« IELTS Listening: 'obesity' topic | Main | IELTS Writing Task 1: describing steps »

December 15, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I sit the IELTS exam last Saturday.
In the writing task, the task required us to discuss the both sides of the role of education in people's health.I only discuss one side of that. Do you think it is a very serious mistake? I worry about that a lot!

Hi Simon,

if the task requires IELTS candidate to discuss the both sides. That is it.
Can he say his opinion ? in the introduction or at the conclusion
Will he get penalty ?

Many thanks

I stated the opinions on both side and concluded my position in the last paragraph on my latest IELTS exam. In the end, I got band 7 on writing. In terms of my experience, I think it's fine to have an argument whether the test ask you contend or not.

But I'm not so sure about that experience was based on either good luck or principles from the examiner?

Hi Sunny,

Unfortunately, you do need to discuss both sides if the question asks you to, so you will lose some points for "task response".

Always try to answer ALL parts of the question fully.


Hore Boy,

The question will make it clear:

If it says "discuss both views", don't include your opinion.

However, questions often say "discuss both views and give your opinion". In this case, it's clear that you should include your opinion.



Yes, adding an opinion in your conclusion (even when the question doesn't ask for it) will not lower your score. However, it will not raise the score either. I think you got a 7 because you used good language and organised your ideas well.

Hope this helps


hi simon,
i have given ielts three times and I need 7 each in academic module but at all three times i missed by 0.5 in writing please help me,

Hi Simon,
1.I noticed that you mentioned at the very first which view you support. And you talk about both sides in the following passages. Is that a module to answer this type of question "Discuss both these views and give your own opinion"
2.for questions like "to what extend do you think the advantage outweigh the disadvantage" or "do you agree or disagree" what kind of module should I use?
Many many thanks!!!!

Hi Hardikkumar,

It's difficult for me to give any specific advice because I haven't met you or seen your work. The only thing I can advise is that you keep going - keep working hard and practising. Many students have been in the same situation, and it's just persistence that gets you through in the end. Maybe you could also find a teacher who can check your work and give specific advice.


Hi Maria,

Yes, this is my model for "Discuss both views and give your own opinion" questions. I would do the same thing for "do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages" questions.

"Do you agree or disagree" questions are different. For these questions, you don't need to give both sides of the argument because they ask for YOUR opinion. Give your opinion in the introduction, then support it in the rest of the essay.

Hope this helps


Thanks a lot for your reply. But I am a little confused about your "Give your own opinion in the introdection" as well as the" give your own opinion" in the discuss- both-views-question. Does my view has to be one of the views shown in the question or another view I conjure up. I noticed you prefer one of the views as your response. Does this represent your "opinion"?

1.Another question. I noticed you gave full weighting on both sides. Should I do the same in the question of "Do the advantage outweigh the disadvantage". Could you give more explanation of "(to what extent)Do you agree or disagree" type of question?
2.I aim for a minimum of 7 in writing. Do you think phrases like "In this essay, I will present both sides and also my own view on this subject. / Before airing my opinion, I will elaborate this controversial issue from diverse perspectives." as the end of the first paragragh are good enough for a 7 band?

Hi simon,

Is that compulsory to write 5 paragraphs for task 2 essay?


Hi Maria,

1. Yes, I take one of the views from the question as my opinion. Look at the link below to see a full essay written in this way:


2. I'd do the same thing for "Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages". For "agree/disagree" questions, you can write whatever you want because the question asks for YOUR view (not necessarily both sides).

3. Both of your phrases are very nice, but the examiner will know that you have memorised them for any topic. What REALLY gets you a high score is vocabulary (words and phrases) that are related to the particular topic of the question.

Hope this helps


Hi Eva,

There is no rule about how many paragraphs you should write. I usually write 4.


Which of the following sentence is correct?
1.There are several benefits to students doing what their teachers let them do.
2. There are several benefits for students to do what their teachers let them do.

Thank you...

Hi Adverb,

Both seem a little strange. Maybe I'd write something like:

"There are several benefits for students WHO do..."

Hi Simon.

