IELTS Writing Task 2: Should I give my opinion?

Should I give my opinion in an IELTS writing task 2 essay? This is a common question that many students ask me. To know whether you should put your opinion in your essay or not, you should read the instructions given by IELTS. IELTS very carefully for each task. You need to read them and follow them. Below are some tips to help you understand:

  • read the instructions, follow them and answer the question
  • don’t put your opinion unless you are asked to give it
  • if the question asks what you think, you MUST give your opinion to get a good score

Here are examples of instructions that require you to give your opinion:

  • “….do you agree?” – it means you should give your opinion
  • “…do you think…?” –  it means you should give your opinion
  • “… your opinion…? –  it means you should give your opinion
  • “…what is your view?” – it means you should give your opinion
  • “Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?” – this is asking for your opinion (your answer) not the opinions of other people

How to give your opinion. Follow the link to learn if you should use “I” or “my” in your IELTS essay.

Below are some IELTS essay questions. Decide if you think you should give your opinion or not. Then check the answer.

Some people think that rich countries should support poor countries in terms of aid for health care and education. To what extend do you agree?

Answer
Yes, this task requires your opinion.

 

While some people think that the problem with education in poor countries is the teaching methodology used, others believe it is the lack of resources that is the real issue. Discuss both sides.

Answer
No, this task does not ask for your opinion. You are only required to discuss the two sides impartially.

 

With the development of modern transportation comes environmental problems. What possible solutions are there to these problems?

Answer
No, this task does not ask for your opinion. You are only required to offer possible solutions.

 

Some people believe that schools should not assess a student’s ability through exams but instead assess them by their course work and project work over the whole academic year. Do you agree?

Answer
Yes, this task requires you to give your opinion.

 

Having a year off before starting universities is becoming increasingly common. Do you think this is a positive or negative trend?

Answer
Yes, this task requires your opinion.

 

Many children no longer read books and instead spend their time using modern technology. While some people think this is a positive trend, others think it is a problem. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Answer
Yes, this task requires your opinion. You will need to discuss both sides impartially and also give your opinion.

 

Due to the low cost of flights, many people are choosing to holiday abroad rather than have holidays in their own country. What are the advantages and disadvantages to this?

Answer
No, this task does not ask for your opinion. You only need to state the advantages and the disadvantages.

 

IELTS Teachers or students can download a worksheet for these questions to use in their classroom: ielts-writing-task-2-giving-your-opinion

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Comments

  1. Hlo mam I hv a question… If i m askd to discuss both sides nd give my opinion… Can I give opinion by making an extra bp aftr discussing both sides or is it mandatory to give opinion in introduction? Please clear my doubt actually in my exam i gave opinion in bp 3 I did nt give in introduction… Will i lose Marks?

  2. Liz, your work is outstanding, helpful and useful. Thanks a lot. I’ve been studying for IELTS by your videos and site.
    I’ll take the Academic IELTS, and now I’m learning how to do my essay (task2). I found your tips for giving opinion essays, but I wasn’t able to find tips for other kinds of essay (giving solutions, evaluate both sides, arguing, etc..). For example, I guess the introduction doesn’t have a thesis statement as you show in your video.

    Saving the post for one more doubt, do you have any orientation about using British or English convention in IELTS? Ex: practising or practicing ?

    Thank you

  3. Hi Liz,
    can we start a paragraph like “we must acknowledge that…” ? Or is it too informal?

  4. Respected Ma’am,

    For qn like discuss both sides and share your opinion, in opinion part can we point down the merit and demerits of both or we need to stick to one of the solution oly?

    Thanks & regards,
    Pradeepan

  5. winda prastika says:

    hey liz! 🙂
    supposed that the question is ‘do you agree or disagree’, should we choose one of these views? is it allowed for us to write somewhere in between? thankyou 🙂

  6. Anjani Desai says:

    Hello Liz,
    I am following your tips and ideas regarding IELTS exam preparation and found it very useful. Now i feel quite confident about my exam.
    I am greatful to you.
    Thank you so much.

    Regards.
    Anjani

  7. Hello, Liz.

    Thank you so much for your blog! It helps me a lot with my ielts study!
    While I was studying writing part 2, I was wondering about providing my opinion in question that ask to wrtie cause and the solution to it.
    For example, if the question is like, nowadays we are producing more rubbish. what are the causes and what can be done to control it?

    In that case, do I just state causes and solution of it?

    Thank you!

  8. Hello liz,
    Your blog is really helpful.i have a question if they ask only discuss both sides ?or advantages and disadvantages?
    then how r we going 2 write thesis statment in introduction.

  9. Probably not until November.

  10. Hello Liz,

    I would like to know if you offer services like checking the writing samples? Thank you

  11. hi liz
    i need 7 each .i got 7 in 3 but 5.5 in writing .in my previous test i scored 6.5 in writing but presently m confused whether to take test again or not.
    i need help.

