Opinion Essay: Finding Main Points

This lesson shows you how to find ideas for your IELTS opinion essay and organise them into paragraphs. It is important to spend time analysing the statement before you decide your opinion. You should look at the essay question carefully and think about the issues in the statement. Below you will see some questions to help you analyse the opinion essay title.

Every one of us should become a vegetarian because eating meat can cause serious health problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Analysing an Opinion Essay

Answer the following questions

  1. Do you think vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat?
  2. Do you think the vegetarian diet is healthy?
  3. Do you think people who eat meat are unhealthy?
  4. Does eating meat always create health problems?
  5. Is there any meat which you think is healthy to eat?
  6. Do you think all people should be vegetarian?
  7. Do you think all people should stop eating meat?
  8. What is another way to say “vegetarian”?
Model Ideas & Structure
  • Body Paragraph A: I agree that eating a vegetarian diet is healthy.
  • Body Paragraph B: However, not all meat is unhealthy
  • Body Paragraph C:  I believe that having a balanced diet containing predominantly vegetables with some healthy meats is best.
Paraphrase
Vegetarian = people who do not eat meat / people who do not have meat in their diet / to have a vegetarian diet. You cannot paraphrase “vegetarian” as “vegan”. A vegan is someone who does not eat or use any product that comes from animals.

 

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IELTS Model Essay Score 9 for Direct Questions

This is an estimated band score 9 model for an IELTS writing task 2 direct questions essay. This model essay shows you how to answer each question directly and how to organise the answers into paragraphs.

Some people think that money is one of the most essential factors in promoting happiness.

Do you think people can be happy without much money?

What other factors contribute towards happiness?

Money is considered by many people to be one of the most important contributing factors towards happiness. In my opinion, it is possible for people to be happy even if they have little money and other aspects of life can play a more vital role in creating happiness.

Although having money brings happiness to a lot of people, it does not necessarily follow that people without money are, therefore, unhappy. Take for example the comparison between developing and developed countries, most Westerners would agree that people in developing countries are happier, enjoy stronger family connections and take more pleasure in the simplicities of life to a greater extent than those in developed countries.

One way that people can gain happiness is through their work. For instance, a doctor doing volunteer work in underdeveloped countries may have very little money but the reward of helping people and doing the job they are good at, brings happiness in itself. In other words, happiness can be found by using skills that people are trained for and through job satisfaction.

Finally, another factor influencing happiness is having supportive and loving people in one’s life.  While money may bring the opportunities to enjoy pleasures, few people would enjoy them on their own. Being surrounded by a loving and caring family is considered by most people to be more valuable than any amount of money.

In conclusion, money is not essential for happiness, which can be found through job satisfaction as well as family. If more people strived in life towards true happiness rather than money, the world would be a better place.

Comments: Your task is to give an answer to both questions and no more. Each question may have one or two main points to answer it. Your essay should never have more than 3 body paragraphs. You can see that in this IELTS model essay, the first body paragraph is answering the first question and the second question is answered with two main points in two different body paragraphs. Words = 275 (an appropriate length for writing task 2)

Recommended Lessons

Model Opinion Essay: click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Essay Questions: click here

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Opinion Essay Introduction: The Thesis Statement

In an IELTS opinion essay for writing task 2, your introduction has a background statement and a thesis statement. You should aim for between 40 to 50 words for the length of your essay introduction. While the background statement introduces the topics, the thesis statement is your answer to the task given by IELTS. It should introduce the main points and show the direction your essay will take. Below are two possible introductions with different thesis statements for the following IELTS task.

IELTS Task 2

The increase in the amount of traffic is responsible for growing problems in many large cities and this has resulted in more traffic congestion, particularly at rush hour. What measures could be taken to deal with this problem?

Essay Introductions

The introductions below have different thesis statements. Which one do you think is the best?

1. The growth in the quantity of traffic in most major cities has led to problems of congestion in the peak travel hours. There are a number of solutions to this issue which I will discuss in this essay.

2. The growth in the quantity of traffic in most major cities has led to problems of congestion in the peak travel hours. This can be solved by having a traffic free zone and improving the public transportation system offered to the public.

Answer

Number 2 is the best introduction.

Although the first introduction has academic language in the thesis statement, it is not appropriate for a high score essay in IELTS. IELTS is a test of your ability to use your own language not your ability to learn an academic sentence and use it in your essay. Therefore, introduction number 2 shows the main points and uses language directly relating to the task.

