• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

Difference Between Argument And Discussion Essay In Ielts Listening

Introduction

This lesson will help you answer IELTS writing task 2 discussion (or discuss both views and give your opinion) questions.

These particular questions require a different approach to opinion essays because you have to discuss both sides rather than just argue in favour of one side.

This post will look at:

  • Identifying the question
  • Example Questions
  • Structure
  • Sample Answer
  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource


Many students fail to do well in these kinds of questions because they do not do what the question asks them to do and they do not use an appropriate structure. This post will help you overcome these problems and give you a sample answer.

We will also look at ‘lexical resource’ and ‘coherence and cohesion’; two of the marking criteria IELTS examiners use when marking your essays. Understand the marking scheme will help you to get inside the head of an IELTS examiner and give then exactly what they want.

Identifying the Question

Look at the three questions below and choose one you think is a discussion question.

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education and so there will soon be no role for the teacher in education.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your own opinion.

  1. Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

The first question is an opinion question and we can tell this from the instructions ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree?’.

The second question is obviously an advantages and disadvantages question.

The third question is the discussion question. We can tell this from the typical instructions in the question ‘Discuss both sides of the argument and then give your opinion’.

You may also be asked to ‘Discuss both views and give you opinion’ or ‘Discuss both sides of the argument and give your opinion’.

Each of these questions is asking us to do different things and we therefore need a different structure for each question.

Example Questions

Here are a few other typical discussion questions:

  1. A growing number of people feel that animals should not be exploited by people and that they should have the same rights as humans, while others argue that humans must employ animals to satisfy their various needs, including uses for food and research.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

  1. Blood sports have become a hot topic for debate in recent years. As society develops it is increasingly seen as an uncivilized activity and cruel to the helpless animals that are killed. All blood sports should be banned.

Discuss the main arguments for this statement and give your own opinion.

  1. Some people think that the best way to reduce crime is to give longer prison sentences. Others, however, believe there are better alternative ways of reducing crime.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.

As you can see, they typically state two opinions and then ask you to discuss both and give your opinion. Make sure you do these things in the essay. If you only discuss both views and fail to give your opinion you will lose marks.

Structure

For discussion questions, I suggest you use the following four paragraph structure.

Introduction 

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- State Both Points of View

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Sentence

Main Body Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- State first viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss first viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Main Body Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- State second viewpoint

Sentence 2- Discuss second viewpoint

Sentence 3- Reason why you agree or disagree with viewpoint

Sentence 4- Example to support your view

Conclusion

Sentence 1- Summary

Sentence 2- State which one is better or more important

Practice  

Here is a sample answer but I have mixed up the sentences. Can you match the sentences below to the structure above?

This exercise will help you understand the structure.

  1. In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap into limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction.
  2. There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom.
  3. It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before.
  4. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education.
  5. However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction.
  6. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy.
  7. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason.
  8. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.
  9. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.
  10. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.
  11. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.
  12. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications.

Example Answer

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap in to limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

(266 words)

Task Achievement

This is one of the four areas you will be assessed on in the IELTS writing test.

Task achievement refers to your ability to address all parts of the question and present a fully developed answer. By following the structure above, we have fully discussed both sides of the argument and given our opinion. This is exactly what the question asked us to do, no more, no less.

Coherence and Cohesion

Discourse markers (words like ‘however’, ‘despite this’ and ‘In conclusion’) are also referred to as ‘linking words’ and ‘linking phrases’, or ‘sentence connectors’. They are quite formal and are used more in academic writing than informal speech.

You gain marks for using these under the ‘coherence and cohesion’ section of the marking scheme. These words ‘stick’ the other words together and lend continuity to sentences and paragraphs.

If you do not include discourse markers in your IELTS writing, your answer will appear illogical and it is more difficult to understand.

However, this does not mean that you should try to insert as many of these words in to your writing as possible. This is a common mistake in IELTS writing.  Using too many of them, or using them inappropriately, can make your writing sound too heavy and unnatural. They are important, but must only be used at the appropriate time.

Practice

Try to identify any discourse markers in the essay above? Don’t look at the essay below yet. How many can you find?

Sample Answer with Discourse Markers

Here is the sample answer again with the discourse markers in bold.

There is an ever increasing use of technology, such as tablets and laptops, in the classroom. It is often argued that this is a positive development, whilst others disagree and think it will lead to adverse ramifications. This essay agrees that an increase in technology is beneficial to students and teachers. This essay will discuss both points of view.

