How to write a “Discuss both views” IELTS task 2 essay..

In this post I want to write about the difference in structure between the “To what extent” opinion type of essay question, and the “Discuss both views” discussion essay type.

I have made a video tutorial on this subject, and you can see it below…

As you will see, in the video, the discussion essay structure is very similar to the “To what extent” structure. As in, they both typically have four paragraphs with around 12-14 sentences. The main difference is (and this depends how the essay is worded also) in the “To what extent” essay, you don’t have to consider both sides of the argument, you only need to say if you agree or not, and give two reasons why you do so. For the discussion essay type of question, and for this example we shall take the “Discuss both views and give your opinion” question type, you need to obviously, look at both views. That is to say, the first type is subjective, whilst the second is objective.

This is the difference between the opinion and discussion essay types, and this is the same for any piece of writing, we need to distinguish between “Audience” and “Purpose”. By audience, I mean who we are writing for, how formal or informal should it be, what we call the register or tone of the essay. In this case we know the audience, we are writing an academic essay so the tone of language needs to be formal, making use of passive, no contractions, etc. However, the purpose, for an opinion essay, is to state your opinion and prove it, while for a discussion essay, the purpose is to reach an opinion after analysing and discussing both views. Essentially then, the discussion essay structure is an inversion of the opinion essay. In the first, your opinion comes in the introduction, in the second, it comes in the conclusion.

Here is the structure used in the video..

Discuss both views essay structure


Sentence 1: paraphrase question and /or state both views.

Sentence 2: thesis statement

Main body paragraph 1

Sentence 1: state first viewpoint

Sentence 2: discuss/explain first viewpoint

Sentence 3: example to support your viewpoint

Sentence 4: conclusion/ extend example

Main body paragraph 2

Sentence 1: state second viewpoint

Sentence 2: discuss/explain second viewpoint

Sentence 3: example to support your viewpoint

Sentence 4: conclusion/extend example


Sentence 1: summarise/restate main ideas

Sentence 2: express opinion

And here is the sample essay..

Computers are being used more and more in education these days. Some people say that this is a positive trend while others argue that this move will lead to negative consequences.

Discuss both views and state your opinion.

You should write at least 250 words.

Give reasons and examples from your own knowledge and experience.

In the modern classroom technological devices such as computers are being increasingly utilised. Some argue that this is a positive trend, while others believe it is a negative one. This essay will consider the ease of access to information that computers can bring, and secondly, consider how an over reliance on technology may harm students critical thinking abilities.

It cannot be argued that computers and the internet have revolutionised the learning process. Instead of trawling through books in a university library, the first point of call for students seeking information is now the internet. For example, the two main academic search engines, Google Scholar and Web of Knowledge, will in a matter of seconds provide a student with a comprehensive list of books and journal articles to consult. This is of obvious and substantial benefit to the student who often has a limited amount of time to find and read material pertaining to their subject.

However, although this access to information is convenient, it may well affect a student’s critical thinking and analytical skills. Many teachers would argue that students today tend to accept what they read online as the truth, and often use references from the internet in their university coursework. For example, a recent survey by the UK teachers union, NUT, revealed that 85 per cent of teachers over the last year had experience of students quoting Wikipedia as a reliable academic source in their essay submissions. This would suggest, in the UK at least, that although students have access to more information than ever before in history, they do not seem to have the ability to view it objectively and critically.

In conclusion, an increasing reliance on technology in education has certainly made a student’s academic life easier, however, this may well be at the expense of academic rigour and objective analysis on the part of students. Taking both sides into consideration, I believe that technology in the form of computers and the internet has had a positive effect on the learning process, despite the fact that some students may need additional training in how to choose and assess the information available online.

To see the “To what extent” structure…below

Essay structure.

Paragraph 1: introduction

Sentence 1: paraphrase question/restate topic.

Sentence 2: Thesis/opinion statement.

Sentence 3: outline statement/main idea 1 (for paragraph 2), and main idea 2 (for paragraph 3).

Body paragraph 1.

Sentence 1: topic sentence (main idea 1).

Sentence 2: explain/expand on main idea 1.

Sentence 3: example (the more specific the better).

Sentence 4: option 1(concession sentence)/option 2 (reinforce/reiterate example/main idea).

Body paragraph 2.

Sentence 1: topic sentence (main idea 2).

Sentence 2: explain/expand on main idea 2.

Sentence 3: example (the more specific the better).

Sentence 4: option 1(concession sentence)/option 2 (reinforce/reiterate example/main idea).


Sentence 1: summary (restate question/topic + main idea 1 and 2).

Sentence 2: suggestion/recommendation (depends on how the question is worded/if you can think of anything).

And the example essay…

With all the troubles in the world today, money spent on space exploration is a complete waste. The money could be better spent on other things.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

You should write at least 250 words and give reasons and examples from your own knowledge and experience.

It could be argued that spending money on the exploration of outer space is wasteful given the many problems on earth which need to be solved. I totally agree with this view and will argue, firstly, that space exploration has produced no tangible benefits so far, and secondly, that the earth needs to solve its myriad of problems first before reaching out to other worlds.

Outer-space exploration has so far have produced very little results. Sending men to the moon and rockets to the outer planets has not had any significant impact on world peace or conflict resolution to name one major problem. For example, the American NASA expenditure on space exploration for last year was some 4 trillion dollars, yet still the world is embroiled in conflict, terrorism, and various wars around the world. So despite the massive expense, not counting other nations expenditure also which is equally significant, we do not have a stable planet.

Additionally, it could be said that before reaching out to other potential worlds, we need to resolve our earthly problems first. If we consider how disease, hunger, and poverty blight the lives of billions of people right now, how can we possibly justify spending such immense amounts of money on an uncertain outcome. For example, to consider disease, the American Cancer research foundation has estimated that 100 million dollars would be needed to fund its study into a cure for cancer over the next ten year period. This research could potentially save millions of lives, yet medical research programmes are significantly underfunded and have to rely on public charity to continue. Diverting a fraction of the total space budget could fund this programme and have very real effects right now for many peoples lives instead of some far flung future life on another planet.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that the space exploration budget should be drastically cut or ended altogether as it has shown no tangible benefit to solving the worlds problems and could be better spent. I would suggest that if the worlds population wants to waste money on such adventures, they should fund it themselves via public donations, and leave their tax money to be spent on more urgent matters.

So, watch the video, and if you have any questions or suggestions for future tutorials, then write to me at