Agree Disagree Essay Outline

 

If you’ve begun your IELTS prep, you’ll know that the Task 2 Essay asks you to write an academic-based essay discussing an argument, opinion or point of view. But where do you start? If you follow the simple IELTS Task 2 Writing template below, you will easily be able to structure your essay and concisely write the required 250 words. Once you’re done here, continue onto our Complete Guide to the IELTS Writing Task 2 to learn more about how to improve your score.

Basic IELTS Task 2 Writing Template Structure

I would recommend that your essay uses the following structure:

Below is more detail on the sentences that should be contained within each of these paragraphs along with examples based around this sample Task 2 Question:

Government investment in the visual arts, the kind you commonly see in art galleries, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

 

Introduction

Aim to write three sentences around 60 words in total.

  • Sentence 1 – Paraphrase the task question or write a general statement relating to the topic using synonyms of the key words used in the question. E.g. These days, many local governments spend large portions of their budget not only on public services, but also on the visual arts.
  • Sentence 2 – State your opinion or point of view on the question being asked. E.g – Although I agree that it is important to invest in local amenities, I do not think spending on the visual arts is a waste of money.
  • Sentence 3 –Give an essay overview including a summarizing phrase like: E.g. This essay will discuss this issue using examples to support arguments and demonstrate points.

 

Supporting Paragraphs

The two supporting paragraphs should include your ideas and supporting examples to answer the task question. Aim to write only two supporting paragraphs with roughly 85 words in each. Each paragraph should contain the following four sentences and stick to one idea per paragraph:

Paragraph 1:

  • Sentence 1 – State your 1st position.Eg. On the one hand, spending a significant amount of the government budget on public services is beneficial for society.
  • Sentence 2 – Explain why you hold that position. Eg. Providing for basic amenities, such as hospitals, roads, and schools, helps to determine the quality of life that most citizens will have.
  • Sentence 3 – Give an academic example that backs up your idea. Eg. For example, a recent survey by Education Today shows that countries that spend more on schools have a population that is higher in literacy, by 65%, compared to those that dedicate no money to education.
  • Sentence 4 – Summarise the paragraph showing how your example links your idea/argument back to the main idea. Eg. Therefore it is apparent that spending on public services is a worthwhile investment for a government.

Paragraph 2:

  • Sentence 1 – State your 2nd position.Eg. However, this does not mean that the visual arts should be completely neglected.
  • Sentence 2 – Explain why you hold that position.Eg. The visual arts also have an important impact on our quality of life.
  • Sentence 3 – Give an academic example that backs up your idea. Eg. For example, a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization concluded that individuals that regularly visit art galleries are cited as being 20% happier in life than people who do not.
  • Sentence 4 – Summarise the paragraph showing how your example links your idea/argument back to the main idea. Eg. Seeing the health benefits that many people get from the visual arts, it is important that the government assists such institutions so that they can continue to provide pleasure to the public.

 

Conclusion

For the conclusion, aim to write just one or two sentences that paraphrase what you’ve discussed in the essay. Try to keep to under 45 words.

  • Sentence 1 – Summarise the essay. Be sure to start this sentence with an appropriate linking phrase (i.e. In conclusion, To sum up, Consequently) followed by an overall summary of what you’ve just written. E.g. To sum up, although there are clear benefits of ensuring a large amount of investment goes into public services, I do not believe spending money on the arts is a waste of money as this too provides important benefits.
  • Sentence 2 – Give a Final Thought.Eg. In the future, governments should consider budgeting for both.

 
 
 

Introduction

This lesson will help you write better ‘agree or disagree’ or ‘opinion’ IELTS task 2 essays.

Agree or disagree essays are one of the most common on the IELTS writing paper.

Agree or Disagree Essay

Many students fail to do well in this type of question because they do not have a clear opinion and they do not use an appropriate structure.

