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IELTS Discussion Essays [Discuss Both Views/Sides]

Posted by David S. Wills | Jun 14, 2021 | IELTS Tips , Writing | 1

IELTS Discussion Essays [Discuss Both Views/Sides]

In this lesson, I’m going to explain what an IELTS discussion essay is and how you can write a good one. I will talk about structure and content, as well as looking briefly at discussion essay thesis statements, which many people find tricky. I’ve also written a sample essay, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

What is a Discussion Essay?

As the name suggests, a discussion essay is an essay that discusses things! More specifically, it is a type of IELTS writing task 2 essay that requires you to look at two different points of view . You can easily recognise these essays by the following phrase:

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Sometimes it is phrased a little differently. It might say:

Discuss both sides and give your opinion
Discuss both points view and give your opinion

The important thing is that these all mean the same. When you see any of these, you know that you need to write a discussion essay. Importantly, this instruction tells you that you need to do two things:

  • Discuss both views (there will have been 2 views mentioned in the previous sentence(s))
  • Give your opinion (i.e. state which view you agree with)

If you failed to do either of these things, you would not have satisfied the basic criteria for Task Achievement .

Example Discussion Essay Questions

Here is a list of 5 discussion essay questions either from the IELTS exam, reportedly from the IELTS exam, or from reputable publications that have copied the IELTS question style. (Not that you absolutely should avoid fake IELTS questions when practising.)

Some people say that parents should encourage their children to take part in organised group activities in their free time. Others say that is important for children to learn how to occupy themselves on their own. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always a good thing. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people feel that manufacturers and supermarkets have the responsibility to reduce the amount of packaging of goods. Others argue that customers should avoid buying goods with a lot of packaging. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people believe that higher education should be funded by the government. Others, however, argue that it is the responsibility of individuals to fund their higher education. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people believe that it is important for children to attend extra classes outside school, while others believe that they should be allowed to play after school. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

You can see in these questions that there is a similar pattern. In each case, the question phrase (“Discuss both views and give your own opinion”) is the same and in the previous sentence or sentences, there are two opposing views. This, then, makes “discuss both views” questions a sort of opinion essay .

How to Answer IELTS Discussion Questions

First of all, it is important when answering any IELTS task 2 question that you read the question carefully so that you understand it, then provide an answer that directly responds to the question, following its instructions carefully.

As discussed above, you are required to do two things: 1) Discuss both views, and 2) Give your own opinion. You absolutely must do both of those. It doesn’t really matter what your opinion is or whether you give equal weighting to both sides of the argument. Instead, you must cover both sides and also give some sort of opinion. (It is important, though, according to the marking rubric , that you are consistent in your opinion.)

Your answer of course should be structured carefully so as to present your ideas in a thoroughly logical way that is easy for your reader to interpret. I almost always use a four-paragraph structure in my essays, but some people prefer to use five paragraphs in this sort of essay. The difference would look like this:

You might be wondering why I have given my opinion in the body of the five-paragraph essay but not in the four-paragraph essay. Well, actually I would give my opinion in the body of both. However, my opinion would be more subtly woven into the text of the four-paragraph essay. I personally find this to be a better method, but it is equally possible that you could write an amazing five-paragraph essay. That issue is discussed further in this video:

Discussion Essay Thesis Statement

In academic writing, a thesis statement (sometimes called an essay outline ) is the part of the essay where you insert your opinion. It typically comes at the end of the introduction and guides the reader by explaining your opinion on the issues that have been introduced.

But do you really need to provide one in such a short essay? Well, a 2018 study into successful IELTS essays concluded that thesis statements were “obligatory” – i.e. you absolutely do need one. In fact, that study found that thesis statements appeared in 100% of successful IELTS discussion essays! Therefore, we can conclude they are very important.

Because a discussion essay will tell you to “Discuss both views and give your opinion,” you must introduce the two views and then give your opinion in the introduction. Here is an example:

Introductory paragraph:

In some parts of the world, children are forced to go to cram schools and other facilities of extracurricular learning, but many people believe that this is unfair and that they should be allowed to enjoy their free time instead. This essay will look at both perspectives and then conclude that it is indeed unfair.

My first sentence clearly introduces two different ideas:

  • Children should do extra classes
  • Children should not do extra classes

Note how I have successfully used synonyms to avoid repeating anything from the question. I have also framed the issue in a new way so that I am not just paraphrasing. (You can learn why paraphrasing is not always helpful here .)

My second sentence is the thesis statement. In this sentence, I outline what the essay will do (“look at both perspectives”) and then give my opinion (“it is unfair”). This is a simple but effective thesis statement.

Thesis Statement Advice

Your IELTS discussion essay thesis statement should do two things:

  • Tell the reader what the essay will do
  • Present your opinion

Because this is a formal essay, it is best not to be too personal. Instead of saying “I will…” or “I think…” it is better to say “This essay will…” Here are some simple templates that you can follow most of the time:

  • This essay will look at both sides and then argue that…
  • This essay will discuss both views but ultimately side with…

Just make sure to avoid being overly vague. You are required to give your opinion consistently throughout the essay, so don’t say “This essay will look at both sides and then give my opinion .” It is not really the best approach because the examiner wants to see that you can be consistent in presenting an opinion. That is clearly stated in the marking rubric. For band 7, it says:

  • presents a clear position throughout the response

It could be concluded, then, that your opinion is not clear from the start and so you have not done enough to warrant a band 7 for Task Achievement.

Body Paragraphs

As I mentioned above, there are really two main approaches you could take to the body paragraphs:

  • Discuss one view per paragraph and incorporate your opinion into each.
  • Discuss one view per paragraph and then have another for your opinion.

I suppose there is also a third option:

  • Compare and contrast the two viewpoints in each paragraph.

This last one may be a little harder to do successfully without jeopardising your score for Task Achievement or Coherence and Cohesion , but advanced candidates may find it useful.

Remember that there is no single perfect formula for an IELTS essay. That’s not how languages work and that’s not how IELTS works. Different people could come up with different ways to present a successful essay. The most common essay structures are mere guidelines for particularly useful methods of approaching an essay.

discussion essay structure ielts

Does a Discussion Essay Have to be Balanced?

Because the question says “Discuss both views,” it is quite logical to think that you must provide some degree of balance, but you certainly don’t need to give equal weighting to both sides. Remember that you are also going to give your opinion, so if you come down strongly on one side of the issue, it might be odd to give equal attention to both.

If you do feel very strongly about one side, you might want to present your discussion of the other side as quite negative. However, IELTS is a thinking exam as well as an English exam and an intelligent person can always look at both sides of an issue and explain – at the very least – why someone might believe a thing that is different to his own view. This seems quite important, but there is nothing explicitly mentioned in the marking rubric.

I would suggest that if you think a two-sided issue is basically one-sided (i.e. you strongly disagree with the other view), you should still write one or two sentences about why people believe that and then devote the rest of your essay to disputing their view.

Another approach is to write BP1 as a very short paragraph that explains why people might think one thing, but then have BP2 as a very long paragraph that debunks the opposing view and then explains why the other is correct.

(You can read more about IELTS essays and balance here .)

Sample Answer

Here is my full sample answer to the above question about whether or not children should be made to do extracurricular activities:

In some parts of the world, children are forced to go to cram schools and other facilities of extracurricular learning, but many people believe that this is unfair and that they should be allowed to enjoy their free time instead. This essay will look at both perspectives and then conclude that it is indeed unfair. In countries like South Korea, most children are made to go to an array of cram schools outside of regular school hours. Their parents do this in order to give their child a better future because it helps the child to learn more and thus gives them the academic advantages needed to apply to the best universities or jobs in future. These schools often provide children with an advantage over their peers because they improve their foreign language or math skills more quickly, and thus the children who do not attend these schools might have comparatively poor grades. However, whilst this attitude may result in better academic performance, it is certainly not good for the mental health of these children. It is no coincidence that places like South Korea have the highest rates of suicide among their young populations. The fact is that children are not equipped to spend fourteen or sixteen hours per day in classrooms, memorising facts and figures. In a sense, it is a form of child abuse. Children should be allowed to go home and spend time with friends and family to build social skills. They should be allowed to occupy themselves in order to become more creative and learn how to understand their own mind instead of being trained to repeat what they are told. In conclusion, it is understandable that some parents want their children to go to extra classes, but this is damaging to children and they should be given the freedom to play and socialise outside of regular school hours.

In BP1, I have looked at the topic of cram schools (ie the side of the argument in favour of extra lessons). I explored why parents might want their kids to do this and show the supposed benefits. Note that I never embraced any of these benefits. I was careful to use language that distanced these ideas from my own opinion, which was the opposite, so I said “Their parents do this in order to…”

In BP2, I looked at the opposite side. I was careful to make sure that my first sentence linked to the previous paragraph, highlighting that the benefits are quite minor compared to the drawbacks. All of my sentences here justify my position, which is that it is cruel to force these extra lessons on children.

My conclusion ties all of this together. The first clause references BP1 and the second summarises the main argument in BP2.

You can find two more sample essays here:

  • A discussion essay about sports facilities
  • A discussion essay about sports abilities

About The Author

David S. Wills

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural Cambodia and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. David has worked in many different countries, and for several years designed a writing course for the University of Worcester. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing and he has since written two other books about IELTS. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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DIRWAN

It is sometimes debatable whether asking children to get extra education after school or letting them play that is actually beneficial for them. Even though both viewpoints have benefits and drawbacks but I believe ,in the childhood age, children have to take rough and discipline education after school to be succeed in the future.

To begin with, many educational experts believe that playing is one of the essential aspects that have to be gotten by children to grow and happy. By using the playing approach, children can have a good mental and psychic health. Besides, letting children play after school can also support them to increase their emotional stimuli and get a positive social interaction. With this way, experts believe children can grow as a better adult in the future and have a freedom to get a better life in the upcoming times.

However, I completely contra with the first idea because I believe childhood is a better time to train children about academic or other skills that benefits them in the future. Based on scientific journal that I read, the ability of children in learning new things are more spectacular compared to adults. A lot of artists, scientist, and even football player who currently becoming a superstar in this era is a string of process that is began since their in the childhood. For instance, nowadays, I am working in the field of election supervision, it because since in my childhood my father love to force me learning about social and political issues by getting additional class. Thus, making children to get extra class after school is an appropriate preference if parents desire to see their son getting a good future.

To conclude, based on experts children have to get a freedom to play after schools but in my viewpoint it will be more advantages if they utilize the playing time with joining additional class after school.

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How To Plan & Write IELTS Discussion Essays

Students can find it difficult to identify IELTS discussion essays and often confuse them with either opinion essays or advantage and disadvantage essays.

This is one of the issues I’ll be covering in this lesson. I’m also going to show you how to plan and write discussion essays step-by-step.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Identifying IELTS discussion essays 
  • 3 Common mistakes
  • Essay structure
  • How to plan
  • How to write an introduction
  • How to write main body paragraphs
  • How to write a conclusion

Want to watch and listen to this lesson?

Click on this video.

Click the links to see lessons on each of these Task 2 essay writing topics. 

Once you understand the process, practice on past questions. Take your time at first and gradually speed up until you can plan and write an essay of at least 250 words in the 40 minutes allowed in the exam.

The Question

The first part of the question for an IELTS discussion essay will be a statement containing two opposing views.

You will then be asked to discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion. Here is some typical wording that might be used:

  • Discuss both views and give your opinion. 
  • Discuss both these views and then give your own opinion. 
  • Discuss both sides of this argument and give your own opinion.

Here's a question from a past test paper.

Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

I’ll be using this question to guide you through the process of planning and writing an IELTS discussion essay.

The key to identifying this type of question is the fact that you are required to discuss BOTH views. This is different to opinion questions where you must decide between two opposing views and make an argument to support your own opinion.

Opinion essays , also known as ‘agree or disagree’ essays, a generally worded in one of these ways:

What is your opinion? / Do you agree or disagree? / To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The other essay type that students mistake for discussion essays is advantages and disadvantages essays . With these, the statement will contain just one view and the question will typically be written as shown in this sample question.

School children are using computers in school more than ever.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this and give your own opinion.

The consequence of incorrectly identifying the question type is that you will use the wrong structure for your essay. This is a major reason why people make the mistakes we’ll now look at.

3 Common Mistakes

These three errors are common in IELTS discussion essays.

  • Not stating your opinion.
  • Not giving arguments for both views.
  • Not developing both sides of the argument equally.

The most common mistake that students make is not giving their opinion. The question will clearly state that you must choose one side of the argument to agree with. If you fail to do this, you will get a low score for task achievement.

It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you take or even, that you actually agree with it.

However, you must give equal attention to both sides. A common error is to provide a stronger argument for the view you favour. This leads to an unbalanced essay and a low score for task achievement. 

Essay Structure

Now let’s look at a simple structure you can use to write IELTS discussion essays. It’s not the only possible structure but it’s the one I recommend because it’s easy to learn and will enable you to quickly plan and write a high-level essay.

1)  Introduction

  • Paraphrase the question
  • State two supporting reasons
  • Give your opinion

  2)  Main body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence – outline the view you don’t agree with
  • Explanation – explain why this view is held by some people
  • Example – give an example

 3 )  Main body paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence – outline the view you do agree with

  4)  Conclusion

  • Summarise the key points and state your opinion

This structure will give us a well-balanced essay with 4 paragraphs.

We now need some ideas to add into the structure and we’ll have everything we need for our essay.

How To Plan IELTS Discussion Essays

# 1  analyse the question.

This is an essential step in the planning process and will ensure that you answer the question fully. It’s quick and easy to do. You just need to identify 3 different types of words:

1. Topic words

2.  Other keywords

3.  Instruction words

We’ve already considered the instruction words (the actual question) so we’ll focus on the first two.

