IELTS Writing Argument Essay

IELTS Writing Task 2: Argument Essay with Sample Answer

IELTS Writing Task 2: Question

Try this argument essay question about access to a university education. It’s very important that you write a balanced argument before giving your opinion.

It is sometimes argued that too many students go to university, while others claim that a university education should be a universal right.

Discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Model Answer

In some advanced countries, it is not unusual for more than 50% of young adults to attend college or university. Critics, however, claim that many university courses are worthless and young people would be better off gaining skills in the workplace. In this essay, I will examine both sides of this argument and try to reach a conclusion.

There are several reasons why young people today believe they have the right to a university education. First, growing prosperity in many parts of the world has increased the number of families with money to invest in their children’s future. At the same time, falling birthrates mean that one- or two-child families have become common, increasing the level of investment in each child. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that young people are willing to let their families support them until the age of 21 or 22. Furthermore, millions of new jobs have been created in knowledge industries, and these jobs are typically open only to university graduates.

However, it often appears that graduates end up in occupations unrelated to their university studies. It is not uncommon for an English literature major to end up working in sales, or an engineering graduate to retrain as a teacher, for example. Some critics have suggested that young people are just delaying their entry into the workplace, rather than developing professional skills. A more serious problem is that the high cost of a university education will mean that many families are reluctant to have more than one child, exacerbating the falling birthrates in certain countries.

In conclusion, while it can be argued that too much emphasis is placed on a university education, my own opinion is that the university years are a crucial time for personal development. If people enter the workplace aged 18, their future options may be severely restricted. Attending university allows them time to learn more about themselves and make a more appropriate choice of career.

(320 words. IELTS 9.0)

Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 9 score?

Task response: The model answer fully answers the question by stating several arguments both for and against the expansion of higher education. The candidate’s position is clearly expressed in the conclusion. The style is appropriate to academic writing and the answer is at least 250 words in length.

Coherence and cohesion: The model answer has an introduction and conclusion. Each body paragraph deals with a different side of the argument and begins with a clear topic sentence. Arguments are developed with logical connectives such as therefore and furthermore.

Lexical resource: There is a good range of vocabulary suited to an argument essay, including reporting verbs like claim and suggest, and hedging verbs like can and appear. There is native-like collocation throughout, including growing prosperity, enter the workplace and severely restricted.

Grammatical range and accuracy: The model answer uses a wide range of grammatical devices appropriate to academic writing. These include conditionals (If…), participle clauses (…, increasing the…), concessive clauses (while it can…) and passive constructions (…it can be argued that…). There are no grammatical errors.

Teacher’s Notes

IELTS TeacherThis IELTS Writing Task 2 question asks you to discuss an argument. It’s easy to confuse this with an opinion essay, since opinion and argument have similar meanings. However, in an argument essay like this one, you must write about both sides of the argument before giving an opinion, which can be difficult in just 40 minutes. Since time management can be problem when writing an argument essay, plan to write two body paragraphs only, each dealing with a different point of view. Finally, when you give your own opinion in the conclusion, try to make it follow from the strongest side of the argument, not the weakest!

Would you like me to check your own answer to this IELTS Writing task? You can take my online IELTS Writing Practice Test anywhere in the world and get a score, corrections, and feedback in just 48 hours. Read more.


23 thoughts on “IELTS Writing Task 2: Argument Essay with Sample Answer

  1. I am really thankful of you for sending sample writing answer,It is marvelous and definitely its really helpful to me

  2. weiting task 2 (The Ameirican film industry has too much influence on the film industry around the world. Goverments have a duty to invest money in their own film industries in order to protect and develop their culture.To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement ?) Please give this solution…. my requerment is 6.5…

  3. the first body paragraph explained why university has become a popular choice for young people; but didn’t give reasons why a university education should be a universal right. That is not logical.

  4. Over recent years more and more students are enrolling to university schools. This may be due to the fact that university education is essential for better job prospects. This has lead people thinking that there are already too many students enrolled in university, however, others argue that this should be a right for all students.
    Some critics think that the increasing number of students going to university may have negative effects to both the school and the learners. There will be a significant increase in the number of pupils in class which may not provide a suitable environment for learning. Furthermore, some of the students might be left behind in the teaching process as the teaching staff will have a hard time in catering all of the student’s concern. Another, schools may resort to hiring incompetent staffs in an effort to reduce the teacher to student ratio. This will significantly decrease the university’s credibility in teaching.
    However, others feel that this should not be the case and that the right to university education should be the priority. They feel that every student has the right to secure a better job in the future for them to achieve a reasonable standard of living. Another, limiting the number of students going to university may seem unjust and immoral for some. Those who are not entitled with the education are restricted to pursue their careers and this could have a detrimental effect to the student as a whole.
    In conclusion, both perspectives have its own reason as to why a certain view should be the case. In my opinion, I agree that university education should be a universal right; however, university schools should impose stricter educational standards. This will assure that deserving students are entitled with the education and at the same time, maintain the number of students in a sustainable figure and the credibility of the teaching staff in the university.(300words)

  5. i have one question. This is an argumentative essay . we only need to focus on protect our ideas and object completely to opponent’s ideas .In this essay the author expresses the two edged side of the problem.In additon, this essay structure seems be ambigous. Help me

  6. This sample answer is very confusing, plain wrong and in my opinion does not answer the question at all. It answers – one side that reasons why it has become popular and the second side that graduates end up in unrelated jobs. How does that answer the question in any way whatsoever? Could you please review this and either explain why it answers the question or change it to answer the question.

    • Thanks to those who have pointed out that the answer doesn’t fully deal with the question of whether a university education should be a universal right. The question is essentially asking the candidate to formulate a for/against argument for the expansion of higher education. It doesn’t matter too much that the answer fails to address the deeper issues, as long as it sticks to the topic of higher education and presents a balanced argument in favour of and against. Trust me, it’s far more important to produce 250 words within these guidelines than it is to present a logically superior argument.

  7. Good point IELTS academic. I think you don’t have to present them the right answer. Just cover it up with different ‘smart’ words and combinations and you will get 9. I thought it was more difficult to get 9.

  8. This response would be limited to band 5 for TR as there is no discussion of whether university education is a universal right or not.

    The fact that the ‘expert’ does not understand this suggests that he/she should not be giving advice to prospective candidates. Very poor.

  9. Thanks for the feedback on this model answer. I’ve changed the opening sentence of Paragraph 2 from: “There are several reasons why university has become a popular choice for young people.” to “There are several reasons why young people today believe they have the right to a university education.”

    That should make the link to the question more obvious for those who want to see clear logic and struggle with ideas in paraphrase.

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