HomeWriting a Balanced Essay (2)

In the IELTS writing test, we are also required to write a formal essay which presents our personal opinion on a specific issue. To achieve a high score, we should consider including one paragraph (supported by reasons/examples) where we present the opposing viewpoint and counter-argue it.


Clear presentation of the topic (you can also state your opinion here)

Main Body

  1. Opposing viewpoint & supporting details (optional)
    Arguments against it (counter-arguments)
  2. Your viewpoint 1 & supporting details
  3. Your viewpoint 2 & supporting details

The number of main body paragraphs depends on the number of viewpoints included. We should present our viewpoints in separate paragraphs supported by reasons/examples. Start each main body paragraph with a central idea, that is, writing a sentence which introduces the theme of the paragraph.


Summary of arguments and/or direct or indirect presentation of the writer’s opinion


What do you know about this type of surgery? Read the following topic and underline the key words.

The best way to rid oneself of extra weight is to visit a surgeon. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

[spoiler title=’Suggested Answers’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]

I know that surgery which is intended to achieve weight loss is usually not only costly but can also be risky. For example, a person who decides to try plastic surgery may actually end up looking worse than they did before if the operation is no successful.

The best way to rid oneself of extra weight is to visit a surgeon. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?



The sample answer below has been prepared as a very good answer under exam conditions. However, please note that this is just one answer out of many possible approaches. Read the sample essay and answer the questions that follow.

Increasing numbers of people these days are classified as obese, and consequently, millions are spent each year on weight loss surgery. A popular form of therapy for raising self-esteem is now a visit to the local surgeon for a quick fix. In my opinion, however, a more effective method to achieve the target body weight should be through a healthy lifestyle.

Admittedly, there are passionate supporters of the surgical way. These people are willing to undergo plastic surgery repeatedly throughout their life. To this I believe that the body can only take so much intervention, and repeated surgeries are harmful, expensive and can increase the risks of other side effects such as infections.

Resorting to surgical methods for weight loss is not only unsafe, if not extreme, but usually temporary. In other words, in order to retain the new body, which has been obtained through surgery, patients must often follow a strict diet and a rigorous exercise programme. Otherwise, the body would simply return to its previous form, leading to further anxiety and depression. Moreover, these surgical procedures can be life-threatening and even fatal in many cases. For this reason, it is important that people are aware of the dangers involved in such a quick and easy solution.

On the contrary, a more practical way to control and maintain a satisfactory body weight is by changing harmful habits into healthy ones. In particular, by reducing fattening and sugar-based foods, and doing regular exercise, one can the chances of suffering from high blood pressure and heart problems. In addition, by following a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, the body can have sufficient minerals and vitamins to build a stronger immune system. As the body begins to look and feel healthier, individuals can regain their self-confidence in a natural way.

In conclusion, I believe that all the body needs is proper care and a balanced diet and exercise, and this can only be achieved by determination.

1. What is the topic and where is it first introduced?
2. Does the writer agree or disagree with the topic?
3. What is the first viewpoint the writer uses to defend his/her oprnior
4. What supporting details reinforce the first viewpoint9
5. What is the second viewpoint9
6. What supporting details reinforce the second viewpoint9
7. What is the opposing viewpoint9
8. Which paragraph contains the writer’s opinion?


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