One of the biggest problems students have when given an Agree/Disagree or Point of View essay task for Task 2 of the IELTS Writing Test, is that they find it difficult to think about relevant arguments. This can directly effect Task Achievement and Cohesion/Coherence scores that examiners use to assess essays.
In this free lesson, we will give you a strategy to help you come up with interesting essay arguments.
Let's first look at a task 2 example.
Nowadays, more and more people wear fashionable clothing. Is this a positive or a negative development?
This is quite an open task because 'Is this a positive or a negative development?' can be applied to many different situations. However, students will often focus on arguments from just a personal perspective. For example, to answer this task, you may ask yourself "How does fashion affect me?"
If your answer is "Fashionable clothes help me to express myself." your argument will consequently be similar to 'Fashion is good because clothes help people to express themselves'. This is an acceptable argument, but you may find it difficult to write 250 words because there is not much more you can talk about.
So how can we think of more interesting arguments?
The important thing is to think about the argument from many different perspectives, not just the personal - or individual - view. So what other perspectives are there? For an open question like this, the good news is there are many!
We can look at a problem, argument, or idea from many perspectives, such as:
Let's use these perspectives to think about arguments for our Fashion essay task.
It is clear that classroom teaching is still important in educating young people as it provides a different type of education to the material that they encounter online or on the TV.
The youth of today are not just educated in the traditional classroom setting, but also in more modern and less conventional ways by the internet and television.
- The first sentence of the introduction paraphrases the information in the question. The words internet and television don’t have synonyms and so they are not paraphrased.
- The thesis statement logically follows on from the introduction sentence as it provides the writers opinion about the question and topic.
- Notice how the first sentence of the introduction is very general while the thesis statement directly answers the question. This is typical in academic writing which follows the pattern of general to specific information.
Exercise 2 | More Practice
Why is this happening? What will be the effects on families and society?
While people often used to spend time eating with their family in the past, in recent times this tradition has broken down.
This is happening due to changes in lifestyle and culture, and, unfortunately, is unlikely to have a positive effect.
- The thesis statement suggests that the topic of the first body paragraph will be about lifestyle and cultural changes that have resulted in families not eating together. It then suggests that the second body paragraph will be about the negative effects of families not eating together.
Exercise 3 | A look in more detail
To what extent do you agree or disagree.
There is often debate about the relevance of traditional arts subjects in the school curriculum when computing and business skills are so important in the world of work. However, I strongly believe that the arts are a valid part of school education as they provide students with a chance to express themselves and also because a school education is about more than preparing young people for work.
Are the following statements about the introduction true or false?
- The first sentence of the introduction tells the reader the topic of the essay.
- Key words and phrases such as ‘relevance’ ‘arts subjects’ and ‘computing and business skills’ are used to make the topic clear to the reader.
- The writer limits himself to ‘arts subjects’ and ‘computer and business skills’.
- ‘However’ and ‘on the other hand’ are good phrases to introduce contrasting ideas in your writing.
- The first idea mentioned in the thesis statement is that the arts provide students with a chance to express themselves. This will logically be the topic of the first body paragraph.
- The second idea mentioned in the thesis statement is that school education is about more than preparing young people for work. As this is the second idea mentioned in the thesis statement, it is logical that this will be the topic of the second body paragraph.
Now move on to our lesson about how to write good paragraph topic sentences.
Follow our other lesson for more introduction writing practice.
Here is an IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 prompt (instruction):
- Thank your friend for letting you stay
- Explain that you left an important file and where it can be found
- Request that your friend to return it
Begin your letter as follows: ‘Dear…...,’
Understand the Prompt
Choose an answer for each question or statement below
Think of Details
Think about the Tone
The salutation should be ‘Dear + first name’. For example, ‘Dear Sally,’. Don’t use Mr. or Mrs. with a family name as this is much too formal.
To end the letter, you could use one of these informal sign off expressions - regards, my warmest regards, take care or see you soon.
Timing in the Test
5 minutes - analyze the prompt and plan your letter.
10 minutes - write your letter.
5 minutes – check for mistakes. Pay attention to spelling ad grammar
Our Example Letter
Order the sentences in the paragraphs
Thank you so much for letting me stay with you last weekend. It was lovely to spend some quality time with you after so long and I got a great night’s sleep before my presentation at the conference.
Unfortunately, I left a file containing lots of important documents in the room I slept in. I think it may have fallen between the side of the bed and the bedside table. I am concerned that my manager will be angry if he finds out the documents have gone missing. I don’t want any problems at work, so would you please be able to return the file to me as soon as possible.
I think the best way to return the file is to send it with a courier company such as DHL. Please send it next day delivery and make sure it is recorded delivery as well, just in case there are any problems. Let me know how much it costs and I will transfer the money to you straight away.
Thank you for your help.
See you again soon,
Final Writing Exercise
- Request to stay at your friend’s house
- Explain why you would like to stay
- offer your friend some kind of remuneration for letting you stay.
Begin your letter as follows: ‘Dear…...,
To learn more, check out our Letter Writing | Functional Language lesson.
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About The IELTS Test
Academic Writing Task 1
Academic Writing Task 2
Cause And Effect
Coherence And Cohesion
Complete The Notes
Complete The Table
Frequently Asked Questions
General Training Reading
General Writing Task 1
General Writing Task 2
Listening Section 1
Listening Section 2
Listening Section 3
Listening Section 4
Problem Solution Essay
Speaking Part 1
Speaking Part 2
Speaking Part 3
True / False / Not Given