In this post we will look at:

  1. Structure
  2. Deciding Opinion
  3. Idea Generation
  4. Writing an Effective Introduction
  5. Writing Supporting Paragraphs
  6. Writing a Conclusion

We will use a question from an IELTS past paper to help us understand the task.

Structure

The best structure you can use for this type of essay is:

Paragraph 1- Introduction

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Statement

Paragraph 2- Supporting Paragraph 1

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2/3- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3/4- Example

Paragraph 3- Supporting Paragraph 2

Sentence 1- Topic Sentence

Sentence 2/3- Explain Topic Sentence

Sentence 3/4- Example

Paragraph 4- Conclusion

Sentence 1- Summary and reiteration of your opinion.

That’s it! Four paragraphs. You don’t have to use this structure and other structures can get you a high score, but this structure has been approved by IELTS examiners to be one that will allow students to write a clear and cohesive essay. This structure will allow you to focus on generating your ideas and then writing an effective essay.

Deciding Opinion

In this essay IELTS examiners want you to give a clear opinion, so it’s really important for you to make a decision when you read the question. You will also need to do this in order to write an effective thesis statement.

Let’s look at an example:

 

In some countries an increasing number of people are suffering from health problems as a result of eating too much fast food. It is therefore necessary for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

With this type of essay we have two choices:

  1. We agree with the statement or;
  2. We disagree with the statement

Some teachers advise that you can partly agree and disagree but this often leads to an essay with no clear focus and a confusing structure.

So for this agree or disagree essay you can say either:

  1. This essay agrees that governments should tax fast food or;
  2. This essay disagrees that governments should tax fast food

I think I will have more ideas for A, so I’m choosing this one. Always choose the one that you feel comfortable writing about even if you don’t personally feel that way. There are no points for writing about how you feel, you just want to impress the examiner.

Idea Generation

Now we have to think of ideas for why governments should tax fast food.

Here are some:

  • Cigarettes and alcohol are taxed in the same way
  • The money raised could be used to treat people with health problems
  • Fast food companies should be punished for selling unhealthy food to people
  • Making the food more expensive would stop people eating it
  • The money raised could be used to educate people about healthy eating

We don’t need to use all of these, just two for our supporting paragraphs. I’m going to pick the first and the fourth ones because I know a little about these two and feel confident I can expand on them with explanations and examples. Remember the examiner wants you to fully support your arguments, not just list a lot of ideas.

Now we have two supporting ideas we can move on to our introduction.

Introduction

As previously stated, we will use the following structure:

Paragraph 1- Introduction

Sentence 1- Paraphrase Question

Sentence 2- Thesis Statement

Sentence 3- Outline Statement

For a more detailed explanation please see our post on writing an effective introduction.

In order to paraphrase the question we simply restate it with a different meaning using synonyms. I will also reorder the question. Here is the question again:

In some countries an increasing number of people are suffering from health problems as a result of eating too much fast food. It is therefore necessary for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

Paraphrased: It is argued that governments should levy a tariff on junk food because the number of health risks associated with consuming this kind of food is on the rise.

This is our first sentence.

We now need to write our thesis statement. This is our opinion in one sentence. This essay will agree with the above statement and will therefore look like this:

This essay agrees that a higher rate of tax should be paid by fast food companies.

This is our second sentence.

We now need to write our third and final sentence, which is the outline sentence. This sentence outlines what you will write about in the main body paragraphs.

Firstly, this essay will discuss the fact that alcohol and tobacco companies already pay higher taxes and secondly, discuss how higher taxes could raise prices and lower consumption.

So our full introduction will look like this:

It is argued that governments should levy a tariff on junk food because the number of health risks associated with consuming this kind of food is on the rise. This essay agrees that a higher rate of tax should be paid by fast food companies. Firstly, this essay will discuss the fact that alcohol and tobacco companies already pay higher taxes and secondly, discuss how higher taxes would raise prices and lower consumption.

3 sentences, 77 words.

