How To Answer A Two Part Essay Question

It is true that we tend to throw away our broken or useless things in these days, rather than reusing or recycling them. There are various reasons why this is the case and this trend has several negative consequences in the world.

There are three main reasons for this trend. Firstly, advances in technology enable companies to produce large number of goods faster than ever, and costumers can buy items with low prices than before. Samsung company, for example, produces thousands of television every day and all individuals can buy this commodity with reasonable prices if their old one is not working any more.Secondly, advertisements promote consumerism culture and encourage us to buying the latest new objects rather than repairing the old possessions. Finally, people are too busy with their jobs and making a living, and they do not have enough time to mending their old or broken things.

The most important consequence of this attitude is that raw materials such as trees, metals and fossil fuels are running out in order to produce new objects. Furthermore, we produce more waste than ever with throwing away damaged items and even plastic garbage doesn't break down easily and add to litter problem. Finally, increasing number of companies, which are producing large quantities of goods, release huge amount of gasses such as carbon monoxide that cause global temperature to rise.

In conclusion, several factors have caused this behavior, and this trend has negative impacts on our lives.

Posted by: Katherina | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 13:28

What can I write if I disagree with the premise? For example, "many of us prefer.." ; no we don't "prefer", we just have no alternative. Who is "us" anyway? Is that consumers in the USA? Or is it nomadic tribesmen in the Hindu Kush?

Posted by: zumba | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 13:58


You make a good point, and in the "real world" you are of course right. However, in the context of an IELTS test I would say that you are over-complicating things.

You could disagree with the premise and deconstruct the assumptions made in the question, but I don't think this would be the wisest course of action. It's going to be much easier to simply accept the (simplistic) premise and answer the questions. Remember that this is just a language test.

Posted by: Simon | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 15:46

Simon the Lord of IELTS,

The question reads more like a "cause and effect" than a two- part. Have I got something wrong about it?


Posted by: myson | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 16:11

Hi Myson,

You can call it "cause and effect" if you want - it doesn't really matter as long as you answer both parts of the question well.

Thanks for the new title by the way!!

Posted by: Simon | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 16:15

Hi Simon Sir,

i have some problems in writing essay, i can't organize my ideas in adequate way like numbering the ideas. So consequently, coherence of my essay is always worst.

Please give me some tips to make coherence better.


Posted by: Aman | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 17:07

Some ideas for this topic:
why nowadays people throw old objects away rather than fixing and re-using them:
1. By improvement in technology, we would like to renew our household appliances and when they are old, we simply get rid of them and buy the most up to date ones.
2. Due to busy lifestyle in modern world, many individuals do not have sufficient time to repair objects
3. These days people earn more money compared to past and they do not care about throwing old things away and buy the new ones

What are the effects of this trend:
I think this modification is negative due to the following reasons:
1. old and damaged items can be fixed and given to charities. In this way, many people will have the things that they can not afford to buy.
2. Throwing away the objects frequently will create lots of waste and even pollution. Therefore, it is not environmentally friendly. is expensive to buy new stuffs and repairing things is less costly. We can save money for other things.

Comments on my ideas are welcomed.
Thank you.

Posted by: L | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 20:56

1 consumer culture, influence by advertising
2 mass production of goods, products made not to last
3 creating more waste, environmental pollution, wasting resources

Posted by: Nazira | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 22:04

Hi Simon and All,

According to the Simon's instructions (which you can see here made my essay plan for this.

1.Introduction: topic + general response
•Topic: In modern society, there is a trend of disposing broken goods rather than repairing items.
•General response: There are several reasons for this change
There is a positive effect
2.Answer the first question
•Significantly low price of brand new goods such as electronic appliances, toys and some ornaments, etc.
•Especially this trend can be seen in industrialized countries such as Japan, china, etc.
•Quality of possessions are comparatively low – long-running and repairing are not possible
•Repairing cost may be high
•Difficult to find a proper place to repair things
•Repairing take time
•Sometimes it does not give original quality after the repair
3.Answer the second question
•Although they do not repair damaged things they used broken items for recycling
•Resources such as manpower, tools, power etc. used for repairing damaged things can be used for more efficient new product development
•Most of the new products have warrantees – don’t want to waste time to find the spare parts
•can always be experienced latest technologies
•quality degradation will not experienced
4.Conclusion: repeat your response
•Number of motives are behind this revolution and positive consequences are outweigh negatives.

But I'm afraid. Because of it took about one and half hours to make this plan. :(

Posted by: Jeff | Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 22:37

Dear Simon

Hello, I have a question about construction of body paragraph.

