IELTS Writing: Introductions to Discussion Essays

“Some people believe that physical education should be a mandatory subject in the school curriculum. Others, however, think that children should exercise at home, and spend more time on core subjects at school. Discuss.”

Above is an example of IELTS Writing Task 2 question which is asking for a discussion-based response.

How do we know it is a discussion question? Simple: it gives the candidate two opposing views and asks the reader to discuss both. What are the two opposing views in the question above? Put simply:

Some people are for PE (physical education) at school. Some people are against PE at school.

Introductions to this essay type follow a very simple formula.

1. A general sentence about the topic.

If you don’t know what to write here, think what do both points of view have in common? In this case, nobody is saying that exercise is not important. Exercise is important. In fact, there is no doubt that exercise is important for childrenDone! There’s your first sentence. 

2. Summarize both points.

Start with the conjunction While (which indicates you’re about to show a contrast).  Then, paraphrase the two arguments (use synonyms, change word order).

Some people believe physical education should be a mandatory subject in the school curriculum… —> Some say that it should be compulsory for students to study physical education…

Others think that children should exercise at home, and spend more time on core subjects at school —> Other people argue that maths, science and English are more important, and that exercise should be done at home. 

While some say that it should be compulsory for students to study physical education, other people argue that maths, science and English are more important, and that exercise should be done at home. (notice the comma in orange after the first point!)

3. Tell the reader your plan.

This last part is nice and simple. If the question says Discuss then you do not need to give your opinion here. (If the question says Discuss and give your opinion, then you can give your opinion here.) Just say that you are going to discuss both sides and then give your opinion.

In this essay, I will discuss both of these views and give my opinion.

Finished product:

There is no doubt that exercise is important for children. While some say that it should be compulsory for students to study physical education, other people argue that maths, science and English are more important, and that exercise should be done at home. In this essay, I will discuss both of these views and give my opinion.

One comment
  1. jre July 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    hey, do you have a twitter?