To what extent essay questions

To what extent essay questions

To what extent you agree or disagree essay

This lesson will guide you how to write essays in IELTS Writing that ask you To what extent you agree/disagree. Such questions are very common for IELTS Writing task 2. In such essays your task is to say whether you:

  • Completely agree with a given statement
  • Completely disagree with a given statement
  • Partly agree / disagree

And Justify your opinion.

In this lesson you will see IELTS writing task 2 Sample question + Model answer. Also, you will learn the following points:

  • How to decide on your opinion
  • How to generate ideas to justify your opinion
  • How to give a band 9 answer for agree/disagree question

To what extent you agree/disagree question sample

Let’s look at an example of IELTS writing task 2:

The government’s investment in arts, music and theatre is a waste of money. Governments should invest these funds in public services instead.

To what extent do you agree with this statement?

This is a classic example of an IELTS Writing question that asks you to what extent you agree or disagree.

Choose your opinion & generate ideas

Unlike classic agree/disagree questions, to what extent you agree or disagree questions do NOT ask you to clearly determine whether you agree or disagree with the given statement.

In fact, you have 3 major options for your opinion:

AA: You completely agree (provide 2 ideas that strengthen the statement)
DD: You completely disagree (provide 2 ideas that weaken the statement)
AD: You agree or disagree partly (provide 1 idea that strengthens the statement and 1 idea that weakens it)

After you’ve decided your opinion, Generate 2-3 supporting points for it.

Now let’s generate supporting points for each of the opinions:

AA: Investment in arts, music and theatre is a waste of money

    • Art, music and theatre don’t help to solve urgent problems of the society
    • Art and music can develop as hobbies, and saved money can be directed towards urgent needs of the society
    • If artists and musicians were employed at more traditional jobs, there would be a great benefit for science and industry

DD: Investment in arts, music and theatre is NOT a waste of money

  • The arts and music preserve unique culture and heritage, passing nation’s cultural character and traditions to future generations
  • Arts, music and theatre are an integral part of the society’s cultural and intellectual development and amusement
  • A strong arts, music and theatre sector is an economic asset that creates new jobs and attracts tourism revenue

AD: Investment in arts is important, but public services should be financed in the first place

For this opinion, just combine ideas from the previous points.

For our essay, We’ll choose the last opinion — partially agree / disagree (AD).

Band 9 answer structure

There are a lot of ways to structure your essay, but we’ll use a structure that has been approved by many IELTS examiners to be high-scoring and coherent.
Band-9 essay structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body paragraph 1 — the 1st supporting point
  3. Body paragraph 2 — the 2nd supporting point
  4. Conclusion

As you already know, you can write the supporting points of your body paragraphs in the following ways: agree + agree, disagree + disagree, agree + disagree. We’ll use the last option as our opinion is Partially agree / disagree.

Let’s take a look at each of these sections in detail.

Introduction
Write your introduction in two sentences:

  • Sentence 1 — paraphrase the statement (you can use ‘it is argued/considered/thought that’ to start):

It is often argued that the government should finance public services instead of spending its budget on arts, music and theatre.

  • Sentence 2 — give your opinion:

Although I agree that government’s investments in public services play a very important role, I think that proper funding of arts sector is also crucial for the society.

Body paragraph 1 — the 1st supporting point

  • Sentence 1 — state the first reason you agree/disagree.

This sentence should contain the main idea of the whole 1st paragraph. In our case we’ll use the reason A: why it is important to finance public services. As we’ll be considering opposite opinions, it is a good idea to use a collocation on the one hand to introduce the first reason:

On the one hand, the government should definitely allocate a large part of its budget on public services.

  • Sentences 2-3 — explain the reason.

To explain the reason effectively, you can imagine that your examiner didn’t understand what you were talking about and you have to explain every detail:

This economic sector determines the overall quality of life, ensuring that some basic services, like schools, hospitals and roads, are available to all citizens irrespective of their income or social status. Public services satisfy the primary needs of the society and thus need a proper funding, while artists and musicians are not curing diseases or building houses, so their role is secondary.

  • Sentence 4 — example.

It’s always good to give examples in your body paragraphs, even if you’re not asked to do it (like in our case):

For example, any country can live without music concerts, but absence of medicine will create significant problems.