 

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Opinion Essay Model Band Score 9 , click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Video: How to write an introduction, click here

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IELTS Essay Length: Video Lesson Advice

Learn about the recommended number of words you should write for your essay in IELTS writing task 2. You must write over 250 words and if your essay is under the word count. you will be penalised. Watch this lesson to find out what is the best length to aim for in task 2.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Video: How to write an essay introduction, click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Video Lesson: Ideas Tips, click here
Model Opinion Essay Band Score 9, click here

Transcript

hello in this lesson I want to look at a
very important question

that many students ask me about IELTS

writing task 2 here’s the question do I
get

a higher band score if I have

a longer essay now this is a very
important question

how long should you essay be there are a
number of points I want to explain to

you

about the length of your essay so

the first point is of course you must
write

over 250 words that

is the task given to you those are your
instructions

and if you write under that

there could be problems and yes the
examiner will check

how many words you’ve written number two
and here is a direct answer

to the question you do not get

more marks for a longer essay now

I know that for many of you at
University

if you write a longer essay you get
better marks

but this does not apply to IELTS

the examiner is not looking for

a long essay the examiner is looking for
relevant

ideas number three the other point

is you only have about 35 minutes to
write

you essay now they recommend

that you have forty minutes but at least

5 minutes should be spent planning your essay

you need to look at the statement given
to you

need to analyze it and you need to plan

relevant ideas for your answer

it’s very important to have

five minutes for planning your ideas and
you answer

are worth 25% if your marks so
that means

you only have about 35 minutes to

actually write your essay so

aiming for longer essay will not give
you more marks

and will be very difficult in

the time you’ve got the next point

is a lot of students when

they try to extend their writing to
write

over 300 words they put

lots of extra information in that essay

and this information is often a little
bit

relevant or it’s off the topic

now in IELTS you will lose

marks if you write irrelevant
information

or if you go off the topic in your essay

so is a very bad idea to try to write

300 words if the information you are

adding will go off topic so

the recommendation I recommend you aim

for between 260 and 280

that is enough words to extend

and develop each main idea

in order to get a higher band score
well

if you found this lesson useful please
share it with your friends

and don’t forget follow me on Facebook
if you want to get

the regular lessons or check my blog and
you can find

all my free IELTS lessons see you next time

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Video Lesson: Conclusion Linkers

Learn which are the best linkers to use to start your conclusion paragraphs for your IELTS essay. This lesson will show you which linkers to use and which you must avoid. Any mistakes with linkers will lower your band score so make sure you watch this lesson.

Recommended

How to write an introduction
What to do with the last 5 mins?

Transcript

hello in this lesson

we’re going to look at the best linkers
to use

to start your conclusion for your IELTS
writing

task 2 essay now I have a list

of linkers on the board and I have seen

students using these linkers for their
IELTS

academic essay now are they

good to use well I can tell you some

of these linkers are inappropriate

they should not be used for the
conclusion

in your task 2 essay now

let’s have a look we’ll start off with
this one here

finally now I know your conclusion

is the final paragraph but finally

does not indicate a conclusion

we use this linker to show

the final main point so that means

we use this linker in the last

body paragraph so you have

firstly secondly finally

and after that you have your conclusion

so please do not use this

for your conclusion now another one

let’s have a look at in a nutshell now

in a nutshell the meaning of this
is to summarize all the main points

briefly so the meaning is correct

but this expression

in a nutshell this is informal

and we mainly use this with speaking

or with some informal writing so that
means

it is wrong to use this kind of linker
with an

academic essay for IELTS it’s something that the
examiner

usually notices and it will

be a problem for your band score so
please

don’t to use in a nutshell for you IELTS

academic essay another one

in general again it does not

really indicate a conclusion

so that leaves 3

linkers we’ve got in conclusion to
conclude

to sum up now although

to sum up is OK I

still wouldn’t recommend using if
somebody asked me

for the best linkers to start the
conclusion

of course I would choose these

now a linker at the beginning

of the paragraph is there help

the reader to help the reader understand

the order of information and to

indicate what the information is so when
I am reading an academic essay

and I see in conclusion or

to conclude I understand this is the
conclusion

and that is good for an academic

essay so in conclusion

to conclude please choose one of them

to start your conclusion for your task
2

essay well that’s all for this lesson

I’ll see you again in another IELTS lesson

 

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Band 9

The IELTS writing task 2 sample answer below has examiner comments and is band score 9. The topic of social media is common and this IELTS essay question was reported in the IELTS test. Check the model essay and then read the comments.

Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have had a huge negative impact on both individuals and society.

To what extent do you agree?

Social networking sites, for instance Facebook, are thought by some to have had a detrimental effect on individual people as well as society and local communities. However, in my opinion, while I believe that such sites are mainly beneficial to the individual, I agree that they have had a damaging effect on local communities.

With regards to individuals, the impact that online social media has had on each individual person has clear advantages. Firstly, people from different countries are brought together through such sites as Facebook whereas before the development of technology and social networking sites, people rarely had the chance to meet or communicate with anyone outside of their immediate circle or community. Secondly, Facebook also has social groups which offer individuals a chance to meet and participate in discussions with people who share common interests.

On the other hand, the effect that Facebook and other social networking sites have had on societies and local communities can only be seen as negative. Rather than individual people taking part in their local community, they are instead choosing to take more interest in people online. Consequently, the people within local communities are no longer forming close or supportive relationships. Furthermore, society as a whole is becoming increasingly disjointed and fragmented as people spend more time online with people they have never met face to face and who they are unlikely to ever meet in the future.

