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

Ron Ross September 6th, 2019

In this article, we'll discuss Opinion 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 Opinion Question Types

In an Opinion question type, you will be given a question which contains an opinion. Your task is to write an essay in response to the opinion. This type of question often asks if you agree or disagree with an opinion. Let's look at an example of this.

The drastic increase in cases of obesity is putting a strain on the health care system. Some healthcare workers believe that introducing more physical education lessons in schools is the best way to solve this epidemic. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Now let's look at how to structure your essay for an Opinion question.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structure - Opinion

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 Opinion Essay:

I. Introduction
II. First Supporting Argument
III. Second Supporting Argument
IV. Conclusion

Below, we will detail how each paragraph should be written.

Introduction - In general, you will need 2-3 sentences for this paragraph. Since this is the first paragraph of your essay, you should paraphrase the questions that were given to you. In other words, rewrite the questions 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 questions. 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.

  1. Rewritten Question - Paraphrasing the question(s) (1-2 sentences)
  2. Thesis/Opinion Sentence - This is where you will outline the essay and give your opinion.

First Supporting Argument - 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 paragraph.
  2. Explanation/Detail of First Supporting Argument
  3. Example to Support the Argument

Second Supporting Argument - 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 paragraph.
  2. Explanation/Detail of First Supporting Argument
  3. Example to Support the Argument

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 2-4 sentences, and include the following information:

  1. Summary of the Main Points (1-2 sentences)
  2. Reiterate Your Opinion (1-2 sentences)

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

I. Introduction
         A. Rewritten Question(s) (1-2 sentences)
         B. Thesis/Opinion Sentence (1 sentence)
II. First Supporting Argument
         A. Topic Sentence - This will introduce the paragraph.
         B. Explanation/Detail of First Supporting Argument
         C. Example to Support the Argument
III. Second Supporting Argument
        A. Topic Sentence - This will introduce the paragraph.
        B. Explanation/Detail of First Supporting Argument
        C. Example to Support the Argument
IV. Conclusion
         A. Summary of the Main Points (1-2 sentences)
         B. Reiterate Your Opinion (1-2 sentences)

IELTS Writing Opinion Sample Question and Model Essay

Question: Some people argue that capital punishment is good for a country. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Model Essay
Topic sentences are in bold.
Explanations and details are in
red.
Examples are in blue.

Introduction:

Some people believe that the death penalty can benefit a nation. I completely agree with this opinion, as the death penalty can positively impact a country through lowering both crime and tax rates. (33 words)

Paragraph 1:

Establishing the death penalty could effectively decrease crime rates in society. The most compelling reason for the death penalty's positive contribution to society, is that it is an effective deterrent to serious crime. For example, people who are thinking of murder or committing violent acts will think twice before doing so, and dangerous criminals who have undergone the death penalty would never be able to reoffend. As a result of this policy, crime rate would go down. (77 words)

Paragraph 2:

Additionally, the death penalty could lower taxes for citizens. With this policy, the government would be able to spend less money on keeping the criminal in prison. If the criminal is jailed for many years or for life, the government would need to pay for the enormous expenses involved such as the cost of food for the prisoners and the salaries for the prison officers. However, with the death sentence, the prisoner will spend less time in prison and this would reduce the cost of imprisonment substantially. (87 words)

Conclusion:  

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion that sentencing serious criminals to death is beneficial for countries. This is because of its deterrent effect, its ability to save the government a lot of money and the fact that we can keep dangerous criminals out of society forever. Given this situation, it is recommended that governments around the world should think about implementing this form of punishment. (67 words)

Total Word Count:  264 words

Note: This type of essay may not have the highest amount of words, since you must only explain your opinion. Other types of essays will most likely have higher word counts, since they involve answering two part questions or adding your opinion.