Topics words are the ones that identify the general subject of the question.

Some people think that zoos  are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that  zoos  can be useful in protecting wild animals.

So, this question is about ‘ zoos ’.

Many people do this first step of the process and then write about the topic in general. This is a serious mistake and leads to low marks for task achievement.

What we need to do now that we know the general topic, is to understand exactly what aspect of zoos we're being asked to write about.

The other keywords in the question tell you the specific topic you must write about. They define the opinions stated in the statement.

Some people think tha t zoos are cruel and should be closed down . Others, however, believe that zoos c an be useful in protecting wild animals .

By highlighting these words, it’s easy to see that you are being asked to write about the opposing views that zoos are cruel and should be closed down and that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals. Your essay must only include ideas relevant to these ideas.

# 2  Decide on your opinion

As already mentioned, it doesn’t matter if you genuinely agree with the view you take in your essay or not. IELTS discussion essays are about your ability to write a well-structured essay in the English language and you will not be assessed on any opinion you might hold.

So, choose one view and make sure that your opinion is clear throughout the essay.

For this model essay, I’m going to agree with the statement that zoos are cruel and should be closed down.

# 3  Generate ideas

The next task is to generate some ideas to write about.

There are several different ways to think up ideas. I cover them fully on the  IELTS Essay Planning  page.

We’re going to use the ‘friends technique’. This is my preferred method as it allows you to take a step back from the stress of the exam situation and think more calmly.

Here’s how it works. Imagine you are chatting with a friend and they ask you the question in a casual conversation. What answers would you give them off the top of your head? Plan your essay around these ideas.

Doing this will help you to come up with simple answers in everyday language rather than straining your brain to think of amazing ideas using high level-language, which isn’t necessary.

You might want to try this yourself before reading on for my ideas.

Here are my ideas:

Cruel  – closed down:

  • Cramped cages – animals distressed
  • Unnatural environments
  • Most animals not endangered
  • Animals become a public spectacle for entertainment

Useful – protect wild animals:

  • Research work to learn more about wild animals
  • Breeding programmes for endangered species
  • Some species saved from extinction
  • Seeing wild animals close up inspires people to want to help protect them

I’ve got more ideas here than I need so I’m going to pick two to develop in the essay – one for each of the main body paragraphs.

Idea 1  –  Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

Idea 2  –  Breeding programmes for endangered species, some species saved from extinction.

We’re almost ready to start writing our IELTS discussion essay but first, we have one other small task to do.

# 4  Vocabulary

In an IELTS essay, it’s important to be able to say the same things in different ways, either by paraphrasing and/or using synonyms. During the planning stage, quickly jot down a few synonyms of key words you could use to save you having to stop and think of the right language while you’re writing.

For example:

zoos  – animals in captivity, collections of wild animals, menagerie, wildlife park

cruel  – to cause suffering, inhumane

protect  – safeguard, preserve

animals  – creatures, species

With that done, we can focus on the first paragraph of the essay – the introduction.

How To Write an Introduction

Good introductions to IELTS discussion essays have a simple 3 part structure:

1)  Paraphrase the question

2)  State two supporting reasons (outline statement)

3)  Give your opinion (thesis statement)

  • Have 2-3 sentences
  • Be 40-60 words long
  • Take 5 minutes to write

Start your introduction by paraphrasing the question.

Question:   Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals.

There are various phrases you can use to do this. Here are three examples. They all say the same thing using different language.

  • Some people argue that… while others say that…
  • It is considered by some…. while there are others who think….
  • It is often argued that... whilst others disagree and think...

Choose one and add the details in the question statement in a paraphrased form. I recommend putting the view you don’t agree with first.

Paraphrased question:  

Some people argue that zoos help to preserve wild creatures, while others say that they are inhumane and should be abolished.

Note my use of synonyms. You don’t have to replace every key word but do so where possible whilst ensuring that your language sounds natural. There aren’t any suitable synonyms of ‘zoo’ that I can think of, so I've repeated this word from the statement.

2)  Thesis and outline statements

Now we need to add an  outline statement  where you outline the two main points that you’ll cover in the rest of the essay (ideas 1 and 2 above) and a  thesis statement  where you state your opinion.

Outline & thesis statements:

While the development of breeding programmes contributes to the preservation of endangered species, I believe that the poor conditions that many animals held in captivity are kept in make the existence of zoos unacceptable. 

So, let’s bring the three elements of our introduction together.

     Introduction

discussion essay structure ielts

This introduction achieves three important functions:

  • It shows the examiner that you understand the question.
  • It acts as a guide to the examiner as to what your essay is about.
  • It also helps to keep you focused and on track as you write.

The two ideas in your introduction will become your two main body paragraphs.

Main body paragraph 1  – Breeding programmes for endangered species, some species saved from extinction.

Main body paragraph 2  – Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

How To Write Main Body Paragraphs

Main body paragraphs in IELTS discussion essays should contain 3 things:

It is easier to begin by discussing the opinion you don’t agree with and then present the reasons for the opposing view that you support. So, we’ll start with idea 1.

Main Body Paragraph 1

The  topic sentence  summarises the main idea of the paragraph. That’s all it needs to do so it doesn’t have to be complicated.

It plays an important role in ensuring that your ideas flow logically from one to another. It does this by acting as a signpost for what is to come next, that is, what the paragraph will be about.

If you maintain a clear development of ideas throughout your essay, you will get high marks for task achievement and cohesion and coherence.

We’ll now take the idea for our first main body paragraph and create our topic sentence.

Topic sentence:  

On the one hand, there are many projects in existence in zoological parks around the world where species facing extinction have been successfully bred in captivity and their numbers increased substantially.

Next, we must write an  explanation sentence that expands on the idea. This explains to the examiner what we mean or why this is the case.

Explanation sentence: 

This is important for ensuring the survival of animals under threat from poaching and the destruction of their natural environments.

Finally, we add an  example  to support our main point. If you can’t think of a real example, it’s fine to make one up, as long as it’s believable. The examiner isn’t going to check your facts.

Example sentence:

A good example of this is the golden lion tamarin from Brazil which nearly died out because of logging and mining activities which are destroying its habitat. Today, a third of wild golden lion tamarins were raised in captivity.

That’s the 3 parts of our first main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

discussion essay structure ielts

We now follow the same process for our second main body paragraph.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Main idea 2  – Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

First, we write the  topic sentence  to summarise the main idea. I started main body paragraph 1 with the phrase ‘On the one hand...’, so main body paragraph 2 will naturally begin, ‘On the other hand... .

These are great cohesive devices to use when making a direct contrast between two opposing views and they link the ideas together well. They can be used in most IELTS discussion essays and will help to earn you a good score for cohesion and coherence.

Topic sentence:

On the other hand, a significant percentage of zoos house their animals in cramped cages with very little space to move around or behave naturally.

Now for the  explanation sentence  where we expand on this idea.

Explanation sentence:

This can lead to them becoming distressed and depressed as well as suffering physically through lack of exercise.

Finally, an  example  to support this point.

A friend of mine recently visited a wildlife park while on holiday abroad and was very upset to see the lions pacing up and down in a narrow, bare pen and eagles in enclosures so small that they were unable to fly.

That’s the 3 parts of our second main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

discussion essay structure ielts

Now we need a conclusion and our IELTS discussion essay is done.

How To Write a Conclusion

Conclusions to IELTS discussion essays should do two things:

  • Summarise the main points
  • State your opinion

This can generally be done in a single sentence.

If you're below the minimum 250 words after you’ve written your conclusion, you can add a prediction or recommendation statement.

Our essay currently has 231 words so we’re on target and don’t need this extra sentence but you can learn more about how to write a prediction or recommendation statement for IELTS discussion essays on the Task 2 Conclusions page.

The conclusion is the easiest sentence in the essay to write but one of the most important.

A good conclusion will:

  • Neatly end the essay
  • Link all your ideas together
  • Sum up your argument or opinion
  • Answer the question

If you achieve this, you’ll improve your score for both task achievement and cohesion and coherence which together make up 50% of the overall marks. Without a conclusion, you’ll score below band 6 for task achievement.

You can start almost any final paragraph of an IELTS discussion essay with the words:

  • In conclusion

        or

  • To conclude

Now all you need to do is briefly summarise the main ideas into one sentence.

Here’s a top tip . Go back and read the introduction to the essay because this is also a summary of the essay. It outlines what you are going to write about.

To create a great conclusion, you simply have to paraphrase the introduction. Let’s give it a go.

Introduction:

Here is the same information formed into a conclusion:

discussion essay structure ielts

That’s it. We’ve completed our essay. Here it is with the 4 paragraphs put together.

Finished IELTS discussion essay.

discussion essay structure ielts

Go through this lesson as many times as you need to in order to fully understand it and put in lots of practice writing IELTS discussion essays from past exam questions. Practice is the only way to improve your skills.

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More help with ielts discussion essays & other task 2 essays.

IELTS Writing Task 2  – T he format, the 5 question types, the 5 step essay writing strategy & sample questions. All the key information you need to know.

The 5 Types of Task 2 Essay   – How to recognise the 5 different types of Task 2 essays. 15 sample questions to study and a simple planning structure for each essay type.

Understanding Task 2 Questions  – How to quickly and easily analyse and understand IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.

How To Plan a Task 2 Essay  – Discover why essay planning is essential & learn a simple 4 step strategy, the 4 part essay structure & 4 methods of generating ideas.

How To Write a Task 2 Introduction  – Find out why a good introduction is essential. Learn how to write one using a simple 3 part strategy & discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

How To Write Task 2 Main Body Paragraphs  – Learn the simple 3 part structure for writing great main body paragraphs and also, 3 common mistakes to avoid. 

How To Write Task 2 Conclusions  – Learn the easy way to write the perfect conclusion for a Task 2 essay. Also discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

Task 2 Marking Criteria  – Find out how to meet the marking criteria in Task 2. See examples of good and poor answers & learn some common mistakes to avoid.

The 5 Task 2 Essay Types:

Step-by-step instructions on how to plan & write high-level essays. Model answers & common mistakes to avoid.

   Opinion Essays

   Discussion Essays

  Problem Solution Essays

  Advantages & Disadvantages Essays

  Double Question Essays

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IELTS Discussion Essay: Overview, structure and tips

In this article, the brief introduction, structure and strategy to successfully write an IELTS Discussion Essay will be mentioned in order for you to have in-depth knowledge of this type of essay.

1. IELTS Discussion Essay Overview

The format of the question for an IELTS discussion essay will be normally 2 parts: 

  • 1st part: a statement of two opposing perspectives
  • 2nd part: requirement to discuss the statement

Depending on different questions, the requirement varies in the way of wording:

  • Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  • Discuss both these views and then give your own opinion. 
  • Discuss both sides of this argument and give your own opinion.

IELTS discussion questions seem to be similar to IELTS opinion questions in the first place, but there is a key difference between the two types. While IELTS discussion essay (Discuss both views and give your opinion) asks candidates to discuss both views given and/or give your point of view, IELTS opinion essay (Do you agree or disagree?) requires you to choose between two contrasting views and support your choice with arguments.

In terms of IELTS advantages and disadvantages essay, the first part of the question will be a one-view statement only, compared to the two-opposing-view statement in the IELTS discussion essay. 

ielts discussion essay overview

2. IELTS Discussion Essay Structure

It is suggestable to write the IELTS Discussion Essay with three parts in four or five separate paragraphs:

2.1. Introduction

– Paraphrase the statement / State both views 

(e.g. It is often held that teachers, peers and the media have a significant influence on the life of children. While some people argue that these factors are predominant in shaping a child’s future, others believe that parents impact their offspring in more critical ways. )

– Thesis statement with your opinion

(e.g. This essay will discuss both these points of view and argue in favour of the latter.)

– Body paragraph 1:

  • Topic sentence: state the first view (e.g. On the one hand, the books children read and the music they listen to form their belief system.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate the first view (e.g. In other words, children tend to copy the behaviour of their favourite personality or fictional character. Moreover, when little ones work and play in groups, they are influenced by their peers. Finally, other factors, like the media, prompt children to want things regarded as fashionable.)
  • Example: support the first view with an example (optional) (e.g. For instance, children demand toys that they see on television.)
  • Brief summary of the first view (optional)

– Body paragraph 2:

  • Topic sentence: state the second view (e.g. On the other hand, a child’s personality is malleable at a very young age, and parents are always present in their life at this stage.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate the second view (e.g. On the other hand, a child’s personality is malleable at a very young age, and parents are always present in their life at this stage. Also, very young children love to imitate. An emotionally secure environment at home is critical for the child’s confidence. Moreover, parents also teach children about setting boundaries.)
  • Example: support the second view with an example (optional) (e.g. For example, children who come from a dysfunctional family often exhibit behavioural problems at school.)
  • Brief summary of the second view (optional)

– Body paragraph 3:

  • Topic sentence: state your opinion (e.g. In my opinion, children’s choice of friends, books or music depends on the values instilled in them by their parents.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate your opinion (e.g. Therefore, parents hold more substantial sway over their offspring than media, pop culture and friends circle.)
  • Example: support your opinion with an example (optional)
  • Brief summary of your opinion (optional)

>>> Practice now: IELTS Writing Practice Test

2.3. Conclusion

– Summarize the main points

(e.g. In conclusion, the outside world influences the intellectual and social development of children.)

– State your point of view

(e.g. However, I believe that it is parents who set the stage for these developments by laying a strong foundation from a very young age.)

3. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay Strategy

3.1. analyse the ielts discussion questions.

