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Argumentative essay sample ielts

Jun 22, 2018

depositphotos_7932028-Quill-pen-and-ink-well-with-paper-scrollThere are two basic question types for IELTS Writing Task 2; argument essays and accounts.

Let’s think about argument essays in this post.  Argument essays often end with a question such as ‘Do you agree or disagree?’ or they may begin with the words, ‘To what extent…’

You need to consider an argument essay as having two sides.  You will basically present both sides of the issue, the side you believe in and the side that people who oppose your opinions believe in.

There are two tasks involved here; one is to support your side of the argument and one is to refute the opposing side of the argument.  You will need to present sufficient evidence in order to do this.

As an IELTS Tutor I continually tell my students of the necessity to plan their essays.  In this post, I’m going to give you the basic argument essay plan I give my students:

Argument Essay Plan


General Statement / Background Information Thesis statement – the thesis statement is your position or opinion about the topic


Topic sentence – this is the first argument to support your thesis statement.Supporting statements – these next sentences will further support your thesis statement with evidence and/or examples. Topic sentence – this is the second argument to support your thesis statement.Supporting statements – these next sentences will further support your thesis statement with evidence and/or examples. Transition – here you state that others might disagree with your opinion.Topic sentence – here you state the arguments against your opinion.Supporting statement – this next sentence will further support the argument against your opinion.Refutation – here you need to show why your opinion is still better/more acceptable than this argument against your opinion.


Summary of main argumentsRestatement of thesisRecommendation / suggestion / implication / final comment.

As an IELTS examiner, one of the problems I see time and time again is no planning or shape to argument essays so the essay is ‘all over the place’.  If you follow my basic essay plan above, it will take some of the thinking out of the equation for you and leave you more head space to concentrate on grammar, vocabulary and cohesive devices.

Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!

IELTS Sample Essay

This IELTS sample essay tackles the subject of alternative medicine. Here is the question:

Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Considering Both Sides

When you are asked whether you agree (or disagree), you can look at both sides of the argument if you want.

This shows that you have good academic skills as you are able to see both sides of the issue.

It can also sometimes be a good idea to look at both sides of the argument because it may be easier for you to brainstorm ideas.

If you just look at one side, you may run out of ideas.

In this IELTS sample essay, the writer disagrees overall with the opinion presented - that alternative medicine is ineffective and possibly dangerous.

However, in the first body paragraph the writer discusses what those who agree with this opinion think.

If you are going to put in an opinion that disagrees with your own, it is common to put this argument first. This makes your argument stronger as you can then refute it in the following paragraph.

As you can see, in the second body paragraph, the writer gives the reasons why he/she disagrees.

In other words:

Body 1 = the disadvantages of alternative medicine
Body 2 = the advantages of alternative medicine

It is then a good balanced conclusion as the writer states that they are best used together.

IELTS Sample Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Sample Essay

Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world. I am unconvinced that it is dangerous, and feel that both alternative and conventional medicine can be useful.

There are several reasons why the conventional medical community is often dismissive of alternatives.  Firstly, there has been little scientific research into such medicine, so there is a scarcity of evidence to support the claims of their supporters. Furthermore, people often try such treatment because of recommendations from friends, and therefore come to the therapist with a very positive attitude, which may be part of the reason for the cure. Moreover, these therapies are usually only useful for long-term, chronic conditions. Acute medical problems, such as accidental injury, often require more conventional methods.

On the other hand, there remain strong arguments for the use of alternatives.  Despite the lack of scientific proof, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that these therapies work. In addition, far from being dangerous, they often have few or no side effects, so the worst outcome would be no change. One of the strongest arguments for the effectiveness of alternative therapies in the West is that, whilst conventional medicine is available without charge, many people are prepared to pay considerable sums for alternatives. If they were totally unhelpful, it would be surprising if this continued.

I strongly believe that conventional medicine and alternative therapies can and should coexist. They have different strengths, and can both be used effectively to target particular medical problems. The best situation would be for alternative therapies to be used to support and complement conventional medicine.

(280 words)


The writer in this IELTS sample essay introduces the topic in the introductory paragraph (Alternative medicine...) and puts forward a clear view on the issue (I am unconvinced...and feel...).

The essay has a well-balanced argument looking at both sides of the issue. The first body paragraph expresses some doubt about alternative therapies (...little scientific research.. .only useful for long term...), but in the second body paragraph the writer takes a different view (On the other hand...) and examines the benefits (...few side effects).

The writer's concluding paragraph offers a strong opinion (I strongly believe...) and sums up the fact that both types of treatment are valid today.

There is also a good range of grammatical structures (If they were totally unhelpful, it would be...), and connectors (despite the fact, in addition, finally).

IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic:

People should follow the customs and traditions when people start to live in a new country. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Band 9.0 Model Answer

Many people argue that foreigners should adapt to the local customs and traditions when they come to reside in a new country. I completely agree with this view. c led

Newcomers will certainly face difficulties if they do not conform to the norms of social behaviour in the host country. Firstly, it will become almost impossible for them to blend into their new environment. For example, an entrepreneur who comes to live in a new country and starts up a business must be aware of the business practices of that country. There are bound to be many pitfalls, not only legal ones but also simply in terms of winning and keeping customers. Secondly, recent immigrants might fall foul of the law if they do not respect the behaviour and customs of locals. In Singapore, for instance, residents will consider newcomers dirty and ill-mannered if they litter the street or spit gum in public places.

There are also many benefits for foreigners when they do adopt the customs and traditions of their new country of residence. One advantage is that local people will be more welcoming when they feel that the newcomers are showing respect for the local way of life. The establishment of closer links with the host community might lead to greater integration and mutual understanding. Another benefit is the richness of the experience which newcomers will gain from enjoying aspects of local customs and traditions, enabling them to participate in community life and avoid social isolation. During festivals and national holidays, especially, they will feel like they ‘belong’ in their new country.

In conclusion, I would argue that it is essential for new residents to follow the traditions and habits of locals in the host community in order to integrate fully into society.

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IELTS Writing Actual Test in 2015 & Band 9 Argumentative Essays






Different people have different opinions, and it's okay to respect all of them. Juan Pablo Galavis

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