We now need to write our supporting paragraphs for our agree or disagree essay:

Supporting Paragraph 1

This paragraph should include:

  1. Topic Sentence
  2. Explanation
  3. Example

A topic sentence tells the examiner what the rest of the paragraph is about. In other words, it is a summary of your first idea. It should look something like this:

Higher excise on liqueur and cigarettes has proven to be successful at curbing the harm caused by these substances.

We now need to expand on this point a little. A good way of doing this is to assume that the examiner has no knowledge of this subject and you have to explain clearly what you mean. Here is what this could look like:

This revenue has been used to treat health problems associated with these products and has proven useful in advertising campaigns warning people about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tax from fast food could be used in the same way.

We should now think of an example to support our point. Think about any recent news stories, studies or adverts. If you can’t think of one, make one up. The examiner won’t check if it is real or not.

The United Kingdom is a prime example, where money from smokers is used to treat lung cancer and heart disease, while at the same time, pumped into health campaigns in schools to warn children about the dangers of smoking.     

That’s it. Four sentences. The full paragraph should look like this:

Higher excise on liqueur and cigarettes has proven to be successful at curbing the harm caused by these substances. This revenue has been used to treat health problems associated with these products and has proven useful in advertising campaigns warning people about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tax from fast food could be used in the same way. The United Kingdom is a prime example, where money from smokers is used to treat lung cancer and heart disease.

Supporting Paragraph 2

We now repeat the same formula with our second supporting point- higher taxes will increase prices and reduce consumption.

Our topic sentence:

Increasing taxes would raise prices and lower consumption.

Explaining this further:

Fast food companies would pass on these taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices and this would lead to people not being able to afford junk food because it is too expensive. Junk food would soon become a luxury item and it would only be consumed occasionally, which would be less harmful to the general public’s health.

We now support our point with an example:

For instance, the cost of organic food has proven prohibitively expensive for most people and that is why only a small percentage of the population buy it regularly.

The full paragraph would look like this:

Increasing taxes would raise prices and lower consumption. Fast food companies would pass on these taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices and this would lead to people not being able to afford junk food because it is too expensive. Junk food would soon become a luxury item and it would only be consumed occasionally, which would be less harmful to the general public’s health. For instance, the cost of organic food has proven prohibitively expensive for most people and that is why only a small percentage of the population buy it regularly.

Four sentences.

Conclusion

As stated before a good conclusion for agree or disagree essays should include:

Sentence 1- Summary of main points

Sentence 2- Your opinion

Don’t write any new ideas in this paragraph.

A good conclusion should just restate your thesis statement and your main supporting points.

In conclusion, junk food should be taxed at a higher rate because of the good precedent set by alcohol and tobacco and the fact that the increased cost should reduce the amount of fast food people buy.

Agree or Disagree Sample Essay 

It is argued that governments should levy a tariff on junk food because the number of health risks associated with consuming this kind of food is on the rise. This essay agrees that a higher rate of tax should be paid by fast food companies. Firstly, this essay will discuss the fact that alcohol and tobacco companies already pay higher taxes and secondly, discuss how higher taxes would raise prices and lower consumption.

Higher excise on liqueur and cigarettes has proven to be successful at curbing the harm caused by these substances. This revenue has been used to treat health problems associated with these products and has proven useful in advertising campaigns warning people about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tax from fast food could be used in the same way. The United Kingdom is a prime example, where money from smokers is used to treat lung cancer and heart disease.

Increasing taxes would raise prices and lower consumption. Fast food companies would pass on these taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices and this would lead to people not being able to afford junk food because it is too expensive. Junk food would soon become a luxury item and it would only be consumed occasionally, which would be less harmful to the general public’s health. For instance, the cost of organic food has proven prohibitively expensive for most people and that is why only a small percentage of the population buy it regularly.

In conclusion, junk food should be taxed at a higher rate because of the good precedent set by alcohol and tobacco and the fact that the increased cost should reduce the amount of fast food people buy.

290 words (band score 9)

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