I believe that it is better to write about one idea or two in one body paragraph, but ideal way of writing is only one idea per body paragraph. Too many idea such as three or four in one body paragraph may lose coherence and cohesion and task response.

I think that it is ok to write many ideas in one body paragraph when only if you can explain ideas with short sentence and can persuade examiners. The longer sentences become, the less coherence and cohesion become.

However, I sometimes feel that writing about one idea deeply might cause distortion and off-topic.

How do you think?
Is it depends on several condition such as task, strength of idea and candidates' aim score?

Posted by: Teru | Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 03:36

It is true that nowadays people tend to throw away things instead of repairing. In my opinion, this behavior is due to individual perspectives so its effect might not too big.
Firstly, if you throw something, that means you cannot use it effectively or you don't like to use it or you can buy a new one so it depends on personal use and capability. For example, I have used my electric cooker for nearly five years but it is now too old, take a lot of time to cook and the cooked rice is not delicious so although I do not want, I still have to buy new one and throw away the old one. Some people might argue that because of producers today oversupply and we should save our resources but I think producers need profit so they only supply if they find there will be a demand. Moreover, the technology is advancing with our lives so if you use things effectively we could manage the resources well. There will be side effect if we throw things too much but people tend to buy things less as the world economy in the downturn.
All in all, the effect of discarding things is not too big as this is due to personal preferences, however, we should use things effectively to get the best benefit over the cost.

Posted by: Hang Pham | Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 14:01

Dear Simon

I want to say thank you.
I'm exploring your website these days, and I've learned lots of new skills, your articles make me think a lot.
It's the first time I post a comment on your website, and I am wondering if you could give me some advice.

---------------The Essay-----------
It is true that people tend to discard their damaged possessions these days, rather than repairing them. There are various reasons why we behave in this way, and it seems to me that the effects are largely positive.

I believe that the most important reason for people to throw their broken things is the increased complicacy of modern products which is much more complicated than ever. For example, if the major parts of computers stop working, like CPU, hard disk, it would be almost unable to recover them without a IT professional. For those who may try to send their damaged stuffs to the customer service centers for help, they would probably find there is no official center nearby. Even if there was one, it might take a long time for reservation, examining, waiting in queue, to get their possessions fixed. Therefore, the difficulties of preventing consumers from repairing would consequently lead them to purchasing new merchandise.

The tend above would affect many aspects of our life and society. On individual level, while discarding might be seen as a waste of money, I prefer the view that they would save their time and furthermore they have chance to bring back and enjoy some of the latest goods. From another angle, the transactions in second-hand markets might be beneficial for young adults who have not amassed enough money. From economic perspective, the increment of deal numbers, including the first and second-hand transactions, would advance the development of retail, manufacturing, logistics, and as well as the relative businesses of used stuff, like quality and value evaluation. Moreover, some certain thrown things will be useful to charity, clothes, in particular, are highly demanded by people who lives in poverty areas.

In conclusion, I think the discarding of damaged things have positive meaning for both individuals and society, whereas it may cost a little more than repairing.

Posted by: Zach Xu | Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 15:59

Dear Simon

I am a little confused.
About this 'discard their old or damaged possessions', is there necessary to use 'old' here? I don't think there is any information about 'old' mentioned in the question.

Posted by: Zach Xu | Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 16:03


Don't worry that it took you a long time to write your plan - all of your hard work is helping you to improve your English.



Good question. I'll answer it in a lesson this weekend.



There's no need to add the word "old", but it doesn't do any harm to the introduction. I'm not really sure why I wrote it - I suppose it came from the image that I had in my head at the time!

Posted by: Simon | Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 19:00

With the widely used information technology, on-line shopping becomes common in the modern society. Commodities rare to see in the old days become tangible. Moreover, e-commerce, together with door-to-door delivery greatly reduces the time and improves efficiency. With several clicks in mobile apps, we can finish purchasing on the go. Additionally, in order to win the market or get good reputation in the fierce competition, sellers are tended to decrease prices and offer more valuable products to consumers. All these taking in the scene makes on-line shopping very attractive to people living in fast-pace life. 

However, this also creates a throw-away culture in the society. I believe reason for this is obvious, as on-line shopping is so convenient and accessible where ever you are, as long as connected on line, the majority would undoubtedly throw away broken stuffs instead of sitting down, taking out tools and fixing it. Nevertheless, this habit has been causing more negative effects to the society as a whole. Firstly, it contributes wastes and pollutions and substantial environmental problems, such as non-degradable packages and plastic bags. As a result, the global environment will be worse for our offspring. Secondly, the youngster might form a bad shopping habit by spending more and overlook some essential life-long skills, such as problem-solving skills.

