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IELTS Discussion Essays [Discuss Both Views/Sides]

Posted by David S. Wills | Jun 14, 2021 | IELTS Tips , Writing | 0

IELTS Discussion Essays [Discuss Both Views/Sides]

In this lesson, I’m going to explain what an IELTS discussion essay is and how you can write a good one. I will talk about structure and content, as well as looking briefly at discussion essay thesis statements, which many people find tricky. I’ve also written a sample essay, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

What is a Discussion Essay?

As the name suggests, a discussion essay is an essay that discusses things! More specifically, it is a type of IELTS writing task 2 essay that requires you to look at two different points of view . You can easily recognise these essays by the following phrase:

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Sometimes it is phrased a little differently. It might say:

Discuss both sides and give your opinion
Discuss both points view and give your opinion

The important thing is that these all mean the same. When you see any of these, you know that you need to write a discussion essay. Importantly, this instruction tells you that you need to do two things:

  • Discuss both views (there will have been 2 views mentioned in the previous sentence(s))
  • Give your opinion (i.e. state which view you agree with)

If you failed to do either of these things, you would not have satisfied the basic criteria for Task Achievement .

Example Discussion Essay Questions

Here is a list of 5 discussion essay questions either from the IELTS exam, reportedly from the IELTS exam, or from reputable publications that have copied the IELTS question style. (Not that you absolutely should avoid fake IELTS questions when practising.)

Some people say that parents should encourage their children to take part in organised group activities in their free time. Others say that is important for children to learn how to occupy themselves on their own. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always a good thing. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people feel that manufacturers and supermarkets have the responsibility to reduce the amount of packaging of goods. Others argue that customers should avoid buying goods with a lot of packaging. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people believe that higher education should be funded by the government. Others, however, argue that it is the responsibility of individuals to fund their higher education. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some people believe that it is important for children to attend extra classes outside school, while others believe that they should be allowed to play after school. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

You can see in these questions that there is a similar pattern. In each case, the question phrase (“Discuss both views and give your own opinion”) is the same and in the previous sentence or sentences, there are two opposing views. This, then, makes “discuss both views” questions a sort of opinion essay .

How to Answer IELTS Discussion Questions

First of all, it is important when answering any IELTS task 2 question that you read the question carefully so that you understand it, then provide an answer that directly responds to the question, following its instructions carefully.

As discussed above, you are required to do two things: 1) Discuss both views, and 2) Give your own opinion. You absolutely must do both of those. It doesn’t really matter what your opinion is or whether you give equal weighting to both sides of the argument. Instead, you must cover both sides and also give some sort of opinion. (It is important, though, according to the marking rubric , that you are consistent in your opinion.)

Your answer of course should be structured carefully so as to present your ideas in a thoroughly logical way that is easy for your reader to interpret. I almost always use a four-paragraph structure in my essays, but some people prefer to use five paragraphs in this sort of essay. The difference would look like this:

You might be wondering why I have given my opinion in the body of the five-paragraph essay but not in the four-paragraph essay. Well, actually I would give my opinion in the body of both. However, my opinion would be more subtly woven into the text of the four-paragraph essay. I personally find this to be a better method, but it is equally possible that you could write an amazing five-paragraph essay. That issue is discussed further in this video:

Discussion Essay Thesis Statement

In academic writing, a thesis statement (sometimes called an essay outline ) is the part of the essay where you insert your opinion. It typically comes at the end of the introduction and guides the reader by explaining your opinion on the issues that have been introduced.

But do you really need to provide one in such a short essay? Well, a 2018 study into successful IELTS essays concluded that thesis statements were “obligatory” – i.e. you absolutely do need one. In fact, that study found that thesis statements appeared in 100% of successful IELTS discussion essays! Therefore, we can conclude they are very important.

Because a discussion essay will tell you to “Discuss both views and give your opinion,” you must introduce the two views and then give your opinion in the introduction. Here is an example:

Introductory paragraph:

In some parts of the world, children are forced to go to cram schools and other facilities of extracurricular learning, but many people believe that this is unfair and that they should be allowed to enjoy their free time instead. This essay will look at both perspectives and then conclude that it is indeed unfair.

My first sentence clearly introduces two different ideas:

  • Children should do extra classes
  • Children should not do extra classes

Note how I have successfully used synonyms to avoid repeating anything from the question. I have also framed the issue in a new way so that I am not just paraphrasing. (You can learn why paraphrasing is not always helpful here .)

My second sentence is the thesis statement. In this sentence, I outline what the essay will do (“look at both perspectives”) and then give my opinion (“it is unfair”). This is a simple but effective thesis statement.

Thesis Statement Advice

Your IELTS discussion essay thesis statement should do two things:

  • Tell the reader what the essay will do
  • Present your opinion

Because this is a formal essay, it is best not to be too personal. Instead of saying “I will…” or “I think…” it is better to say “This essay will…” Here are some simple templates that you can follow most of the time:

  • This essay will look at both sides and then argue that…
  • This essay will discuss both views but ultimately side with…

Just make sure to avoid being overly vague. You are required to give your opinion consistently throughout the essay, so don’t say “This essay will look at both sides and then give my opinion .” It is not really the best approach because the examiner wants to see that you can be consistent in presenting an opinion. That is clearly stated in the marking rubric. For band 7, it says:

  • presents a clear position throughout the response

It could be concluded, then, that your opinion is not clear from the start and so you have not done enough to warrant a band 7 for Task Achievement.

Body Paragraphs

As I mentioned above, there are really two main approaches you could take to the body paragraphs:

  • Discuss one view per paragraph and incorporate your opinion into each.
  • Discuss one view per paragraph and then have another for your opinion.

I suppose there is also a third option:

  • Compare and contrast the two viewpoints in each paragraph.

This last one may be a little harder to do successfully without jeopardising your score for Task Achievement or Coherence and Cohesion , but advanced candidates may find it useful.

Remember that there is no single perfect formula for an IELTS essay. That’s not how languages work and that’s not how IELTS works. Different people could come up with different ways to present a successful essay. The most common essay structures are mere guidelines for particularly useful methods of approaching an essay.

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

Does a Discussion Essay Have to be Balanced?

Because the question says “Discuss both views,” it is quite logical to think that you must provide some degree of balance, but you certainly don’t need to give equal weighting to both sides. Remember that you are also going to give your opinion, so if you come down strongly on one side of the issue, it might be odd to give equal attention to both.

If you do feel very strongly about one side, you might want to present your discussion of the other side as quite negative. However, IELTS is a thinking exam as well as an English exam and an intelligent person can always look at both sides of an issue and explain – at the very least – why someone might believe a thing that is different to his own view. This seems quite important, but there is nothing explicitly mentioned in the marking rubric.

I would suggest that if you think a two-sided issue is basically one-sided (i.e. you strongly disagree with the other view), you should still write one or two sentences about why people believe that and then devote the rest of your essay to disputing their view.

Another approach is to write BP1 as a very short paragraph that explains why people might think one thing, but then have BP2 as a very long paragraph that debunks the opposing view and then explains why the other is correct.

(You can read more about IELTS essays and balance here .)

Sample Answer

Here is my full sample answer to the above question about whether or not children should be made to do extracurricular activities:

In some parts of the world, children are forced to go to cram schools and other facilities of extracurricular learning, but many people believe that this is unfair and that they should be allowed to enjoy their free time instead. This essay will look at both perspectives and then conclude that it is indeed unfair. In countries like South Korea, most children are made to go to an array of cram schools outside of regular school hours. Their parents do this in order to give their child a better future because it helps the child to learn more and thus gives them the academic advantages needed to apply to the best universities or jobs in future. These schools often provide children with an advantage over their peers because they improve their foreign language or math skills more quickly, and thus the children who do not attend these schools might have comparatively poor grades. However, whilst this attitude may result in better academic performance, it is certainly not good for the mental health of these children. It is no coincidence that places like South Korea have the highest rates of suicide among their young populations. The fact is that children are not equipped to spend fourteen or sixteen hours per day in classrooms, memorising facts and figures. In a sense, it is a form of child abuse. Children should be allowed to go home and spend time with friends and family to build social skills. They should be allowed to occupy themselves in order to become more creative and learn how to understand their own mind instead of being trained to repeat what they are told. In conclusion, it is understandable that some parents want their children to go to extra classes, but this is damaging to children and they should be given the freedom to play and socialise outside of regular school hours.

