How to Write an IELTS Opinion Essay

One of the forms of essays you may be asked to write for the writing task 2 of the IELTS Exam is the Opinion Essay. So, in this lesson, you will learn how to recognize the opinion essays and answer them.

You may encounter the term discussion essay. But, IELTS opinion essays and IELTS discussion essays are the same. There is no difference between them.

If you are not familiar yet with all the types of essays, and minimum requirements to achieve a high band when writing IELTS essays, you better first check them. Then, come back to this article to learn more about opinion essays.

How to Determine the IELTS Opinion Essay

The first and most important thing you should do when writing an IELTS essay is to determine the essay type. There are five types of IELTS essays, and one is the opinion essay.

As this article is about opinion essays, let’s understand how to know if the essay is opinion one.

If the essay question asks you to give your opinion or discuss both views, then that is an opinion essay. Let’s look at examples.

Below example is from official Cambridge book 8.

As you can see, it asks for discussing both views and giving your opinion. Whenever you see this statement, it’s surely an opinion essay. No need to hesitate.

Now, let’s take a look at another example. This example is from Cambridge book 10.

Again, it is asking for your opinion. So, when you see the statement: Discuss both views and give your own opinion, you can be certain that it is an opinion essay.

How to Structure an IELTS Opinion Essay

Well, now we can know if the essay type is opinion. So, let’s learn ways to structure opinion essays.

IELTS opinion essays always ask you to discuss two viewpoints, so make sure to write about both viewpoints.

We recommend that you write four paragraphs. The first paragraph is an introduction. Then you have two write two main body paragraphs and conclusion.

Let’s look at this with a real example question.

Here is an essay question which was taken from the Cambridge book 12:

Some people say that parents should encourage their children to take part in organised group activities in their free time. Others say that it is important for children to learn how to occupy themselves on their own.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

First, you should write the introduction. Paraphrase the question, and add your opinion. You can support one or another view. However, you also can have a balanced opinion. In a moment, we’ll write the introduction to this topic.

Second, you should write the first main body paragraph which will be about the first viewpoint. With the latest question, it will be about why it is good to encourage children to take part in organised group activities.

Then, you should write the second body paragraph supporting the second viewpoint. In this case, you should say why it is better for children to learn to occupy themselves on their own.

Last, you should write a conclusion. It shouldn’t be a long one. It should just paraphrase the introduction.

So, now, let’s follow this question and write a full essay.

How to Write an Introduction

As mentioned before, the first paragraph you should write is the introduction. You should aim to write two to three sentences for the introduction. Not more.

So, let’s paraphrase the essay question, and add our opinion. For our last essay question we could write:

Currently, there is a multitude of pastimes and games for children; however, it is a contentious issue whether they should be involved in collective or individual hobbies. This essay will consider each point of view and shall demonstrate that both types of activity are essential for young people.

First, we paraphrased the essay question. Then, we added our opinion. It’s crucial to give your opinion because the essay question asks to do so.

We have a balanced opinion, so our essay will support both views equally.

We used synonyms to avoid repeating the words which were in the question. In this way, we are aiming at a high score in the vocabulary criterion.

To check more how the IELTS writing task is assessed, check out this video.

How to Write the First Main Body Paragraphs

The first main body paragraph should support organised group activities for children.

We should add ideas about why it is good for children to participate in organised activities.

Here is our first main body paragraph:

With respect to the young interacting in groups, there are two principal benefits. First and foremost, spending time with those of a similar age facilitates the building of supportive relationships throughout childhood. For instance, laughing and playing together provides unique joy and the ultimate ability to comfort and protect each other if school or home difficulties are experienced. Moreover, integrating with others enables socialisation to occur. This includes building the skills of empathy, negotiation and teamwork, which will be of paramount importance in their future personal and working lives.

We supported the first view and added examples. We also used a wide range of vocabulary to aim at a high score.

Overall, we gave two ideas about why children should take part in organised activities. We recommend that you try to give from two to three ideas for each viewpoint. Not more.

Now, let’s move on and write the second body paragraph.

How to Write the Second Body Paragraph

In the second body paragraph, we should write about the advantages of children occupying themselves. Again, we should add some ideas and support them with examples.

So, for our question it would be:

In spite of this, encouraging children to appreciate time alone is certainly beneficial. Firstly, it promotes independence, which is a necessary survival skill. For example, it is unhealthy and unrealistic to expect others to be ever-present. Time without family and friends is inevitable and young people need to learn to tolerate this. In addition, functioning individually can be thoroughly rewarding. To illustrate, they are able to discover themselves and the world through various self-autonomous activities such as reading, painting and writing. In fact, doing so develops self-esteem, which is vital for the happiness and development of young people.

Again, we gave two ideas and supported them with examples. Our second body paragraph is also ready.

So, now is the time to write the conclusion to complete this essay.

How to Write the Conclusion

The conclusion should summarize your essay. It should lightly mention all that you have talked about previously. Then, it should state your concluding idea.

For our essay, the conclusion would be:

To summarise, this essay has discussed the merits of children engaging in collaborative and solitary interests. Evidence suggests that young people should be involved in a balance of each to enable the acquisition of mutual support, social skills, independence and self esteem. As society develops, there will be a greater diversity of activities on offer to them.

Now, it is time for you to practice what we have done together. Find new essays questions to answer on your own. Take into consideration the steps shown above, and write your own essay.

If you follow the steps outlined above, you should receive a high score on your essay. To be sure, have the essay looked at by an experienced IELTS examiner.

ALISTAIR BROWN: As a writing and speaking examiner for more than 10 years, I bring a lot of experience. I have seen the frustrations that students have with IELTS from a career where I have actively guided and corrected students’ studies. I am looking for the most effective ways to teach IELTS as I understand students’ needs.