It is clear that the internet has provided students with access to more information than ever before. Moreover, learners have the ability to research and learn about any subject at the touch of a button. It is therefore agreed that technology is a very worthwhile tool for education. Wikipedia is a prime example, where students can simply type in any keyword and gain access to in-depth knowledge quickly and easily.

However, many disagree and feel that technology deprives people of real human interaction. Human interaction teaches people valuable skills such as discourse, debate and empathy. Despite this, human interaction is still possible through the internet and this essay disagrees technology should be dismissed for this reason. For instance, Skype and Facebook make it possible for people to interact in ways that were never before possible.

In conclusion, while the benefits of technology, particularly the internet, allow students to tap in to limitless sources of information, some still feel that people should be wary of this new phenomenon and not allow it to curb face to face interaction. However, as long as we are careful to keep in mind the importance of human interaction in education, the educational benefits are clearly positive.

Lexical Resource

This is also one of the four criteria you will be marked on and it refers to your ability to use a wide range of accurate vocabulary.

A common mistake is to repeat the same words over and over again. You will lose marks if you do this. A solution to this problem is to use synonyms. You can either think of synonyms as you are writing or leave time at the end to add them in.

Practice

Can you identify any synonyms in the essay above?

Here are some examples:

Computers- technology

Computers- the internet

Education- in the classroom

Education- students and teachers

Positive trend- positive development

Negative Consequences- adverse ramifications

By varying your vocabulary in this way you are demonstrating that you have a wide vocabulary and this will boost your band score. However, like discourse markers be careful not to use inappropriate/inaccurate words. Only use words you are confident about. Mistakes will lead to fewer marks.

Next Steps

Do you need me to correct your essays and give you feedback on them? Check out our essay correction service.

I hope this post helps you with discussion questions and if you have any questions please comments below.

The best way to keep up to date with posts like this is to like us on Facebook.

Click here to return to the homepage, or click one of the links below to check out more great IELTS stuff.

Writing Task 1

Writing Task 2

Speaking

Vocabulary 

Reading

Listening

Tips 

I only read several topics related to writing task 1( different charts) and writing task 2. I'm giving mock test thrice a week but I do not practise at home.

Is it really helpful???

Posted by: Raju | Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 10:52

@Raju
These days it is easy to read and listen to English on the internet at home. One can also copy stuff onto an iPod and listen in the car, on the bus, train, and so on.
The more time you spend training your mind to work in English, the easier it will be for you to think in English in the exam.
It is like learning to play the sitar: make it part of your life and daily routine.

Posted by: Lolita | Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 19:51

@Raju
On your IELTS test day your mind will think in English for nearly three whole hours. It is no good if, come exam day, you are unprepared for this and exhausted. So your daily English fitness routine should ...

Posted by: Lolita | Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 02:35

Thanks @Lolita for your kind advices.

I'm trying my best to get the best of IELTS. In our country Bangladesh it's hard to improve performance related to English. Even, I can't find any company to practice it. After all, my expectation is high.

God Bless you @Lolita

Posted by: Raju | Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 05:34

Hello Simon,

I’d like to ask you some advice.

First of all, thank you very much for being so helpful to many in preparing to their IELTS exam. Your teaching style is amazing; it makes much easier to understand and apply learnt techniques into a practice. I personally learned a lot from your video course, ebook and website altogether. So, thank you very much again.

At the same time I’d like to ask your advice re Wr 2. I usually end up with less words in my essay and get panic by the end of the test. I don’t have new ideas to develop my body paragraph and, basically, don’t know how to expand my essay. I’m afraid of losing marks for not writing 250 words.

My question is, if I don’t have time and feel like I didn’t write enough words shall I add a sentence to my introduction which I know will not give me an extra mark but at least will help me not to loose one?

I also was wondering if it is a good idea to start with writing Wr2 and then coming back to Wr1 since Wr2 is much more important and gives more scores?

Thank you in advance.

Regards,
Dilara

Posted by: Dilara | Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 07:50

Hi Simon,

Does it mean in the 'discuss both views" essay I shouldn't give our opinion in the introduction?

If I give our opinion in the introduction, will it lower my score?

Thanks, Nhan

Posted by: Nhan | Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 12:18

Hello everybody!

I'm new here. And I've just found this sentence somewhere from this site:
"Unemployment rates could rise if there are two many immigrants".