In BP1, I have looked at the topic of cram schools (ie the side of the argument in favour of extra lessons). I explored why parents might want their kids to do this and show the supposed benefits. Note that I never embraced any of these benefits. I was careful to use language that distanced these ideas from my own opinion, which was the opposite, so I said “Their parents do this in order to…”

In BP2, I looked at the opposite side. I was careful to make sure that my first sentence linked to the previous paragraph, highlighting that the benefits are quite minor compared to the drawbacks. All of my sentences here justify my position, which is that it is cruel to force these extra lessons on children.

My conclusion ties all of this together. The first clause references BP1 and the second summarises the main argument in BP2.

You can find two more sample essays here:

  • A discussion essay about sports facilities
  • A discussion essay about sports abilities

About The Author

David S. Wills

David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural Cambodia and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. David has worked in many different countries, and for several years designed a writing course for the University of Worcester. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing and he has since written two other books about IELTS. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Essays- Benchmark IELTS

  • Essay Types
  • Double Question
  • Advantage Disadvantage
  • Problem Solution
  • Essay Length

discuss ielts essay type

Discussion essays are a common type of IELTS writing task 2 essay question where you are given two sides of an argument to discuss and give your opinion. This guide is full of writing tips, useful language and a sample essay to help you produce a high-level IELTS writing task 2 discussion essay. Read on to learn more!

Table of Contents

1.1 understanding the question, 1.2 example discussion essay questions, 2.1 essay structure 1.

  • 2.2 Essay structure 2
  • 3.1 Identify key words and phrases

3.2 Organise your ideas

3.3 identify vocabulary, 4.1 introduction, 4.2 main body paragraphs, 4.3 conclusion.

  • 5.1 Complete the sample Discussion essay

5.2 Discussion Sample Essay

1. discussion essay overview.

As with all IELTS writing task 2 essay  questions, you will have  40 minutes to produce a formal essay ( at least 250 words in length).

With a discussion essay, you will be presented with two sides of an argument and then asked to give your opinion .

Remember, there are five main types of writing task 2 questions:

  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Double question
  • Problem/solution

A discussion question should be easy to identify: You will first be given an IELTS statement and then a question that will usually be worded something like:

  • Discuss both sides and give your opinion
  • Discuss both sides

With this type of essay question, you can choose to either take a thesis-led approach where you give your opinion in the i ntroduction and conclusion , or an evidence-led approach where you give your opinion in the conclusion .

We will show you both structures later in this guide and a sample essay that takes an evidence-led approach.

Here are some example discussion essay questions. Pay attention to the question words so you quickly identify a discussion essay question:

Some people say that governments are responsible for dealing with environmental issues. Other people believe that it is the individual’s responsibility to take action to protect the environment.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally.

There seems to be an increasing number of serious crimes committed each year. While some think the best way is to use the death penalty as a deterrent, many people believe that other measures will be needed.

Discuss both sides.

Some people feel that it is better to live in a city while others believe that life is better in the countryside.

Also, read the following IELTS Essay Writing Guides

  • Double Question IELTS Essay Topics
  • Opinion-based Task 2 IELTS Guide
  • IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essay Type
  • Problem Solution IELTS Writing Task Statement

Many people think governments should fund art, while others believe that artists should be responsible for funding their work.

Discuss both views.

IELTS writing correction

2. Essay Structure for Opinion Essays

2.1 essay structure 2.


Note that we have suggested giving two topic sentences per body paragraph . However, it is perfectly fine to spend more time writing one topic sentence and developing that idea fully .

The best way to see what structure works best is to complete an essay under timed conditions.

3. Planning your Discussion Essay

Planning your essay should only take 5 minutes but could make a real difference to your overall score.

We’ve put together some useful tips to plan a discussion essay.

3.1 Identify keywords and phrases

You should always make sure you understand exactly what topic you have been asked to write about by locating the topic words in the IELTS statement.

Take a look at the statement for our model answer. We’ve underlined the topic words for you:

Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally .

The topic of this essay is environmental problems . We have also put some other keywords in bold that give more information about the topic, in this case, the question is not just about environmental problems but about dealing with these problems on a global scale or nationally .

If you want to score well in Coherence and Cohesion, then you need to create a logical and well organised essay. You could organise your ideas using notes, bullet points, columns, or whatever method you like. For a discussion essay, you could consider arranging your ideas by argument and supporting examples:

Argument 1:

  • Environmental issues should be addressed at global level/ richer nations = financial ability
  • International cooperation is necessary worldwide
  • World leaders can make laws to promote the use of renewable energy and reduce the use of finite resources
  • Resources to develop and invest in green technology / drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Different nations need to reduce carbon emissions

Argument 2:

  • National laws that impose rules
  • Regional and community action is more effective than global efforts
  • Recycling quotas and waste reduction
  • Communities can coordinate direct action
  • Litter picking campaigns

Although it is not essential, it is a great idea to note down any unusual or useful vocabulary during the planning process to increase your score in Lexical resource .

Here are some ideas we came up with for our sample essay linked to the topic of environmental problems :

  • Finite resources
  • Greenhouse emissions
  • Enact meaningful change
  • Recycling quotas
  • Green technology

4. Writing your Discussion Essay

The first thing you need to do is rewrite the given IELTS statement in your own words. This is called paraphrasing and it is a key skill needed for the writing section of the IELTS exam.

Look at the example of our paraphrase statement, can you see what’s changed?

Notice that we have taken an evidence-led approach where we do not give our opinion in the introduction and instead put this in the conclusion.

We suggest also adding an outline sentence to briefly explain what our easy will do:

This essay will examine both points of view .

For both of your main body paragraphs, you will need language to introduce the two discussion points given in the statement.

Each body paragraph should focus on one side of the argument .

Here’s a reminder of our recommended essay structure for the body paragraphs (remember, you do not have to write about two points in each paragraph, you can stick to one ):

Impersonal Passive: The impersonal passive is useful for this type of essay when introducing ideas. Here are some example sentence starters:

  • People often say that…
  • A common argument is that…
  • People often claim that…
  • Some people say that…
  • People generally think that…
  • People often put forward the argument that…

Here is another example taken from our sample essay:

It is often argued that these environmental issues should be tackled globally.

Relative clauses: Relative clauses are an efficient way of providing more information about the main idea of your sentence as well as a way of increasing your Grammatical range and accuracy .

Here is a reminder of the relative pronouns needed to form a relative clause:

And here are some example relative clauses linked to the topic of our sample essay:

  • On the other hand, there are many people who believe that environmental change is only possible at a more local level and that only individual nations can make the biggest difference.
  • It is believed that there should be national laws that impose rules such as recycling quotas and waste reduction.

Your conclusion is an essential part of your writing tasks 2 essay and you will find it difficult to score over a band score 6.0 in Task achievement if you do not include one .

There are two main things you need to do for a successful conclusion:

  • Restate both sides of the argument (using different words than you did in your introduction)
  • Give your opinion/ restate your opinion on which side of the argument you think is the most important (this will depend on whether you have taken a thesis-led or evidence-led approach)

Take a look at our conclusion for the sample answer and identify the opinion:

In conclusion, although it is clear that environmental issues need to be addressed at a global level, it is my view that national efforts can make the biggest difference.  Communities can work together to implement policies quickly and effectively and enact meaningful environmental change.

5. Example Discussion Essay and Exercise

Here is the discussion essay that we have been using in this guide.

We have removed some keywords so you can test your knowledge on discussion essays by selecting the correct missing word.

5.1 Complete the Sample Discussion Essay

There is no doubt that the modern world is facing many serious environmental problems, such as climate change, an increase in natural disasters and air pollution. It is often argued that these environmental issues should be tackled globally. However, there are also those that argue that these problems can only be dealt with at a regional level. This essay will examine both points of view.

One reason that people believe environmental issues should be addressed at a global level is that richer, more developed nations have the financial ability and power to do so. World leaders can make laws to promote the use of renewable energy and reduce the use of finite resources. Furthermore, they also have the resources to develop and invest in green technology that could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another argument that can be put forward is that, to make major environmental changes, international cooperation is necessary worldwide. For instance, different nations need to work in unison to agree on their reduction in carbon emissions.