  12. Hi Mrs. Liz

    Can I look at both sides of the issue even if the question ( agree or disagree )

    To make it clear,
    government should try to reduce air traffic by taxing it heavily. Do you agree or disagree

    Is it OK if I write ( although some people believe that ………………….., I disagree.
    Then in one body paragraph explain the reasons that why others believe it the right solution
    And second paragraph talk about my opinion as I disagree make it clear

  13. Kayalvizhi says:

    Hi Liz. Thank you so much for your valuable advices. Just a small question. If the essay asks us to discuss both sides and give your opinion, where should I state my opinion? Do I state it in the introduction paragraph as my thesis statement? or do I have a seperate paragraph for my opinion after discussing both sides impartially?

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Liz, thanks for the beautiful site. When a question is asking if I agree or not, can I discuss on both sides first in then conclude with one side?

  15. Hi Liz,
    thank you for your beautiful free lessons and advance lessons too for writing task 2.
    i am confused about Disction essay with opinion, in your example or model eassy explanation, you said: should state opinion in thesis statement ….well, thats clear.
    in my previous IELTS preparation course,the teacher said in this type of question, should state your opinion only in conclusion. not in introduction!!!
    which is right way for IELTS
    Thanks again for your effort and easy way to explain it to us.

    • The instructions state “discuss both sides and give your opinion). Those instructions are for the whole essay. Only putting your opinion in the conclusion is only minimally completing the instructions which is not advisable for a high score.

      • what I does for a discuss both views and give your opinion type question is *opinion in introduction
        *opinion in the argument which I agree
        *a separate opinion paragraph itself
        *concluding
        Is it the right way to approach ??

  16. Hi Liz,

    Thank you for your amazing lessons. For example, if the question says ” Many people spend lots of money when they travel abroad. It would be better to spend this money in local vacations.
    Is this opinion essay?

  17. Hi! If the questions are: “In what ways has technology affected the type pf relationships people make”;”Has this become a positive or negative development?” I have to give an opinion?

    I understand that for first question NO, but I have doubts about the second one…

    Thanks in advance

    • The second one is asking you to choose if it is a positive or negative development so it is an opinion.

  18. hi Liz,
    is it necessary to write opinion in introduction paragraph? can we write it in second last paragraph, before the conclusion?

  19. Nikita bhatia says:

    Hello mam,
    Can you please tell me are they asking my opinion in the following essays ? Thank you .
    1) some people consider computers to be more of a hindrance than a help. Others believe that they have greatly increased human potential. How could computers be considered a hindrance?
    2) we are becoming increasingly dependent on computer technology. It is used in business, crime detection and even to fly planes. What will it be used for in future? Is this dependence on technology a good thing or should we be suspicious of its benefits ?

  20. Hi Liz. I found your website and its really helpful. I took ielts last September and unfortunately my scores are very low. I wanted to ask about the essay writing if you have online courses to check my writing so I would know my weakness in writing essay.
    Thank you very much.
    Lexi

  21. hi liz
    i am confused that ..if we are asked to give our option and also to discuss the topic in the same question, what should be written in introduction both or my opinion only and also in body part what should we explain at first opinion or discuss??

  22. What does impartially means in case of discuss both views?

  23. If the question does not ask our opinion explicitly, would my mark be reduced if I use the phrases like”I believe, I think” couple of times in the essay (spesifically in introduction and conclusion) ? While writing introduction after paraphrasing the question I wrote ” In this essay, I will outline the reasons etc…) and I am worried now it will prevent me from getting band 8.

  24. Hlo mam
    if the question is what in your opinion should be …. Function of ….???then we should have to write both views in main body and opinion in 3rd paragraphs or what plz clarify this??

  25. Dr. Syed Iqtidar Ali Raza says:

    Dear Liz
    If the ques is
    To what extent disadvantages outweigh the advantages?
    In this, we need to give our opinion?

  26. Hi liz,
    It is about Discuss both sides and give your opinion…after i discussed both side ,do i need to give my opinion in a different paragraph?thanks!

    • If your opinion does not agree with both sides, put it in the separate paragraph. If it agrees with one of the sides, put it with that side. Make sure you give your opinion in the introduction.
      Liz

  27. Dear Madame,

    Thank you very much for this and I have a quick question.
    In order to support the thesis in your BP for whatever types of essay, once can illustrate some advantages or disadvantages. For instance, if the question states exercise is the effective method to developing and improving health, one can agree and write the benefits of it to support the idea of agreeing.
    Would this be appropriate for IELTS?
    Thank you in advance!!