  • Sentence 5 — a short summary of your ideas in this paragraph:

That’s why the government should adequately finance public services in the first place.

Body paragraph 2 — the 2nd reason you agree/disagree

  • Sentence 1 — state the second reason you agree/disagree.

This statement should contain the main idea of the whole 2nd paragraph. This time we’ll use the reason D: why it is important to finance public services. As we are considering opposite opinions, it is a good idea to use a phrase on the other hand to introduce the second reason:

On the other hand, arts, music and theatre are not a waste of money, since they are an integral part of the society’s cultural and intellectual development and amusement.

  • Sentences 2-3 — explain the reason (assume that your examiner doesn’t understand the topic at all):

Firstly, art and music draw people’s attention to diverse phenomena and represent the inward significance of things. Quite often a single drawing, piece or song can exhort myriads of people to reconsider their attitude towards some situation. This way, art serves as a major source of nation’s personal and intellectual development. Moreover, visiting museums, watching movies and listening to music are common ways of relaxation and entertainment.

  • Sentence 4 — support your idea with an example:

The question doesn’t ask us to give examples, plus we’ve already written a lot in this paragraph, so we’ll skip this point. В

  • Sentence 5 — a short summary of your thoughts in the 2nd paragraph.

Thus, art sector is also important for the society and should not be neglected.

Conclusion

You can write the conclusion in One sentence that summarizes your opinion + 2 reasons for it:

To conclude, though I agree that the government should allocate a large part of its budget on such urgent needs of the society like public services, I think that arts, music and theatre should also be financed since they play an important role in people’s development and entertainment.

DO NOT write new ideas in the conclusion!

Model answer

This is a full band-9 answer for To what extent you agree or disagree IELTS Writing question above:

It is often argued that the government should finance public services instead of spending its budget on arts, music and theatre. Although I agree that government’s investments in public services play a very important role, I think that proper funding of arts sector is also crucial for the society.

On the one hand, the government should definitely allocate a large part of its budget on public services. This economic sector determines the overall quality of life, ensuring that some basic services, like schools, hospitals and roads, are available to all citizens irrespective of their income or social status. Public services satisfy the primary needs of the society and thus need a proper funding, while artists and musicians are not curing diseases or building houses, so their role is secondary. For example, any country can live without music concerts, but absence of medicine will create significant problems. That’s why the government should adequately finance public services in the first place.

On the other hand, arts, music and theatre are not a waste of money, since they are an integral part of the society’s cultural and intellectual development and amusement. Firstly, art and music draw people’s attention to diverse phenomena and represent the inward significance of things. Quite often a single drawing, piece or song can exhort myriads of people to reconsider their attitude towards some situation. This way, art serves as a major source of nation’s personal and intellectual development. Moreover, visiting museums, watching movies and listening to music are common ways of relaxation and entertainment. Thus, art sector is also important for the society and should not be neglected.

To conclude, though I agree that the government should allocate a large part of its budget on such urgent needs of the society like public services, I think that arts, music and theatre should also be financed since they play an important role in people’s development and entertainment.

Essay-based exams: how to answer ‘To what extent…’ essay questions

Many students struggle to produce a sophisticated essay format under exam conditions. Instead of writing to their usual standard, they panic and just scribble down all the information they know on the subject. Sound like you?

You can earn a lot of extra marks in these exams, if you know how to answer the question specifically and producing a well-structured essay. So it’s Oxbridge Essays to the rescue, with A series of custom essay formats that you can use to answer any one of these common exam question types: ‘Compare and Contrast’, ‘To What Extent’, ‘How does the Writer’, ‘For and Against’ and ‘Close Reference’.

To What Extent?

Why are they so popular? Well, this type of question allows the student to show a variety of skills. Firstly, the depth of their knowledge on the given subject. Secondly, students can display independent judgement by analysing the importance of different pieces of information.

What your custom essay should include

The first is Detailed source evidence and extra material, to support your argument. Let’s use an example essay question here to demonstrate. In a history exam, the essay might ask: “ To what extent was the character of Charles II responsible for his problems with parliament? «.

The student is being asked to do two things here: to Show an in-depth knowledge of Charles II’s character, and to Analyse which specific aspects of his character may have affected his political relationships.