On the other hand, there are many people who believe that environmental change is only possible at a more local level and that only individual nations can make the biggest difference. It is believed that there should be national laws that impose rules such as recycling quotas and waste reduction. Additionally, it is argued that regional and community action is more effective than global efforts. For example, communities can coordinate direct action such as litter picking campaigns.

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How To Plan & Write IELTS Discussion Essays

Students can find it difficult to identify IELTS discussion essays and often confuse them with either opinion essays or advantage and disadvantage essays.

This is one of the issues I’ll be covering in this lesson. I’m also going to show you how to plan and write discussion essays step-by-step.

Here’s what we’ll be covering:

  • Identifying IELTS discussion essays 
  • 3 Common mistakes
  • Essay structure
  • How to plan
  • How to write an introduction
  • How to write main body paragraphs
  • How to write a conclusion

Want to watch and listen to this lesson?

Click on this video.

Click the links to see lessons on each of these Task 2 essay writing topics. 

Once you understand the process, practice on past questions. Take your time at first and gradually speed up until you can plan and write an essay of at least 250 words in the 40 minutes allowed in the exam.

The Question

The first part of the question for an IELTS discussion essay will be a statement containing two opposing views.

You will then be asked to discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion. Here is some typical wording that might be used:

  • Discuss both views and give your opinion. 
  • Discuss both these views and then give your own opinion. 
  • Discuss both sides of this argument and give your own opinion.

Here's a question from a past test paper.

Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

I’ll be using this question to guide you through the process of planning and writing an IELTS discussion essay.

The key to identifying this type of question is the fact that you are required to discuss BOTH views. This is different to opinion questions where you must decide between two opposing views and make an argument to support your own opinion.

Opinion essays , also known as ‘agree or disagree’ essays, a generally worded in one of these ways:

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

The other essay type that students mistake for discussion essays is advantages and disadvantages essays . With these, the statement will contain just one view and the question will typically be written as shown in this sample question.

School children are using computers in school more than ever.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this and give your own opinion.

The consequence of incorrectly identifying the question type is that you will use the wrong structure for your essay. This is a major reason why people make the mistakes we’ll now look at.

3 Common Mistakes

These three errors are common in IELTS discussion essays.

  • Not stating your opinion.
  • Not giving arguments for both views.
  • Not developing both sides of the argument equally.

The most common mistake that students make is not giving their opinion. The question will clearly state that you must choose one side of the argument to agree with. If you fail to do this, you will get a low score for task achievement.

It doesn’t matter which side of the argument you take or even, that you actually agree with it.

However, you must give equal attention to both sides. A common error is to provide a stronger argument for the view you favour. This leads to an unbalanced essay and a low score for task achievement. 

Essay Structure

Now let’s look at a simple structure you can use to write IELTS discussion essays. It’s not the only possible structure but it’s the one I recommend because it’s easy to learn and will enable you to quickly plan and write a high-level essay.

1)  Introduction

  • Paraphrase the question
  • State two supporting reasons
  • Give your opinion

  2)  Main body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence – outline the view you don’t agree with
  • Explanation – explain why this view is held by some people
  • Example – give an example

 3 )  Main body paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence – outline the view you do agree with

  4)  Conclusion

  • Summarise the key points and state your opinion

This structure will give us a well-balanced essay with 4 paragraphs.

We now need some ideas to add into the structure and we’ll have everything we need for our essay.

How To Plan IELTS Discussion Essays

# 1  analyse the question.

This is an essential step in the planning process and will ensure that you answer the question fully. It’s quick and easy to do. You just need to identify 3 different types of words:

1. Topic words

2.  Other keywords

3.  Instruction words

We’ve already considered the instruction words (the actual question) so we’ll focus on the first two.

Topics words are the ones that identify the general subject of the question.

Some people think that zoos  are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that  zoos  can be useful in protecting wild animals.

So, this question is about ‘ zoos ’.

Many people do this first step of the process and then write about the topic in general. This is a serious mistake and leads to low marks for task achievement.

What we need to do now that we know the general topic, is to understand exactly what aspect of zoos we're being asked to write about.

The other keywords in the question tell you the specific topic you must write about. They define the opinions stated in the statement.

Some people think tha t zoos are cruel and should be closed down . Others, however, believe that zoos c an be useful in protecting wild animals .

By highlighting these words, it’s easy to see that you are being asked to write about the opposing views that zoos are cruel and should be closed down and that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals. Your essay must only include ideas relevant to these ideas.

# 2  Decide on your opinion

As already mentioned, it doesn’t matter if you genuinely agree with the view you take in your essay or not. IELTS discussion essays are about your ability to write a well-structured essay in the English language and you will not be assessed on any opinion you might hold.

So, choose one view and make sure that your opinion is clear throughout the essay.

For this model essay, I’m going to agree with the statement that zoos are cruel and should be closed down.

# 3  Generate ideas

The next task is to generate some ideas to write about.

There are several different ways to think up ideas. I cover them fully on the  IELTS Essay Planning  page.

We’re going to use the ‘friends technique’. This is my preferred method as it allows you to take a step back from the stress of the exam situation and think more calmly.

Here’s how it works. Imagine you are chatting with a friend and they ask you the question in a casual conversation. What answers would you give them off the top of your head? Plan your essay around these ideas.

Doing this will help you to come up with simple answers in everyday language rather than straining your brain to think of amazing ideas using high level-language, which isn’t necessary.

You might want to try this yourself before reading on for my ideas.

Here are my ideas:

Cruel  – closed down:

  • Cramped cages – animals distressed
  • Unnatural environments
  • Most animals not endangered
  • Animals become a public spectacle for entertainment

Useful – protect wild animals:

  • Research work to learn more about wild animals
  • Breeding programmes for endangered species
  • Some species saved from extinction
  • Seeing wild animals close up inspires people to want to help protect them

I’ve got more ideas here than I need so I’m going to pick two to develop in the essay – one for each of the main body paragraphs.

Idea 1  –  Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

Idea 2  –  Breeding programmes for endangered species, some species saved from extinction.

We’re almost ready to start writing our IELTS discussion essay but first, we have one other small task to do.

# 4  Vocabulary

In an IELTS essay, it’s important to be able to say the same things in different ways, either by paraphrasing and/or using synonyms. During the planning stage, quickly jot down a few synonyms of key words you could use to save you having to stop and think of the right language while you’re writing.

For example:

zoos  – animals in captivity, collections of wild animals, menagerie, wildlife park

cruel  – to cause suffering, inhumane

protect  – safeguard, preserve

animals  – creatures, species

With that done, we can focus on the first paragraph of the essay – the introduction.

How To Write an Introduction

Good introductions to IELTS discussion essays have a simple 3 part structure:

1)  Paraphrase the question

2)  State two supporting reasons (outline statement)

3)  Give your opinion (thesis statement)

  • Have 2-3 sentences
  • Be 40-60 words long
  • Take 5 minutes to write

Start your introduction by paraphrasing the question.

Question:   Some people think that zoos are cruel and should be closed down. Others, however, believe that zoos can be useful in protecting wild animals.

There are various phrases you can use to do this. Here are three examples. They all say the same thing using different language.

  • Some people argue that… while others say that…
  • It is considered by some…. while there are others who think….
  • It is often argued that... whilst others disagree and think...

Choose one and add the details in the question statement in a paraphrased form. I recommend putting the view you don’t agree with first.

Paraphrased question:  

Some people argue that zoos help to preserve wild creatures, while others say that they are inhumane and should be abolished.

Note my use of synonyms. You don’t have to replace every key word but do so where possible whilst ensuring that your language sounds natural. There aren’t any suitable synonyms of ‘zoo’ that I can think of, so I've repeated this word from the statement.

2)  Thesis and outline statements

Now we need to add an  outline statement  where you outline the two main points that you’ll cover in the rest of the essay (ideas 1 and 2 above) and a  thesis statement  where you state your opinion.

Outline & thesis statements:

While the development of breeding programmes contributes to the preservation of endangered species, I believe that the poor conditions that many animals held in captivity are kept in make the existence of zoos unacceptable. 

So, let’s bring the three elements of our introduction together.


ielts discussion essay vocabulary

This introduction achieves three important functions:

  • It shows the examiner that you understand the question.
  • It acts as a guide to the examiner as to what your essay is about.
  • It also helps to keep you focused and on track as you write.

The two ideas in your introduction will become your two main body paragraphs.

Main body paragraph 1  – Breeding programmes for endangered species, some species saved from extinction.

