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A Simple Formula for Discussing Two Opposing Views in Your IELTS Essay

21 Apr 2019
A Simple Formula for Discussing Two Opposing Views in Your IELTS Essay

Doing your best on the writing section of the IELTS exam is easier if you take the time to get to know the different essay types that can appear.

Once you know the kinds of tasks you might face, it’s possible to make a general outline or map for each into which you can organize your ideas. Having an outline will give you some breathing room to focus on your answer during this time sensitive test as you only have about 40 minutes to write the essay.

Those of you who have been preparing already know that there are 4 question types that often appear on the exam*.

Essay Type Example Question
Agree/Disagree**

Some people believe the internet is the most important invention in modern history.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Discussion

Some people believe that testing products on animals should be banned but others think that this is necessary.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Problem/Solution

More and more professionals, such as engineers and doctors, are leaving their own poorer countries to work in developed countries.

What problems does this cause?
What solutions can you suggest to deal with this?

Advantage/Disadvantage

These days more and more people are choosing to improve their appearance with cosmetic surgery.

Do the advantages of this trend outweigh any disadvantages?

*Note, most other essays ask direct questions (usually 2) about a subject and you should answer each of those questions in separate paragraphs making sure you include an introduction and conclusion. They will likely be some form of the above essays.

** I have already provided a simple formula for agree/disagree essays here.

In this blog we will look at how to organize discussion essays or essays that present two opposing views and ask for your opinion. This sample outline isn’t the definitive or only way to put a discussion essay together, but I hope that by looking at the example, you will see the basic essentials of an essay format (introduction, body, conclusion, including support/examples) and understand, generally, what to do in order to get the score you need to succeed.

CAUTION: Before we begin, you should remember that when you are asked to discuss two opposing views, you must put yourself in the shoes of the people who hold each opinion – seeing the issue from both sides of the fence. If you don’t, you will limit your score.

Now, while you look at the response to the following task, see if you can identify what each sentence does before you look at the outline below.

Some people believe that the best way to control accidents on city streets is to lower the speed limit but others think there are more important issues that need attention before roads can be safe.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

As more and more people drive cars in major cities, the number of serious accidents grow each year. Some people believe that the best way to address this problem is to reduce the speed limit on city streets while others disagree and think that there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed to keep people safe. Although speeding is an issue, I agree that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone can travel without fear. This essay will consider the different viewpoints before deciding what is the best solution.

There are some that see speeding as the main reason why people are involved in motor vehicle accidents and think that driving slower would solve the problem. Indeed, if people maintained a safe speed throughout the city, the risk and frequency of traffic accidents would clearly be reduced as the faster a car travels, the more damage it can do to whatever it hits. Many cities around the world adopted very low speed limits over the last decade and there is some evidence that there have been fewer incidents and far fewer serious accidents within the city limits.

However, there are others who would say that the problem is more about people driving while distracted and that heavy penalties to address this issue would be more effective in improving the situation. It’s hard not to notice that many drivers are looking down at their phones and not at the road while driving. The dangers of not paying attention are obvious and, in fact, the number one cause of traffic accidents in recent times is reported to be distraction as people text or email while they are in the driver’s seat not watching where they are going.

In my opinion, both views have merit but the best way to solve this problem is to make sure the government provides the funding for law enforcement. Without the manpower and budget for crime detection and policing to catch offenders, many will continue to break the texting and speeding laws if they know they can get away with it. Cities that have allocated enough money to their police force and empowered them to come up with ways to catch distracted and aggressive drivers have made their metropolises safer.

City streets need to be safer for everyone and speeding and distracted drivers are a problem. If the proper funding is given to law enforcement to catch and punish those who break safe driving laws, city dwellers will feel more at ease on the roads.

DISCUSSION ESSAY – 5 PARAGRAPH FORMULA

Paragraph One – Introduction

Sentence 1: Introduces the main subject.

As more and more people drive cars in major cities, the number of serious accidents grow each year.

Sentence 2: States the two opposing views about the subject.

Some people believe that the best way to address this problem is to reduce the speed limit on city streets while others disagree and think that there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed to keep people safe.

Sentence 3: States the writer’s opinion in the matter.

Although speeding is an issue, I agree that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone can travel without fear.

Sentence 4: Briefly outlines what the writer is going to write about in the paragraphs that follow.

This essay will consider the different viewpoints before deciding what is the best solution.

