Discussion both sides and give your opinion
- You must explain both sides of what other people think and also give your opinion
- To what extent do you agree or disagree?
- You must present your opinion and nothing else. Your opinion must cover all aspects of the essay question.
4. Can you use “I” or “my” in an opinion essay?
Yes. Of course. You MUST use “i” or “my” – it’s the only way to give your own personal opinion. Look at the language below:
- it is believed / it is considered / it seems – This language does not express your own individual opinion. It is perfect for discussion essays but it can’t be used for your own views.
- I think / I agree / I disagree / In my opinion – This is how you clearly express your view. The examiner wants to see this language when you give your opinion.
Useful Links for IELTS Writing Task 2
Click below to open useful links for IELTS writing task 2:
When to give your opinion
How to write an introduction
Using “I” or “my”: Free Video
Using quotes and idioms
All Writing Task 2 Tips & Model Essays