This step should be prioritized since it decides your understanding of the question. You should analyse the IELTS Discussion question quickly by following these two points:

(e.g. It is commonly believed that nowadays main factors that affect a child’s development are media, pop culture and friends. A different point of view is that family plays the most significant role.)

  • Instructions

(e.g. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write at least 250 words.)

ielts discussion essay strategy

3.2. Make an outline

The first thing you should take action on is to decide which view you incline to. Then, you should note down what are the main points for your essay by outlining in the form of bullet points, a table, or a mindmap. 

3.3. Write a complete IELTS discussion essay

You should strictly follow the three-part structure and base on the outline prepared to write a complete IELTS discussion essay.

3.4. Check your IELTS discussion essay

Your IELTS discussion essay should be not only cohesive and coherent, but also correct with regards to grammar and spelling, so it is important to check your essay before handing in.

4. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay Tips

  • The time limit and word count should be taken into consideration while writing your IELTS Discussion essay. You had better complete the task with the word range from 250 to 290 words in around 40 minutes.
  • You should point out clearly what your opinion is between the two opposing views instead of being in favor of both perspectives. 
  • Give detailed explanation or example to elaborate each view in the Body part. 
  • Do not just list all the reasons without any explanation or example in the body paragraphs.
  • Make use of linking words to clarify the cohesion of your IELTS discussion essay.

In short, IELTS discussion essay will be not much of a difficulty if you gain a well-rounded knowledge and practice regularly. Install our mobile app or visit IELTS Online Test website now to practice with diverse tests.

IELTS Luminary - Free Tips, Strategies, eBooks and Detailed Essay Feedback . Overall, this is the best free IELTS and other test prep website.

How to Write an IELTS Discussion Essay: Your Comprehensive Guide

How to Write an IELTS Discussion Essay: Your Comprehensive Guide

Are you preparing for the IELTS and wondering how to score high in the Writing section? Do you find the "Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion" essay a bit daunting? You've landed in the right place. Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to write an IELTS Discussion Essay!

As the name suggests, the IELTS Discussion Essay requires you to discuss different perspectives on a topic and then provide your viewpoint. Sounds challenging? Don't worry! In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know to craft an impressive IELTS Discussion Essay. From understanding the basics, brainstorming ideas, planning your response, writing an engaging essay, and avoiding common pitfalls – this guide is packed with practical tips and strategies.

Pro Tip: Unlock a higher IELTS Writing score with our downloadable   in-depth eBooks and tailored Essay Feedback directly from an exp erienced IELTS examiner.

Whether you're an IELTS beginner or a seasoned test taker looking to boost your band score, this in-depth guide will help you n avigate the complexities of the IELTS Discussion Essay. As we journey together through this guide, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence needed to master this crucial component of the IELTS Writing section.

Let's start your journey towards IELTS success. Keep reading, and by the end of this guide, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any IELTS Discussion Essay that comes your way! Let's dive in and unravel the secrets of a top-scoring IELTS Discussion Essay.

Knowing the Basics of an IELTS Discussion Essay

What is an ielts discussion essay.

An IELTS discussion essay, also known as "Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion" essay, is a common task in the IELTS Writing Test. This type of essay tests your ability to present a well-rounded discussion on a given topic, your capability to generate ideas and your proficiency in English language usage.

An IELTS discussion essay primarily involves exploring various perspectives on a given issue and subsequently presenting your personal stance on the matter. It's not just about stating your opinion; it's about having the skills to analyse different viewpoints and justify your position with sound reasoning and concrete examples.

Mastering how to write an IELTS discussion essay can significantly boost your IELTS Writing band score. With this guide and consistent practice, you can confidently demonstrate your proficiency in handling a balanced and coherent discussion in your essay.

How to Identify an IELTS Discussion Essay Question

Recognising an IELTS discussion essay prompt is essential in answering the task accurately. Not every IELTS Writing Task 2 is a discussion essay. It's important to distinguish between different essay types, like opinion essays , advantages and disadvantages essays , or problem solution essays .

An IELTS discussion essay question will usually include the instruction "Discuss both views and give your opinion" or "Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion." It is crucial to understand that you need to provide a balanced discussion of both viewpoints before presenting your opinion.

Some questions might phrase the task differently but still require a balanced discussion. For instance,

"Some people believe A, while others believe B. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion."

By understanding the nuances of these instructions, you can accurately identify the IELTS discussion essay task and tackle it with a well-prepared strategy.

Stay tuned to learn how to effectively brainstorm ideas, plan your essay, write persuasively, and revise your work to create a high-scoring IELTS discussion essay.

Preparing to Write Your IELTS Discussion Essay

How to Achieve a High Band Score in IELTS Academic Task 1 Report - eBook by IELTS Luminary

Understanding the Essay Topics

IELTS discussion essay topics are as varied as they are intriguing. They often explore global issues and public interest topics like advancements in technology, environmental sustainability, modern education models, and societal norms.

To effectively tackle these topics, immerse yourself in "hot topics" and current affairs. Familiarize yourself with both sides of common debates. Reading widely can also help. Check out reliable news outlets, opinion pieces, and other resources related to common IELTS discussion essay topics.

Remember, understanding IELTS discussion essay topics isn't about becoming an expert in every field. Rather, it's about building a broad base of knowledge that can help you think critically, generate relevant ideas, and articulate your thoughts coherently.

Brainstorming Ideas for Your IELTS Essay

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Brainstorming is a powerful tool for generating ideas for your IELTS discussion essay. It allows you to tap into your creativity and critically consider different viewpoints.

Start by carefully reading the essay prompt. Understand what it's asking you to discuss. From there, jot down all your initial thoughts, ideas, and arguments related to both sides of the topic.

Consider potential reasons, examples, and points that support each viewpoint. This comprehensive brainstorming process not only helps you gather rich content for your essay but also paves the way for a balanced and well-rounded discussion.

Planning the Discussion Essay

Essay planning is an essential step in the IELTS writing process. A well-structured essay plan helps you organize your ideas, makes sure you address all parts of the prompt, and guides your writing process.

A typical IELTS discussion essay includes an introduction, two body paragraphs (each discussing a different viewpoint), and a conclusion.

Introduction: State the topic and your intention to discuss both views. Use clear, concise language.

Body Paragraph 1: Discuss the first viewpoint. Use a topic sentence to introduce the viewpoint, and then present supporting ideas and examples.

Body Paragraph 2: Discuss the second viewpoint. Use a similar structure as the first body paragraph but ensure your points are distinct.

Conclusion: Summarize your discussion, state your personal viewpoint, and give a closing thought or implication.

Use this structure as a blueprint when planning your IELTS discussion essay. It will help ensure your essay is coherent, logical, and ready to impress the examiners.

Writing the IELTS Discussion Essay

Crafting an engaging introduction.

Paraphrase the essay question to clarify the issue under discussion.

To begin the introduction, rephrase the given essay question. This demonstrates your understanding of the topic and avoids mere repetition. Paraphrasing can also make the topic clearer and more understandable for the reader.

Next, give a thesis statement that answers the question in brief.

The thesis statement is crucial. It briefly summarizes your main argument or stance on the topic. It acts as a roadmap, telling the reader what to expect from the essay and how the discussion will unfold.

Remember, the introduction does not have to be lengthy; a few well-crafted sentences can set a strong foundation for your essay.

This is a piece of advice that emphasizes brevity and quality. You don't need an extended introduction; rather, it should be concise and effective in introducing the topic and setting the stage for the discussion.

Discussing Both Views in Detail

The body of your IELTS discussion essay is where you delve into the crux of your argument. This should be split into two paragraphs, each discussing a different view.

For each viewpoint, start with a clear topic sentence that outlines the main idea. This will guide the reader through your argument. Following the topic sentence, provide supporting details, examples, or reasons that back up the viewpoint. Make sure your ideas are logically ordered and each paragraph is cohesive and focused.

Sharing Your Own Viewpoint

In the IELTS discussion essay, after discussing both views, it's crucial to share your personal viewpoint. This is where you can make a compelling argument supporting your position. Your viewpoint can agree with either of the discussed perspectives, both of them, or be entirely different.

Justify your opinion with strong reasoning and relevant examples. Make sure to connect your viewpoint with the points you've discussed previously. Use cohesive devices to ensure your argument flows smoothly from the discussion of the two viewpoints to your personal stance.

Wrapping up with a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion is your final chance to impress the reader. It's where you summarize your discussion and restate your viewpoint.

Start your conclusion by paraphrasing the main discussion points. Next, restate your personal viewpoint, ensuring it aligns with what you've discussed in the body of your essay. Try to end your essay on a strong note, possibly by summarizing the implications of the discussion or giving a final thought related to the topic.

Remember, a strong conclusion doesn't introduce any new information but effectively wraps up your essay, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

By following these steps, you can create a compelling, coherent, and high-scoring IELTS discussion essay. Stay tuned to further explore editing techniques and common mistakes to avoid for your IELTS writing tasks.

Polishing Your Discussion Essay

Reviewing and editing your ielts discussion essay.

The importance of reviewing and editing your IELTS discussion essay cannot be overstated. This step ensures that your essay is clear, coherent, and free from mistakes.

Start by reading your essay aloud to check for flow and coherence. Look out for any awkward phrasing or unclear ideas. Consider whether your arguments make sense and whether you've supported your points with strong evidence.

Pay close attention to your language use. Look for any grammatical, punctuation, or spelling errors. Also, check if your vocabulary is varied and appropriate. Ensure your sentences are not too long or complex as this could lead to more errors.

Editing isn't just about correcting mistakes. It's also about refining your arguments, ensuring your points are clear, and your ideas are logically connected.

Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes

Avoiding common mistakes can significantly enhance your IELTS discussion essay quality. Here are a few key pitfalls to steer clear of:

Going off-topic: Ensure your discussion remains focused on the topic throughout. Every paragraph should contribute to your overall argument.

Writing too much: Stay within the recommended word count. Writing too much can lead to unnecessary errors and wasted time.

Unequal discussion of views: Remember to discuss both views equally. Your essay should not heavily lean towards one view unless it's your personal viewpoint.

Inadequate planning: Failing to plan your essay can lead to a disorganized argument. Spend adequate time understanding the prompt, brainstorming ideas, and planning your essay.

Conclusion Writing

By following these steps, you can create a compelling, coherent, and high-scoring IELTS discussion essay.

IELTS Discussion Essay: A Band 9 Sample

Here is an example of an IELTS Discussion Essay, adhering to the guidelines provided in our comprehensive guide.

Essay Question:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programs (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood, or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree or disagree?

"Many advocate for mandatory community service in high schools, emphasizing its role in fostering personal growth and benefiting local communities. While the inclusion of community service undoubtedly offers numerous developmental benefits, the debate centres on whether it should be an enforced obligation or a choice made out of genuine interest. This essay will discuss both perspectives on this issue before concluding with my own viewpoint.

On one hand, integrating unpaid community service into high school programs can offer multiple benefits. It provides students with the opportunity to develop essential life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, and empathy. For example, volunteering at a local charity could improve their understanding of societal issues and instill a sense of social responsibility. Furthermore, teaching sports to younger children could enhance leadership skills, fostering a sense of accomplishment and confidence among high school students.

On the other hand, critics argue that community service should not be mandatory. They assert that it may impose additional pressure on students, who are already burdened with academic responsibilities. Also, forced volunteering may not yield genuine compassion or social awareness, as the service is carried out from obligation, not personal interest or motivation. Instead, they suggest that schools should encourage, not enforce, participation in community service, allowing students to engage in activities that truly resonate with them.

In conclusion, while mandatory community service could nurture important skills and values among high school students, it is equally important to consider the potential stress and insincerity it might cultivate. In my opinion, community service should be encouraged, but not compulsory, in high schools, allowing students to discover their passions and contribute meaningfully to society."

As you can see, this essay adheres to the structure of an IELTS discussion essay. It has an introduction that outlines the topic and intention to discuss both views, two body paragraphs discussing each view, and a conclusion that summarizes the discussion and provides the writer's personal viewpoint.

You can boost your IELTS Writing score with our comprehensive eBooks and personalised Essay Feedback by an experienced IELTS examiner.

IELTS Discuss Both Views Essay Structure + Sample Answers

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The next big thing after learning about IELTS discuss both views essays is –  How do you structure them?

IELTS Discuss Both Views Essay Structure

Please be aware though, the perfect structure alone will not make you a band 7+ achiever. Your vocabulary and English proficiency still plays a key role in IELTS writing task – 2.

But the good news is… Here we’ve outlined an easily comprehensible  step-by-step format  to logically present a discussion essay and give your opinion effectively.

This post will clear your doubts over:

  • Essay Structure
  • Sample Question(s)
  • Task Explanation

Sample Answer

Discuss both views – essay structure.

There are hundreds of ways to structure a Discuss both views essay in the writing part . However, we’ll use this 4-paragraph foolproof band 7+ structure:

IELTS Discuss Both Views Essay Structure

INTRODUCTION

  • Paraphrase the question statement or use a general statement relevant to the topic.
  • State both viewpoints
  • Write your opinion statement (only if specified in the statement).
  • Write an outline sentence

BODY PARAGRAPH 1

  • State first viewpoint
  • Explain the viewpoint
  • Provide a logical example

BODY PARAGRAPH 2

  • State second viewpoint
  • Write concluding remarks and your opinion
  • State which viewpoint is more significant

RELATED: IELTS Writing Task-1 Formal Letters With Sample Answers

Sample Questions

Now that you’ve understood the discussion essay structure, let’s look at some recently asked topics to give you an idea of how the ‘discuss both views and give your opinion’ essay looks like.

