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. 


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 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 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
  • Example

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)
  • Discuss/give detail
  • Example

Paragraph 4 - Your Opinion

In this paragraph, you should write your opinionYou 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.

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

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)


  • 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 >>


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