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 very carefully for each task.

If you fail to give your opinion when it is asked for, it means you failed to complete the task. This will reduce your score significantly for Task Response which is 25% of your task 2 marks.

Opinion Tips

  1. don’t put your opinion unless you are asked to give it
  2. if the question asks what you think, you MUST give your opinion to get a good score
  3. don’t leave your opinion until the conclusion
  4. don’t sit on the fence – take a clear position
  5. keep the same position throughout your essay

Types of Essay Instructions

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

  • “….do you agree or disagree?” – 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
  • Are there more benefits or more drawbacks? – this is a paraphrase of the above instructions
  • “Is this positive or negative?” – this is asking for you to choose and explain your opinion
  • “Do you think this is a good thing?” – this is asking you to evaluate if something is good or bad

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

When to Give your Opinion in an 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 extent 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. Put your opinion in the introduction – don’t just leave it for the conclusion.

 

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.

For all my Free Lessons & Tips for writing task 2. Click here: Writing Task 2 Free Tips

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Comments

  1. James Brendan says

    Hello!
    Am I allowed to keep my opinion as neutral? I sometimes found myself neither agreeing, nor disagreeing with a certain question, so I tend to write explanations for both of the opposing opinions, then say that I lean towards a neutral stance, because X is bad and Y is good, therefore X + Y = Z, which is neutral, for example.

    • You MUST present a clear position. If your opinion isn’t clear or you don’t have one, you will not get a good score for Task Response. Certainly you can have a specific opinion or a partial opinion but you must learn how to write it properly so that you still fulfill the requirements of the higher band scores. See the advanced lessons in my store: https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

  2. Nars David says

    Hi Liz, I just want to ask, will my band score be affected if I give opinion on question who doesn’t ask for it even if I address the question? I’m not actually sure if I do it right.

    The question I got is like this:
    People in many countries spend more and more time far away from their families. Why does this happen? What effects will it have on them and their family.

    after I give my answer, i also provide my option, I’m worried I will get penalized because of it.

    thanks

    • You have been given to questions. The first one is about causes and the second one is about effects. Your task is to provide an answer to both questions. Nothing more.

      • nars david says

        does it mean if i also give my option then it will affect my band score? 😢 thanks for responding Liz..

        • It means your opinion isn’t asked for. you have not been asked to say which effect is worse – A or B. You have simply been asked to state causes and effects. IELTS is not a trick tests. If your opinion isn’t asked for, you don’t need to give it. Opinions are usually in answer to another opinion, choosing between A or B, or evaluating something as good or bad. It requires choice.

  3. Nasir Mohammed says

    Hi Liz,
    Let me share a wonderful experience with you. My wife suggested I go through your writing section as she said I am habituated to using flowery language and oftentimes overconfident of my abilities. Just 5 days prior to the test on 20th July, I went through all your sections, stayed down to earth and religiously followed your simple tips. My essay was an opinion essay ( I would not even know these terms, honestly if I had not checked your site) and was asked my opinion on attending school at an early age (4 years) or later (7 years). I put on the platter the exact replica of your blue print ( paraphrase, my opinion, 3 to the point paragraphs followed by conclusion ).

    And I got a band score 8 and I don’t basically need anything more at this point. Zero practice, just listening to a “new tutor”.

    Thanks to you and thanks to my wife!!

    Regards
    Nasir

    • Brilliant!! I’m so pleased for you! And well done to your wife for her down to earth suggestions 🙂

  4. Since the concluding paragraph is opinion, and some questions don’t ask for your opinion . So, what do I include in my conclusion paragraph for such questions

    • The conclusion is where you restate the main points regardless of whether they are opinions or not.

  5. Hi Liz, thank you for your blog, it is really informative!
    I have gotten this question in my IELTS task 2 essay recently, may I ask if this question require own opinion?

    ‘Is this a bad idea or a good idea?’

    Thank you very much!

    • Sure it requires your opinion. If someone asks you “Is pizza tasty or not?” – is this asking your opinion? Yes, it is. Anything that requires a choice will require your opinion.