Main body paragraph 2  – Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

How To Write Main Body Paragraphs

Main body paragraphs in IELTS discussion essays should contain 3 things:

It is easier to begin by discussing the opinion you don’t agree with and then present the reasons for the opposing view that you support. So, we’ll start with idea 1.

Main Body Paragraph 1

The  topic sentence  summarises the main idea of the paragraph. That’s all it needs to do so it doesn’t have to be complicated.

It plays an important role in ensuring that your ideas flow logically from one to another. It does this by acting as a signpost for what is to come next, that is, what the paragraph will be about.

If you maintain a clear development of ideas throughout your essay, you will get high marks for task achievement and cohesion and coherence.

We’ll now take the idea for our first main body paragraph and create our topic sentence.

Topic sentence:  

On the one hand, there are many projects in existence in zoological parks around the world where species facing extinction have been successfully bred in captivity and their numbers increased substantially.

Next, we must write an  explanation sentence that expands on the idea. This explains to the examiner what we mean or why this is the case.

Explanation sentence: 

This is important for ensuring the survival of animals under threat from poaching and the destruction of their natural environments.

Finally, we add an  example  to support our main point. If you can’t think of a real example, it’s fine to make one up, as long as it’s believable. The examiner isn’t going to check your facts.

Example sentence:

A good example of this is the golden lion tamarin from Brazil which nearly died out because of logging and mining activities which are destroying its habitat. Today, a third of wild golden lion tamarins were raised in captivity.

That’s the 3 parts of our first main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

We now follow the same process for our second main body paragraph.

Main Body Paragraph 2

Main idea 2  – Cramped cages & unnatural environments, animals distressed.

First, we write the  topic sentence  to summarise the main idea. I started main body paragraph 1 with the phrase ‘On the one hand...’, so main body paragraph 2 will naturally begin, ‘On the other hand... .

These are great cohesive devices to use when making a direct contrast between two opposing views and they link the ideas together well. They can be used in most IELTS discussion essays and will help to earn you a good score for cohesion and coherence.

Topic sentence:

On the other hand, a significant percentage of zoos house their animals in cramped cages with very little space to move around or behave naturally.

Now for the  explanation sentence  where we expand on this idea.

Explanation sentence:

This can lead to them becoming distressed and depressed as well as suffering physically through lack of exercise.

Finally, an  example  to support this point.

A friend of mine recently visited a wildlife park while on holiday abroad and was very upset to see the lions pacing up and down in a narrow, bare pen and eagles in enclosures so small that they were unable to fly.

That’s the 3 parts of our second main body paragraph complete. Here’s the finished paragraph.

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

Now we need a conclusion and our IELTS discussion essay is done.

How To Write a Conclusion

Conclusions to IELTS discussion essays should do two things:

  • Summarise the main points
  • State your opinion

This can generally be done in a single sentence.

If you're below the minimum 250 words after you’ve written your conclusion, you can add a prediction or recommendation statement.

Our essay currently has 231 words so we’re on target and don’t need this extra sentence but you can learn more about how to write a prediction or recommendation statement for IELTS discussion essays on the Task 2 Conclusions page.

The conclusion is the easiest sentence in the essay to write but one of the most important.

A good conclusion will:

  • Neatly end the essay
  • Link all your ideas together
  • Sum up your argument or opinion
  • Answer the question

If you achieve this, you’ll improve your score for both task achievement and cohesion and coherence which together make up 50% of the overall marks. Without a conclusion, you’ll score below band 6 for task achievement.

You can start almost any final paragraph of an IELTS discussion essay with the words:

  • In conclusion


  • To conclude

Now all you need to do is briefly summarise the main ideas into one sentence.

Here’s a top tip . Go back and read the introduction to the essay because this is also a summary of the essay. It outlines what you are going to write about.

To create a great conclusion, you simply have to paraphrase the introduction. Let’s give it a go.


Here is the same information formed into a conclusion:

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

That’s it. We’ve completed our essay. Here it is with the 4 paragraphs put together.

Finished IELTS discussion essay.

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

Go through this lesson as many times as you need to in order to fully understand it and put in lots of practice writing IELTS discussion essays from past exam questions. Practice is the only way to improve your skills.

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More help with ielts discussion essays & other task 2 essays.

IELTS Writing Task 2  – T he format, the 5 question types, the 5 step essay writing strategy & sample questions. All the key information you need to know.

The 5 Types of Task 2 Essay   – How to recognise the 5 different types of Task 2 essays. 15 sample questions to study and a simple planning structure for each essay type.

Understanding Task 2 Questions  – How to quickly and easily analyse and understand IELTS Writing Task 2 questions.

How To Plan a Task 2 Essay  – Discover why essay planning is essential & learn a simple 4 step strategy, the 4 part essay structure & 4 methods of generating ideas.

How To Write a Task 2 Introduction  – Find out why a good introduction is essential. Learn how to write one using a simple 3 part strategy & discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

How To Write Task 2 Main Body Paragraphs  – Learn the simple 3 part structure for writing great main body paragraphs and also, 3 common mistakes to avoid. 

How To Write Task 2 Conclusions  – Learn the easy way to write the perfect conclusion for a Task 2 essay. Also discover 4 common mistakes to avoid.

Task 2 Marking Criteria  – Find out how to meet the marking criteria in Task 2. See examples of good and poor answers & learn some common mistakes to avoid.

The 5 Task 2 Essay Types:

Step-by-step instructions on how to plan & write high-level essays. Model answers & common mistakes to avoid.

   Opinion Essays

   Discussion Essays

  Problem Solution Essays

  Advantages & Disadvantages Essays

  Double Question Essays

Other Related Pages

IELTS Writing Test  – Understand the format & marking criteria, know what skills are assessed & learn the difference between the Academic & General writing tests.

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IELTS Discussion Essay: Overview, structure and tips

In this article, the brief introduction, structure and strategy to successfully write an IELTS Discussion Essay will be mentioned in order for you to have in-depth knowledge of this type of essay.

1. IELTS Discussion Essay Overview

The format of the question for an IELTS discussion essay will be normally 2 parts: 

  • 1st part: a statement of two opposing perspectives
  • 2nd part: requirement to discuss the statement

Depending on different questions, the requirement varies in the way of wording:

  • Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  • Discuss both these views and then give your own opinion. 
  • Discuss both sides of this argument and give your own opinion.

IELTS discussion questions seem to be similar to IELTS opinion questions in the first place, but there is a key difference between the two types. While IELTS discussion essay (Discuss both views and give your opinion) asks candidates to discuss both views given and/or give your point of view, IELTS opinion essay (Do you agree or disagree?) requires you to choose between two contrasting views and support your choice with arguments.

In terms of IELTS advantages and disadvantages essay, the first part of the question will be a one-view statement only, compared to the two-opposing-view statement in the IELTS discussion essay. 

ielts discussion essay overview

2. IELTS Discussion Essay Structure

It is suggestable to write the IELTS Discussion Essay with three parts in four or five separate paragraphs:

2.1. Introduction

– Paraphrase the statement / State both views 

(e.g. It is often held that teachers, peers and the media have a significant influence on the life of children. While some people argue that these factors are predominant in shaping a child’s future, others believe that parents impact their offspring in more critical ways. )

– Thesis statement with your opinion

(e.g. This essay will discuss both these points of view and argue in favour of the latter.)

– Body paragraph 1:

  • Topic sentence: state the first view (e.g. On the one hand, the books children read and the music they listen to form their belief system.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate the first view (e.g. In other words, children tend to copy the behaviour of their favourite personality or fictional character. Moreover, when little ones work and play in groups, they are influenced by their peers. Finally, other factors, like the media, prompt children to want things regarded as fashionable.)
  • Example: support the first view with an example (optional) (e.g. For instance, children demand toys that they see on television.)
  • Brief summary of the first view (optional)

– Body paragraph 2:

  • Topic sentence: state the second view (e.g. On the other hand, a child’s personality is malleable at a very young age, and parents are always present in their life at this stage.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate the second view (e.g. On the other hand, a child’s personality is malleable at a very young age, and parents are always present in their life at this stage. Also, very young children love to imitate. An emotionally secure environment at home is critical for the child’s confidence. Moreover, parents also teach children about setting boundaries.)
  • Example: support the second view with an example (optional) (e.g. For example, children who come from a dysfunctional family often exhibit behavioural problems at school.)
  • Brief summary of the second view (optional)

– Body paragraph 3:

  • Topic sentence: state your opinion (e.g. In my opinion, children’s choice of friends, books or music depends on the values instilled in them by their parents.)
  • Explain the topic sentence: elaborate your opinion (e.g. Therefore, parents hold more substantial sway over their offspring than media, pop culture and friends circle.)
  • Example: support your opinion with an example (optional)
  • Brief summary of your opinion (optional)

>>> Practice now: IELTS Writing Practice Test

2.3. Conclusion

– Summarize the main points

(e.g. In conclusion, the outside world influences the intellectual and social development of children.)

