Englishryan Discussion Essay Template

This IELTS discussion essay sample answer is estimated at band 9. See comments below the essay for advice and tips.

Completing university education is thought by some to be the best way to get a good job. On the other hand, other people think that getting experience and developing soft skills is more important.
Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

It is considered by some that being a university graduate is the key to securing a good job while there are others who think that it is better to have experience and soft skills. In my opinion, I believe that having university education is essential for academic jobs while soft skills and experience are more useful in business.

On the one hand, many think it is easier for most people to find a good job if they are university graduates with a good degree. In other words, having tertiary education puts people one step ahead of others who do not and this can be the deciding factor in getting a good job. The competition to get in to universities and the increasing number of graduates show just how significant this level of education is for people’s future work opportunities.

On the other hand, having work experience and soft skills, such as leadership skills and other interpersonal skills, can also throw the balance in favour of the applicant, according to some. For many positions there are an overwhelming number of applicants and, therefore, it is often thought that having relevant experience in that line of work or having acquired useful soft skills that can be valuable to a company, can put one ahead of the game when applying for a position.

Finally, in my opinion, whether needing high level education or skills and experience, depends on the position being applied for. Take for example law, medicine or teaching, it is impossible to be considered for a position without the required educational background. In contrast, in business, it would be more important for a candidate to have soft skills and experience in that line of business so they can step into a position without further training and be of immediate benefit to the company.

In conclusion, getting a good job requires a relevant background either in experience or education depending on the type of work and field. People should make sure they attain the necessary skills or degrees before applying for a job in order to be sure of success.

Comments: This is a a band score 9  essay. It has over 300 words but all sentences are relevant, focused and well written. Band score 8.5 and 9 students can attempt long essays successfully but students from band 8 to band 6, should aim for around 270 to 290 words. Both sides are clearly discussed and the opinion is also clearly given. Linking devices are well used.

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Discussion essays, also called argument essays, are a common form of academic writing. This page gives information on what a discussion essay is and how to structure this type of essay. Some vocabulary for discussion essays is also given, and there is an example discussion essay on the topic of studying overseas.


What are discussion essays?

Many essay titles require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour. These are known as discussion or argument or for and against essays. In this sense, the academic meaning of the word discuss is similar to its everyday meaning, of two people talking about a topic from different sides. For a discussion essay, a balanced view is normally essential. This makes discussion essays distinct from persuasion essays, for which only one side of the argument is given. When writing a discussion essay, it is important to ensure that facts and opinions are clearly separated. Often you will examine what other people have already said on the same subject and include this information using praphrasing and summarising skills, as well as correct citations.


The following are examples of discussion essay topics.


Structure

Although the structure of a discussion essay may vary according to length and subject, there are several components which most discussion essays have in common. In addition to general statements and thesis statement which all good essay introductions contain, the position of the writer will often be stated, along with relevant definitions. The main body will examine arguments for (in one or more paragraphs) and arguments against (also in one or more paragraphs). The conclusion will contain a summary of the main points, and will often conclude with recommendations, based on what you think are the most important ideas in the essay. The conclusion may also contain your opinion on the topic, also based on the preceding evidence.


An overview of this structure is given in the diagram below.


Structural componentPurposeStage of essay
General statementsTo introduce the reader to the subject of the essay.Introduction
PositionTo give the opinion of the writer (not always possible).
Definition(s) (optional)To explain any important technical words to the reader.
ThesisTo tell the reader what parts of the topic will be included in the essay.
Arguments forTo explain to the reader the evidence for the positive side of the issue, with support. The most important ideas usually come first. This may be covered in one or more paragraphs.Main body
Arguments againstTo explain to the reader the evidence for the negative side of the issue, with support. The most important ideas usually come first. This may be covered in one or more paragraphs.
SummaryTo give the reader a brief reminder of the main ideas, while restating the issue. Sometimes also says which ideas the writer believes have the strongest evidence.Conclusion
Opinion & RecommendationTo give your opinion, and tell the reader what the writer believes is the best action to take, considering the evidence in the essay.

Discussion vocabulary

When summarising the stages in a discussion or in presenting your arguments, it can be useful to mark the order of the items or degrees of importance. The following words and phrases can be used.


The following can be used when introducing your opinion.


It is important in English writing, including academic writing, to use synonyms rather than repeating the same word. The following are useful synonyms for 'advantage' and 'disadvantage'.



Example essay

Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure. Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. similarities, differences, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary, as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body.


Title: An increasing number of students are going overseas for tertiary education. To what extent does this overseas study benefit the students?


General
statements

 

Definition(s)

Position

 

Thesis

 

Adv

 

Disadv

 

1

 

2

   
 

Summary

 

Opinion

Recommend-
ation

  

Most people spend around fifteen years of their life in education, from primary school to university study. In the past, students only had the opportunity to study in their own country. Nowadays, however, it is increasingly easy to study overseas, especially at tertiary level.Tertiary education, also called post-secondary education, is the period of study spent at university.As the final aspect of schooling before a person begins their working life, it is arguably the most important stage of their education.While there are some undoubted benefits of this trend, such as the language environment and improved employment prospects, there is also a significant disadvantage, namely the high cost.

The first and most important advantage of overseas study is the language learning environment. Students studying overseas will not only have to cope with the local language for their study, but will also have to use it outside the classroom for their everyday life. These factors should make it relatively easy for such students to advance their language abilities.

Another important benefit is employability. Increasing globalisation means that there are more multinational companies setting up offices in all major countries. These companies will need employees who have a variety of skills, including the fluency in more than one language. Students who have studied abroad should find it much easier to obtain a job in this kind of company.

There are, however, some disadvantages to overseas study which must be considered, the most notable of which is the expense. In addition to the cost of travel, which in itself is not inconsiderable, overseas students are required to pay tuition fees which are usually much higher than those of local students. Added to this is the cost of living, which is often much higher than in the students' own country. Although scholarships may be available for overseas students, there are usually very few of these, most of which will only cover a fraction of the cost. Overseas study therefore constitutes a considerable expense.

In summary, studying abroad has some clear advantages, including the language environment and increased chances of employment, in addition to the main drawback, the heavy financial burden.I believe that this experience is worthwhile for those students whose families can readily afford the expense.Students without such strong financial support should consider carefully whether the high cost outweighs the benefits to be gained.

General
statements

Definition(s)

Position

Thesis

 

Adv

1

 

2

 

Disadv

 

Summary

Opinion

Recommend-
ation

Below is a checklist for discussion essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

Bailey, S. (2000). Academic Writing. Abingdon: RoutledgeFalmer

Cox, K. and D. Hill (2004). EAP now! Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia

Jordan, R.R. (1999). Academic Writing Course. Cambridge: CUP

Roberts R., J. Gokanda, & A. Preshous (2004). IELTS Foundation. Oxford: Macmillian


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