IELTS Writing Task 2 Opinion Essay

These are simply essays that ask you to discuss your views or opinion about a particular issue. They are commonly known as the agree/disagree essay question type

In this article we will look at the best way to go about answering the IELTS Writing Task 2 Opinion Essay question in order to get a high writing band score in the IELTS English Exam

We will cover:

  • How to analyse the question
  • How to generate ideas
  • The opinion essay structure
  • How to write a good introduction
  • How to write the main body paragraphs
  • How to write a good conclusion

Let us look at the following example:

Space exploration is much too expensive, and the money should be spent on more important things.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Question Analysis

Every essay question has three different types of phrases / words. Topic Words which give us an idea about the general essay topic. Keywords in the question will give more details as to what you specifically have to write about regarding the general topic. Often students write a general essay about the main topic instead of focusing on what the specifics asked for in the question. Lastly every question includes Instruction words which tell us exactly how to answer.

For this particular type of question the instructions are often worded as

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

This question is about space exploration. In particular it’s about the cost of space exploration. For Opinion essay questions its important to decide on your stance. You can choose to either completely agree or disagree or partially agree. Its important to choose the opinion that you have more ideas for instead of considering your actual personal opinions. In this case we have to give our opinion on whether it’s too expensive and if the money could be used elsewhere

Generate Ideas

The next step in writing your essay would be to generate suitable ideas for the essay topic. It is also important to ensure that for every main idea you come up with, you have sufficient supporting points and examples to back them up with. During this stage of planning you can also think of useful topic specific vocabulary to use in your essay. Our sample essay question  is related to the topics of science and technology as well as finance. These are common topics for both the IELTS writing and speaking exam, which means that you should have a suitable range of vocabulary related to these topics.

Opinion Essay structure

In general your essay should include 4 paragraphs laid out in the following recommended structure

Introduction

  • Paraphrase Question
  • Thesis statement and outline main ideas.

Main Body Paragraph 1

  • Main idea 1
  • Explain main idea
  • Example

Main Body Paragraph 2

  • Main idea 2
  • Explain main idea
  • Example

Conclusion

  • Summary of main points and opinion

How to write a good introduction

A good introduction always includes a sentence that paraphrases the question. The ability to paraphrase(rephrase), and use synonyms, is just one of the skills that the examiner will be looking out for  in your essay. You can reorder or use synonyms of the question words. Opinion essays must include a thesis statement. This is a short sentence in which you state your opinion for the given topic. It’s important to make sure that you do not contradict the opinion given in your introduction anywhere else in your essay. Ideally your introduction should only be about 30 to 40 words and should only take around 5 minutes to write.

Here’s our sample intro:

There is an argument that exploring space is a waste of money and that there are more urgent needs to be addressed on earth, such as reducing poverty and preventing environmental destruction. However, I completely disagree with this opinion for two reasons which will be further discussed in the following essay.

Here are some useful phrases that you can use in both your introduction and the main body of the paragraphs to introduce your opinion

  • “In my opinion,”
  • “From my perspective,”
  • “In my view,”
  • “From my point of view,”
  • “Taking into account/consideration the fact that … I (firmly) believe…”
  • “I (strongly) agree/disagree with the view that…”

Writing the main body paragraphs

Once we have written our introductions, we need to develop our planned ideas into cohesive paragraphs using good vocabulary, cohesive devices and the recommended structure. Use one of your main ideas to create a topic sentence. The rest of the paragraph will expand on these ideas. One of the simplest ways to do this is to add an explanation or an example. It does not really matter if your examples are true or not as the examiner is not going to fact check your information. It is more important to present your examples in a coherent manner with the correct vocabulary and grammatical structure. This means that you should use complex sentence structures and a wide range of vocabulary.

A common problem faced by students when writing their main body paragraphs is that they have too many ideas to fill one paragraph. It’s important to have one main idea for each paragraph. This is why planning your essay before you begin writing is crucial, as you would have already decided on which main ideas to use for each paragraph.

Write an effective conclusion

A good conclusion will neatly end the essay by linking all your ideas together and sum up your arguments or opinions. You should not introduce any new ideas or make your conclusion too long. Every conclusion should include only two to three sentences. The first sentence is basically just a summary of your introduction. And the last sentence of your conclusion should either be a recommendation sentence or a prediction sentence. A prediction is a statement about what you think will happen in the future. A recommendation is a statement about what you think should happen in the future.

Here is our sample conclusion:

In conclusion, while we undoubtedly face serious problems on our own planet, it is imperative that we continue to explore space. This will promote further technological advances as well as provide a possible means of escape should earth become uninhabitable in future. Ideally, all nations should cooperate in the advancement of space research.

IELTS Opinion Essay Model Answer

There is an argument that exploring space is a waste of money and that there are more urgent needs to be addressed on earth, such as reducing poverty and preventing environmental destruction. However, I completely disagree with this opinion for two reasons which will be further discussed in the following essay.

First of all, many of the technologies we take for granted today originated from space research. Consider, satellite technology, for example, which we depend on for broadcasting and weather forecasting. Without satellites, we would not be able to follow global events as they happen or give populations any warning of approaching storms. Space research has also led to the development of new lightweight materials that offer heat protection and enable food preservation. Therefore, it can be clearly seen that the challenge of sending human beings into space has often driven the development of new technologies that benefit our everyday lives.

Secondly, we cannot foresee the distant future, but judging by our current situation and levels of human destruction in the form of pollution and global warming it’s safe to say that we might one day need to escape from the earth. Through space exploration we are gradually learning about how humans can survive for long periods in space If space exploration is halted, this valuable knowledge will never be acquired. If we never accept the challenge of exploring other worlds, we will remain dependent on our limited resources and environment

In conclusion, while we undoubtedly face serious problems on our own planet, it is imperative that we continue to explore space. This will promote further technological advances as well as provide a possible means of escape should earth become uninhabitable in future. Ideally, all nations should cooperate in the advancement of space research.

Word Count 345

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