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How to Identify & Answer Discussion Question Types in IELTS Writing Task 2

Ron Ross July 1st, 2019

In this article, we'll discuss Discussion question types and look at how to identify them and what essay structure you should use to answer them. After learning about this question type, you'll get a chance to look at some practice questions and a complete sample essay.

How to Identify IELTS Writing Discussion Question Types

In a Discussion question type, you will be given two opposing views related to an issue. Usually, the two views will be in separate sentences connected by a transition word such as "however" to indicate that the two views contrast. Your task is to write a discursive essay, contrasting both sides of the issue and presenting your own view. Let's look at an example of this.

Obtaining a university degree is believed by some to be the best way to guarantee future success in one's career. On the other hand, some people reckon that learning a trade and getting experience is a better guarantee of steady work and income. Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

Now let's look at how to structure your essay for a Discussion question.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structure - Discussion

There is one main, fool-proof way to outline this type of essay, and we suggest that you follow this without straying from the procedure. This is the best way to map out your ideas for the Discussion Essay:

I. Introduction
II. First View
III. Second View
IV. Conclusion

Now, let's take a closer look at how to plan each paragraph.

Introduction - In general, you will need 2 sentences for this paragraph. Since this is the first paragraph of your essay, you should paraphrase the question that was given to you. In other words, rewrite the question in your own words using synonyms. This will help you in a few ways. First, it will guarantee that your essay is on target and following the theme given to you in the question. Secondly, it will give you a chance to show the examiners that you have a wide range of vocabulary and can call upon synonyms when necessary. The second sentence will introduce the specific topics that you plan to discuss in your main body paragraphs. Therefore, your introduction paragraph should look like:
  1. Rewritten Question/Both Points of View - The question states the two views.
  2. Thesis Statement - This is where you will add your own opinion.
First View - This paragraph should be about 4-5 sentences long. In this paragraph, you will describe the specific views with explanations, details, or examples. The paragraph should look like this:
  1. Topic Sentence - This will introduce the first view.
  2. Explanation/Detail of First View
  3. Reason for Agreeing/Disagreeing
  4. Example to Support Your View
Second View - This paragraph should be about 4-5 sentences long. In this paragraph, you will describe the specific views with explanations, details, or examples. The paragraph should look like this:
  1. Topic Sentence - This will introduce the second view.
  2. Explanation/Detail of Second View
  3. Reason for Agreeing/Disagreeing
  4. Example to Support Your View
Conclusion - This paragraph will wrap everything up, and it is not the time to add any new information into your essay. This paragraph should be around 3-4 sentences , and include the following information:
  1. Summary of the Main Points (2 sentences)
  2. Statement of Which is Better/More Important (1-2 sentences)

In short, here is what the final Paragraph Planner would look like for this outline:  

I. Introduction
         A. Rewritten Question/Both Points of View (1 sentence)
         B. Thesis Statement (1 sentence)
II. First View
         A. Topic Sentence (1 sentence)
         B. Explanation/Detail of First View (1 sentence)
         C. Reason for Agreeing/Disagreeing (1 sentence)
         D. Example to Support Your View (1 sentence)
II. Second View
         A. Topic Sentence (1 sentence)
         B. Explanation/Detail of Second View (1 sentence)
         C. Reason for Agreeing/Disagreeing (1 sentence)
         D. Example to Support Your View (1 sentence)
IV. Conclusion
         A. Summary of the Main Points (1-2 sentences)
         B. Something Important About This Topic (1-2 sentences)

IELTS Writing Discussion Sample Question and Model Essay

Question: Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged. Others believe that children who are taught to co-operate rather than compete become more useful adults. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Model Essay
Topic sentences are in bold.
Explanations and details are in red.
Examples are in blue.  
Opinions are in green .

Introduction:

While some people argue that we should emphasize the importance of competition when
teaching children, others take the view that focusing on cooperation is more important. In my
opinion, it is better for children to be taught to cooperate. (39 words)

Paragraph 1:

On one side of the argument, there are people who hold the opinion that encouraging competitiveness in children will yield better results. The most compelling reason for believing this is that competitiveness prepares them for life in the real world. When students grow up, for example, they will need to compete with other students for a place in university.  However, I strongly believe that winning is not everything. A society focused solely on winning and competing ignores other important traits like compassion and generosity. (84 words)

Paragraph 2:

Despite these aforementioned views, other people believe that instilling a sense of cooperation in children will prove to be more beneficial for society as a whole. In society and work, cooperation and teamwork are both often required. For instance, a company will only achieve its overall goal if all parts work together and complement each other.  Consequently, I believe that cooperation is an extremely important value, and has more value over competition. Children who learn that winning against another is not the most important thing will be more willing to work together towards achieving their goals. (96 words)

Conclusion:  

All in all, there is a disagreement in society regarding the effects of competition on children. I strongly reckon that children should be taught compassion and core values, as these will have better long-term effects on society. (37 words)

Total Word Count:  256 words


IELTS Writing Discussion Task Questions

This section presents a list of common IELTS Writing Discussion task questions. If you want to prepare for the IELTS Writing Test, these questions are a must study.

Question 1: Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged.  Others believe that children who are taught to co-operate rather than compete become more useful adults.Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 2: 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 that people can earn.Discuss both views and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 3: Some people think that when recruiting, companies should aim to take on people who are innovative and able to work independently, while others consider that they should recruit people who are able to work in a team and follow instructions. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 4: Completing university education is thought by some to be the best way to get a good job.  On the other hand, other people think that getting experience and developing soft skills is more important.Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 5: Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society.  Others, however, believe that school is the place to learn this.Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 6: Some people think that a sense of competition in children should be encouraged.  Others, however, say that cooperation and team working skills are more important.Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 7: Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 8: Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale, while others believe it is better to deal with them nationally. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 9: All parents want the best opportunities for their children.  There are some people who think that schools should teach children skills, whereas others think having a range of subjects is better for a child’s future.Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 10: Some people think that the government should decide which subjects that students should study at university, while others think that students should be allowed to apply for the subject they prefer. Discuss the two views and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 11: Almost everyone agrees that we should be training children to recycle waste to save the Earth’s natural resources.  Some believe that it is the parents who should teach their children to recycle waste. Others argue that school is the best place to do this.  Discuss both views and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 12: There seems to be an increasing amount 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.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 13: Advertisements are becoming more and more common in everyday life. Is this a positive or a negative development? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 14: Many employers are now offering their employees the option to work from home.  As a result, employees will have much more flexible working hours in the future.Is this a positive or negative development? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 15: Some universities now offer their courses on the Internet so that people can study online.  Is this a positive or negative development?  Discuss both sides
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 16: Nowadays, more people are choosing to socialize online rather than face to face.  Is this a positive or negative development? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 17: It is thought by some that it is better to live in the city, while others believe that life is better in the countryside. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 18: Some people think that exercise is the key to health, while others feel that having a balanced diet is more important. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 19: Genetic engineering is a key issue in modern society.  Some people think that it will improve people’s lives in many ways.  Others feel that it may be a threat to life on earth.Discuss both views and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 20: Some people argue that the public should be allowed to have guns. Others do not agree. Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 21: Is this a positive or negative development that governments spend a huge amount of money building public transport? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 22: Countries are becoming more and more similar because people are able to buy the same products anywhere in the world. Do you think this is a positive or negative development? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 23: Nowadays, some buildings such as offices and schools have open-space design instead of separate rooms.  Why is it so? Do you think this is a positive or negative development? Discuss both sides.
[Practice and View Model Answer]



 
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