IELTS Writing Balanced Opinion Essay

In a balanced opinion essay, you are given two opposing propositions. You should discuss each of them and give your opinion.

Strategy

As with other IELTS writing tasks, you will likely do better with this kind of essay if you have a clear structure in mind for writing this essay. The following is one way to write this type of essay, but it is effective.

Step 1: Understand the Issue

With any IELTS writing question, it is important to understand what the question is asking before you begin writing.

A balanced opinion task will give you two propositions, so you first need to identify what these are. Then think about the following questions:

  • Why is this an important issue?
  • What’s your opinion about it?
  • Why?
  • What would someone who disagrees with you say?
  • Why are they wrong?
Example

As an example, let’s take the following question:

Some people believe that the Olympic games should take place in the same city each time. Other people argue it should continue to move country every 4 years.

If you’re as sporty as me, you might wonder why anyone would care about where the Olympics take place. Well this is an important issue because the Olympics are a very expensive event that can also provide considerable financial benefits to the host city or region.

You might agree that the Olympics should stay in one place (maybe Greece) since this would surely cut the cost of the games considerably. The infrastructure would only need to be built once and then maintained or upgraded as necessary.

However, moving the games every 4 years allows more countries to benefit from the rewards of hosting. Given that rich countries already have a lot of the world’s wealth, this gives a chance to a less well-off country to benefit.

Step 2: Write the Introduction

With a balanced opinion essay, we can still use our three statements for the introduction:

  • global statement;
  • thesis statement;
  • outline statement.

Remember that in our global statement we say why this is an important issue. For example:

Every 4 years, the Olympic games cost their host nation billions of dollars to organise. Many people question whether that money is well invested, or whether it would be more cost-efficient to have the Olympics in one regular location.

In the thesis statement, you give your opinion:

In my opinion, choosing one location for the Olympics makes more financial sense…

Finally, your outline statement tells the examiner what they will read about in the next paragraph. You can simply continue the thesis statement with “because” or “as”.

…as this would dramatically cut the building and other costs involved.

Step 3: Write the Body

Once again, you will want two body paragraphs here. The first will deal with the side that you have agreed with.

The First Argument

Your first body paragraph should begin with a statement of your argument. This is your topic statement. For example:

Holding the Olympics in the same place would be far cheaper than constantly moving them.

Then use explanation and examples to support your answer:

The biggest costs involved are undoubtedly construction of the Olympic venues and infrastructure. Every Olympics, new stadia and facilities are built. By having the Olympics in one place, buildings only need to be built once and then maintained or upgraded. These savings are likely to result in more profit being made during the Olympics, some of which can be used to support development in poorer nations.

The Second Argument

The second body paragraph of your balanced opinion essay should consider the alternative side. We can start with a linking statement. This will typically include a linking word or phrase that shows contrast e.g. “on the other hand”, “however” or “despite.”

On the other hand, there are benefits to the Olympic games moving.

In the next sentence your should give your topic statement:

If the games move, the benefits of hosting them is shared among more of the world.

Once more you need to develop and support your argument:

Not only does the host gain prestige and a chance to show off their country to the world, but they also experience a boom in their economy from ticket sales and tourism.

In a balanced opinion essay, you can make the side you agree with stronger by overcoming this point. For example:

However, while this is true in theory, the countries that most desparately need these benefits are unlikely to be able to afford the initial outlay for the games. For this reason, wealthy countries tend to be chosen to host the games.

Step 4: Write the Conclusion

The final paragraph is your conclusion. Remember to:

  • rephrase your arguments
  • rephrase your opinion

Choosing one country to act as permanent host of the games would greatly reduce the expense involved with the Olympics. This is unlikely to be agreed upon by all countries, especially the wealthier nations who typically benefit from hosting. However, if the permanent host is obligated to share the profits with the least developed nations, this provides a much fairer model.

Practice Questions

Click here for all IELTS writing task 2 practice questions and sample answers.

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