I have some questions to ask you.
In task 2 essay, if the question is about "Do you agree or disagree..." If i agree to that statement, so in my 1st para i will write what is my opinion, and then can i write the reason why i agree with that in 2nd para, 3rd para i write about the opposite sides, and d last para i mention again my view. will this confuse the examiner? or is that better to write the reason why i agree to that in both 2nd and 3rd para??

2. i am confused with visitor 'centre' and 'center', 'catalog' and 'catalogue'. Which one should i use in IELTS exam?

Thanks you.

Hi Eva,

I wrote a lesson about your first question:


2. You can use both spellings - British or American spellings are accepted.

Hope this helps

I don't quite understand one idea: "fixed punishments could deter criminals". How it can deter criminals?

Hi Thanh,

If criminals know exactly what the punishment for any crime will be, that might deter them. (Remember, this is only an idea/opinion - it's not a fact)

Hi, I'd like to share what I did with this task. I'll be taking my exam next week.

It is argued that sentences for criminal acts should be equal regardless of the severity of the crime. In my opinion, punishments should depend upon factors involved in an individual crime and the motives behind the act.

On one hand, fixed sentences regard all crimes equal and punishments are the same, for instance, life imprisonment. I think this kind of treatment for criminals is unfair because crimes differ in various ways. Theft for example is a lesser crime and I think it doesn't equate with the severity of the crime committed by murderers. However, fixed punishments have an advantage. People will be scared committing lesser crimes because of the implications that even though it is less grave, they could still serve the life sentence.

On the other hand, sentences should depend on the severity and motive of an individual. There are crimes that are less grave than killing a person. I think this is a fair delivery of sentences and criminals have the chance of correcting their acts by not serving too long in prison. Some crimes are just committed because of poverty and family reasons. For example a snatcher stole money because that person wanted to buy medicines or food to his or her family.

In conclusion, fixed punishments serves well to scare people and would-be criminals to commit any crimes, however a fair sentence and an unbiased judgment should prevail taking into consideration the motive and circumstances surrounding the crime.

Thanks for sharing bleakwind. You seem to have the right idea.

Good luck next week!

Thanks Simon, I hope I could get a passing score. I'm focusing more on writing and speaking because I find them hard. I love your site by the way, helped me a lot! Cheers!

No problem!

hi simon
can i write intoduction as following:
there are two schools of thoughts regarding types of punishment that should be given to the criminals.Some people say that there should be fixed punishments,whereas others believe that different factors contributing towards crime should be considered.I agree with te later opinion.

That's fine Sohaib.

hi simon ...it is really helpful for me ....thank!:)I'm a student from myanmar

No problem Ye Wai.

Hi Simon I 've to give my Ielts exam next week and I need ur help in writing .is it necessary to add idioms and sayings in task2 to get 7 tell me

Hi Ritu,

No, don't use idioms and sayings. Have a look through my lessons to see the kind of language I use.

Hi Simon pl justify my answer with appropriate bands. The question is more and more people work today in the large cities which problem can it cause ? How should the govt encourage people to stay in small regional towns There is no denying the fact that employment opportunities are at grand scale in urban areas .In search of good jobs the people of small villages and towns are forced to move in big cities ,reluctantly. Consequently ,the inhabitants of cities face enormous problems .let us throw light on these occurring problems and the solutions,too. Indeed ,overpopulation in big cities is the major effect of this transference of people from small towns to big cities .Eventually ,it causes a high consumption of water ,electricity,and place for accommodation which is inevitable in big cities of world like London and Tokyo etc.Substantially ,more people means more vehicles on roads which tend to congestion and pollution like air pollution and noise pollution etc.Hence,many diseases occur as asthma and skin allergies. However,to reduce this trend government should make logical perspective and perception like promotion of small scale industries in suburbs or by countryside areas.Another factor is to establish factories and limited companies in villages to enhance employment .Financial support of government will work as icing on cake here for example loans at low interest. Hammering the final nail it can be concluded that by applying optimal and fruitful approaches of employment in small villages and regional towns government can iradicate this problem easily.So that urban and rural socities can achieve hight of excellence.

Hi Simon u didn't checked my answer

Hi Ritu,

I'm afraid I don't offer essay correction or scoring. If I did this, everyone would send me their essays.

