IELTS Opinion Essay: Choosing one side or partially agreeing?

In an IELTS opinion essay, you can either agree, disagree or take a balanced approach which means to partially agree. However, you need to learn more so that you fulfil the requirements of the higher band scores.

See the answers to the 4 questions below. Also see useful links for writing task 2 below. All tips are for GT and Academic students.

1. Is it better to choose one side?

It won’t alter your score if you choose to support one side or partially agree. As long as you give a clear opinion, the examiner will be happy.

If you don’t understand a partial agreement essay, then choose one side. It’s easier to choose one side for most students and you can still get band score 9 by choosing one side.

Sometimes it might be hard to find enough ideas to support one side. In this case, go for a partial agreement. BUT if you need training to learn how to do this correctly.

2. Will you get a higher score if you partially agree?

No. It’s doesn’t matter what your opinion is – one side or partial. The only thing the examiner wants is a relevant opinion which is fully explained.

3. Can you write a discussion essay instead?

NO. Let me repeat that – NO !!! An opinion essay is only about your opinion. It is not about what other people think. You can’t change the type of essay you have been given. Look at the instructions below:

  • Discussion both sides and give your opinion
    • You must explain both sides of what other people think and also give your opinion
  • To what extent do you agree or disagree?
    • You must present your opinion and nothing else. Your opinion must cover all aspects of the essay question.


4. Can you use “I” or “my” in an opinion essay?

Yes. Of course. You MUST use “i” or “my” – it’s the only way to give your own personal opinion. Look at the language below:

  • it is believed / it is considered / it seems – This language does not express your own individual opinion. It is perfect for discussion essays but it can’t be used for your own views.
  • I think / I agree / I disagree / In my opinion – This is how you clearly express your view. The examiner wants to see this language when you give your opinion.

Useful Links for IELTS Writing Task 2

Click below to open useful links for IELTS writing task 2:

When to give your opinion

How to write an introduction

Using “I” or “my”: Free Video

Using quotes and idioms

All Writing Task 2 Tips & Model Essays

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  1. Sameera Perera says

    Hi Liz,

    In this case (To what extent do you…), If I take one side and explain it further, isn’t it similar to an Agree or Disagree essay? (Here I am assuming that in an Agree or Disagree essay we have to take one position.)

  2. Hi Liz,

    For this essay – paying all workers the same salary in a company promotes harmony and respect amongst colleagues. To what extent do you agree or disagree.
    Can I write an essay like this: I strongly disagree with the above statement and in this essay will discuss the reasons as to why first of fall its impractical to pay the same salary and then will elucidate the reasons as to why paying all the employees the same salary will in fact result in a less harmonious work environment.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    • Sounds like you have been learning phrases to put in your essay. Do NOT use learned phrases “this will essay discuss the reasons…” / “then elucidate the reasons as to why…” The examiner is not stupid. The examiner knows these are not your own language. Each sentence must be uniquely created by yourself. Why don’t you just write normally: “I strongly disagree with the above statement because it is impractical to pay the same salary and cause friction in the work environment.”. Be clear. Be direct. Safe the details for the body paragraphs.

      • Hi Liz! Thank you so much for your reply. English is kind of my first language and I am used to using those phrases. Should I tone down my English for IELTS? Thanks again for your great help!

        • If English is your first language, you should write naturally. This is not an academic essay, it is a formal essay. You don’t use academic phrases. You write naturally and avoid informal tones or language. The title “academic ielts” is given because the test is often taken for entry onto educational courses. The essay itself is only formal in nature.

  3. Hi Liz,

    I myself am an IELTS trainer (for the past year after being in the BPO sector for 20 years) and am a fan of yours and your IELTS tips, lessons, and videos that you have generously posted for free have been immensely helpful to me and my students. In continuation to the above hot discussion on opinion essays, I would like your say on the below situation.

    One of my students had written an essay on the below question.

    “Modern technology products such as smartphones and wearables are very addictive and should be banned. To what extent do you agree or degree with this view?”

    He took an one-sided view (like many students would prefer to do or were taught to do) that “I completely disagree with the statement.” and wrote about the necessity of smartphones, advantages of the industry generating employment to many and revenue to government in the form of taxes, etc. (He did not mention about the addictive part whether he agrees it is addictive or not). I felt the task is not met like you rightly pointed out in one of the comments above(do you concur).

    However, I feel there are two parts in the statement a) smart phones are addictive and b) it should be banned.

    So shouldn’t we address both parts, that is, whether I agree if they are addictive and if so whether banning it is the solution for the same.

    In that case there cannot be an answer which says I completely disagree with the statement unless you mean to say they are not addictive and hence need not be banned.

    Are the below options correct:
    OPTION I: I partially agree with the statement a) it is addictive however disagree with b) should be banned, probably use can be restricted or limited.

    OPTION II: One-sided, I agree they are addictive and hence need to be banned.

    OPTION III: One-sided, I disagree, they are not addictive and hence need not be(should not be) banned.

    Are there any other variations possible. Thanks for taking your valuable time to read/respond to this lengthy post, which in my humble opinion will be of great help to all other millions of IELTS aspirants worldwide who visit your web page.

    • You have hit the nail on the head. Your understanding of the question is correct. Your understanding of a one-sided view when there are two issues to address is correct. The only other option you haven’t tackled is a specific view point:
      I agree they are addictive, however I think banning them is not the right solution – a better solution would be X. It is a great way to fully address and expand the topic given.
      I hope that helps.

  4. Hii Liz what can we write to give a partial view ?

  5. Hi liz,
    Does it affects my TR score if I only discuss about “Benefits of planting tress” and do not talk about “building houses” in the following essay:-
    My thesis statement is: I completely agree that planting trees is more significant to solve many problems confronted by urban dewellers than constructing infrastructure.

    Some people think that planting trees in open spaces in cities and towns is more important than building houses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

    • It would negatively affect your score. Your opinion is “I believe planting trees is more important than housing”. You must explain why planting trees is important and why housing is not so important. Answer fully!

  6. Hi Liz!
    How can I improve doing T/F/NG reading questions?

  7. Hi Liz,
    I just recently took my IELTS exam last Saturday.I may say thay I am blessed with my writing task 1 and 2 topics.
    In writing task 1, I need to write a letter from a complaints that turns a commendation for the staff.
    Writing task 2, is need to give my opinion from the suggestion that suggestion that all ages of students to join in same class.
    I hope this will help.
    Now, I’l pray that all my exam ,reading and listening will have a good results.
    God is good I know! 🙂
    from Mhae

  8. Andreea Culbece says

    That test I had it on the 26th! I said that I believe that children should learn both of them. I don’t know why they gave me only 6…I’m struggling with the writing and I don’t know where I’m doing so many mistakes…I sit this exam for 4th times and I am quite desperate because I don’t know what I should change…I watched your videos, I worked a few books…and nothing….only 6. Thank you!

    • If u agree you cannot explain about world history.
      Throughout your essay should be about local history and supporting sentences. Watch her advanced ielts videos. She is explaining more in detail.

      • Your opinion must answer the all issues. If you agree, then your opinion is that local history should be taught and world history should not be taught. That is your full opinion.

  9. If you agree – then you need to explain why you think money shouldn’t be spent protecting wildlife and also what other problems should be solved with the money.

  10. Hello Liz, How can I buy all three advanced writing videos together? As each purchase cost can extra fee for international transaction, buying together would be beneficial, if that is possible.

  11. Dear LIZ
    I get more motivated when I read your texts. Although my handwriting is not much more qualified, but I’m preparing for IELTS test.Actually, I live in Finland as an asylum seeker, considerd to my teacher’s opinion I am not ready to take ILETS test yet. Would you please share me some links for improving my writing and listening?
    Thank you so much

  12. Hi Liz,
    Can i use words such as ‘what is more ‘OR ‘ to be more clear’ to explain my points between paragraphs?
    Thanks in advance

  13. Hi mam, 7 years back I took ielts exam & I got 6.5 overall . Later I stopped thinking of exam as it finds difficult for me to reach the required score.But after watching all your lessons I am planning to take exam again .Really impressed by all ur videos . Thanks you so much .

  14. Roshna Raut says

    My exam is tomorrow
    I have one question please help me

    In any questions like agree or disagree, advantages or disadvantages, to what extent do you agree or disagree???
    In such OR questions…can we partially agree or disagree?? Can we fully go for disagree or agree??


    Can we write for example in body paragraph(if we agree) writing 4 positive points and in next paragraph 3 points showing its negative side
    and in conclusion going with agree one

    please reply

  15. Hi my best ielts teacher,kindly tell me if it is correct to write your opinion as ,”This essay agrees with the statement or should i always write, “In my opinion.Thanks in advance

    • If you want to give YOUR opinion, you need to use “I”. The words “this essay …” does not express your opinion.

  16. Hi Liz,

    In the partially agree,is it possible to write 2 body paragraphs on agree and 3rd one on disagree. I am little confuse about it.

    Thanks in advance

  17. Hi Liz,

    For the Partial Agreement/Disagreement Essay (Balanced View) is it possible to still write 4 Paragraphs with such essay or it must be 5 paragraphs?

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