As far as I know, it should be:
1. "Unemployment rates will rise if there are two many immigrants".
or
2. "Unemploymnet rates could rise if there were too many immigrants".

I'm a little confused right now. Can anyone explain this to me?

Thank you for your help!

Duy

Posted by: Duy | Friday, January 19, 2018 at 03:24

Hello Simon,
Thank you for all of your guidance.

I took the test last month, and I got S-7, R-7.5, L-8. But I got only '6' in writing. I had not come across the website before taking the test though. I wish I had.

Would you please help me with some of my doubts as I am taking the test again on 10th Feb, 2018 and aiming to get 7 in writing also.

1. I make spelling mistakes, 1-3 in every essay. Would this reduce 0.5 - 1 band score?
2. Now, I am following 13 lines structure and it is perfect. But I am not able to use resources like though/although, in spite of/despite and so on. Would it affect my score?

Thanks a lot for creating this website!
Regards.

Posted by: Pankaj | Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 03:24

Hello Mr. Simon ,
I had my exam two days ago and in writing task 2 there was this question :
Some people believe that its goverment responsibility to transport children to shool while others believe its parents responsibility. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
I had ideas and followed the steps you mentioned in your video course however I couldn’t find many paraphrasings for parents , children , transport and school . I felt like am repeating many words ! Also I had ideas that when parents drive their children it could be more safe and time spent with their children in the morning but I believe that government should be responsible because of the heavy traffics , parents timetable and pupils could aocialize more in the buses ! But the problem I didn’t know how to start my pragraphhs as well that i had to erase a lot while writing in pen does it reduce my marks ?
I would be glad if you can write for us a sample of essay about this topic .
Thanks a lot

Posted by: Nora | Monday, January 22, 2018 at 10:12

@Nora
http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/school?s=t
http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/parents?s=t
http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/children?s=t

None of those synonyms are really suitable. Perhaps "caregiver" instead of parents, or "offspring" instead of children, "drive" for transport, but school is just school.

What this points up is that it is not necessary to paraphrase ever single word in the question. Just do not copy a phrase of more than three words.

Sometimes repeating a key word can give better cohesion, but it is worth practicing referencing, and making use of gerunds, and simple connectors such as 'and' to avoid repetition.

Referencing means using words like "they", "this", "those", "it" to refer back. For example:
Most scientists now agree that global warming is caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions, but they do not always agree on the solutions to this problem.

More examples in Hue's task 1 submission in the comments here:
http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/01/ielts-writing-task-1-introduction-paraphrasing.html#comments

One good way to start a task 2 body paragraph is with a short sentence introducing the focus topic of the paragraph. "There are several options." "Armaments are the big bugbear."

Posted by: Gabi | Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 22:51

@Nora

One way to format your paragraph is to keep the same grammatical subject for each sentence whenever possible.

see Mojo's and Mr sjm's comments here:

http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/01/ielts-writing-task-2-instead-of-firstly-secondly-finally.html

Looking at the question you mention, there could be two contrasting paragraphs beginning:

Para 2: One view is that responsibility for transport to and from school lies with the government. They made education compulsory. They provide the school and teachers .... They should also ... They should pay.

Para 3: The opposite view is that parents are responsible. They .... They also .... They should pay.

Simple, repetitive, but clear and cohesive. Of course some variety should be added in.

Posted by: Gabi | Monday, January 29, 2018 at 04:17

Sir, One question.
If they are asking for your opinion in argument task then is it necessary to give conclusion below that ?


Because where i took the lessons they said insert conclusion below your opinion

Posted by: Gurpreet Kaur | Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 05:59

Hello, simon! I'm so confused and really need you help! Thanks so much. some former examiners said that a 50% agree and 50% disagree structure never scores high coz it can make your point unclear and weak, is it true? Thank you again!

Posted by: Mickey | Sunday, March 04, 2018 at 08:15

Mickey,

If your answer is "unclear and weak", you will get a lower score - that's true!

However, it is certainly possible to give a 'balanced' answer that is strong and clear. I've shared several balanced (or 'partly agree') answers in the lessons on this site, and my view is always extremely clear.

In other words, it all depends on how well you express your views. Make them clear and you'll be fine!

Posted by: Simon | Tuesday, March 06, 2018 at 16:03

One thought on “Difference Between Argument And Discussion Essay In Ielts Listening

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *