“To what extent” and “Discuss both views”essay comparison…

In this tutorial for today, I compare and contrast the differences between the opinion and discussion essay question types. I use new essays to illustrate the differences and you can find them below for your information and study, feel free to copy them, or whatever.

So, first the structures…

Essay structure: To what extent

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).

Discuss both views essay structure


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

Sentence 2: thesis statement

Sentence 2: outline sentence

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

Essay number 1: To what extent..

One of the major problems facing the world today is the growing number of refugees. The developed nations in the world should tackle this problem by taking in more refugees. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?

It has been argued that the worlds wealthier nations should help to solve the refugee crisis by accepting more refugees. I disagree with this statement, this essay will argue that a better way to tackle the growing number of refugees is to stabilise the countries that are at war, and secondly, to promote development and economic growth in such parts of the world.

The act of accepting refugees into more developed or “Western” nations, in itself will not solve the refugee crisis. It should be apparent that the most logical way to solve this is to take away the reasons for people seeking refuge in the first place. That is to say, stop all hostilities and attempt to stabilise such conflicts as may be taking place currently. For example, if the war in Syria which has displaced millions of people could be halted, and the country rebuilt, then many refugees in Europe would no doubt want to return home.

Secondly, as many refugees flee not only war but poverty in their home countries, one way to stop this flow of people would be to develop the economies of the countries of origin. If people had hope and prospects of a secure and prosperous future then they would have no reason to travel a hazardous journey to risk a new life in a new country. For example, a recent survey by the UN showed that 85% of people crossing the Mediterranean illegally last year were not fleeing war, but poverty. As a consequence, if the “West” were serious about solving this problem then investment and spending on foreign trade with the sender countries would be an effective solution to this issue.

In conclusion, although it has been argued that the “West” should take more refugees, I believe that resolving conflicts, and developing economic growth in the sender countries is a much better answer to this crisis.

Essay number 2: Discuss both views

Do you feel it is better to have a job that you love or one that makes more money? Discuss both views and give your opinion.

For some people the sole criteria for choosing a job is that of the salary offered, while others think that it is best to love the job you do. I would argue that although money is important, other factors such as job satisfaction are the best determiners when taking a job.

It is obviously important to receive a reasonable wage or salary for the work that you do. People have to pay their bills, eat, shop, and do all the other things in life that would be impossible without money. However, once these basic needs are met, the question is how much money does a person really need and what are they prepared to do to get it? For example, many city bankers make a great deal of money but they have to work very long hours a day, every day, and the resultant pressure has driven some to suicide or depression and other mental illnesses.

For many people however, job satisfaction is the driving force behind what they do. Many people work in sectors such as medicine, or charity organisations where the salary is not so high, however, for those Drs, nurses, and charity workers, the reason they do what they do is to help others. They want to make a difference in the world, not merely take from it. Another reason is that, if you enjoy your job, you are likely to not think of it as work. For example, to mention a quote attributed to Confucius “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

In conclusion, although the amount of money a job pays is certainly important, in my view job satisfaction is or should be the prime motivator when considering employment choices.

Ok, that’s all the files, I hope you find this useful…any suggestions or questions, feel free to write to me at kevin@prepareielts.com