    • Sorry I don’t understand your question. For an opinion essay, you state your opinion in the thesis statement and explain it in the body paragraphs.
      Liz

  28. Hi mam,

    What is the meaning of a discursive essay? Give me an example?
    Thanks

    • It means a discussion essay when the instructions are “discuss both sides”. You can see a model essay on the main writing task 2 page.
      Liz

  29. hi liz,

    I found your tips and suggestions in this blog very useful. I hope i can score high with your help. please put some light on reading topic too, thanks a lot.

    Regards,
    Andy

  30. Hi Liz,
    If the question is “What is more appropriate”, it asks for your opinion. Is it right?

    Thank you.

    • Yes, that asks for your opinion.
      Liz

    • Thank you, Liz for your reply.

      Actually, my writing task 2 on 8 Oct 2015 test is as follows: Some people think that secondary schools should provide a wide range of subjects, while others agree children should focus on a narrow range of job-relating subjects. What is more appropriate in today’s world?

      Please advise whether it is right if I discuss both sides and give my opinion? I appreciate your response.

      • There is only on question. “what is more appropriate?”. You answer that question and nothing more. Which one is more appropriate? Because this is a comparative, you need to explain why one side is more appropriate than the other. So, if you think that more subjects is better, you have one BP to explain that and one BP to explain why a narrow range is not appropriate.
        Liz

  31. naveen nouman says:

    Hi,

    Is it compulsary to use complex sentences in writing task 1 and task 2?
    What are the punctuation marks which are frequently used in writing task? i’m worried about when to use it.
    i have my exam on 08 oct,2015 and so far,i’m preparing well in listening ,reading and writing task 1 wheras, i’m afraid about writing task 2.

    In writing task 2,the introducton and the conclusion is going well but,i’m afraid of body part and examples in it. could you please suggest me?

  32. if the question asks to what extent do u agree or disagree.. should i present both sides of the question or can i just outweigh the opposite side with my opinion?

  33. Hi Liz,
    Could you please elaborate on which kind of questions require you to write on both sides of the topic and in which kind of questions you must only discuss one side.
    On similar lines as should i give my opinion but wethere i should discuss both sides before giving my opinion or not

    Thanks in Advance
    Chetan

    • No question asks you to discuss one side. If you are asks to present both sides, then you write about both sides. If you are asked for your opinion, you state it and explain it – nothing more. See my models to learn which paragraphs show both sides and how that is done.
      Liz

  34. Hi Liz
    For writing task 1, what if my overview and main features are different from those the examiner expects? I mean different people can see things with different significance!
    Thank you

  35. Hi Liz
    I have a question to ask.
    If the question is to what extent do you agree?
    Do I have to discuss both point of views(agree & disagree) in my body paragraphs ? Or only reasons why I agree on that topic?
    Thanks

  36. Hi Liz

    I have a question, is saying “wildlife poaching” as a synonym or a paraphrase for “illegal animals hunting” is academic?

    thanx 🙂

  37. Hi Liz
    In an agree or disagree essay can I for example say I agree or disagree because there are advantages and disadvantages to the issue? I mean can I combine an opinion with advantages and disadvantages?

    • You can agree OR disagree. It is not possible to both agree and disagree. But you can offer a specific opinion which we call a balanced approach. It does not mean agreeing with both sides. You should only write a balanced approach if you have had professional training or your level of English is excellent. Any mistake with presenting an opinion in line with IELTS rules will lower your score. If you wish to learn about this, see my opinion essay lesson: http://subscriptions.viddler.com/IELTSLizStore
      All the best
      Liz

  38. Muhammed Yunus says:

    Hi Liz,
    I enjoy your all videos because your pronounciation and presentation is very easy catch it.

  39. mam i need your help in writing section i cant write paragaraphs of writing task 2 because of your tip i can now write introduction and this is the first time i can understand easily how to write an introduction i m very thankful to you please help me for this section…

  40. thnks

  41. i like ur style of imparting knowledge
    and also ur smile

  42. Thank you mam your every tips is really helpful

  43. sheema rohi says:

    hello mam
    i ‘m really thankful to you for providing online classes for students like me who are in search of proper guidance and useful tips . wish i do well in my test . thanks again mam

  44. hussein says:

    thank you for all thing
    your courses very easy and interesting
    thank you

  45. rakesh kattel says:

    hi mam,
    i am from Nepal..i am also an ielts instructor..i found your materials really helpful.
    And your way of describing complexity into the easiest way that impressed me a lot.
    Thank you.

  46. Santosh Kandel says:

    Your Ielts blogs are really helpful. Easy to understand. God bless you.

  47. Hi liz,
    When they expect to give your opinion, is it enough to provide facts that only support your opinion? or do we have to discuss the other view also?
    for example in the question ” Having a year off before starting university is becoming increasingly common. Do you think this is a positive or negative trend?”, if my answer is positive do I have to provide facts for the negative part as well?