Some people believe that children should spend all of their leisure time with their families. Others believe that this is not required and a negative development. Discuss both viewpoints and give your opinion. Support your answer with the help of relevant examples.

Explanation of the Task

This is Opinion>Discussion type essay. Hence, You should introduce the topic, provide relevant ideas explaining arguments on both sides of the discussion, and then write your opinion in the conclusion. Always remember that these Opinion>Discussion tasks might be expressed differently; look for keyword ‘discuss’ and its synonyms like ‘debate’, ‘consider’ and ‘review’.

Topic Vocabulary

  • foster parents – people who officially take a child into their family for a period of time, without becoming the child’s legal parents. The child is referred to as their foster child.
  • guardians – people who are legally appointed to protect child’s interests in the absence of parents.
  • role models – people that children look up to as examples
  • ground rules – basic rules governing the peoples’ behaviour
  • conventions – traditions or social norms that most people follow
  • codes of conduct – voluntary rules acceptable to people
  • bullying – when children attack and intimidate other children
  • truancy – when a pupil leaves school without permission
  • delinquency – minor crime
  • dual-income – a situation when both mother and father working
  • child-minding – informal care for children (outside of schools)
  • peers – people in the same age group or level
  • behavioural patterns – ways of acting and doing things
  • well brought-up – to grow, educate and behave in a socially acceptable manner.

We hope that understanding this ‘Discuss both views essay structure’ will help you organize your writing task – 2 better and ultimately fetch you a high band score. And, don’t forget to download the IDP IELTS Writing answer sheets !

2 thoughts on “IELTS Discuss Both Views Essay Structure + Sample Answers”

Very good guidance. Could include one more sample answer.

Thanks! Yeah…sure. More stuff lined up 🙂

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IELTS Writing Task 2: discuss both views + give your opinion

In this guide, you'll learn how to answer IELTS writing task 2 questions that ask you to discuss both points of view before giving your opinion . This type of question is often confused with an agree/disagree question or a give your opinion question. In the latter types of questions, you can choose an opinion and generate your arguments. However, for a discuss both views + give opinion question, you have to discuss both points of view impartially before giving your own view.

In this lesson you will see IELTS writing task 2 sample question + model answer and learn:

  • how to impartially discuss the points of view
  • how to present your own point of view
  • how to give a band 9 answer

IELTS question - discuss both views + give opinion

Let's look at an example of IELTS writing task 2 question that asks you to discuss both views and give your opinion:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

It is commonly believed that nowadays main factors that affect a child's development are media, pop culture and friends. A different point of view is that family plays the most significant role.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Write at least 250 words.

Generate arguments for each point of view:

discussion essay structure ielts

First of all, you have to identify the two opinions . These are:

  • External factors have more considerable influence on a child's development.
  • The family has a greater influence on a child's development.

Next, let's brainstorm for arguments that support each side:

  • External factors have a more considerable influence on a child's development.
  • Children tend to copy the behaviour of their favourite fictional characters.
  • Children spend a lot of time with their peers.
  • Technology has an all-pervasive impact on children.
  • Parents are always present in the life of a child.
  • The younger the children are, the more malleable their character is.
  • Parents can set boundaries and have more control over their children.

Choose your point of view:

For our essay, we will agree that although external factors influence the development of a child, parents and family still have the upper hand.

Our reason: A child's choice of friends, books or music depends on the values instilled in them by their parents.

Band 9 answer structure for discuss both views + give opinion essay

Though there are many ways to structure your IELTS essay, we’ll use this time-tested band 9 essay structure:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph 1 – discuss the first opinion
  • Body paragraph 2 – discuss the second opinion
  • Body paragraph 3 – give your own opinion

It is often held that teachers, peers and the media have a significant influence on the life of children. While some people argue that these factors are predominant in shaping a child's future, others believe that parents impact their offspring in more critical ways. This essay will discuss both these points of view and argue in favour of the latter.

discussion essay structure ielts

On the one hand, the books children read and the music they listen to form their belief system. In other words, children tend to copy the behaviour of their favourite personality or fictional character. Moreover, when little ones work and play in groups, they are influenced by their peers. Finally, other factors, like the media, prompt children to want things regarded as fashionable. For instance, children demand toys that they see on television.

discussion essay structure ielts

On the other hand, a child's personality is malleable at a very young age, and parents are always present in their life at this stage. Also, very young children love to imitate. For example, children who come from a dysfunctional family often exhibit behavioural problems at school. An emotionally secure environment at home is critical for the child's confidence. Moreover, parents also teach children about setting boundaries.

In my opinion, children's choice of friends, books or music depends on the values instilled in them by their parents. Therefore, parents hold more substantial sway over their offspring than media, pop culture and friends circle.

In conclusion, the outside world influences the intellectual and social development of children. However, I believe that it is parents who set the stage for these developments by laying a strong foundation from a very young age.

Band 9 answer sample

(273 words)

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Essays- Benchmark IELTS

  • Essay Types
  • Double Question
  • Advantage Disadvantage
  • Problem Solution
  • Essay Length

discuss ielts essay type

Discussion essays are a common type of IELTS writing task 2 essay question where you are given two sides of an argument to discuss and give your opinion. This guide is full of writing tips, useful language and a sample essay to help you produce a high-level IELTS writing task 2 discussion essay. Read on to learn more!

Table of Contents

1.1 understanding the question, 1.2 example discussion essay questions, 2.1 essay structure 1.

  • 2.2 Essay structure 2
  • 3.1 Identify key words and phrases

3.2 Organise your ideas

3.3 identify vocabulary, 4.1 introduction, 4.2 main body paragraphs, 4.3 conclusion.

  • 5.1 Complete the sample Discussion essay

5.2 Discussion Sample Essay

1. discussion essay overview.

As with all IELTS writing task 2 essay  questions, you will have  40 minutes to produce a formal essay ( at least 250 words in length).

With a discussion essay, you will be presented with two sides of an argument and then asked to give your opinion .

Remember, there are five main types of writing task 2 questions:

  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Double question
  • Problem/solution

A discussion question should be easy to identify: You will first be given an IELTS statement and then a question that will usually be worded something like:

  • Discuss both sides and give your opinion
  • Discuss both sides

With this type of essay question, you can choose to either take a thesis-led approach where you give your opinion in the i ntroduction and conclusion , or an evidence-led approach where you give your opinion in the conclusion .

We will show you both structures later in this guide and a sample essay that takes an evidence-led approach.

Here are some example discussion essay questions. Pay attention to the question words so you quickly identify a discussion essay question:

Some people say that governments are responsible for dealing with environmental issues. Other people believe that it is the individual’s responsibility to take action to protect the environment.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally.

There seems to be an increasing number of serious crimes committed each year. While some think the best way is to use the death penalty as a deterrent, many people believe that other measures will be needed.

Discuss both sides.

Some people feel that it is better to live in a city while others believe that life is better in the countryside.

Also, read the following IELTS Essay Writing Guides

  • Double Question IELTS Essay Topics
  • Opinion-based Task 2 IELTS Guide
  • IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essay Type
  • Problem Solution IELTS Writing Task Statement

Many people think governments should fund art, while others believe that artists should be responsible for funding their work.

Discuss both views.

IELTS writing correction

2. Essay Structure for Opinion Essays

2.1 essay structure 2.

Evidence-led

Note that we have suggested giving two topic sentences per body paragraph . However, it is perfectly fine to spend more time writing one topic sentence and developing that idea fully .

The best way to see what structure works best is to complete an essay under timed conditions.

3. Planning your Discussion Essay

Planning your essay should only take 5 minutes but could make a real difference to your overall score.

We’ve put together some useful tips to plan a discussion essay.

3.1 Identify keywords and phrases

You should always make sure you understand exactly what topic you have been asked to write about by locating the topic words in the IELTS statement.

Take a look at the statement for our model answer. We’ve underlined the topic words for you:

Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally .

The topic of this essay is environmental problems . We have also put some other keywords in bold that give more information about the topic, in this case, the question is not just about environmental problems but about dealing with these problems on a global scale or nationally .

If you want to score well in Coherence and Cohesion, then you need to create a logical and well organised essay. You could organise your ideas using notes, bullet points, columns, or whatever method you like. For a discussion essay, you could consider arranging your ideas by argument and supporting examples:

Argument 1:

  • Environmental issues should be addressed at global level/ richer nations = financial ability
  • International cooperation is necessary worldwide
  • World leaders can make laws to promote the use of renewable energy and reduce the use of finite resources
  • Resources to develop and invest in green technology / drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Different nations need to reduce carbon emissions

Argument 2:

  • National laws that impose rules
  • Regional and community action is more effective than global efforts
  • Recycling quotas and waste reduction
  • Communities can coordinate direct action
  • Litter picking campaigns

Although it is not essential, it is a great idea to note down any unusual or useful vocabulary during the planning process to increase your score in Lexical resource .

Here are some ideas we came up with for our sample essay linked to the topic of environmental problems :

  • Finite resources
  • Greenhouse emissions
  • Enact meaningful change
  • Recycling quotas
  • Green technology

4. Writing your Discussion Essay

The first thing you need to do is rewrite the given IELTS statement in your own words. This is called paraphrasing and it is a key skill needed for the writing section of the IELTS exam.

Look at the example of our paraphrase statement, can you see what’s changed?

Notice that we have taken an evidence-led approach where we do not give our opinion in the introduction and instead put this in the conclusion.

We suggest also adding an outline sentence to briefly explain what our easy will do:

This essay will examine both points of view .

For both of your main body paragraphs, you will need language to introduce the two discussion points given in the statement.

Each body paragraph should focus on one side of the argument .

Here’s a reminder of our recommended essay structure for the body paragraphs (remember, you do not have to write about two points in each paragraph, you can stick to one ):

Impersonal Passive: The impersonal passive is useful for this type of essay when introducing ideas. Here are some example sentence starters:

  • People often say that…
  • A common argument is that…
  • People often claim that…
  • Some people say that…
  • People generally think that…
  • People often put forward the argument that…

Here is another example taken from our sample essay:

It is often argued that these environmental issues should be tackled globally.

Relative clauses: Relative clauses are an efficient way of providing more information about the main idea of your sentence as well as a way of increasing your Grammatical range and accuracy .

Here is a reminder of the relative pronouns needed to form a relative clause:

And here are some example relative clauses linked to the topic of our sample essay:

  • On the other hand, there are many people who believe that environmental change is only possible at a more local level and that only individual nations can make the biggest difference.
  • It is believed that there should be national laws that impose rules such as recycling quotas and waste reduction.

Your conclusion is an essential part of your writing tasks 2 essay and you will find it difficult to score over a band score 6.0 in Task achievement if you do not include one .

There are two main things you need to do for a successful conclusion:

  • Restate both sides of the argument (using different words than you did in your introduction)
  • Give your opinion/ restate your opinion on which side of the argument you think is the most important (this will depend on whether you have taken a thesis-led or evidence-led approach)

Take a look at our conclusion for the sample answer and identify the opinion:

In conclusion, although it is clear that environmental issues need to be addressed at a global level, it is my view that national efforts can make the biggest difference.  Communities can work together to implement policies quickly and effectively and enact meaningful environmental change.

5. Example Discussion Essay and Exercise

Here is the discussion essay that we have been using in this guide.

We have removed some keywords so you can test your knowledge on discussion essays by selecting the correct missing word.

5.1 Complete the Sample Discussion Essay

There is no doubt that the modern world is facing many serious environmental problems, such as climate change, an increase in natural disasters and air pollution. It is often argued that these environmental issues should be tackled globally. However, there are also those that argue that these problems can only be dealt with at a regional level. This essay will examine both points of view.

One reason that people believe environmental issues should be addressed at a global level is that richer, more developed nations have the financial ability and power to do so. World leaders can make laws to promote the use of renewable energy and reduce the use of finite resources. Furthermore, they also have the resources to develop and invest in green technology that could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another argument that can be put forward is that, to make major environmental changes, international cooperation is necessary worldwide. For instance, different nations need to work in unison to agree on their reduction in carbon emissions.

On the other hand, there are many people who believe that environmental change is only possible at a more local level and that only individual nations can make the biggest difference. It is believed that there should be national laws that impose rules such as recycling quotas and waste reduction. Additionally, it is argued that regional and community action is more effective than global efforts. For example, communities can coordinate direct action such as litter picking campaigns.

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IELTS Discussion Essay Sample Questions

Below is a list of IELTS discussion essay sample questions for IELTS writing task 2. These are also known as two sided essays.

Discussion Essay Tips

  • identify both sides
  • find supporting points for both side
  • only give your opinion if the task asks for it
  • use discussion essay language
  • follow a safe discussion essay model

Discussion Essay Questions

Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
All parents want the best opportunities for their children. There are some people who think that schools should teach children skills but others think having a range of subjects is better for a children’s future. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
There seems to be an increasing number of serious crimes committed each year. While some think the best way is to use the death penalty as a deterrent, many people believe that other measures will be needed. Discuss both sides.
Some people think that getting a degree from university is the best way to guarantee a good job, others believe that it would be better to go straight into work and get experience instead. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
Some people think that exercise is the key to health while others feel that having a balanced diet is more important. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
It is thought by some that its is better to live in a city while others  believe that life is better in the countryside. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
Some people think that the internet has brought people closer together while others think that people and communities are become more isolated. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Other IELTS Essay Questions

  • Opinion Essay Questions
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  • Advantage Disadvantage Essay Questions
  • All Essay Questions by Topic

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay: Explanation & Breakdown With Sample Answers

Courtney Miller

Updated On Nov 23, 2023

discussion essay structure ielts

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay: Explanation & Breakdown With Sample Answers

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The IELTS Writing Task 2 is a 250-word essay that tests your ability to communicate your ideas in a clear, concise, and well-organized way. One of the most common question types for this task is the discussion essay.

