How to plan your essay for the IELTS writing test Part 2

Do you ever think “I don’t know how to start my essay!” Well let’s look at two common types of IELTS Part 2 essay questions.

Studying or working in a foreign country as a gap year between finishing secondary school and going to university has great benefits for young people and should be encouraged. 

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

For this type of essay, first you need to have an opinion. For questions saying “to what extent” you don’t need to give more than one view i.e. you might think it is completely true, or false and your essay may be very persuasive. If you partly agree, your essay will be more balanced and you can write about advantages and disadvantages.

Spend a few minutes brainstorming ideas and planning your essay. A good plan for your paragraphs may be like this:

  1. An introduction describing the issue and your opinion – for, or against or partly agree
  2. Arguments and reasons for (or against)
  3. Counter arguments and reasons- this is optional if you want to express two sides
  4. Restate your opinion in a concluding paragraph


Another type of common question is “discuss” type question. On the same topic, here’s an example:

Some people believe that working in a foreign country after secondary school for a year prepares young people better for university. Others think that it is a waste of time and after secondary school, the students should go straight to university.

Discuss both those views and give your opinion.

For this type of essay, it is important to write about both views in your essay or you will lose marks on achievement of the task. A good plan for your paragraphs may be like this:

  1. Introduction which describes the issue but doesn’t give your opinion yet.
  2. Arguments and evidence for one view in the question
  3. Arguments and evidence for the other view.
  4. Your opinion on the issue, having shown both sides above.


To sum up, if you see ‘’discuss’’ in the question then you need to write about more than one view. If the question says ‘’to what extent do you agree?’’ you can be one-sided and persuasive by having a few good arguments. Happy writing 🙂

March 3, 2017

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