Opinion-based essays

Writing styles Descriptive Opinion-based Creative Email communication

There are a number of different writing styles. For academic purposes, we can define two broad categories descriptive reports and opinion-based essays:

1. Agree/Disagree     مع أو ضد 2. Cause/Effect     أسباب وآثار
3. Problem/Solution     مشكلة وحلول 4. Advantage/Disadvantage     مزايا وعيوب

In IELTS, the second writing task (TASK TWO) is to produce an opinion-based essay; you are required to give your own points of view on a given subject (e.g. education provision or the impact of international tourism) and not provide anything else (i.e. information not related to the question/subject).

There is no official list of subjects (“themes”, “topics”), but the following serve as a general guide:

  Education
  Employment and money
  Environmental issues
  Gender, Family & Parenting
  Globalisation

  Governmental issues
  Health issues
  Language and culture
  Law and order
  Media and advertising

  Science and technology
  Sport and pastimes
  Travel and transport

Prompt 01:

As a result of globalisation, more and more people are choosing to (or having to) learn English.
This represents a threat to many of the world’s less widely spoken languages.

Explain this problem and provide some solutions.

STYLE: Problem/Solution, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Globalisation
Background information on languages under threat

 

Prompt 02:

More and more of the food we consume today travels thousands of miles before it reaches our local supermarkets and finally, our dinner plates.
In your opinion, to what extent is this a positive or a negative development?

STYLE: Problem/Solution, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Globalisation, Environmental issues

 

Prompt 03:

Nowadays, all over the world people share the same fashions, advertising, brands, eating habits and TV channels. Differences between countries and cultures become less evident each year.
Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Science and Technology, Globalisation

 

Prompt 04:

In the future, we will have more and more leisure time as machines replace many of the tasks we do at home and work.
Discuss the benefits this will bring and also the problems.

STYLE: Cause/Effect, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Science and Technology

 

Prompt 05:

Television has had a significant influence on the culture of many societies.
To what extent has television positively or negatively affected cultural development in your country?

STYLE: Cause/Effect, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Science and Technology

 

Prompt 06:

Unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing developed nations today.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of reducing the working week to thirty five hours?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation

 

Prompt 07:

In many countries there is a shortage of housing due to a growing population. Some people argue that new towns should be built in the countryside, others argue for the regeneration of cities.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the building new towns in the countryside?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 08:

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy. The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the costs.
To what extent do you agree?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Governmental issues, Environmental issues

 

Prompt 09:

Some people believe in the traditional idea that the woman’s place is in the home, while others say that idea is outdated and that women should play an increasingly important role in the workplace of the future.
What is your opinion?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Gender, Family & Parenting, Globalisation

 

Prompt 10:

People are now living longer than ever before and many old people are unable to look after themselves. Some people believe that it is the responsibility of families to look after the elderly, while others say governments should provide retirement homes for them where they can be looked after properly.
Discuss.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Problem/Solution   SUBJECT AREA: Health issues, Governmental issues, Gender, Family & Parenting

 

Prompt 11:

In some countries people pay different rates of tax depending on their salary, in other countries everyone pays the same rate.
Which do you believe is the best system?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 12:

More and more qualified people are moving from poor to rich countries to fill vacancies in specialist areas like engineering, computing and medicine. Some people believe that by encouraging the movement of such people, rich countries are stealing from poor countries. Others feel that this is only part of the natural movement of workers around the world.
Give your opinion.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Language and culture

 

Prompt 13:

In many countries, children are engaged in some kind of paid work. Some people regard this as completely wrong, while others consider it as valuable work experience, important for learning and taking responsibilities.
Discuss.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Employment and money, Globalisation, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 14:

Some people believe that the media, such as the press, TV and Internet should be more strictly controlled. Others feel that controls should be loosened to give people freer access to information.
Which opinion do you agree with?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Science and technology, Media and advertising, Law and order

 

Prompt 15:

Some people argue that universities should provide students with more practical training for their future career.
Discuss the likely costs and benefits of making university education more vocationally orientated.

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Governmental issues, Employment and money

 

Prompt 16:

Should museums and art galleries be free of charge for the general public, or should a charge, even a voluntary one, be required for admittance?
Discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of such a move.

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Governmental issues, Sport and pastimes

 

Prompt 17:

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.
Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Language and Culture, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 18:

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity or teaching sports to younger children).
To what extent do you agree?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Education, Employment and money, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 19:

Some people say that the best way to improve public health is by increasing the number of sports facilities. Others, however, say that this would have little effect on public health and that other measures are required.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Health issues, Governmental issues

 

Prompt 20:

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Language and Culture, Globalisation

 

Prompt 21:

More and more people are relying on the private car as their major means of transportation.
Describe some of the problems over reliance on can can have and suggest at least one possible solution.

STYLE: Problem/Solution, Advantage/Disadvantage   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Travel and transport

 

Prompt 22:

Even though many people argue globalisation affects the world’s economy in a positive way. Its negative effects on the environment should not be forgotten.
In your opinion, what are two of the key impacts globalisation has on the natural environment?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Globalisation, Travel and transport

 

Prompt 23:

It has been said that the world is becoming a global village in which there are no boundaries to trade and communication.

Do the benefits of globalisation outweigh the costs?

STYLE: Advantage/Disadvantage, Cause/Effect   SUBJECT AREA: Environmental issues, Globalisation, Travel and transport

 

Prompt 24:

As mass communication and transport continue to grow, societies are becoming more and more alike leading to a phenomenon known as globalisation. Some people fear that globalisation will inevitably lead to the loss of national and local cultural identities.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this point of view?

STYLE: Agree/Disagree   SUBJECT AREA: Globalisation,