  6. Hello Liz, hope you are doing great. I have been following your lessons on Youtube and I find then so helpful. The challenge I have is idea generation as well as stating my position in writing task two. please assist me on these two I will gladly appreciate.
    Thank you.

  7. Ashwani says

    I JUST PRAY THAT YOU GET WELL SOON.

  8. Ashwani says

    Hey Liz,

    I hope you are doing fine today. Just had a query regarding the writing task 2; it had me scratching my head ever since it struck.
    So, we need to put down a lot of facts and opinions points when it comes writing task 2, we are also required to state example, so I was wondering that weather we are obliged to put forth the information in examples which are 100% true as a fact in real world.
    For instance, lets take a case where we are asked to mention “the merit and demerits of infants getting introduced to detrimental devices like a mobile phones by their parents as a attention diverter”.
    Here it is obvious that we are required to state some examples/statistics or known real life incidents, so it is necessary that the data or the stories we will be telling here must be true or the stats must be legitimate and cannot be mere numbers to support the answer.

    The topics can be from anywhere, and if this is the case then it would be really difficult for a person to come with legit story under the time pressure.

    Kindly help me out here.
    Regards.

    • You are not required to present data in IELTS Writing Task 2. You are not being assessed on your knowledge of data and facts. You are just asked to present an opinion which you illustrate with further details – not necessarily with data. For example:

      “While allowing young children access to digital devices can be beneficial, using devices purely as a way to entertain and divert their attention can lead to serious issues. For example, in South Korea many young children have become addicted to games on their devices and this has now lead to grave health concerns.”

      As you can see, there is no data attached to any statement. I am just presenting my opinion and then illustrating my opinion with my observations of the world by giving the example of South Korea. Now look at the writing below:

      “While allowing young children access to digital devices can be beneficial, using devices purely as a way to entertain and divert their attention can lead to serious issues. In some countries, many young children have become addicted to games on their devices spending an enormous amount of time each day engaged in these games. This had lead to problems with eye sight and the sedentary lifestyle is fueling other health issues as well.”

      In the writing above, I haven’t named a specific country and I haven’t use the linking words “for example”. But I have still illustrated my point and that is what it is all about.

      I hope this helps 🙂

      • That was really nice of you, yes with the explanation you provided, I’ve properly gasped what you were trying to say.
        Really thank you a lot!

  9. Is it okay to write in a hilarious situation in an essay which asks for our opinion? Like make a few jokes?

    • The Speaking test is informal and if you want to add humour, it’s your choice. It won’t necessarily help your score though. However, the Writing Test is formal – you should not be trying to be humourous – humour is informal. You ought to aim for each and every sentence to be 100% relevant to the topic and be a crucial part of supporting your opinion.

  10. Hi Liz,

    I want to start by thanking you for the helpful information you provide on your website and YouTube channel. You are a lifesaver, and I recommend your material for everyone preparing for IELTS.
    Today I took my exam (General Training) and got a question in task 2 asking me if “Is this a good or a bad thing?” (I’m not if it’s okay to share the exact question statement. However, it took me a while just to decide if they’re asking for my opinion or not, as they haven’t asked clearly for it, but thank God I ended up giving my opinion as learned from you.

    I just wanted to thank you for your great effort and wish you all the best.
    P.S. I’m one of your fans in Jordan 🙂

    Be safe,
    Shada

    • Glad you gave your opinion. Any question that is asking you to choose requires your personal choice (that is an opinion). Wishing you lots of luck with your results 🙂

  11. JOMY JAMES says

    Hi Liz,

    Your website is really helpful and has a good amount explanation to almost everything. I wanted to ask this question.

    In opinion based essays, do we need to add our opinion in both introduction and conclusion paragraph or only in the conclusion paragraph?

    Thanks in advance.

    • It is generally best to introduce your opinion, then explain it and then summarise it – intro, body paragraphs & conclusion.

