Tips for IELTS Writing Task 2: Discussion Essay

In this lesson, we are going to provide some tips and tricks for the Task 2 Essay Type that is the discussion essay. Where you're supposed to discuss two sides of an issue and then sometimes you're supposed to give your opinion about that issue. This is one of the more difficult and complicated essay types you might find in task two. 

Example 1 (Type 1):

"When making hiring decisions, which quality should employers value more in an applicant, graduation from a prestigious school, or experience that's directly related to the position? 

Discussion both sides and give your opinion."


In this case, we have the question of whether going to a prestigious school is something employers should really look for and value very highly. Or whether it's more important or more highly valuable that a person applying to a job has a lot of experience. These two things aren't exclusive in the real world.


You could have somebody who has a lot of experience and who went to a very prestigious school, but this essay wants you to imagine that you have to choose between two people. One who went to a great prestigious school and the other whose got a lot of experience, which one should be valued more highly.

Example 2 (Type 2):

"Some people believe that companies should be allowed to collect data about customers freely, while others believe this practice should be restricted.

Discuss both sides of this issue."


A big difference between example number one and example number two is that in example number one, you are supposed to give your opinion on this question. In other words, you are supposed to provide some idea about whether you think experience or a prestigious school is in fact most important when making hiring decisions.


Question number two, you do not need to take aside. You don't need to have an opinion between the two sides that are presented. You simply need to discuss them both in your essay.


These are the two main types of questions you will encounter in the actual exam. One where you need to give an opinion, and the other where you don't:

Strategy for Type 1

If you're supposed to provide an opinion, then you should include your opinion in the thesis statement. Make sure that the reader knows which side you think is best in your thesis statement. In this case, your essay should contain three paragraphs.


In other words, you spend some time in body paragraph one discussing the positive points for side one. The positive points for side two, in the second body paragraph. And then in the third body paragraph, you present your side of the issue. What you think is best, whatever the issue is that you're discussing. Since you're writing three body paragraphs for this essay, you may need to have shorter paragraphs.


Don't get stuck writing a really long first body paragraph, and then not have time to write the other two. Keep in mind, you may need to write shorter body paragraphs for this essay type if you're supposed to provide your opinion. 

Strategy for Type 2

One of the most important things to keep in mind for this essay is that you truly do need to discuss both sides of an issue and it is best to discuss them equally. You need to spend a similar amount of time or use a similar amount of words to explain both sides of the issue. You can't focus all of your attention on side one and then just a little attention on side two, but you also should be fair between the two. These questions usually present something, two things together, that will have good arguments for both sides.


That's the best way to approach this question is to try to present positive arguments for both sides of the issue. Imagine you're trying to summarize the arguments from two people. One person believes one side of the issue, and the other person believes the other side of the issue.


You're trying to present them fairly, and kinda summarize those two sides together. And remember, read the directions. Very often, you only need to present this information. If the essay question does not ask you to provide an opinion, then all you need to do is write an introduction. You need to present side one, the positive arguments for that side, present side two, the positive arguments for that side, and then write your conclusion and you're done.


More tips for such kind of essay are provided in the below videos (will be updated later):