In an IELTS discussion essay, you will be presented with a statement that contains two opposing views. Your task is to discuss both sides of the argument, and then to give your own opinion on the matter.

How to Write a Discussion Essay?

There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing a discussion essay:

  • Identify the two opposing views.  The first step is to carefully read the statement and identify the two opposing views. Once you have identified the two views, you can start to think about how you can support each one.
  • Gather evidence to support both sides.  Once you know what the two opposing views are, you need to gather evidence to support each one. This evidence can come from your own knowledge, experience, or research.
  • Write a clear and organized essay.  Your essay should have a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the introduction, you should paraphrase the statement and state your own opinion on the matter. In the body paragraphs, you should discuss each of the two opposing views, and provide evidence to support each one. In the conclusion, you should restate your opinion and summarize the main points of your essay.

Tips to Write a Discussion Essay

There are certain tips that you can follow to improve your understanding of Discussion essays and how you can approach them. Read the tips given below and implement the same in your essays:

  • Use neutral language –  When discussing two opposing views, it is essential to use neutral language. This means avoiding language that expresses your own opinion or that could be seen as favoring one side over the other.
  • Be objective –  It is also important to be objective when discussing two opposing views. This means presenting both sides of the argument fairly and without bias.
  • Use evidence to support your claims –  When making a claim in your essay, be sure to provide evidence to support it. This evidence can come from your own knowledge, experience, or research.
  • Use transition words and phrases –  Transition words and phrases can help to make your essay flow smoothly and signal to the reader when you are moving from one point to another.
  • Proofread your essay carefully –  Before submitting your essay, be sure to proofread it carefully for any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

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Discussion Essay Sample Questions with Sample Answer

Here are a few sample questions for discussion essays. Now before you start learning about discussion essays through the given example questions, watch this  video  for a better understanding. Check the samples below:

Sample Answer With Breakdown

Introduction:  The introduction sets the stage for the essay by presenting the topic and highlighting the opposing viewpoints.

Body Paragraph 1:  This paragraph discusses the advantages of learning a foreign language, including cognitive, cultural, and practical benefits.

Body Paragraph 2:  The second paragraph presents the counterargument that learning a foreign language is unnecessary due to technology and the prominence of English.

Conclusion:  The conclusion provides a clear personal opinion that acknowledges the counterarguments but asserts that the benefits of foreign language learning are more significant.

Final Compilation

Learning a foreign language has been a topic of debate in educational circles, with proponents arguing its importance and opponents asserting its insignificance. Those who advocate for learning a foreign language in school argue that it has numerous cognitive, cultural, and practical benefits. Firstly, mastering another language enhances cognitive abilities, as it requires learners to think critically and adapt to different linguistic structures. Moreover, it promotes cultural understanding by allowing individuals to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, fostering tolerance and open-mindedness. From a practical standpoint, in today’s globalized world, proficiency in a foreign language can boost job prospects and facilitate international interactions.

On the other hand, there are those who contend that learning a foreign language is unnecessary in the modern age due to the prevalence of translation tools and the predominance of English as a global lingua franca. They argue that the time spent on language acquisition could be better utilized for other subjects that are more directly applicable to students’ future careers. Additionally, some assert that the difficulty of becoming truly proficient in a foreign language often discourages students and leads to frustration.

In my view, while the concerns raised against learning a foreign language hold some validity, the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. The cognitive and cultural benefits of language learning are substantial and contribute not only to personal growth but also to building a more interconnected and harmonious society. Moreover, even though technology can aid in translation, it cannot replace the nuanced understanding and genuine human connections that result from speaking someone’s native language. Therefore, incorporating foreign language learning into the curriculum remains a valuable investment in students’ holistic development.

For IELTS Writing Task 2 Tips:  Click Here

Introduction:  Introduces the topic and mentions the opposing views regarding city and countryside living.

Body Paragraph 1:  Discusses the advantages of living in a city, including access to amenities, job opportunities, and cultural activities.

Body Paragraph 2:  Presents the benefits of living in the countryside, such as tranquility, connection to nature, and strong communities.

Conclusion:  Offers a personal perspective that acknowledges the strengths of both options and suggests that the choice should be based on individual preferences.

Living preferences between urban and rural areas have long been a subject of debate. Supporters of city living argue that it offers greater access to amenities, career opportunities, and cultural activities. Cities are often hubs of economic activity, providing a wide range of job options and higher earning potential. Additionally, urban dwellers can enjoy a plethora of entertainment choices, from theaters and museums to restaurants and shopping centers.

On the other hand, proponents of rural living emphasize the tranquility and connection to nature that the countryside provides. They contend that life in the countryside is less stressful, offering cleaner air, less noise pollution, and a slower pace of life. Moreover, the close-knit communities in rural areas foster a sense of belonging and interpersonal relationships that can be harder to find in bustling cities.

In my opinion, both living environments have their merits, and the choice depends on individual preferences and priorities. While cities offer convenience and a vibrant social scene, they can also be overwhelming and stressful. On the contrary, the countryside provides a peaceful and close-to-nature existence, but it might lack the opportunities and amenities that cities offer. Therefore, the ideal choice should be based on a person’s lifestyle, values, and career aspirations.

Introduction:  Introduces the topic and states that social media’s impact on society is debated.

Body Paragraph 1:  Discusses the negative effects of social media, including impacts on mental health, privacy, and interpersonal relationships.

Body Paragraph 2:  Presents the positive aspects of social media, focusing on connectivity, activism, information sharing, and education.

Conclusion:  Offers a personal perspective that acknowledges both sides of the argument but emphasizes the potential positive impact of responsible social media use.

The influence of social media on society is a topic of ongoing debate. Detractors argue that social media has detrimental effects on mental health, privacy, and interpersonal relationships. They claim that the constant comparison to curated online personas can lead to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Furthermore, the erosion of privacy due to the widespread sharing of personal information and the rise of cyberbullying are serious concerns. Critics also point out that excessive screen time detracts from face-to-face interactions, potentially weakening real-life connections.

On the other hand, proponents of social media contend that it fosters global connectivity, information sharing, and activism. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram enable individuals to voice their opinions, raise awareness about important issues, and create positive change. Social media has played a pivotal role in various social movements and humanitarian efforts, mobilizing people on a scale previously unattainable. Additionally, it allows easy access to a wide range of educational content and facilitates networking opportunities.

In my view, while social media has its drawbacks, its potential positive impact is significant. The power of social media to amplify voices, disseminate information, and drive social change cannot be overlooked. However, its usage should be balanced and responsible, with individuals and society collectively addressing its negative aspects, such as online toxicity and privacy concerns.

Here are the 10 examples for the Discussion Essay:

Also, check:

  • IELTS Writing tips
  • IELTS Writing recent actual test
  • Band 9 essays
  • Advantage and Disadvantage Essays
  • IELTS Writing Answer sheet
  • IELTS map vocabulary
  • IELTS Writing Task 1 Connectors

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I give my opinion in an IELTS discussion essay?

Are Opinion essays and Discussion essays the same?

How do you discuss both views and give your opinion?

What are the major mistakes test takers do in the IELTS Discussion essays?

How to write the IELTS Discussion Essay?

Practice IELTS Writing Task 2 based on Essay types

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Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller

Courtney is one of our star content writers as she plays multiple roles. She is a phenomenal researcher and provides extensive articles to students. She is also an IELTS Trainer and an extremely good content writer. Courtney completed her English Masters at Kings College London, and has been a part of our team for more than 3 years. She has worked with the British Council and knows the tricks and tips of IELTS.

Explore other Discussion Essays

Nowadays Animal Experiments are Widely Used to Develop New Medicines – IELTS Writing Task 2

Janice Thompson

IELTS Writing Task 2 – Nowadays Education Quality is Very Low

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discussion essay structure ielts

Blessing Nzekwe

Posted on May 20, 2022

Prison is the common way in most countries to solve the problem of crime. However, a more effective solution is to provide people with a better education. Do you agree of disagree.

Correctional centre is the most popular facility used by majority of the countries to tackle criminal activities. While I believe that the most probable action of ultmost benefit is to make accessible standard education for the masses, as this will make them to be well informed and be more responsible citizens, in this regard I agree with the latter statement.

To begin with, paving way for education of top notch quality will create an avenue to gain knowledge and understanding of information about rules and regulations governing a certain sect as well as how to uphold good moral values and living righteously. For instance, research shows that in Finland, there are negligible number of penitentiary institutions due to the high quality education system being operated in the country. Thus having a consequential high valued institution of learning plays a significant role in cubbing criminal activities.

Furthermore, an impeccable academic world will inculcate the act of being accountable citizens, this will make them to take responsibility of any action they perform and thereafter face whatever consequence that may arise from such weather it is pleasant or unpleasant. For example, in Nigeria, civic studies was incorporated into the school curriculum in a bid to boost the educational standard for the masses at large. Therefore, having a feasible academic environment will help create individuals of high moral standard who will stare clear of any form of unholy act.

To conclude, I want to reaffirm the fact that having quality educational facility that will teach high moral life values to gain the act of responsibility, out weighs the adoption of correctional centres to mitigate criminal activities. I recommend that the governing body should devote their strength to enhancing good learning facilities rather than prison services.

kasturika

Posted on May 21, 2022

Band Score – 5.5

Concentrate on the correct usage of articles, verb forms, prepositions, subject-verb agreement and punctuation.

Since it is an opinion essay, you are required to write about one line of contrast in a separate body after presenting two body paragraphs supporting your views.

Pay attention to spellings and word order in a sentence.

Use C2 level of words.

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IELTS Discussion Essay - IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

Want to know about the IELTS discussion essay Click for information on how to write discussion essay, its structure, sample tips!

10/11/2023 2 min read

discussion essay structure ielts

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognized and accepted examinations in English language proficiency testing. The IELTS exam is often a prerequisite for individuals seeking to study, work, or live in English-speaking countries. One of the key components of the IELTS exam is Writing Task 2, which requires candidates to compose a discussion essay. This article will comprehensively explore the IELTS Discussion Essay and provide insights into its structure, tips for effective writing, and common pitfalls to avoid.

Understanding the IELTS Discussion Essay

What is a discussion essay.

A Discussion Essay, as the name implies, is an essay where candidates must discuss a topic from multiple perspectives. It tests not only the candidate's ability to present coherent arguments but also their capacity to analyze the subject matter critically.

The IELTS Writing Task 2

The IELTS Writing module consists of two tasks. Task 1 typically describes visual data, while Task 2 focuses on essay writing. Task 2, also known as the IELTS Discussion Essay, carries more weight in scoring and requires a more comprehensive response.

Structure of the IELTS Discussion Essay

Candidates must adhere to a well-defined structure to excel in the IELTS Writing Task 2. Here's a breakdown of how to structure your IELTS Discussion Essay:

Introduction

The introduction is your essay's first impression. It should be concise and engaging, giving the reader a clear understanding of the topic. Begin with a hook and present the central issue or question.

Background Information

Provide some context or background information about the topic. This sets the stage for the discussion and helps the reader comprehend the subject matter.

Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is a critical component. It should clearly state your stance on the issue or question and outline the main points you will discuss in the essay.

Body Paragraphs

Divide your essay into multiple body paragraphs dedicated to a single point or argument. Start each section with a clear topic sentence, followed by supporting evidence, examples, and explanations.

Counterarguments

Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and counter them with logical arguments. This demonstrates your ability to consider multiple perspectives.

Summarize your main points and restate your thesis in the conclusion. Provide a closing thought or recommendation related to the topic.

Tips for Effective IELTS Discussion Essay Writing

Time Management: Allocate sufficient time for planning, writing, and proofreading your essay.

Clarity and Cohesion: Ensure your ideas flow logically from one paragraph to the next. Use transition words to connect your thoughts.

Vocabulary: Showcase a rich language but avoid overly complex expressions that may lead to errors.

Grammar and Punctuation: Pay attention to grammar and punctuation. Avoid common mistakes to maintain clarity.

Practice: Regularly practice writing IELTS Discussion Essays to improve your skills and speed.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Going Off-Topic: Stick to the given topic and avoid unrelated information.

Lack of Evidence: Always support your arguments with relevant examples or evidence.

Overgeneralization: Avoid making sweeping statements without proper justification.

Neglecting Counterarguments: Address opposing views to demonstrate critical thinking.

Word Count: Stay within the recommended word count. Writing too much or too little can affect your score.

In the world of IELTS, mastering the Discussion Essay in Writing Task 2 is a significant achievement. By understanding the essay's structure, following essential tips, and avoiding common pitfalls, candidates can enhance their chances of success in this critical exam section.

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structures

The four most common IELTS writing Task 2 questions are: Opinion, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problem and Solution Discussion

IELTS Task 2 Essay Structures

Knowing how to structure your IELTS Writing Task 2 essay is an essential skill that can make the difference between getting and not getting the band score you deserve. With that in mind, we have outlined the most common IELTS Writing Task 2 structures below.

discussion essay structure ielts

Nearly all of my Task 2 essays follow this basic structure: The sentences you put in each paragraph will depend on what type of question you get.

The five most common IELTS Writing Task 2 questions are:

  • Opinion (Agree or Disagree)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Problem and Solution
  • Discussion (Discuss both views)
  • Two-part Question

Below I will outline examples and a structure approved by experienced IELTS teachers and examiners for each type of question. This will help you write a clear, coherent answer and hopefully boost your IELTS band score. I also include an example answer for each type of question so you can see the structure in a real essay.