In this example, the opinion of the writer is different than the two given opinions but it is also possible to agree with one or both of the opinions provided as well. In this case, you would use the same outline and give further or different support in the fourth paragraph.Here is a template for the discussion essay that you can use to help you practice and learn how to organize your ideas for the exam.More essay formulas to come! I hope you find them useful. Good luck and have fun with your preparations.

Paragraph Two – Body

Sentence 1: Gives the first viewpoint.

There are some that see speeding as the main reason why people are involved in motor vehicle accidents and think that driving slower would solve the problem.

Sentence 2: Discusses why some people might hold this view.

Indeed, if people maintained a safe speed throughout the city, the risk and frequency of traffic accidents would clearly be reduced as the faster a car travels, the more damage it can do to whatever it hits.

Sentence 3: Gives an example that supports their viewpoint.

Many cities around the world adopted very low speed limits over the last decade and there is some evidence that there have been fewer incidents and far fewer serious accidents within the city limits.

Paragraph Three – Body

Sentence 1: Gives the second viewpoint.

However, there are others who would say that the problem is more about people driving while distracted and that heavy penalties to address this issue would be more effective in improving the situation.

Sentence 2: Discusses why some people might hold this view.

It’s hard not to notice that many drivers are looking down at their phones and not at the road while driving.

Sentence 3: Gives an example that supports their viewpoint.

The dangers of not paying attention are obvious and, in fact, the number one cause of traffic accidents in recent times is reported to be distraction as people text or email while they are in the driver’s seat not watching where they are going.

Paragraph Four – Body

Sentence 1: Gives your viewpoint.

In my opinion, both views have merit but the best way to solve this problem is to make sure the government provides the funding for law enforcement.

Sentence 2: Discusses why you hold this view.

Without the manpower and budget for crime detection and policing to catch offenders, many will continue to break the texting and speeding laws if they know they can get away with it.

Sentence 3: Gives an example that supports your viewpoint.

Cities that have allocated enough money to their police force and empowered them to come up with ways to catch distracted and aggressive drivers have made their metropolises safer.

Paragraph Five – Conclusion

Sentence 1: Summarizes the different opinions on the topic.

City streets need to be safer for everyone and speeding and distracted drivers are a problem.

Sentence 2: States which opinion is better or more important in your view.

If the proper funding is given to law enforcement to catch and punish those who break safe driving laws, city dwellers will feel more at ease on the roads.

In this example, the opinion of the writer is different than the two given opinions but it is also possible to agree with one or both of the opinions provided as well. In this case, you would use the same outline and give further or different support in the fourth paragraph.

Here is a template for the discussion essay that you can use to help you practice and learn how to organize your ideas for the exam.

More essay formulas to come! I hope you find them useful. Good luck and have fun with your preparations.

DISCUSSION ESSAY – 5 PARAGRAPH FORMULA TEMPLATE

Paragraph One – Introduction

Sentence 1:
___________________________________________________________________________
Introduce the main subject.

Sentence 2:
___________________________________________________________________________
State the two opposing views.

Sentence 3:
___________________________________________________________________________
State your opinion in the matter.

Sentence 4:
___________________________________________________________________________
Briefly outline what you are going to write about in the paragraphs that follow.

Paragraphs Two and Three and Four– the Body of Support

Sentence 1 (topic sentence):
___________________________________________________________________________
Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating the first view point.

Sentence 2:
___________________________________________________________________________
Assume that the reader doesn’t know anything about this topic and discuss why some people might have this view.

Sentence 3:
___________________________________________________________________________
Give a real life or made up example that supports this view.

Paragraph Three – Repeat the above for the other viewpoint

Sentence 1 (topic sentence):
___________________________________________________________________________
Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating the second view point.

Sentence 2:
___________________________________________________________________________
Assume that the reader doesn’t know anything about this topic and discuss why some people might have this view.

Sentence 3:
___________________________________________________________________________
Give a real life or made up example that supports this view.

Paragraph Four – Repeat above for your viewpoint

Sentence 1 (topic sentence):
___________________________________________________________________________
Tell the reader what this paragraph is about by stating your view point (whether you have a different opinion OR you agree with one more than the other OR how you might agree with both).

Sentence 2:
___________________________________________________________________________
Discuss why you have this view.

Sentence 3:
___________________________________________________________________________
Give a real life or made up example that supports your view.

Paragraph Five – Conclusion

Sentence 1:
___________________________________________________________________________
Rephrase or summarize the different opinions on the topic.

Sentence 2:
___________________________________________________________________________
State which opinion is better or more important in your view.

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