IELTS Writing Opinion Task Questions

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

Question 1: Women and men are commonly seen as having different strengths and weaknesses.  Is it right to exclude males or females from certain professions because of their gender?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 2: New technologies and ways of buying and selling are transforming the lives of consumers. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 3: Convenience foods will become increasingly prevalent and eventually replace traditional food and traditional ways of food preparation. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 4: Convenience foods will become increasingly prevalent and eventually replace traditional food and traditional ways of food preparation. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 5: The money spent by governments on space programmes would be better spent on vital public services such as schools and hospitals.  To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 6: The money spent by governments on space programmes would be better spent on vital public services such as schools and hospitals.  To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 7: Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have had a huge negative impact on society. To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 8: The growing number of overweight people is putting a strain on health care systems in an effort to deal with the health care issues involved.  Some people think that the best way to deal with this problem is to introduce more physical education lessons in the school curriculum. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 9: With the increased global demand in oil and gas, undiscovered areas of the world should be opened up to access more resources. To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 10: Scientists and technology experts seem to be more valued by modern society than musicians and artists. To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 11: Zoos should be banned because it is cruel to keep wild animals in captivityTo what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 12: The government is spending a lot of money to discover life on alien planets.  Some people think that the government is wasting money and should spend money addressing the problems of the public.  To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 13: More and more people are suffering from health problems caused by a modern life style which cannot be treated with modern medicines.  Some people feel that a return to traditional medicine should be encouraged.To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 14: Doctors should be responsible for educating their patients about how to improve their health. To what extent do you agree with this?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 15: For centuries, important parts of education have remained such as reading, writing and maths.  With the advent of computers, some people think that computer skills should be added as a fourth skill to the list.To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 16: The government should allocate more funding to teaching sciences rather than other subjects in order for a country to progress. To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 17: The role of education is to prepare children for the modern world.  Schools should cut art and music out of the curriculum so that children can focus on useful subjects such as information technology.To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 18: Education should be accessible to people of all economic backgrounds.  All levels of education, from primary school to tertiary education, should be free.To what extent do you agree with this opinion?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 19: The best way to help underachieving pupils is to have compulsory after school activities which they must attend.  This way they will become more involved in school and their grades will improve.To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 20: As computers translate quickly and accurately, learning foreign languages is a waste of time?To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 21: The use of mobile phones in public places is as antisocial as smoking. Smoking is banned in certain places, so mobile phones should be banned in the same way. To what extent to you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 22: Some people think women should be allowed to join the army, the navy and the air force just like men. To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 23: Children can learn effectively by watching television.  Therefore they should be encouraged to watch television regularly at home and at school.To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 24: Artists need a certain amount of freedom to develop their creativity.  Some people think that artists should have total freedom to express any thoughts and ideas.What is your opinion?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 25: First impressions are important.  Some people think that doing well in interviews is the key to securing a good job.To what extent do you agree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 26: Doctors, nurses and teachers make a great contribution to society and should be paid more than entertainment and sports celebrities. Do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 27: Having a good university degree guarantees people a good job. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 28: Paying all workers the same salary in a company promotes harmony and respect amongst colleagues.  To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 29: Bringing in foreign workers to fill positions that domestic workers are unwilling to do can cause problems in the local community and should therefore be stopped. To what extent do you agree with this?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 30: Some people are concerned that children spend too much time on computers – playing games, chatting and watching videos.  But all this time is actually good preparation for children, who will have to spend many hours working on computers throughout their education and their working lives.To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 31: Many people believe that social networking sites (such as Facebook) have a huge negative impact on both individuals and society. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 32: Learning to manage money is one of the key aspects of adult life.  How in your view can individuals best learn to manage their money?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 33: The importance of biodiversity is being more widely recognized as increasing numbers of species come under threat. What can be done to maintain biodiversity?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 34: Longer life spans and improvements in the health of older people suggest that people over the age of sixty-five can continue to live full and active lives. In what ways can society benefit from the contribution that older people can make?
[Practice and View Model Answer]
Question 35: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming, and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being. What can be done to discourage people from using their cars?
[Practice and View Model Answer]



 
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