Please note that these are general structures and may vary slightly depending on the question.

Please also note that no ‘one’ Task 2 essay structure will get you a high score. There are many types of structures that can get you a high score. These are just some I think are effective and easy to learn. 

Please visit the lessons below for more detailed guidance on each type of question. I have provided a link at the end of each section.

discussion essay structure ielts

Opinion Questions (Agree or Disagree) 

Typical Question Words –

What is your opinion?

Do you agree or disagree?

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Direct question.

Example Question –

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be compulsory in high school programmes (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teaching sports to younger children).

Essay Structure 

Introduction 

1- Paraphrase Question

2- Give your opinion and outline the main ideas.

Main Body Paragraph 1 

1- Topic Sentence

2- Explain Topic Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 2

Conclusion 

1- Summary of main points and opinion

Student Sample Answer

It is argued that volunteering should be made part of the school curriculum. This essay agrees with that suggestion completely because it help pupils develop soft skills and helps them gain much-needed work experience.

Education should not be limited to strictly academic pursuits, and those in education should also develop life skills, such as teamwork, empathy and self-discipline, and one of the best ways to hone these aptitudes is through community service. Serving those less fortunate than ourselves teaches us many lessons, including how to work with people from other backgrounds and the value of hard work, thus enabling us to hone these skills before becoming an adult. For example, many young people from wealthier countries take a gap year and help those less fortunate than themselves to increase their gratitude for what they have and improve their work ethic.

Many colleges and companies are also increasingly looking for this type of experience. Most school leavers have the same grades, and charitable work can help set you apart from other students when making college applications. For example, Cambridge and Oxford receive thousands of applications from straight-A students yearly and can only accept a small percentage of applicants. What you have done outside the classroom often differentiates you from everyone else and gets you that coveted spot.

In conclusion, teenagers should be made to partake in unpaid work as part of their schooling because it will help them learn things they wouldn’t ordinarily learn from their teachers, and it will also boost their chances of getting into third-level education.

For more detail on how to answer agree or disagree questions, please visit our opinion essay lesson . 

Need help writing essays like this? Check out our ESSAY CORRECTION SERVICE .

Advantages and Disadvantages Questions

Typical Question Words 

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Example Question

Technology is being used more and more in education.

Essay Structure

2- Outline Main Points

Main Body Paragraph 1

1- State Two Advantages

2- Expand/Explain First Advantage

3- Expand/Explain Second Advantage

1- State Two Disadvantages

2- Expand/Explain First Disadvantage

3- Expand/Explain Second Disadvantage

discussion essay structure ielts

1- Summary of Main Points

Student Sample Answer 

It is argued that technology plays an ever-increasing role in schools and universities. Increased access to information and student freedom are the main advantages, whereas dependency on technology and decreasing levels of face-to-face contact are the main disadvantages.

Access to more information and student autonomy are the principal advantages of increasing the use of electronic devices in education. With the internet, students can access all the information available about any topic, regardless of what books and other resources are available in the school. Furthermore, students can focus on whatever topic or subject they want and study it in depth. A prime example of this is the number of online university courses available to students, covering a myriad of subjects that, up until recently, were unavailable to most learners. This has resulted in more people studying third-level degrees than ever before at a pace and schedule that suits them.

The main disadvantages associated with the increasing use of technology in education are the dependency on this technology and the decrease in face-to-face interaction between students. With many students now using the internet as their primary source of information, they often struggle to use other academic resources to find what they’re looking for. As well as this, students spend more time looking at computer screens by themselves than interacting with each other, which is thought to lead to lower levels of emotional intelligence. For instance, the recent explosion in smartphone use has been at the expense of genuine human interaction. This results in soft skills, such as verbal communication and empathy, being affected.

In conclusion, the benefits technology brings to education, such as unrestricted access to information and student autonomy, must be weighed against the drawbacks, such as dependency on this technology and the negative effects on human interaction.

For more detail on how to answer advantage and disadvantage questions, please visit our  advantage and disadvantage lesson . 

Discuss Both Views Question (Discussion Essay)  

discussion essay structure ielts

Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Example Question 

Technology is being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

1- Paraphrase Question and/or state both viewpoints.

2- Thesis Statement

3- Outline Sentence

1- State first viewpoint

2- Discuss first viewpoint

3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

4- Example to support your view

1- State second viewpoint

2- Discuss second viewpoint

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- State which one is better or more important

There is an ever-increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers.

The Internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. This has allowed learners to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Without these soft skills, many people find it difficult to become successful in work and their personal lives. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet, and this essay disagrees that technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook allow people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

While the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap into limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face-to-face interaction. However, as long as we carefully consider the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

For more detail on how to answer discussion questions please visit our  discussion essay lesson . 

Problem and Solution Questions

discussion essay structure ielts

Problem and solution.

Cause and solution.

Students are becoming more and more reliant on technology.

What are some of the problems associated with reliance on computers, and what are some of the possible solutions?

2- Outline Sentence

1- State Problems

2- Explain First Problem

3- Explain Second Problem

4- Example of Second Problem

1- State Solutions

2- Explain First Solution

3- Explain Second Solution

4- Example of Second Solution

Learners are becoming increasingly dependent on technology, such as the Internet and mobile devices. This essay believes the main problems associated with dependence on computers are the lack of original thought and copying original work from others and suggests critical thinking classes and writing analysis software as the most viable solutions.

The principal problems with over-reliance on technology are people being unable to think for themselves and plagiarism. With access to so much information, students often rely on other people’s opinions instead of forming their own. As well as this, they often use search engines to answer a question and copy the text from a website rather than thinking about the question. This practice is prohibited in schools and universities and stunts students’ intellectual development because they will never truly think for themselves, which is what university is supposed to be for. For example, many teachers complain that students copy web pages straight from Wikipedia word for word rather than giving a reasoned answer to their questions.

Solutions to these worrying problems are special classes to focus on critical thinking and teachers using anti-plagiarism software to detect copying. If teachers create situations where students have to infer meaning and express opinions based on a small amount of information, this will ensure that students have an opportunity to develop these skills. Also, if students know that their assignments are being checked for plagiarism, this will be enough to deter them from doing so. For instance, many universities already use this kind of software to scan coursework for plagiarism, and it could be extended to include all homework by learners in both secondary and tertiary education.

In conclusion, the main problems with the overuse of technology in education are the lack of original thought and plagiarism. These can be solved through special classes that teach students analytical skills and plagiarism detection software.

For more detail on how to answer problem and solution questions please visit our  problem and solution lesson . 

Two-Part Questions

discussion essay structure ielts

There will normally be a statement, and they will then ask you to answer separate questions.

As most people spend a major part of their adult life at work, job satisfaction is an important element of individual wellbeing.

What factor contributes to job satisfaction?

How realistic is the expectation of job satisfaction for all workers?

2- Outline Sentence (mention both questions)

1- Answer first question directly

2- Explain why

3- Further explain

1- Answer second question directly

As most adults spend most of their time at work, being content with your career is a crucial part of a person’s health and happiness. This essay will first suggest fair pay as a key element leading to job satisfaction, and it will then state that it is not very likely that everyone can be happy with their job.

The most important thing that satisfies someone at work is being compensated fairly. If those more senior than you respect you as a person and the job you are doing, then you feel like you are valued. A fair salary and benefits are important marks of respect, and if you feel you are being underpaid, you will either resent your bosses or look for another job. These two factors came top of a recent job satisfaction survey conducted by Monster.com, which found that 72% of people were pleased with their current role if their superiors regularly told them they were appreciated.

With regard to the question of happiness for all workers, I think this is and always will be highly unlikely. The vast majority of people fail to reach their goals and end up working in a post they don’t really care about in return for a salary. This money is just enough to pay their living expenses which often means they are trapped in a cycle of disenchantment. For example, The Times recently reported that 89% of office workers would leave their jobs if they did not need the money.

In conclusion, being satisfied with your trade or profession is an important part of one’s well-being, and respect from one’s colleagues and fair pay can improve your level of happiness; however, job satisfaction for all workers is an unrealistic prospect.

Can I get a band 8 or 9 following these structures? 

Nobody can give you a Task 2 IELTS structure that guarantees high scores. Your score is dependent on how good your grammar and vocabulary are and how well you answer the question. A good structure will help you answer the question to some extent and boost your score for coherence and cohesion, but you must use relevant ideas and use these ideas well to answer the question.

You can see how my student scored a Band 8.5 in IELTS Writing here:

discussion essay structure ielts

Next Steps 

We hope you found those IELTS Writing Task 2 structures useful. Looking for some more sample questions? Here are over 100 sample questions from past exam papers.

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I started IELTS Advantage as a simple blog to help 16 students in my class. Several years later, I am very humbled that my VIP Course has been able to help thousands of people around the world to score a Band 7+ in their IELTS tests.

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discussion essay structure ielts

How To Write A Discussion Essay

In writing task 2 you will be asked to write a discursive essay ( 250 words minimum ). You will be given a question asking you to give your opinion, discuss a problem or issue. You could also be asked to provide solutions, evaluate a problem, compare and contrast different ideas or challenge an idea. In this post, we will be focussing on how to   write a discuss both views and give your opinion essay .

One of the first things you should do is read the marking criteria  to see what the examiners expect. This is really important, as you need to know what they are looking for in the band 7+ boxes. 

You should be able to give the examiners exactly what they want, in order to get a 7+ band score. 

If you would like to purchase a 34  page PDF download that is easy to read and print out please take a look at the bookshop >

WRITING TASK 2 Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion Essay STRUCTURE

The structure that I advise my students to use, will be sure to get you a band score of 7+. You need to practice using this structure, with as many questions as you can, before sitting your IELTS test. This writing task 2 structure has been proven to be successful for my students and when perfected, can easily help you to achieve a high band score. 

TIP >>  Before you start writing, plan your ideas so that you can organise the information clearly. You must decide how much you agree or disagree with and why. Take 5 minutes and plan out your ideas, opinions and examples. 

TIP >>  It is very important that spend a full 40 minutes on this task as the score you get for writing task 2 is two-thirds of your total writing score. You also need to write a minimum of 250 words and use your own ideas. 

TIP >>  Remember to write in a formal tone, this is an academic essay, therefore your writing should be formal. 

IT IS A 5-PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE >>

Paragraph 1 – The Introduction

This is the introduction to the essay and where you should start off by paraphrasing the question. 

Do you understand what I mean, when I say ‘paraphrase’ the question?

This means that you rewrite the question in your own words using synonyms. You can’t just copy the question again or use the same words in the question. Paraphrase and show off your vocabulary knowledge by using synonyms. When practising your essay writing, use an online thesaurus  to help you. This is a great tool and can help you to learn many new words.

After that, give your view/opinion on the issue. A good way to say this is to start with… ‘In my opinion, I believe that……..’ 

The last sentence in the introduction should outline for the examiner exactly what you will discuss in the main body paragraphs. For example, ‘ this essay will discuss both views and state my own position’.

There are three sentences you need in the introduction >>

  • Paraphrase the question / State both views
  • Give your view/opinion
  • Outline what is going to be discussed in the essay

Paragraph 2 – Main Body Paragraph 1

In this paragraph, you should write about the first argument/viewpoint, discuss it, then give an example. You should give specific information and only write about one main idea in each main body paragraph. 

Start the paragraph by introducing the first view (View A). This is where you need to have a topic sentence. The next sentence(s) should discuss the view, going into detail. The third sentence should give an example that supports the view.

The example you give could be something from your own experience or made up – it is ok to make up something as the examiners will not fact check your information. They want to see your ability to use English at a certain level. You could make up an example from a report, journal, newspaper or University study to support your view. 

This is how the paragraph should look >>

  • Introduce the view (View A – topic sentence)
  • Discuss/give detail

Paragraph 3 –  Main Body Paragraph 2

In this paragraph, you should write about your second view (View B). You should give specific information and only write about one main idea in each main body paragraph. 

Start the paragraph by introducing the view (View B). This is where you need to have a topic sentence. The next sentence(s) should discuss the view, going into detail. The third sentence should give an example that supports the view.

The example you give could be something from your own experience or made up – it is ok to make up something as the examiners will not fact check your information. They want to see your ability to use English at a certain level. You could make up an example from a report, journal, newspaper or University study to support your view. 

This is how the paragraph should look >>

  • Introduce the view (View B – topic sentence)

Paragraph 4 – Your Opinion

In this paragraph, you should write your opinion. You should give specific information and only write about one main idea in each main body paragraph. 

Start the paragraph by introducing your opinion. This is where you need to have a topic sentence. The next sentence(s) should explain your opinion, going into detail. The third sentence should give an example that supports your opinion.

  • Introduce your opinion (topic sentence)
  • Explain your opinion

Paragraph 5 – The Conclusion

In the final paragraph, you write the conclusion giving a summary of your main points and state which view is more important.   You should not enter any new information or ideas in this paragraph. 

  • Summary of the main points
  • State which view is more important

EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION >>

To get a high score in IELTS academic writing task 2, you should use as many different structures, collocations and idioms as you can.  

SEQUENCING IDEAS >>

You can use phrases like these to make statements, for example; On the one hand sunbathing can give your body vitamin D, on the other hand, it can also be very dangerous for your health.

SAMPLE Discuss Both Points of View and Give your own opinion ESSAY >>

**All questions have been reported by students who have taken the IELTS exam.**

It is undeniable that modern technology has a huge influence on people’s lives. The use of the internet, for example, has become more common and some claim that it has been able to connect people who are far apart, while others argue that its use can lead to social isolation or confinement. This essay will discuss both views and state my own position.