Incorporating detailed evidence will always demonstrate how much you know of the subject matter, and will help to support the angle and strength of your argument.

The second element is Linking to wider issues, topics or arguments that support your point of view. For example, in this particular history essay, a student could refer to other historical events that were responsible for problems between Charles II and parliament, but which were not related to his character.

Drawing on other factors in this way helps to increase the significance of your argument, and will round out your essay fully.

These two elements of analysis – including detailed evidence and linking to wider ideas – can be used to answer any ‘To what extent. ‘ question. In other words, when answering this type of essay question, keep the general structure the same and change the the appropriate information in the right places.

Remember also to analyse your evidence as you weave your argument. Do this by answering questions like, ‘how significant is your evidence in supporting your argument?’ and, ‘what are the potential weaknesses that this evidence carries?’.

How your custom essay should be structured

Introduction

For example, going back to our history essay question above, the introduction would need to acknowledge that to some extent, the character of Charles II Was responsible for his problems with parliament.

An introduction should then go on to highlight the importance of taking into account other aspects which also impact the topic of the essay.

Paragraph 1 and 2

Linking sentence

Paragraph 3 and 4

This can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, by showing flaws in its logic (in this case, by suggesting that there were actually some aspects of Charles’s character that in fact improved his political relationships). Secondly, by offering alternatives (in this case, other elements unconnected to his personality that may have soured the parliamentary relationship independently).

Conclusion

To do this, simply recap:

• The points that suggest the question’s claims are true
• The points against
• Then conclude whether you agree the statement is true ‘to a certain extent’, ‘to a great extent’ or ‘to a very small extent’. This must be backed up by a summary of the argument on both sides to prove why you feel it to be weighted one way or the other.

Once you have finished your essay, the little touches matter. You don’t want to risk being penalised for not sticking to the formatting guidelines set for your submission. Many students seek the assistance of a good proofreader to check for any errors or omissions in your work and will ensure that you have every opportunity to present your points in the best possible light, with the perfect structure, formatting and presentation to match. After your thorough research and work put into completing this essay, you deserve the best possible grade.

Read other articles in the Custom Essay series

Some close reference questions are specifically focussed on the piece itself, whilst others use it as a springboard to discuss a wider issue with aspects of the text used to illustrate your argument. > read more

This is exactly the kind of essay that can cause students to panic under exam pressure, as a clear, structured essay format is required to tackle it correctly. > read more

This question offers an invitation for the student to showcase as much knowledge as possible about the craft and techniques of writing. Luckily for you, you’ll be going in armed with your own super writing technique. > read more

Somewhere, in every exam room, is one student who calmly looks at the question and confidently begins to write – as if they had a custom essay already prepared no matter what the requirements. That student knows the secret of custom essays… > read more

How do I answer ‘To what extent’ questions?

These questions involve weighing up different components of an event. You may be considering causes, consequences or the level of, for example, opposition. Considering the question is ‘to what extent’, it is essential that you weigh up how important/significant that factor actually was. This should be done throughout your essay by producing counter arguments and concluding the overall significance of factors through ‘Mini judgements’ at the end of each paragraph.

In your conclusion, be sure to mention the specific factor included in the question. Sometimes, concluding that it was a combination of factors, but that one or two were more important, is the best opinion to take.

Here’s an example of how I would structure this question.

To what extent did propaganda contribute to the Nazi Party’s acquisition of power from 1929-33

Intro: outline your argument

Propaganda did help to raise the profile because.

But propaganda was limited because.

Mini judgement as to how important propaganda was (1-2 sentences).

3 As propaganda has limitations, it is arguable that a different factor contributed to the acquisition of power in 1933.

But a different factor was also limited because.

Mini judgement as to how important a different factor was (1-2 sentences).

Continue with this structure for 3-4 more factors. It is better to have fewer factors with more detail than more factors with less explanation.

Propaganda was an important factor because. but it was limited because (2-3 sentences).

Therefore, other factors must have contributed. For example, . (briefly outline the significance of these)

It is most convincing to argue that it was a combination of factors leading to the rise of Nazism. Nevertheless, . were the most important factors in contributing to the acquisition of Nazi power in 1933.

About the author

Ellen L. is an online A Level History tutor with MyTutor studying at Durham University

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