To conclude, although social networking sites have brought individuals closer together, they have not had the same effect on society or local communities. Local communities should do more to try and involve local people in local activities  in order to promote the future of community life.

Comments: This essay shows you the organisation of ideas into paragraphs and also how a clear answer is given in the thesis statement in the introduction and then supported and explained in full throughout the essay. You will also see paraphrasing for advantage / disadvantage language which can be useful for you in other essays. Furthermore, the word length of this essay is typical for anyone aiming for band score 6, 7 or above. Words 280

Useful IELTS Pages for Writing and Other Sections

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IELTS Discussion Essay Model Answer

This IELTS discussion essay sample answer is estimated at band 9. See comments below the essay for advice and tips.

Completing university education is thought by some to be the best way to get a good job. On the other hand, other people think that getting experience and developing soft skills is more important.
Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

It is considered by some that being a university graduate is the key to securing a good job while there are others who think that it is better to have experience and soft skills. In my opinion, I believe that having university education is essential for academic jobs while soft skills and experience are more useful in business.

On the one hand, many think it is easier for most people to find a good job if they are university graduates with a good degree. In other words, having tertiary education puts people one step ahead of others who do not and this can be the deciding factor in getting a good job. The competition to get in to universities and the increasing number of graduates show just how significant this level of education is for people’s future work opportunities.

On the other hand, having work experience and soft skills, such as leadership skills and other interpersonal skills, can also throw the balance in favour of the applicant, according to some. For many positions there are an overwhelming number of applicants and, therefore, it is often thought that having relevant experience in that line of work or having acquired useful soft skills that can be valuable to a company, can put one ahead of the game when applying for a position.

Finally, in my opinion, whether needing high level education or skills and experience, depends on the position being applied for. Take for example law, medicine or teaching, it is impossible to be considered for a position without the required educational background. In contrast, in business, it would be more important for a candidate to have soft skills and experience in that line of business so they can step into a position without further training and be of immediate benefit to the company.

In conclusion, getting a good job requires a relevant background either in experience or education depending on the type of work and field. People should make sure they attain the necessary skills or degrees before applying for a job in order to be sure of success.

Comments: This is a a band score 9  essay. It has over 300 words but all sentences are relevant, focused and well written. Band score 8.5 and 9 students can attempt long essays successfully but students from band 8 to band 6, should aim for around 270 to 290 words. Both sides are clearly discussed and the opinion is also clearly given. Linking devices are well used.

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Learn how to write essays for IELTS writing task 2 on my online course: IELTS Liz’s Online IELTS Writing Course

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IELTS Discussion Essay Video Lesson: Useful Language

Learn expressions to use in your discussion essay for IELTS writing task 2 with this video lesson. It is important to use a variety of language to express both sides in your essay. Being able to have flexible language for giving other people’s opinions is a good way to increase your vocabulary band score.

Transcript

Hello in this lesson I’m going to look at some expressions that you can use for a discussion essay for IELTS writing task 2. Now when you have a discussion essay you have to support two different sides and this is not about your opinion this is about what other people think, other people’s opinion and you have to support what they think. so here are some very useful expressions to help you show other people’s thoughts and opinions.

Now there’s quite a lot of expressions you can use. I will run through each one but I will tell you now there are two expressions here that you shouldn’t use. can you see which ones? well I’ll tell you at the end of the lesson let’s have a look the first one. “Many people believe that ” this is a very common expression to use for IELTS It is not high band score but its clear and its academic so don’t worry, please use it. The next one “it is commonly believed that” this is a very nice expression because you can see here “is believed” that is the passive and it’s very good to give the examiner some passive tense in your essay. It will improve your band score and you can see this word here “commonly” that means many people so it has the same meaning as this sentence and this word we can change, we could say “it is frequently believed that” or we could say “it is often believed that”. So we could put a different adverb of frequency here. The next one “some people think that”  again it’s very simple but it is academic and its clear. “It is often thought that” here we’ve got another passive, so very nice to use. But “on the side of” or “the other side of the coin is” this is the other opinion, the other side. “It is considered by many that” this is a very nice expression is very academic. It’s very good to use for IELTS and again you have a passive here and you can change this word if you want and you could say “it is considered by some that”. The next one here “many argue that” is very nice very clear. You don’t need to say “many people”, you could say “many argue that “. Another one, “it is argued by some that”, again here we’ve got the passive and you can change this word, “it is argued by many that”. “On the one hand” and”On the other hand”, so that’s the one side of the argument, on the other hand that’s the other side of the argument. The last one “some people support the opinion that” again this is very nice, very academic.

So can you see the 2 expressions that you shouldn’t use? Well, it is these 2 here this one is not very academic, we use it more for speaking, and this one many students love to use this because it is an idiom however it is very informal and we don’t usually use that for an academic essay for IELTS so please don’t use that one in your discussion essay. But all the others are great and when you’re writing your discussion essay it’s very important that you give the simple tense and then sometimes a passive as well and you can keep changing that through your essay to show flexibility. Well that’s all for this lesson I’ll see you again in another IELTS lesson

 

Discussion Essay Model Answer

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