Firstly, during the last two decades, there have been many tech developments and advancements, bringing convenience to all. One significant attribute of this modernization is the internet, while this technology has made our lives more convenient in many aspects, including our approach to communication. In the past, we only used mail or the telephone to send our messages across the globe, whereas today, the internet allows us to reach out to almost everyone in just a few seconds. The inconvenience of long distances is eliminated as we can talk and even see distant friends or relatives for an unlimited time. For example, the internet connects people whose relatives or families are abroad, through Facebook, Twitter or Skype anytime and anywhere.

Secondly, this technological development has its drawbacks, as it has been observed that some individuals tend to spend a lot of their time surfing the internet or on different social networking sites. Communities meet online via private Facebook groups, instead of in a community hall to discuss matters, since this does not allow them to socialise physically with people, they isolate themselves in this virtual world. Both teenagers and adults use much of their time online and this does not allow them to develop their interpersonal skills. For instance, a study from 2015 by The Social Media Explorer saw that over 93% of teenagers aged 16-19 have a social media presence, with more than three social accounts per person.  

Thirdly, in my opinion, I believe that the internet can bring people closer together, as it can make both socialising and work much easier for those who travel. Communities can speak freely at any time, in groups, asking for help or advice, though it is up to the individuals to acknowledge how much time they are spending online and whether this is a cause for concern. Isolation cannot be blamed on the internet, as it is just a tool to use, the individual must be in charge of their own time. For example, a person who works from home online for many hours in the day should make sure they have adequate breaks and make time for socialising, as to not feel isolated or removed from their own community.   

In conclusion, it is a fact that the internet has brought more convenience into society and allowed many people to be closer. However, people should take responsibility to balance the use of the internet so that other aspects of their lives will not become neglected.

(Word Count – 476 / Band Score 9)

Feedback

  • Task Achievement  – The answer discusses both sides of the argument and ends with a clear opinion. the main body paragraphs are supported with relevant examples. The essay exceeds the word count, but all sentences are relevant and focussed. 
  • Coherence and Cohesion  – The answer has been divided into clear logical paragraphs and each main body paragraph only has one main idea. There are cohesive links between the main body paragraphs ( Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly, In conclusion ).    
  • Lexical Resource  – There is evidence of a wide range of vocabulary, with no errors in the text.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy  – The answer has no grammatical errors. The sentences have a wide range of structures including relative clauses ( in which.. .). 

TIP >>  Use each of the main body paragraphs (paragraphs 2 and 3) to discuss both views, giving examples that are relevant. Remember to give your opinion, state your opinion in the fourth paragraph. In the conclusion (paragraph 5), summarise your main points and state which view is more important. 

WRITING TASK 2 BAND SCORE 9 CRITERIA >>

If you would like to view more high band score discussion   essay examples please click the button below >

We hope you found this post useful in helping you to study for the IELTS Test . If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

The best way to keep up to date with posts like this is to like us on Facebook , then follow us on Instagram and Pinterest . If you need help preparing for the IELTS Test, join the IELTS Achieve Academy and see how we can assist you to achieve your desired band score. We offer an essay correction service, mock exams and online courses.

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Sample Essay

2 people discussing IELTS task 2 essay

Today we’re going to look at a discussion essay IELTS sample that’s considered Band 9. This Band 9 scored essay matched the pattern for the “discussion” type of Writing Task 2 question. Discussion essays are sometimes also called “discuss both sides” essays. In this kind of essay, you will be presented with two statements of opinion that oppose each other. You will then be asked to “discuss both sides” of the debate, and to give your own opinion. For more information on this and other question types, including tips, tricks, and general advice for the discussion essay question type, see Magoosh’s full guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 question types .

Discussion Essay IELTS Sample: Band 9

The essay below is a band 9 model IELTS essay, patterned after Magoosh’s IELTS Writing Task 2 Template .

IELTS Writing Discussion Essay Practice Question

Some people seek a lot of advice from family and friends when choosing their career. Others feel it is better to choose a career more independently. Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

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Write at least 250 words.

Discussion Essay IELTS Sample Band 9 Response

Choosing a career can be a challenging process. It can be difficult to say whether this decision should be made alone, or made with input from loved ones. In my opinion, it is best to find one’s career independently, with no more than a small amount of advice from family or friends. Below, I will explain why I feel that we must ultimately face career decisions on our own.

Getting career guidance input from loved ones can be confusing rather than useful. Family and friends likely have different careers, and thus give different, conflicting advice. Suppose, for instance, that your father is a teacher, your mother is an accountant, and your best friend is a nurse. They have all made very different career decisions, and only have knowledge on their respective careers. Different people will likely only steer you to their careers, without giving good advice on your own best path.

In contrast, focusing on one’s own preferences and skills provides a clearer path to the right career. After all, individuals have the best knowledge of their own abilities and interests. As an example, if someone has gone to university to study biology, they will know more about biology careers than a family member or friend who does not have that same kind of training. Ultimately, your career must be built on your own training and experience, not the training and experience of others.

For the reasons I’ve outlined above, I really do believe that career decisions are a matter of personal knowledge. Other people, even trusted family and friends, simply cannot understand your career the way you can. To select your field of work wisely, you must face this important decision alone.

Scorer Commentary (Discussion IELTS Essay Sample, Band 9)

The score report below is based on the official IELTS Writing Task 2 rubric . This report also looks very similar to the Magoosh IELTS essay scoring service .

Overall Band Score: 9

What was done well in the essay:

  • At 283 words, this essay exceeded the 250 word minimum. (This is very important for getting full points!)
  • Each part of the task was fully addressed. Both sides of the issue were discussed in the first and second body paragraphs. Moreover, reasons and relevant examples were included.
  • Each paragraph had its own clear topic sentence and supporting details, with explanations of the details, and summarization of the most important ideas.
  • Transitional language was used to clearly tie in all paragraphs to clear main ideas from the introduction and conclusion.
  • Vocabulary and grammar were used clearly and fluently. There were no serious errors in grammar or word use; word choice and sentence structure varied and avoided significant repetition.

More Model Essays for IELTS Writing Task 2

Would you like the see model essays for the other common IELTS Writing Task 2 question types as well? Magoosh has you covered! Just click the links below.

  • Advantage/Disadvantage Essay
  • Two-Part Question Essay
  • Causes/Solutions Essay
  • Agree/Disagree Essay

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David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles , his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube , Facebook , and Instagram , or connect with him via LinkedIn !

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5 responses to “IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Sample Essay”

Jinil Bhavsar Avatar

Contractions must be avoided because they are a sign of informal writing style. Whereas essay’s should be written in formal way.

Magoosh Expert

You are correct that contractions shouldn’t be used in the formal Task 2 essay. However, note that they can be used at times, such as in IELTS Speaking or in Task 1 if you are asked to write an informal letter.

Happy studying!

Ore Avatar

Greetings, and thank you for this model essay. I wanted to ask a question relating to the discussion essay’s addressing of the task. Since the two views are 1) Some people think it is beneficial to ask for advice from friends/loved ones, and 2) others think that it is better to do so alone, why isn’t the 2nd paragraph addressing the benefits but instead talks about how it can be confusing? Isn’t a discussion essay’s structure supposed to be something like this:

2nd paragraph: Reasons people believe asking for help to decide for a career is good 3rd paragraph: Reasons people believe doing it on your own is good Conclusion: Giving your own opinion

Thank you for your time!

Good question! The short answer is that both approaches work! The directions are simply to “discuss both views,” but you don’t have to provide support for both sides. You can also discuss the problems or issues with one side, as this essay has done. Does that make sense? I’d suggest reviewing more sample essays to get a better sense of this.

Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

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IELTS Discussion Essay – IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

  • Updated On December 12, 2023
  • Published In IELTS Preparation 💻

IELTS is a standard test used to measure your English proficiency on a global scale. It’s very similar to the TOEFL, which was created by ETS. Cambridge University takes IELTS, and it contains a total of 6 sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking, Grammar and Vocabulary. For the writing section, you have to write an essay based on one of the topics provided in the exam.

Table of Contents

These essays serve a purpose as they need to convince the examiner of your command of the language’s, its understanding, usage and application. An applicant has to spend 40 minutes on the task.

In this blog, we will cover the structure of a good discussion essay for IELTS along with a detailed analysis.

IELTS Discussion Essay Structure

The discussion essay IELTS task needs a simple structure that you can follow to score higher. Especially if you are looking to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5, you need to structure the essay well and support your arguments and opinions. 

Introduction

When you begin your essay, paraphrasing the topic at hand is important. Let your reader understand why exactly you are writing the essay. The next step is to state at least two supporting reasons for arguments that you will be discussing throughout the essay. Also, an introduction to your own opinion on the argument will end the first paragraph and what you may discuss throughout the essay.

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IELTS Discussion Essay - IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

Main body 

The main body paragraph of your opinion essay needs to explain different points of view and examples to support both sides of the argument. By the end of the first body paragraph, one of the opinions needs to be established. 

The second body paragraph must emphasise the other side of the argument or second opinion. Here, again you need to give relevant examples and make sure that the opinion is supported by a strong argument. 

The last paragraph of your opinion essay should discuss all the points along with different views. However, the most important part of the conclusions will be your opinion. You need to conclude the essay with your opinion and establish the balance between both opinions.

Tips to Plan IELTS Discussion Essay

You need to spend around 40 minutes on the essay task achievement. However, maximising the time spent and optimising it is important to achieve a higher band score. So, here are some key steps to take for planning your IELTS discussion essay. 

Analyse the topic

It is essential for any applicant looking to ace the essay writing task. Analysing the topic makes you answer the question type and plan the rest of the essay. You need to identify three different types of elements in the topic for planning the essay,

  • Important words related to the topic
  • Instruction words

Take an example of the topic: 

Some people think that zoos are better than forests for wild animals. While others believe that forests are natural habitats for wild animals and zoos are cruel. 

Here, ‘zoos’ and ‘forest’ are the focus keyword, and the other keywords you need to focus on are cruelty, natural habitat, etc. Apart from that, words like analyse, comment or discuss are the instruction words 

Express different perspectives and establish your own view

Right from the introduction to conclusion, establish your viewpoint, counter opinions, and your personal experiences. It is essential to explain your point of view at the end of the entire essay. Avoiding it is a common mistake that many applicants make during the IELTS writing task. Apart from that, your IELTS discussion essay needs coherence and cohesion for a better band score.

Take care of vocabulary

For an IELTS exam, it is essential to explain specific topics in a different set of words. Using similar words repeatedly can hurt your IELTS score, and that is why using synonyms makes more sense. So, plan your vocabulary for the discussion essay for the IELTS exam.

Discussion Essay Sample

Write a discussion essay example for the following topic sentence:

Many believe that a child’s surroundings, friends, and the type of content they consume affect their development. At the same time, others believe that a family’s impact is much more important than its surroundings. 

You need to discuss both the opposing views and give your own opinion on the topic with reasons. Also, include any relevant examples from personal experience or knowledge. 

The essay needs to be at least 250 words. 

When it comes to a child’s development, there is no denying that their parents play a vital role. On the other hand, many people believe that as children grow older, their surroundings affect their overall development. This essay will discuss both sides of this argument on child development. 

As children grow older, their surrounding does have an impact on mental and physical development. For example, in today’s age, every child has access to the internet that provides a multitude of information and content for consumption. Controlling what a child consumes on the internet is not that easy with the ease of access they have due to several smart devices.

Modern-day influencers and peers provide children with a sense of admiration that transforms into a way of life. Learning something skilful and creative from such peers and influencers is a positive aspect, but it can be negative if children adopt their bad habits. 

Though a child’s family contributes the most towards mental and physical development, a child’s parents and their behaviour in the house can have drastic effects on a child’s development. Children always like to imitate their parents in every shape and form. For example, if parents consume negative content with abusive language and violent characteristics, children will have the same impact on their minds. 

So, parents need to behave carefully when their child is around them. While both the arguments are right, in my opinion, there needs to be a balance between internal and external factors that affect child development. 

Parents need to be careful while they are with a child in behaving with other people, consuming content, and more. On the other hand, it is essential to have conversations with children to understand what external factors or surroundings do with their development and help them keep away from harmful environments.

Planning the essay structure and analysing the different questions before writing your IELTS writing test is essential. This is why you need to practice different essay types, sample answers, and thesis statements. You need to ensure that your view comes across organically with the conclusion you draw with the essay writing task. 

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A Simple Formula for Discussing Two Opposing Views in Your IELTS Essay

discussion essay structure ielts

Doing your best on the writing section of the IELTS exam is easier if you take the time to get to know the different essay types that can appear.

Once you know the kinds of tasks you might face, it’s possible to make a general outline or map for each into which you can organize your ideas. Having an outline will give you some breathing room to focus on your answer during this time sensitive test as you only have about 40 minutes to write the essay.

Those of you who have been preparing already know that there are 4 question types that often appear on the exam*.

*Note, most other essays ask direct questions (usually 2) about a subject and you should answer each of those questions in separate paragraphs making sure you include an introduction and conclusion. They will likely be some form of the above essays.

** I have already provided a simple formula for agree/disagree essays here .

In this blog we will look at how to organize discussion essays or essays that present two opposing views and ask for your opinion. This sample outline isn’t the definitive or only way to put a discussion essay together, but I hope that by looking at the example, you will see the basic essentials of an essay format (introduction, body, conclusion, including support/examples) and understand, generally, what to do in order to get the score you need to succeed.

CAUTION: Before we begin, you should remember that when you are asked to discuss two opposing views, you must put yourself in the shoes of the people who hold each opinion - seeing the issue from both sides of the fence. If you don’t, you will limit your score.