– State your point of view

(e.g. However, I believe that it is parents who set the stage for these developments by laying a strong foundation from a very young age.)

3. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay Strategy

3.1. analyse the ielts discussion questions.

This step should be prioritized since it decides your understanding of the question. You should analyse the IELTS Discussion question quickly by following these two points:

(e.g. It is commonly believed that nowadays main factors that affect a child’s development are media, pop culture and friends. A different point of view is that family plays the most significant role.)

  • Instructions

(e.g. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write at least 250 words.)

ielts discussion essay strategy

3.2. Make an outline

The first thing you should take action on is to decide which view you incline to. Then, you should note down what are the main points for your essay by outlining in the form of bullet points, a table, or a mindmap. 

3.3. Write a complete IELTS discussion essay

You should strictly follow the three-part structure and base on the outline prepared to write a complete IELTS discussion essay.

3.4. Check your IELTS discussion essay

Your IELTS discussion essay should be not only cohesive and coherent, but also correct with regards to grammar and spelling, so it is important to check your essay before handing in.

4. IELTS Writing Task 2 Discussion Essay Tips

  • The time limit and word count should be taken into consideration while writing your IELTS Discussion essay. You had better complete the task with the word range from 250 to 290 words in around 40 minutes.
  • You should point out clearly what your opinion is between the two opposing views instead of being in favor of both perspectives. 
  • Give detailed explanation or example to elaborate each view in the Body part. 
  • Do not just list all the reasons without any explanation or example in the body paragraphs.
  • Make use of linking words to clarify the cohesion of your IELTS discussion essay.

In short, IELTS discussion essay will be not much of a difficulty if you gain a well-rounded knowledge and practice regularly. Install our mobile app or visit IELTS Online Test website now to practice with diverse tests.

IELTS Luminary - Free Tips, Strategies, eBooks and Detailed Essay Feedback . Overall, this is the best free IELTS and other test prep website.

How to Write an IELTS Discussion Essay: Your Comprehensive Guide

How to Write an IELTS Discussion Essay: Your Comprehensive Guide

Are you preparing for the IELTS and wondering how to score high in the Writing section? Do you find the "Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion" essay a bit daunting? You've landed in the right place. Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to write an IELTS Discussion Essay!

As the name suggests, the IELTS Discussion Essay requires you to discuss different perspectives on a topic and then provide your viewpoint. Sounds challenging? Don't worry! In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know to craft an impressive IELTS Discussion Essay. From understanding the basics, brainstorming ideas, planning your response, writing an engaging essay, and avoiding common pitfalls – this guide is packed with practical tips and strategies.

Pro Tip: Unlock a higher IELTS Writing score with our downloadable   in-depth eBooks and tailored Essay Feedback directly from an exp erienced IELTS examiner.

Whether you're an IELTS beginner or a seasoned test taker looking to boost your band score, this in-depth guide will help you n avigate the complexities of the IELTS Discussion Essay. As we journey together through this guide, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence needed to master this crucial component of the IELTS Writing section.

Let's start your journey towards IELTS success. Keep reading, and by the end of this guide, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any IELTS Discussion Essay that comes your way! Let's dive in and unravel the secrets of a top-scoring IELTS Discussion Essay.

Knowing the Basics of an IELTS Discussion Essay

What is an ielts discussion essay.

An IELTS discussion essay, also known as "Discuss Both Views and Give Your Opinion" essay, is a common task in the IELTS Writing Test. This type of essay tests your ability to present a well-rounded discussion on a given topic, your capability to generate ideas and your proficiency in English language usage.

An IELTS discussion essay primarily involves exploring various perspectives on a given issue and subsequently presenting your personal stance on the matter. It's not just about stating your opinion; it's about having the skills to analyse different viewpoints and justify your position with sound reasoning and concrete examples.

Mastering how to write an IELTS discussion essay can significantly boost your IELTS Writing band score. With this guide and consistent practice, you can confidently demonstrate your proficiency in handling a balanced and coherent discussion in your essay.

How to Identify an IELTS Discussion Essay Question

Recognising an IELTS discussion essay prompt is essential in answering the task accurately. Not every IELTS Writing Task 2 is a discussion essay. It's important to distinguish between different essay types, like opinion essays , advantages and disadvantages essays , or problem solution essays .

An IELTS discussion essay question will usually include the instruction "Discuss both views and give your opinion" or "Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion." It is crucial to understand that you need to provide a balanced discussion of both viewpoints before presenting your opinion.

Some questions might phrase the task differently but still require a balanced discussion. For instance,

"Some people believe A, while others believe B. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion."

By understanding the nuances of these instructions, you can accurately identify the IELTS discussion essay task and tackle it with a well-prepared strategy.

Stay tuned to learn how to effectively brainstorm ideas, plan your essay, write persuasively, and revise your work to create a high-scoring IELTS discussion essay.

Preparing to Write Your IELTS Discussion Essay

How to Achieve a High Band Score in IELTS Academic Task 1 Report - eBook by IELTS Luminary

Understanding the Essay Topics

IELTS discussion essay topics are as varied as they are intriguing. They often explore global issues and public interest topics like advancements in technology, environmental sustainability, modern education models, and societal norms.

To effectively tackle these topics, immerse yourself in "hot topics" and current affairs. Familiarize yourself with both sides of common debates. Reading widely can also help. Check out reliable news outlets, opinion pieces, and other resources related to common IELTS discussion essay topics.

Remember, understanding IELTS discussion essay topics isn't about becoming an expert in every field. Rather, it's about building a broad base of knowledge that can help you think critically, generate relevant ideas, and articulate your thoughts coherently.

Brainstorming Ideas for Your IELTS Essay

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Brainstorming is a powerful tool for generating ideas for your IELTS discussion essay. It allows you to tap into your creativity and critically consider different viewpoints.

Start by carefully reading the essay prompt. Understand what it's asking you to discuss. From there, jot down all your initial thoughts, ideas, and arguments related to both sides of the topic.

Consider potential reasons, examples, and points that support each viewpoint. This comprehensive brainstorming process not only helps you gather rich content for your essay but also paves the way for a balanced and well-rounded discussion.

Planning the Discussion Essay

Essay planning is an essential step in the IELTS writing process. A well-structured essay plan helps you organize your ideas, makes sure you address all parts of the prompt, and guides your writing process.

A typical IELTS discussion essay includes an introduction, two body paragraphs (each discussing a different viewpoint), and a conclusion.

Introduction: State the topic and your intention to discuss both views. Use clear, concise language.

Body Paragraph 1: Discuss the first viewpoint. Use a topic sentence to introduce the viewpoint, and then present supporting ideas and examples.

Body Paragraph 2: Discuss the second viewpoint. Use a similar structure as the first body paragraph but ensure your points are distinct.

Conclusion: Summarize your discussion, state your personal viewpoint, and give a closing thought or implication.

Use this structure as a blueprint when planning your IELTS discussion essay. It will help ensure your essay is coherent, logical, and ready to impress the examiners.

Writing the IELTS Discussion Essay

Crafting an engaging introduction.

Paraphrase the essay question to clarify the issue under discussion.

To begin the introduction, rephrase the given essay question. This demonstrates your understanding of the topic and avoids mere repetition. Paraphrasing can also make the topic clearer and more understandable for the reader.

Next, give a thesis statement that answers the question in brief.

The thesis statement is crucial. It briefly summarizes your main argument or stance on the topic. It acts as a roadmap, telling the reader what to expect from the essay and how the discussion will unfold.

Remember, the introduction does not have to be lengthy; a few well-crafted sentences can set a strong foundation for your essay.

This is a piece of advice that emphasizes brevity and quality. You don't need an extended introduction; rather, it should be concise and effective in introducing the topic and setting the stage for the discussion.