In a word, the new technology gives us ability to access commodity in an easier than ever way, we have to realize that it’s also changing our mindset and spending habits, which possibly lead to a negative effect to society in the long run.

Posted by: Rebecca | Friday, March 03, 2017 at 07:24

hi simon,
i want to add few more points and want to change the introduction.please check and comment on this introduction please

there has recently been an increased trend in people disposing damaged products rather than repairing them.There are several reasons for it and this phenomenon could have negative ramifications.

para 1-want to add my point
firstly,one of the main reasons for this trend might be the tremendous increase in the labour cost for repairing damaged items these days,therefore people find it less expensive to buy new product instead.

para2-my points
however, this phenomena has few drawbacks.firstly,the skilled labourers could suffer unemployment,because people would be reluctant to fix their broken items at repair shops.Moreover,people's behaviour to buy unnecessary new products would promote consumerist culture at cost of resources depletion,environmental pollution and climate changes.

Posted by: kiran | Friday, March 03, 2017 at 11:33

It true that time is changing every now and then thus people attitudes and manners would alter as well. Previously people would rather prefer to fix up their possesses and keep them as long as they could, however, this trend has changed dramatically, it seems that there are several reasons and effects which could be illustrated as follow.

Posted by: zain | Friday, March 03, 2017 at 15:07

Certainly, people nowadays tend to discard their broken stuff more frequently as what It has been, this trend would be justified as a consequence of the technological innovations which made things much more affordable and accessible, a case in point, getting a new computer would rather cost less likely as a repaired one. Furthermore, commercial wise companies deliberately manufacturing unrepairable products, such as a door locker set that should be replaced by a new set in case a key somehow lost.

Posted by: zain | Friday, March 03, 2017 at 16:34

It is true that time is changing every now and then thus people attitudes and manners would alter as well. Previously people would rather prefer to fix up their possesses and keep them as long as they could, however, this trend has changed dramatically and they things are more likely to be discarded, it seems that there are several reasons and effects which could be illustrated as follow.
Certainly, people nowadays tend to discard their broken stuff more frequently as what It has been, this trend would be justified as a consequence of the technological innovations which made things much more affordable and accessible, a case in point, getting a new computer would rather cost less likely as a repaired one. Furthermore, commercial wise companies deliberately manufacturing unrepairable products, such as a door locker set that should be replaced by a new set in case a key somehow lost.
However, I would rather believe this trend has a significant drawback in every single aspect of people’s lives. Lacking a sense of critical thinking to solve problems, that is to say, their mindsets is ready to give up negotiating a way or another to sort a complex situation out, a record number of students who failed in a mathematic test is unprecedented. In addition, it would jeopardise social values, people more frequently become not to validate what it has been passed down to them such as moral and respect as an old behaviour.
to sum up, having looked at the points that people would rather prefer throwing their old and damaged stuff than fixing them, it has deliberate reasons and consequence.

Posted by: zain | Friday, March 03, 2017 at 20:27

It is true that people nowadays get easier to get rid of their damaged belongings rather than mend them. The condition is a backdrawn of people's habit at previous time. There are some reasons why the phenomenon has changed and what consequences of that behaviour.

The technology are developing through years. People can have assistant from things that very rare a long time ago. For example, it is not easy to communicate with our relatives who live in a distance from us. We can connect to their family by using public telephone and it was costly. Cell phones are very luxurious things that day, so when you have one then you will use it wisely and take carefully for it. When it was broken, then repairing is a first option. However, todays people can choose any type of cellphone base on the budget. When it is damaged, it is affordable to buy new ones that meet with our budget. Another reason for not repairing the broken possesion because it is not easy to find a person who can fix it. The thing happens when people break their umbrellas. They find difficulty to find an umbrella repairmen.

Those reasons give consequences in people's live. Some people will not have a good attention on their belongings. They just use it and not take care of it. They don't have respect on their stuffs. Furthermore, the numbers of repairmen will be reduced because only few people need them.

Hence, it is important to suggest our children and friends to be more grateful with what their possessed. Remind them, that all materials of things you have come from nature that are not renewable. By using it wisely and carefully will assist the rapid extinction of the resources.


Dear Simon,
Please give your comment on my writing above.
I only got 5.5 on my previous ielts test.
Please advise.

Thank you

Posted by: Dessy Amalia | Saturday, March 04, 2017 at 08:39

Hi my best teacher, Simon
It's my first time to write here
I hope that you comment on my introduction.

It is true that in recent years we have been living in a throw-away society, as people tend to dispose off the old or damaged materials, however, this behaviour is contradicting the reservation techniques of the previous generations. There are a variety of reasons for this transformation and it had huge influence on our lives.