Now, while you look at the response to the following task, see if you can identify what each sentence does before you look at the outline below.

Some people believe that the best way to control accidents on city streets is to lower the speed limit but others think there are more important issues that need attention before roads can be safe.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Paragraph One – Introduction

Here is the map or outline explaining how the above essay was created:

DISCUSSION ESSAY - 5 PARAGRAPH FORMULA

Paragraph Two – Body

Paragraph Three – Body

Paragraph Four – Body

Paragraph Five – Conclusion

In this example, the opinion of the writer is different than the two given opinions but it is also possible to agree with one or both of the opinions provided as well. In this case, you would use the same outline and give further or different support in the fourth paragraph.

Here is a template for the discussion essay that you can use to help you practice and learn how to organize your ideas for the exam.

More essay formulas to come! I hope you find them useful. Good luck and have fun with your preparations.

DISCUSSION ESSAY – 5 PARAGRAPH FORMULA TEMPLATE

Paragraph One - Introduction

Sentence 1: ___________________________________________________________________________ Introduce the main subject.

Sentence 2: ___________________________________________________________________________ State the two opposing views.

Sentence 3: ___________________________________________________________________________ State your opinion in the matter.

Sentence 4: ___________________________________________________________________________ Briefly outline what you are going to write about in the paragraphs that follow.

Paragraphs Two and Three and Four– the Body of Support

Sentence 1 (topic sentence): ___________________________________________________________________________ Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating the first view point.

Sentence 2: ___________________________________________________________________________ Assume that the reader doesn’t know anything about this topic and discuss why some people might have this view.

Sentence 3: ___________________________________________________________________________ Give a real life or made up example that supports this view.

Paragraph Three – Repeat the above for the other viewpoint

Sentence 1 (topic sentence): ___________________________________________________________________________ Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating the second view point.

Paragraph Four – Repeat above for your viewpoint

Sentence 1 (topic sentence): ___________________________________________________________________________ Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating your view point (whether you have a different opinion OR you agree with one more than the other OR how you might agree with both).

Sentence 2: ___________________________________________________________________________ Discuss why you have this view.

Sentence 3: ___________________________________________________________________________ Give a real life or made up example that supports your view.

Sentence 1: ___________________________________________________________________________ Rephrase or summarize the different opinions on the topic.

Sentence 2: ___________________________________________________________________________ State which opinion is better or more important in your view.

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IELTS Discussion Essay Template

Sample question, introduction.

Linking words: Some people believe that, Others believe that, There are those who believe that, There are also those who believe that,

Main Point 1

Linking words: On the one hand, On the other hand, In addition, Moreover, Furthermore,

Main Point 2

Linking words: In conclusion, To sum up, In summary, All in all, To put it simply,

Your Essay:

Introduction :, main point 1 :, main point 2 :, conclusion :.

What is this? This free online interactive app will help you to learn optmimal structure for IELTS writing task 2.

How to use this essay template? Select Essay Type, sample question and fill the blocks, in the end you will see the combined essay.

Why essay structure this important? IELTS essay structure is evaluated as part of the Coherence and Cohesion rubric, which contributes 25% to the overall band.

Preparation for the IELTS Exam

IELTS 18 model answer on university studies

Ielts discussion essay model answer about university studies..

This model answer is based on the topic of university education and whether students should learn about other subjects. It’s a discussion essay so I need to cover both sides and give my clear opinion.

The task was taken from the Cambridge IELTS 18 book.  As I have stated before in earlier posts, use authentic IELTS material when you are practicing. You can get these from the Cambridge IELTS books, the most recent being IELTS 18.

In terms of the structure, you should write about what both sides think of the topic and give your opinion, so decide on one side only. Do not agree with both sides as it may confuse the reader (the examiner). Below is an example of a structure that you can use to help get a good band score.

Useful discussion essay structure

ielts discussion essay structure

Model Answer

Some university students want to learn about different subjects in addition to their main subjects. Others believe it is more important to give all their time and attention to studying for a qualification. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

Some students in university think it is better to devote most of their time to getting a specific qualification, whereas others would like to divide their time between learning other subjects and studying for their degree. This essay argues that it is important for undergraduates to study a variety of courses to best prepare themselves for the future.

On the one hand, some students would argue that dedicating all of their time to a specific subject will lead to greater expertise and better career prospects. This is because they feel that they have a much better chance of mastering their chosen area of expertise if they focus solely on being the best in that field without other distractions. For example, if a student is doing a degree in computer science, they may think that focusing on coding, algorithms, and Ai systems will make them more competitive in the IT job market. I believe this is true to an extent but university students need a wider range of skill sets.

On the other hand, other students desire a broader educational experience for their future job prospects. This is because they believe learning subjects beyond the core specialisation can help to develop broader thinking and problem-solving skills. For instance, if someone is studying psychology they may feel that if they take a course in nutrition, it will help them make a deeper connection to how cognition and temperament are directly linked to a healthy or unhealthy diet. I think that this holistic approach is important for a well-rounded university education and leads to greater chances of employment after graduation.

In conclusion, although views differ, I believe that universities should encourage students to explore a variety of subjects to enrich their educational experience and improve their career prospects.

294 words / IELTS 18 book

I have used the word students 6 times and the word subjects 4 times. Some people think that it’s repetition but this is fine actually. It’s difficult to find a synonym for the word ‘ students ‘ so I just kept the word. If possible use referencing or omission if you don’t want to keep repeating words.

https://ieltsfocus.com/2018/04/22/referencing-avoiding-repetition/

You must state your opinion in the thesis statement, which is in the introduction. Also, make sure to state your opinion in the body paragraphs as well as the conclusion.

In the conclusion you can write ‘although views differ / despite differing views’ and then rephrase your opinion. Make sure you paraphrase your opinion from the introduction, don’t repeat the same words.

Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Leave a comment cancel reply.

IELTS Writing Task 2- Structure, Types and Tips BEAT IELTS

  • Language Learning

There are 6 main types of IELTS Task 2 essays: 1) Opinion Essays 2) Discussion Essays 3) Problem Solution Essays 4) Advantages & Disadvantages Essays 5) Double Question/ Two Part Questions Essays 6) Miscellaneous Essays Most questions belong to one of these categories. However, questions can be written in different ways, which can make it difficult to determine their type. In this episode , I will give you an overview of all 6 IELTS Task 2 essay types, with some practical tips, a sample question to help you recognise some of the different wording often used and a standard structure for each type that you can use for essay writing process --- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/beatielts/support

  • More Episodes

COMMENTS

  1. IELTS Discussion Essays [Discuss Both Views/Sides]

    It might say: Discuss both sides and give your opinion Or: Discuss both points view and give your opinion The important thing is that these all mean the same. When you see any of these, you know that you need to write a discussion essay. Importantly, this instruction tells you that you need to do two things:

  2. IELTS Discussion Essays

    Write at least 250 words. I'll be using this question to guide you through the process of planning and writing an IELTS discussion essay. The key to identifying this type of question is the fact that you are required to discuss BOTH views.

  3. IELTS Discussion Essay: Overview, structure and tips

    1. IELTS Discussion Essay Overview The format of the question for an IELTS discussion essay will be normally 2 parts: 1st part: a statement of two opposing perspectives 2nd part: requirement to discuss the statement Depending on different questions, the requirement varies in the way of wording: Discuss both views and give your opinion.

  4. 2023 IELTS Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion Lesson

    Main body paragraph 1: state the first viewpoint, discuss it, state whether you agree or disagree and give an example to support your view. Main body paragraph 2: state the second viewpoint, discuss it, state whether you agree or disagree and give an example to support your view.

  5. IELTS Discussion Essay Model Answer

    Today I gave my ielts in essay it was a discussion essay wherein I wrote my opinion in introduction as u say then main body paras ... Kindly reply, because I want to learn structure of each type of IELTS (GT) essay. Thank you. Reply. Liz says January 27, 2019 at . Because I became too sick to make more videos. Reply. Asad says January 27, 2019 at .

  6. Pro Tips How to Write an IELTS Discussion Essay

    Sounds challenging? Don't worry! In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know to craft an impressive IELTS Discussion Essay. From understanding the basics, brainstorming ideas, planning your response, writing an engaging essay, and avoiding common pitfalls - this guide is packed with practical tips and strategies.

  7. IELTS Discuss Both Views Essay Structure + Sample Answers

    Rajit Kaushal Last updated: November 20, 2023 The next big thing after learning about IELTS discuss both views essays is - How do you structure them? Please be aware though, the perfect structure alone will not make you a band 7+ achiever. Your vocabulary and English proficiency still plays a key role in IELTS writing task - 2.

  8. IELTS Task 2 Discussion Essay Band 9 Structure

    JOIN NOW - https://essay.ieltsadvantage.com/?el=youtubedesc***Are you struggling with how to structure the IELTS Discussion Essay questions? Our new lesson s...

  9. How to Structure an IELTS Discussion Essay

    How to Structure an IELTS Discussion Essay Home » IELTS Blog » How to Structure an IELTS Discussion Essay Join our IELTS Essay Clinic by CLICKING HERE. Are you struggling with how to structure the IELTS Discussion Essay questions? Our new lesson shows you our Band 9 structure. Watch now and let me know what you think in the comments below.

  10. IELTS discuss both views essay

    Band 9 answer structure for discuss both views + give opinion essay. Though there are many ways to structure your IELTS essay, we'll use this time-tested band 9 essay structure: Introduction. Body paragraph 1 - discuss the first opinion. Body paragraph 2 - discuss the second opinion.

  11. IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Essays- Benchmark IELTS

    1. Discussion Essay Overview As with all IELTS writing task 2 essay questions, you will have 40 minutes to produce a formal essay ( at least 250 words in length). With a discussion essay, you will be presented with two sides of an argument and then asked to give your opinion. Remember, there are five main types of writing task 2 questions:

  12. IELTS Discussion Essay Sample Questions

    Below is a list of IELTS discussion essay sample questions for IELTS writing task 2. These are also known as two sided essays. Discussion Essay Tips identify both sides find supporting points for both side only give your opinion if the task asks for it use discussion essay language follow a safe discussion essay model Discussion Essay Questions

  13. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay: Explanation & Breakdown With

    In an IELTS discussion essay, you will be presented with a statement that contains two opposing views. Your task is to discuss both sides of the argument, and then to give your own opinion on the matter. How to Write a Discussion Essay? There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing a discussion essay: Identify the two opposing views.

  14. IELTS Discussion Essay

    Want to know about the IELTS discussion essay Click for information on how to write discussion essay, its structure, sample tips!

  15. IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structures + Band 9 Essays

    Essay Structure Introduction 1- Paraphrase Question 2- Give your opinion and outline the main ideas. Main Body Paragraph 1 1- Topic Sentence 2- Explain Topic Sentence 3- Example

  16. How To Write A Discussion Essay

    Paragraph 1 - The Introduction This is the introduction to the essay and where you should start off by paraphrasing the question. Do you understand what I mean, when I say 'paraphrase' the question? This means that you rewrite the question in your own words using synonyms.

  17. IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Sample Essay

    on. April 21, 2021. in. IELTS Writing Task 2: Academic & General Training. Today we're going to look at a discussion essay IELTS sample that's considered Band 9. This Band 9 scored essay matched the pattern for the "discussion" type of Writing Task 2 question. Discussion essays are sometimes also called "discuss both sides" essays.

  18. IELTS discussion essay: model answer and analysis

    Structure In this essay I will need to do 3 things: Write about why some people think school children should not be given homework by their teachers. Write about why other people think homework plays an important role in the education of children. Give my opinion on the issue and explain. Task Question

  19. IELTS Discussion Essay

    IELTS Discussion Essay Structure The discussion essay IELTS task needs a simple structure that you can follow to score higher. Especially if you are looking to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5, you need to structure the essay well and support your arguments and opinions. Introduction

  20. A Simple Formula for Discussing Two Opposing Views in Your IELTS Essay

    Here is a template for the discussion essay that you can use to help you practice and learn how to organize your ideas for the exam. More essay formulas to come! I hope you find them useful. Good luck and have fun with your preparations. DISCUSSION ESSAY - 5 PARAGRAPH FORMULA TEMPLATE. Paragraph One - Introduction. Sentence 1:

  21. IELTS Discussion Essay Templates for Writing Task 2 with Band 9 Structure

    Main Point 1: Main Point 2: Conclusion: FAQ What is this? This free online interactive app will help you to learn optmimal structure for IELTS writing task 2. How to use this essay template? Select Essay Type, sample question and fill the blocks, in the end you will see the combined essay. Why essay structure this important?

  22. IELTS discussion essay model answer. IELTS 17 book.

    IELTS discussion essay about work and migration. This is a model answer I wrote based on the topic of work and migration from the recent Cambridge IELTS 17 practice book. Always use authentic writing tasks from Cambridge, IDP, and the British Council when practicing for IELTS. In a discussion essay, you must cover both sides and then give your ...

  23. IELTS discussion essay on university education. IELTS 18

    This model answer is based on the topic of university education and whether students should learn about other subjects. It's a discussion essay so I need to cover both sides and give my clear opinion. The task was taken from the Cambridge IELTS 18 book. As I have stated before in earlier posts, use authentic IELTS material when you are ...

  24. ‎BEAT IELTS: IELTS Writing Task 2- Structure, Types and Tips on Apple

    There are 6 main types of IELTS Task 2 essays: 1) Opinion Essays 2) Discussion Essays 3) Problem Solution Essays 4) Advantages & Disadvantages Essays 5) Double Question/ Two Part Questions Essays 6) Miscellaneous Essays Most questions belong to one of these categories. However, questions can be…