Discussing Both Views in Detail

The body of your IELTS discussion essay is where you delve into the crux of your argument. This should be split into two paragraphs, each discussing a different view.

For each viewpoint, start with a clear topic sentence that outlines the main idea. This will guide the reader through your argument. Following the topic sentence, provide supporting details, examples, or reasons that back up the viewpoint. Make sure your ideas are logically ordered and each paragraph is cohesive and focused.

Sharing Your Own Viewpoint

In the IELTS discussion essay, after discussing both views, it's crucial to share your personal viewpoint. This is where you can make a compelling argument supporting your position. Your viewpoint can agree with either of the discussed perspectives, both of them, or be entirely different.

Justify your opinion with strong reasoning and relevant examples. Make sure to connect your viewpoint with the points you've discussed previously. Use cohesive devices to ensure your argument flows smoothly from the discussion of the two viewpoints to your personal stance.

Wrapping up with a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion is your final chance to impress the reader. It's where you summarize your discussion and restate your viewpoint.

Start your conclusion by paraphrasing the main discussion points. Next, restate your personal viewpoint, ensuring it aligns with what you've discussed in the body of your essay. Try to end your essay on a strong note, possibly by summarizing the implications of the discussion or giving a final thought related to the topic.

Remember, a strong conclusion doesn't introduce any new information but effectively wraps up your essay, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

By following these steps, you can create a compelling, coherent, and high-scoring IELTS discussion essay. Stay tuned to further explore editing techniques and common mistakes to avoid for your IELTS writing tasks.

Polishing Your Discussion Essay

Reviewing and editing your ielts discussion essay.

The importance of reviewing and editing your IELTS discussion essay cannot be overstated. This step ensures that your essay is clear, coherent, and free from mistakes.

Start by reading your essay aloud to check for flow and coherence. Look out for any awkward phrasing or unclear ideas. Consider whether your arguments make sense and whether you've supported your points with strong evidence.

Pay close attention to your language use. Look for any grammatical, punctuation, or spelling errors. Also, check if your vocabulary is varied and appropriate. Ensure your sentences are not too long or complex as this could lead to more errors.

Editing isn't just about correcting mistakes. It's also about refining your arguments, ensuring your points are clear, and your ideas are logically connected.

Tips for Avoiding Common Mistakes

Avoiding common mistakes can significantly enhance your IELTS discussion essay quality. Here are a few key pitfalls to steer clear of:

Going off-topic: Ensure your discussion remains focused on the topic throughout. Every paragraph should contribute to your overall argument.

Writing too much: Stay within the recommended word count. Writing too much can lead to unnecessary errors and wasted time.

Unequal discussion of views: Remember to discuss both views equally. Your essay should not heavily lean towards one view unless it's your personal viewpoint.

Inadequate planning: Failing to plan your essay can lead to a disorganized argument. Spend adequate time understanding the prompt, brainstorming ideas, and planning your essay.

Conclusion Writing

By following these steps, you can create a compelling, coherent, and high-scoring IELTS discussion essay.

IELTS Discussion Essay: A Band 9 Sample

Here is an example of an IELTS Discussion Essay, adhering to the guidelines provided in our comprehensive guide.

Essay Question:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programs (for example, working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood, or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree or disagree?

"Many advocate for mandatory community service in high schools, emphasizing its role in fostering personal growth and benefiting local communities. While the inclusion of community service undoubtedly offers numerous developmental benefits, the debate centres on whether it should be an enforced obligation or a choice made out of genuine interest. This essay will discuss both perspectives on this issue before concluding with my own viewpoint.

On one hand, integrating unpaid community service into high school programs can offer multiple benefits. It provides students with the opportunity to develop essential life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, and empathy. For example, volunteering at a local charity could improve their understanding of societal issues and instill a sense of social responsibility. Furthermore, teaching sports to younger children could enhance leadership skills, fostering a sense of accomplishment and confidence among high school students.

On the other hand, critics argue that community service should not be mandatory. They assert that it may impose additional pressure on students, who are already burdened with academic responsibilities. Also, forced volunteering may not yield genuine compassion or social awareness, as the service is carried out from obligation, not personal interest or motivation. Instead, they suggest that schools should encourage, not enforce, participation in community service, allowing students to engage in activities that truly resonate with them.

In conclusion, while mandatory community service could nurture important skills and values among high school students, it is equally important to consider the potential stress and insincerity it might cultivate. In my opinion, community service should be encouraged, but not compulsory, in high schools, allowing students to discover their passions and contribute meaningfully to society."

As you can see, this essay adheres to the structure of an IELTS discussion essay. It has an introduction that outlines the topic and intention to discuss both views, two body paragraphs discussing each view, and a conclusion that summarizes the discussion and provides the writer's personal viewpoint.

You can boost your IELTS Writing score with our comprehensive eBooks and personalised Essay Feedback by an experienced IELTS examiner.

ielts discussion essay vocabulary

IELTS Discussion Essay

Start studying for ielts discussion essay with ielts achieve and see your band score improve., ielts discussion essay sample 7 – government.

Some people want the government to spend more money for looking life on other planets; however others think it a waste of public money when there are so many problems on earth that the government should be solving. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

IELTS Discussion Essay Sample 6 – Free Time

Some people prefer to plan activities for their free time very carefully. Others disagree. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

IELTS Discussion Essay Sample 5 – Environment

Some people say that cities with taller buildings which means building cities ‘vertically’ is good. Other people say that building cities ‘horizontally’ is better. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

IELTS Discussion Essay Sample 4 – Family and Children

Some parents prefer to have their children be raised by their grandparents. Some prefer to raise them on their own. Which would you prefer and why? Include specific details and examples to support.

Society: IELTS Discussion Essay Model Answer.

Some people believe that people behave differently when they wear different clothes, while others do not believe that clothes influence the way people behave. Which opinion do you agree with and why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

IELTS Discussion Essay Sample 2 – Economics

In some countries, a few people earn extremely high salaries. Some people think that this is good for a country, while others believe that the government should control salaries and limit the amount people can earn. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

IELTS Discussion Essay Sample 1 – Education

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IELTS Discussion Essay – IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

  • Read Time 6 mins
  • Updated On April 13, 2023
  • Published In IELTS Preparation 💻

IELTS is a standard test used to measure your English proficiency on a global scale. It’s very similar to the TOEFL, which was created by ETS. Cambridge University takes IELTS, and it contains a total of 6 sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking, Grammar and Vocabulary. For the writing section, you have to write an essay based on one of the topics provided in the exam.

Table of Contents

These essays serve a purpose as they need to convince the examiner of your command of the language’s, its understanding, usage and application. An applicant has to spend 40 minutes on the task.

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IELTS Discussion Essay - IELTS Writing Task 2 Structure

In this blog, we will cover the structure of a good discussion essay for IELTS along with a detailed analysis.

IELTS Discussion Essay Structure

The discussion essay IELTS task needs a simple structure that you can follow to score higher. Especially if you are looking to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5, you need to structure the essay well and support your arguments and opinions. 


When you begin your essay, paraphrasing the topic at hand is important. Let your reader understand why exactly you are writing the essay. The next step is to state at least two supporting reasons for arguments that you will be discussing throughout the essay. Also, an introduction to your own opinion on the argument will end the first paragraph and what you may discuss throughout the essay.

Main body 

The main body paragraph of your opinion essay needs to explain different points of view and examples to support both sides of the argument. By the end of the first body paragraph, one of the opinions needs to be established. 

The second body paragraph must emphasise the other side of the argument or second opinion. Here, again you need to give relevant examples and make sure that the opinion is supported by a strong argument. 

The last paragraph of your opinion essay should discuss all the points along with different views. However, the most important part of the conclusions will be your opinion. You need to conclude the essay with your opinion and establish the balance between both opinions.

Tips to Plan IELTS Discussion Essay

You need to spend around 40 minutes on the essay task achievement. However, maximising the time spent and optimising it is important to achieve a higher band score. So, here are some key steps to take for planning your IELTS discussion essay. 

Analyse the topic

It is essential for any applicant looking to ace the essay writing task. Analysing the topic makes you answer the question type and plan the rest of the essay. You need to identify three different types of elements in the topic for planning the essay,

  • Important words related to the topic
  • Instruction words

Take an example of the topic: 

Some people think that zoos are better than forests for wild animals. While others believe that forests are natural habitats for wild animals and zoos are cruel. 