    Thanks
    Niluka

    • You must follow the instructions. If it says “discuss both sides” then you to that. If it is just a question “Do you think it is a positive or negative trend”, your whole essay answers that question with what you think, which means your opinion.
      All the best
      Liz

  48. Hi, Liz!
    I have written a task2 essay recently, using the topic of TEST 1 in BOOK 9.
    The topic is “Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?”
    I paraphrased the statement and gave my own opinion in the introduction. But which confuses me is that the official model answer prepared by an examiner doesn’t have any statement about giving an opinion and doesn’t mention which one is more advantageous. So I wonder whether it’s necessary to give my own opinion in this type of questions.

    By the way, for topics which don’t ask for an opinion, is the content of introduction only including the paraphrase of a given statement?

    Thanks.

    • Please read my notice about posting writing: http://ieltsliz.com/posting-writing/
      Thanks
      Liz

      • Sorry, I haven’t posted a writing essay.
        I just wonder whether it’s necessary to give my opinion in a question type which is “do the advantages overweigh the disadvantages”(because the official answer for book9 test1 writing task 2 which is the same time doesn’t mention its opinion) and whether the introduction consists of only the paraphrasing sentence when not asked for an opinion.
        Thank you very much!

        • It’s a direct question which you must answer. Your answer should be in the introduction and explained in the body paragraphs. So, if you think the disadvantages are more important than the advantages, you must state that clearly.
          All the best
          Liz

  49. Dear mam,

    I would like to get more instructions regarding GT IELTS essay writing

  50. BESIDES THE OPINION ESSAYS, CAN WE WRITE CONCLUSION AT THE END , LIKE DISCUSSION ESSAYS..

  51. where i writing my supporting subject after introduction or before conclusion

    • I don’t understand “supporting subject”. Please see my model essays in the writing task 2 lessons to learn the content of an IELTS essay.
      Liz

  52. If the question is to what extent do you agree or disagree with the statement.Is there any need to give our opinion

    • Yes, of course. It’s a question asking what you think and you must answer it by explaining what you think. In fact, the essay only contains your opinion. The instructions are very clear. Always follow the instructions. Try to read this page again to understand.
      All the best
      Liz

  53. hello liz, is it proper to give an opinion in the introduction of an essay for essay topics asking to discuss and also requiring you to give personal opinion as part of the essay questions?

    • Hi,

      Yes, if it is a discussion essay with an opinion as well, then put your opinion in the introduction. It’s very important to address all parts of your task in the introduction.

      I’ll get back to you about your other question later.
      All the best
      Liz

  54. Tarun Mehta says:

    Hi Nimesh,

    Task 2 was as below (in brief)
    Discuss the impact of fashion – clothing and hairstyles etc. Positive and negatives of the same and your opinion.

  55. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
    Regarding the above type of questions what would you recommend, whether we should provide our opinion in introduction or it is better to give our pinion in conclusion. Further, I would also like to ask, does the word Discuss means that we need to discuss both advantages and disadvantages for both sides ?

    • Hi,

      When the task asks for your opinion, you must put it clearly in the introduction, in the thesis statement. For the details of your opinion, in a discussion essay, you can either put the details in a third body paragraph (please see model:http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-discussion-essay-model-answer/ ) or you can just put them in the conclusion. When it asks you to discuss both sides, it means you support one side in one body paragraph and then support the other side in the other body paragraph. It’s not the advantages and disadvantages of each side.
      All the best
      Liz

      • Also, with the explanation of advantages and disadvantages, discussions. Most thesis statements have I. How am I going to construct my thesis statement with these type of question essays.

        • See my model essays to learn how to write the thesis statement for all types. See the main writing task 2 page.
          Liz

  56. Thanks Liz for providing questions and answers … thanks for the great efforts.

  57. Tarun Mehta says:

    Hi,
    Today I had my IELTS GT, LRW sections. Reading and listening went pretty well. But I am not sure of writing section. In section 1 of writing I believe I wrote around 225 words. Please let know whether this would have any repercussions.

    Thanks,
    Tarun

    • Hi,

      There is a lower limit of 150 words for writing task 1 but there is no upper limit at all. So, it is possible to write 225 words for task 1. However, here are the issues involved:

      1. If you focus on too many small details instead of selecting key features to report, then your score will be lower for task achievement which is 25% of your marks.
      2. If you added any irrelevant or inaccurate details, your score will be lower for task achievement.
      3. If you added any opinion or information not given in the chart, you will get a lower mark for task achievement.

      So, much of it will depend on the content of your writing rather than the length.
      Let me know your scores when they arrive and let me know if you remember your essay question 🙂
      All the best
      Liz

      • Tarun Mehta says:

        Hi Liz,

        Thanks for a quick response. Topic for task 1 was: your friend is relocating to your home town. Advise him on a. Housing in your hometown b. Schooling for kids, c. Socializing, making new friends in your home town.

        Will definitely update you on the score.

        Thanks,
        Tarun

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