Dear Simon,

How about I start with this introductory sentence with your own introduction....

Crime and punishment statutes are invariably a matter of controversy.

Then rest of your introduction... Sorry if this kind of my attempt is wrong.

Does the above sentence look awkward..?


Dear Simon,

Firstly, thank you for your help on ielts preperation.

Is there a whole essay that you wrote on the fixed punishments?

Could you renew the links below which does not work?





hi Simon am feel deficulty in sentence formation
plz help me how to improve................

Hi simon plz check my eassy tried first time......

Crime has become an alarming point in this scenerio. Some people assert punishment should be same for each and every crime while other oppose the notion and narrate sentance should be alloted regards to culprit's motivation of attempting it.I believe,that there are pros for each punishment and it shoulds be judged individually

There are numerous of arguments for having same sentance for every crime.Firstly,there will be a fair justice system for every crime without any discrimination among the felons. For instance,punishment should be same for royal person,celebrity,or any poor person attempting same crime. Secondly, the person who is thinking to do crime will get the awareness about severe punishment and criminals might be deter.Then criminals after the strict punishment will not reiterate same crime again for example rape.

On the other hand,i would argue that circumstances of committing a crime and criminal's motivation for doing it should kept in mind before giving any punishment. some culprits do small crime of stoling money to feed their family compared to stealing for profit Whereas,the crime done for profit of his know should be considered.

in conclusion,in my opinion despite the advantages of fixed punishment it seems to me that every punishment should be judged on the bases of circumstances of the culprit.

Can you please check my essay?

While some individuals hold a belief that particular crimes deserve uniform punishments, others assume a combination of criminal backgrounds and stimuli should be thoroughly taken into consideration before reaching a judgmental decision. Although both points of views are rational to some extent, I am more inclined to agree with the latter opinion.

On the one hand, a penalty is an aftermath one must receive in return for the agony or damage which he illegally exerts on individuals and community. Like medical remedies, which are vital to preserve a patient’s state of health, punishments function as essential deterrents to offences to maintain social discipline. By using uniform punitive measures, a society not only secures its safety but also sustains its equality.

On the other hand, a matter of humanity should be well considered before judging a crime. According to Punishment vs. Rehabilitation, which was published in 1991,when it zeroes in on a committed crime, punishment and rehabilitation are indispensable to tackle the issue efficiently. Personally, this can be understood that the ultimate purpose of penalties is the capable improvement of civilian awareness to strictly abide by rules and regulations. In other words, punishments should be rehabilitative rather than merely punitive. For that reason, a number of relevant elements such as motivations and backgrounds deserve judicial scrutiny. A committed robbery due to starvation or poverty, for instance, should not match such an offence driven by greed or laziness. In these cases, the former is worth a rehabilitative punishment to be back on right track whereas a strict retribution is crucial to warn the latter against his guilt.

In a nutshell, both supporters and defenders are logically right about the feasibility of using fixed punishments for each crime case, However, it would be more humane should an account of criminal backgrounds or motivations be well taken prior to making any legal judgments.

Hi Simon,

Do we have to take side or give about openion in the introduction part??

People have different views about whetheror not punishments for each crimes should be fixed. Although there are some advantages of fixed punishment, I would argue that it is better to judge each crime individuall.

There are some arguments for having one punishments for each crim. This system ensures that each member of society knows and understands the consequences of committing any crime.It is a fair syste, and it leaves people with no doubt that breaking the low is not tolerate. At the same time,it is much easier for judge and lawyers when someone is found guilty of stealin, the judge will simply follow the rules and apply the appropriatepunishmen.

Despite the above arguments,I believe that the contex of any criminal act should be taken into account when sentencing an offende. This means that the judge should consider the details of each particularsl case before deciding on the appropriate punishmen. For exampl,a person who steals something from a shop for the first time should not be treated in the same way as a repeat offender who has been caught shoplifting many times before.It would be sensible to give the first-time offender a small punishmen, such as a fine,while the repeat offender may be sent to prison.

In conclusio, it seems to me that a mature and human legal system would be flexible rather than fixed in terms of how decisions about punishments are made.

The comments to this entry are closed.