Here, ‘zoos’ and ‘forest’ are the focus keyword, and the other keywords you need to focus on are cruelty, natural habitat, etc. Apart from that, words like analyse, comment or discuss are the instruction words 

Express different perspectives and establish your own view

Right from the introduction to conclusion, establish your viewpoint, counter opinions, and your personal experiences. It is essential to explain your point of view at the end of the entire essay. Avoiding it is a common mistake that many applicants make during the IELTS writing task. Apart from that, your IELTS discussion essay needs coherence and cohesion for a better band score.

Take care of vocabulary

For an IELTS exam, it is essential to explain specific topics in a different set of words. Using similar words repeatedly can hurt your IELTS score, and that is why using synonyms makes more sense. So, plan your vocabulary for the discussion essay for the IELTS exam.

Discussion Essay Sample

Write a discussion essay example for the following topic sentence:

Many believe that a child’s surroundings, friends, and the type of content they consume affect their development. At the same time, others believe that a family’s impact is much more important than its surroundings. 

You need to discuss both the opposing views and give your own opinion on the topic with reasons. Also, include any relevant examples from personal experience or knowledge. 

The essay needs to be at least 250 words. 

When it comes to a child’s development, there is no denying that their parents play a vital role. On the other hand, many people believe that as children grow older, their surroundings affect their overall development. This essay will discuss both sides of this argument on child development. 

As children grow older, their surrounding does have an impact on mental and physical development. For example, in today’s age, every child has access to the internet that provides a multitude of information and content for consumption. Controlling what a child consumes on the internet is not that easy with the ease of access they have due to several smart devices.

Modern-day influencers and peers provide children with a sense of admiration that transforms into a way of life. Learning something skilful and creative from such peers and influencers is a positive aspect, but it can be negative if children adopt their bad habits. 

Though a child’s family contributes the most towards mental and physical development, a child’s parents and their behaviour in the house can have drastic effects on a child’s development. Children always like to imitate their parents in every shape and form. For example, if parents consume negative content with abusive language and violent characteristics, children will have the same impact on their minds. 

So, parents need to behave carefully when their child is around them. While both the arguments are right, in my opinion, there needs to be a balance between internal and external factors that affect child development. 

Parents need to be careful while they are with a child in behaving with other people, consuming content, and more. On the other hand, it is essential to have conversations with children to understand what external factors or surroundings do with their development and help them keep away from harmful environments.

Planning the essay structure and analysing the different questions before writing your IELTS writing test is essential. This is why you need to practice different essay types, sample answers, and thesis statements. You need to ensure that your view comes across organically with the conclusion you draw with the essay writing task. 

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  • Academic practice
  • General practice
  • Task 1 Academic
  • Task 1 General
  • Task 2 (essay)

IELTS essay vocabulary

  • In my opinion, …
  • Personally, I think that …
  • It seems to me that ...
  • I believe/suppose that ...
  • I cannot deny that …
  • As I see it, …
  • As far as I'm concerned, …
  • I would argue that ...
  • I'd like to point out that …
  • In my experience, ...
  • I am sure that …
  • I am convinced that ...
  • I am certain that ...

Example : I would argue that computers are rather beneficial for kids.

  • to attest, ...
  • to prove, ...
  • this (fact) is attested/proven by ...
  • this (fact) is evidenced by ...
  • this (fact) is testified by ...
  • this (fact) is endorsed/supported by...
  • this (evidence) establishes that ...

Example : Consuming moderate amounts of sweets can be good for health. This is evidenced by a number of cases when people improved their health conditions by eating chocolate.

  • It is (generally) claimed that …
  • It is (generally) said that …
  • It is (generally) thought that ...
  • It is (generally) considered that ...
  • A common opinion is that ...
  • A popular belief is that ...

Example : It is considered that rigorous diets are very unhealthy.

  • The fact is that …
  • It is obvious that …
  • It is clear that …
  • There is no doubt that …
  • This proves that …

Example : It is obvious that deforestation has no positive effects.

  • Generally speaking, ...
  • On the whole, ...
  • Typically, ...
  • By and large ...

Example : Generally speaking, smoking is a bad habit.

  • For example, ...
  • For instance, ...
  • A good illustration of this is ...
  • Evidence for this is provided by ...
  • We can see this when ...

Example : A lot of wild animals are endangered. Evidence for this is proved by decreasing number of species.

  • To summarise, ...
  • In conclusion, ...
  • Overall, ...
  • On balance, ...
  • Taking everything into consideration, ...

Example : Overall, no parents should neglect their children.

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Sample Essay

2 people discussing IELTS task 2 essay

Today we’re going to look at a discussion essay IELTS sample that’s considered Band 9. This Band 9 scored essay matched the pattern for the “discussion” type of Writing Task 2 question. Discussion essays are sometimes also called “discuss both sides” essays. In this kind of essay, you will be presented with two statements of opinion that oppose each other. You will then be asked to “discuss both sides” of the debate, and to give your own opinion. For more information on this and other question types, including tips, tricks, and general advice for the discussion essay question type, see Magoosh’s full guide to IELTS Writing Task 2 question types .

Discussion Essay IELTS Sample: Band 9

The essay below is a band 9 model IELTS essay, patterned after Magoosh’s IELTS Writing Task 2 Template .

IELTS Writing Discussion Essay Practice Question

Some people seek a lot of advice from family and friends when choosing their career. Others feel it is better to choose a career more independently. Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

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Write at least 250 words.

Discussion Essay IELTS Sample Band 9 Response

Choosing a career can be a challenging process. It can be difficult to say whether this decision should be made alone, or made with input from loved ones. In my opinion, it is best to find one’s career independently, with no more than a small amount of advice from family or friends. Below, I will explain why I feel that we must ultimately face career decisions on our own.

Getting career guidance input from loved ones can be confusing rather than useful. Family and friends likely have different careers, and thus give different, conflicting advice. Suppose, for instance, that your father is a teacher, your mother is an accountant, and your best friend is a nurse. They have all made very different career decisions, and only have knowledge on their respective careers. Different people will likely only steer you to their careers, without giving good advice on your own best path.

In contrast, focusing on one’s own preferences and skills provides a clearer path to the right career. After all, individuals have the best knowledge of their own abilities and interests. As an example, if someone has gone to university to study biology, they will know more about biology careers than a family member or friend who does not have that same kind of training. Ultimately, your career must be built on your own training and experience, not the training and experience of others.

For the reasons I’ve outlined above, I really do believe that career decisions are a matter of personal knowledge. Other people, even trusted family and friends, simply cannot understand your career the way you can. To select your field of work wisely, you must face this important decision alone.

Scorer Commentary (Discussion IELTS Essay Sample, Band 9)

The score report below is based on the official IELTS Writing Task 2 rubric . This report also looks very similar to the Magoosh IELTS essay scoring service .

Overall Band Score: 9

What was done well in the essay:

  • At 283 words, this essay exceeded the 250 word minimum. (This is very important for getting full points!)
  • Each part of the task was fully addressed. Both sides of the issue were discussed in the first and second body paragraphs. Moreover, reasons and relevant examples were included.
  • Each paragraph had its own clear topic sentence and supporting details, with explanations of the details, and summarization of the most important ideas.
  • Transitional language was used to clearly tie in all paragraphs to clear main ideas from the introduction and conclusion.
  • Vocabulary and grammar were used clearly and fluently. There were no serious errors in grammar or word use; word choice and sentence structure varied and avoided significant repetition.

More Model Essays for IELTS Writing Task 2

Would you like the see model essays for the other common IELTS Writing Task 2 question types as well? Magoosh has you covered! Just click the links below.

  • Advantage/Disadvantage Essay
  • Two-Part Question Essay
  • Causes/Solutions Essay
  • Agree/Disagree Essay

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David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles , his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube , Facebook , and Instagram , or connect with him via LinkedIn !

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5 responses to “IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Sample Essay”

Jinil Bhavsar Avatar

Contractions must be avoided because they are a sign of informal writing style. Whereas essay’s should be written in formal way.

Magoosh Expert

You are correct that contractions shouldn’t be used in the formal Task 2 essay. However, note that they can be used at times, such as in IELTS Speaking or in Task 1 if you are asked to write an informal letter.

Happy studying!

