IELTS: Three Types of Essays

The first rule of the essay is to answer the question posed. The fact is that there are different types of IELTS essays, on which it depends on which aspects should be paid attention. We’ll look at the three main types of essays and the difficulties they can present. I strongly advise you to practice writing essays of each type before the exam.

 

1. Discussion

You are offered a social problem, you should discuss it, and often – and offer your solution.

Examples

Red highlights the problem, and blue is what is required of you:

In many countries schools have severe problems with student behaviourWhat do you think are the causes of this? What solutions can you suggest?

and

Many universities charge higher fees for foreign students. Why do they do this? Do you believe that it is fair?

Keywords:

·                     Why do they think that?

·                     What solutions can you suggest?

Difficulties:

1. You must present your point of view.

2. Often you are given two tasks: for example, to discuss the reasons and offer a solution to the problem. If you miss one of them, you will be fined for failure to complete the task.

3. This question does not offer new ideas, you may need time to think about them.

 

2. Offer

You have to discuss someone else’s opinion about a social problem. You have to answer whether and to what extent you agree with it.

Examples

The opinion is highlighted in redand the task itself is highlighted in blueSometimes additional information is given in the question (green), and only then there is the opinion and the task.

Fatherhood ought to be emphasized as much as motherhood. The idea that women are solely responsible for deciding whether or not to have babies leads on to the idea that they are also responsible for bringing the children upTo what extent do you agree or disagree?

and

Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Keywords:

·                     What is you opinion?

·                     Do you agree that…

·                     To what extent do you agree?

·                     Discuss

Difficulties:

1. These questions are longer, sometimes difficult to understand. Allocate enough time to read the task and search for keywords, decide what “this” and “these” refer to.

2. If you discuss only additional information, not an opinion, and they are really easy to confuse, you will be fined for not completing the task.

3. Discuss someone else’s opinion. Your point of view alone is not enough here.

3. Dispute

In this type of essay, you are offered a problem and two different solutions or opinions. You are usually asked to determine which one is better.

Examples

This IELTS essay is divided into two more subtypes. In the first case, you will be offered two situations or points of view (highlighted in red), and asked to choose between them (highlighted in blue).

In some countries people pay different rates of tax depending on their salaryin other countries everyone pays the same rateWhich do you believe is the best system?

In the second case, the solution (highlighted in red) of the situation (in green) is given, and the task (in blue) is to discuss its advantages and disadvantages.

Unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing developed nations todayWhat are the advantages and/or disadvantages of reducing the working week to thirty five hours?

Keywords:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this

Difficulties:

1. An essay that discusses the problem as a whole, rather than the advantages and disadvantages of each opportunity or the choice between them, will be fined for failure to complete the task.

2. Both sides of the issue should be considered.

Other types

You may come across an essay that corresponds to two types at once. It doesn’t matter. The main thing is to understand what is required of you, and what difficulties you may encounter.

Test yourself

These simple questions will help you determine what type of essay you are looking at.

1. Are you asked for your opinion on the topic? → Discussion → Give your opinion

2. Are you asked to discuss a specific proposal? → Proposal → Discuss this proposal

3. Asked to choose between two different opinions or to look at their advantages and disadvantages → Dispute→ Discuss both possibilities and come to a consensus

You will also need an article on how to evaluate essays.

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