  12. Hello Mrs. Liz

    Mrs. for the writing task 2, when do I need to discuss only one side, and when do I need to discuss both

    Does ”Or” means one, and ”and” means both.

    Thank you

    • “Or” requires a choice, which means an opinion is needed, and “and” requires both. Read the page above again to understand more.

  13. NIKSTER says

    Hi Liz

    In the mark scheme it states that you have to make your view apparent throughout the essay. I believe it says “presents a clear position throughout the response”
    So in an essay such as Discuss both views, do we still write this essay like the discuss both views and give you opinion essay?

    I know you had said it in one of your pages, but i am still confused as this is one of the points you need to get a band 7, which is the band i hope to get.

    • Your position should be clear and consistent throughout your essay. This means your thesis statement sets the contents for the essay. If this is an opinion, your opinion must not change during the essay – it must be the same from beginning to end. However, opinions are not required for all essays.

      • NIKSTER says

        Ok. I understand. So for instance in a discuss both view essay – In your thesis statement, you will be mentioning both of the views, after which you break them down into two main body paragraphs and then also mention it in your conclusion. So will this be enough to satisfy that criteria?

        Thanks for your help.

        • Exactly – you got it! The thesis of a discussion essay doesn’t have an opinion, unless the instructions ask for one “Discuss both sides and give your opinion”. So, the aim of sticking to one opinion only is only for essays where you present your opinion. But either way, your thesis statement should represent the direction and content of your essay.

  14. Hi Liz,
    Sorry to revive the old thread.

    Do I need to give opinion in the below question?

    Every country has poor people and every country has different ways of dealing with the poor.

    What are some of the reasons for world poverty? How can the poor be helped?

    • This is a straight forward causes/solutions. It doesn’t require you to evaluate or choose a side. No opinion is required.

      • Thank you for your quick feedback.
        Actually, I saw an answer to this question on a site, which had ‘in my opinion’ sentence in their conclusion, If I am not mistaken.
        Nonetheless, It might be wrong then.
        Thank You for being what you are.

        • Sounds like you are confusing a final comment in a conclusion with presenting your opinion as part of the main body of an essay. A final comment is something that is NOT required by IELTS. It is an optional comment that ends the conclusion and does not serve the function of the summarising statement which a conclusion must give.

  15. Azar says

    Hello Liz. Thank you for the amazing job you have been doing all these years. I have a question with regards to Discussion essay type. Some of the questions that I have checked, only mention “discuss both views” and do not include a “give your opinion part”! Does that mean the fifth paragraph in the sample you have provided would not be necessary for answering these questions?

    • That’s right. You don’t need a paragraph about your opinion if it isn’t asked for.

  16. Parkash says

    Would you prefer an interesting job with low pay or a boring job with a high salary? Explain.

    Everybody wants handsome salary packages to fulfil their dreams. Some people interested in good salary packages. They do not bother about nature for work and whereas others who works for satisfaction even getting low income. I admit that salary also required for daily needs.I prefer job in which I like to do with small package. In this easy will discuss both views.
    Jobs satisfaction means good productivity. If employees like their job, no one has to force them to work. That creates good positive working atmosphere in the office. The tasks will be done more efficiently without any major errors. It leads to efficient output. Moreover they feel very comfortable with nature of works because they love to do and supervision is also not required. Although having a career which you like the most fulfill your life with happiness and if you are good at something money will also flows to fulfil your dreams.

    On the other hand. If somebody doing a job in which he is not interested. It leads to depression. He decreases the company output as well. Every time their seniors found error in the work and that is creates very negative environment in the office. Because of this individuals feels disappoint and his frastration effects the family members. Moreover everything going in wrong directions. After some time their career leads them to dipression and sorrowful.

    In my opinion, career plays an important role in our life. If you are good at something ,your career should be in that direction only. You will get meaningful life without any bad circumstance.

    ////////////
    Kindly give your comments.

  17. Does this situation have more advantages or more disadvantages?

    Is this statement asking for opinion?

  18. Shaukat says

    Hello Liz!
    Firstly, I am grateful that hardwork you made for us is not explainable.

    Now, I have question. In opinion essays, Can we give our opinion in introduction and conclusion paragraph??
    Thank you
    I am looking forward to your response.

    • Yes, of course. The introduction introduces, the body paragraphs explain and conclusion summarises.

  19. Can my opinion be in between the both sides?

  20. Kholoud says

    Hi Liz,
    I’d like to thank you about your helpful blog as it improved my knowledge and skills related to IELTS.

    I just want to ask why “Is this positive or negative” considered as an opinion essay, but “What are advantages and disadvantages to this” is not? I’m a little bit confused.

    Thank you

    • One is asking you to choose “or” and the other is asking for you to present both “and”.

  21. Ayaz Mahmud says

    Hi Liz,

    I recently booked my IELTS exam date and got a free idp course module. The lessons are developed by Macquarie University and supported by idp (according to the logos at the bottom of the site).

    In the lesson, they talk about only three types of Writing Task 2: Problem-Solution, Argument, and Discussion; the lesson on ‘Writing Task 2 Conclusions’ clearly states, and i quote- “In the conclusion of a Discussion or Argument essay, you should also give your viewpoint”. So, according to this idp provided module, i must state my opinion in any discussion topic regardless of requirement. Some of the examples there also contain a one-line opinion despite no demand in the question prompt.

    I am now totally confused; I only have just over a week till my exam and now I stumble upon this info. Need your expert advice please.

    A

    • Your task is to follow instructions. Any argument essay requires an opinion. Any discussion essay normally asks for an opinion. If it doesn’t ask for an opinion, you are not required to give it – your task is to complete the instructions given. However, if you look at my model essays, you will see that I gave my opinion as a final comment – that means an extra sentence in the conclusion.

      Different teachers divide the essays into different categories. Some have three categories for essays, some have four and I have five. It makes no difference. It is a preference for teaching and explaining. The task of an IELTS teacher is to simplify and explain – that is not the task of IELTS as a company.

      Try not to panic or get confused. Just follow the instructions and get used to all the various instructions that can be given.

  22. Stefan Mihai says

    Hello Liz! I do not know whether to give my opinion on this type of question:
    In many countries today insufficient respect is shown to older people.
    What do you think may be the reasons for this?
    What problems might this cause in society?

    Now I`m asking you:
    Is this a double question essay?
    Since they say “what do you think” in the first question, should we give our opinion and the second question should be treated without stating our opinion?
    Thank you!!

    • This is a cause / problem essay – a bit similar to cause/solution essay but you need to give problems rather than solutions. Certainly you can present the causes as your opinion, but it makes little difference for this type of essay. Whether the reasons are written as “I think the causes are…” or “The causes are…” – they will be the same.

  23. Dear Liz,

    I am grateful for your systematically structured lessons in this website. Also I am thankful to you for indirectly assisting me in preparing for my IELTS exam through your free resources available on internet.

    For your information, I haven’t taken the date for my IELTS exam yet I am planning to take in early November. On the basis of my current IELTS diagnostic test, I scored band 5.5. I would like to seek your guidance on two things:
    1. How do I plan my IELTS preparation for scoring band 8. I am a working professional and can dedicate 3 hours for practice.
    2. I usually have problem in comprehending my opinion while speaking. Kindly suggest me how do I mitigate this and excel in scoring atleast 7.5 in speaking.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Regards,
    Nidhi

    • IELTS is about:
      1. understanding the test – details, rules, techniques (knowing the difference between a rule and a recommendation)
      2. knowing what is expected of you in speaking and writing – knowing the band score requirements and examiner expectations
      3. being ready and having strategies for all types of questions in all sections – being ready with topics
      4. being able to showcase your language in a natural way in speaking and writing – not by memorising phrases – not aiming to impress

      The more you understand of IELTS, the questions, the topics, the scoring, the sections etc, the better. Just as with any exam, you need to be fully prepared.

      You mentioned you have a problem “comprehending your opinion” – that means you have problems understanding your own opinion – I don’t understand what you mean. Can you explain more clearly? Maybe give an example of what you mean??

  24. Mustapha says

    Good morning, how do I get a band not less than 6.5 in writing module? My exams is on the 7th of this month.

    • Two things are required. A good understanding of IELTS writing exam techniques and strong English.

  25. Caroline Condini says

    Liz, could you please explain what is your structure to task 2? I have watched a lot of videos that you explain how task 2 works but none of them you mention what is the correct Structure.

    For example, advantages/disadvantages
    Intro:

    Background information
    Opinion (if it is required) BUT if it is not?

    Paragraph:

    Background
    Example
    evidence
    Example
    Evidence
    Conclusion

    Paragraph 2 is the same with disadvantages

    And conclusion:
    Opinion OR????

    Thank you!

    • Your introduction always has two statements – background and thesis (the thesis contains key ideas / your answers / your opinion).
      You should not have a fixed structure for the body paragraph. NEVER. The first sentence is called a Topic Sentence and contains the main point or the general theme. After that, you decide for yourself how to explain the idea. If you try to learn a formula, your score will be limited. Explain, illustrate, compare as you wish. Each idea will be different and therefore will be explained differently.
      The conclusion is a summary of what you have already stated.
      If you need help with writing task 2, think of getting my Advanced Lessons – really worth it – https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

  26. Hi Liz,
    Thank your your precious lessons.

    I would like to ask that can we use “research /recent research shows/indicates that…” to support our idea in writing task 2?

    Thank you in advance,

    • IT is 100% unnecessary to do that. The examiner is not interested in sources of information – this is not a university essay. It does nothing at all to help your score to use such expressions.

  27. Dear Ms. Ferguson,

    I would like to bother you with the following question with regards to discussion essay + opinion: in the situation that I disagree with the first view but I agree on the 2nd, can my 1st body paragraph start with the 2nd view on which I agree upon or should I start with the 1st view and mention that I disagree with? I am concerned on whether this will affect the band score on the subject of precision and on the following criterion: any opinion given is supported in all paragraphs in the essay.

    Thank you!

    • You are being marked on logical organisation. Your body paragraphs should follow the order presented in the introduction.

  28. Mary Ru says

    Dear Liz,
    I’m so glad I found your blog! It has brought so much clarity. Regretfully I found it too late as my exam is in 3 days. Nevertheless thank you for the tips and all the hard work!
    P.s. I wish I wouldn’t worry about Task 2 so much (I’m a bad writer even in my native language 🙂 )
    P.P.S. Sometimes I wonder how would native English speakers perform on the test 🙂

    • You can still learn a lot in 3 days. For speaking, it is all about language – only language. A native speaker would get band 9. But for writing, it is about more than just language. There are specific requirements for the higher scores and a specific way to tackling the essays. You can use my free lessons which are linked on the RED Menu Bar at the top of the website for writing. Or my Advanced Lessons which you can purchase here: https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

  29. Hello Liz,

    so sorry to borther you, but I just wanted to ask whether to give or not give your opinion when it comes to advantage/disadvantage type of essay questions?

    Here it clearly states that it is not needed, but in the model advantage/disadvantage answer it seems like there is an opinion of sorts in the conclusion part, ( ‘too much would be lost as a result’, ‘maintaining culture should be prioritised’…) so I am a little bit confused about it.

    Thanks in advance for your reply! This is the only thing I am not 100% sure about, otherwise, your website is a lifesaver 🙂

    • I think you are confusing an essay which has an opinion in the introduction, explained in full in the body paragraphs and concluded in the conclusion – you are confusing that with a final comment (which plays no role in the aims of the essay) after the concluding statement in the conclusion. If this is something that confuses you, just do not use a final comment in the conclusion and conclude the essay as normal – a summary of the main points.

  30. Parth Prajapati says

    I need full guidence about writing and speaking of IELTS. I want to get free materials from you for IELTS because I want to increase my band score to overall 7. Please help me, and provide free materials through the internet. I will wait for that, please help me.

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