Ore Avatar

Greetings, and thank you for this model essay. I wanted to ask a question relating to the discussion essay’s addressing of the task. Since the two views are 1) Some people think it is beneficial to ask for advice from friends/loved ones, and 2) others think that it is better to do so alone, why isn’t the 2nd paragraph addressing the benefits but instead talks about how it can be confusing? Isn’t a discussion essay’s structure supposed to be something like this:

2nd paragraph: Reasons people believe asking for help to decide for a career is good 3rd paragraph: Reasons people believe doing it on your own is good Conclusion: Giving your own opinion

Thank you for your time!

Good question! The short answer is that both approaches work! The directions are simply to “discuss both views,” but you don’t have to provide support for both sides. You can also discuss the problems or issues with one side, as this essay has done. Does that make sense? I’d suggest reviewing more sample essays to get a better sense of this.

Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

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Vocabulary for IELTS Essay (Writing Task 2)

Kasturika Samanta

Updated On Apr 19, 2023

Vocabulary for IELTS Essay (Writing Task 2)

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  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Body Paragraphs
  • 1.3 Conclusion
  • 2.1.1 For Expressing Opinion
  • 2.1.2 For Showing Contrast
  • 2.1.3 For Outlining Facts
  • 2.1.4 For Providing Examples
  • 2.1.5 For Conclusion
  • 2.2 Related Vocabulary to Increase your IELTS Band Score
  • 3 Conclusion

Vocabulary  enables every individual to express their thoughts and opinions. When a person learns a new language or takes a language proficiency examination like  IELTS , it is essential to emphasize on it. Since vocabulary or lexical resource is an evaluation criterion for the writing module, in this article, we will focus on vocabulary for IELTS essay, which is the Task 2 for IELTS Writing.

General Structure of the Essay

In IELTS, the contribution of lexical resource or vocabulary in the Speaking and Writing modules is 25% each. But before we jump into the vocabulary for IELTS essay, let us revise the structure of the essay that the candidate has to write for Task 2 .

ielts discussion essay vocabulary


The introduction should contain a general statement about the subject, the paraphrased question statement, the thesis statement, and the essay’s outline.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are crucial, since this is where ideas or opinions are developed.

The points raised in the body paragraphs are summarized in the conclusion.

In order to understand the structure in a detailed way, check out the  samples  for each of the types given above.

Vocabulary for IELTS Essay 

Now that the structure of the essay is clear, check some important  vocabulary for IELTS essay that will enable the candidate to make the most of the 25% of the Lexical Resource criterion.

Connectors/Linking Words

Connectors or linking words are used in sentences to contrast ideas, add information, provide examples, summarise, and give an explanation. Other reasons why using connectors will help in increasing the writing score are:

  • Highlight the test taker’s lexical capabilities and knowledge.
  • Establish a connection between the parts of one or more sentences.
  • Serve as a grammatical device to improve the coherence and fluency of written discourse.
  • Make it easier for the reader to understand the meaning one is trying to convey.

So, here are some important connectors/linking words that candidates can use for the mentioned purpose:

For Expressing Opinion

  • In my opinion…
  • I strongly agree with the idea that/I strongly opine that…
  • I’d like to point out that …
  • I am convinced that …/I am certain that …
  • As far as I’m concerned, …
  • From my viewpoint,… / From my perspective …
  • My own view on the matter is…
  • It seems to me that…
  • It appears that…

For Showing Contrast

  • On the contrary …
  • Alternatively…
  • Nevertheless/Nonetheless …
  • In spite of …/ In spite of the fact…/ Despite the fact …
  • In contrast to this…

For Outlining Facts

  • The fact is that …
  • It is obvious that …/It is clear that …
  • There is no doubt that …
  • This proves that …

For Providing Examples

  • For example…/For instance
  • …could be a good example here.
  • As an example…
  • To illustrate…
  • With respect to…

For Conclusion

  • To sum up…
  • In short…
  • In a word…
  • To put it simply…
  • That is to say…
  • To repeat in short…
  • To summarise…

For more such connectors/linking words with examples, click on this  link .

Related Vocabulary to Increase your IELTS Band Score

Beside connectors, there are various other lexical resources that a candidate can use to enhance his/her writing skills for IELTS Writing Task 2.

Sometimes, students need a comprehensive activity-based workbook that can not only teach them new words but also ways to apply them in the right context. Keeping that in mind, IELTSMaterial has created a  vocabulary workbook . This master book comprises topic-specific vocabulary , related exercises, a student space to make important notes or add words they have learnt from other sources, and many more.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, given below are some important resources that an aspirant can use while preparing for  IELTS essays .

  • Advanced Vocabulary  – It is a word list (A-Z) comprising words, their meanings and their usage to help the candidate score a band score of 7.5 and above.
  • Topic Specific Vocabulary – IELTS essays are generally based on broad topics which are commonly repeated, like  environment ,  crime ,  government , etc. Test-takers can use these words or phrases while answering their Task 2 for IELTS.
  • List of important collocations  – A collocation is a grouping of two or more frequently occurring words. Native English speakers use these combinations as they simply sound “correct”. So, incorporating collocations in writing will definitely boost your writing score.
  • Synonyms and Antonyms  – Repetition of words is regarded as a faux pas in IELTS Writing (and Speaking as well). Therefore, learn  synonyms and antonyms  from various sources to avoid any kind of repetition and showing off your word power appropriately.

As vocabulary is vital for a good score in IELTS Writing and Speaking, candidates should take time to brush up their word power on a daily basis. Ways to do that is to prepare their own vocabulary list for each topic, go through various articles and fiction, follow various sources for  word of the day , buy  vocabulary specific books , etc.

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Kasturika is a professional Content Writer with over three years of experience as an English language teacher. Her understanding of English language requirements, as set by foreign universities, is enriched by her interactions with students and educators. Her work is a fusion of extensive knowledge of SEO practices and up-to-date guidelines. This enables her to produce content that not only informs but also engages IELTS aspirants. Her passion for exploring new horizons has driven her to achieve new heights in her learning journey.

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Useful Phrases for IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay

Here we have listed useful vocabulary and phrases you can use when writing an essay in IELTS Writing Task 2 . Instead of providing an extensive list of 100+ essay phrases for IELTS, we have narrowed it down to the most essential.

Keep the vocabulary list next to you while you practise, so you can get ideas for linking and expressing your views.

  • Over the last century ...
  • The idea that ... has its merits.
  • While this is an interesting proposal and has some merit, my own view is that it would ...
  • Despite these arguments, there is an equally strong case to be made that it would be ...
  • There is much debate about the position. I will discuss both these ... in this essay.
  • This is a complex issue and my belief is that ...
  • There are a variety of potential ways of combatting this problem.
  • However, in order to find a solution, it is first of all necessary to understand what has led to this happening.
  • Finding the right policies is not an easy task as it is a complex problem.
  • There is some dispute whether the best method of …

Stating viewpoints

background, writing correction markups

  • There are different viewpoints held in this discussion.
  • Some people argue that ..., while others think that ...
  • However, there is a large body of opinion which is opposed to …
  • It is said that three-quarters of all children ...

To add more points on a topic

  • There are several reasons why ...
  • It can also be argued that ...
  • This is certainly not an easy issue though, because ... has caused as many problems as it solves.
  • ... is the only point to be taken into consideration when ...
  • ... is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed.
  • At the same time, a lot of publicity is given to what the public consider to be ...
  • Most of the experts blame … for this problem.
  • Given that … is cheap and ..., it is not surprising that ...
  • My conclusion is therefore that ...
  • In conclusion, I believe that while there are real merits on both sides of the argument, the moral case against forcing people to work slightly outweighs any benefit to ...
  • Its benefits outweigh the drawbacks and have a positive effect on many aspects of our lives ...
  • All things considered, ...
  • My own personal view is that there is merit in both sides of the debate.
  • Finally, ...

See also: Linking Words For IELTS Writing and Speaking


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Writing Task 2 Sample

IELTS Writing Task 2 ( also known as IELTS Essay Writing ) is the second task of your IELTS Writing test. Here, you will be presented with an essay topic and you will be scored based on your ability to respond to the topic.

You need to write at least 250 words and justify your opinion with arguments, discussion, examples, problem outlining, proposing possible solutions and supporting your position. You will have approximately 40 minutes to finish your Essay Writing. IELTS Writing Task 2 carries more weights than Writing Task 1.

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