Posted by: Israa | Sunday, March 05, 2017 at 21:20

i am completely agree with this topic and it is true alot of people throwing the old thigs away from home and keep new things to try to use new one .on the other side people of past times preffered to repair things to make useful in everydays life.

Posted by: don | Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 12:10

The third paragraph:

The trend above would pose a negative impact on the attitude of people how to deal with problems in their daily lives. Instead of dealing with problems or hardships at work or in relationships, people tend to escape from the core of problems. To be specific, young adults choose to switch in-between jobs as soon as they find the positions slightly unsatisfactory. Furthermore, people would become ungrateful to the possessions they have in their lives, such as family, friends, and health. Since they interpret that everything is replaceable, they would not cherish the things they have at the moment, which, on the other hand, are rather scarce for some unfortunate people.


That's my attempt for the third paragraph........Anyone, please give me some feedbacks if you may! :)

Thank Simon and this wonderful website!

Posted by: Fiona | Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 01:17

It is true that many people tend to throw away damaged possessions instead of repairing them like what happened in the past. This can be attributed to several reasons. This essay will discuss this change of behaviour and look closely at the effects of such actions.

Nowadays, people have a mentality of replacing damaged goods and replacing them with newer ones. This was not the case a long time ago as people would prefer to keep them. I believe the possessions people kept were of sentimental value and as such they could not easily discard them. In the past people were not extravagant, and they had a drive to survive within their own means and keep the resources they had in check. However, this is not the case in the present day.

People replace goods easily because they do not have a personal connection with them. In that regard it is very easy to replace them. More so, Shops are selling replica goods especially in this part of the world with very low prices. People often weigh the advantages of repairing goods and buying new properties. It would be unnecessarily expensive to repair a replica piece of equipment.

This change of attitude both has positives and negatives effects. By way of throwing goods away, people will indirectly be donating to someone who has a genuine need of the equipment. However, this causes pollution to our environment. It also means people channel resources that they could have used in important undertakings in replacing possessions they could have easily repaired.

In conclusion, discarding possessions has both pros and cons. It is entirely up to individuals to weight the effects of such behaviour and act in the best interests of everyone

Posted by: Mimi | Friday, March 17, 2017 at 11:19

Isn't second part of question asking 'what are the effect of this change in attidue' mean that we simply state the effect but not our opinion?

Posted by: BruceLee | Monday, March 27, 2017 at 07:38

nowadays people tend to discard their broken stuff, rather than repairing them and keeping them until become extremely crashed as in the past . i think there are various grounds of this trend , and its effects are largely undesirable .

Posted by: hayder | Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 16:34

It is a bit of a myth that there is a ‘one size fits all’ structure for IELTS Writing task 2 essays. Whilst the exam task criteria is the same each time, ie. you must write a minimum 250 words in approximately 40 minutes, there are actually 5 different types of Task 2 essays and each has a slightly different structure.

Many IELTS websites will suggest that you organise your essay in a specific way. It will probably look something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Paragraph 1
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Paragraph 2
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Possible Paragraph 3
    • Main idea
    • Supporting ideas
  • Conclusion

If you are aiming for a Band Score of around 5 or 6, then this kind of generic structure will probably be enough in each case. However, if you are aiming for a higher score, it is crucial that you familiarise yourself both with the different variations of essay types you might be given and the most effective way to organise your response.

The 5 most common types of Task 2 essays are:

  • Opinion (often Agree or Disagree)
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Problem and Solution
  • Discussion (Discuss both views)
  • Two-part Question

Opinion essays:

In an Opinion essay, you need to clearly express what you personally feel about the given topic. If you are asked direct questions like in the task below, then it is up to you how balanced or one-sided you choose to answer. You can address both parts of the question equally or focus mainly on one side, depending on your point of view.

Have newspapers become a thing of the past or do they still have an important role to play in people’s lives today?

In a task like the one below, where you are asked to what extent you agree or disagree, it is very important that you state this explicitly at the beginning and then again at the end of your essay. Do you agree fully, mainly, partly or not at all?

Computers have made it possible for people to work from home  instead of working in offices every day.This should be encouraged as it good for both workers and employers. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Remember: this is also considered an ‘argument’ essay and you should try to convince the reader that your opinion is right. In this case, I suggest that your essay structure should look something like this:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question (your own words)
    • Thesis statement (state your agreement or disagreement)
    • Essay overview (optional)
  • Paragraph 1 and 2
    • Topic sentence (state a position)
    • Explain this further (maybe give a reason)
    • Give an example
    • Summarise paragraph
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise main ideas
    • Reiterate your opinion

Simon at, a former IELTS examiner, explainshere how to structure an opinion essay depending on the extent to which you agree.

Advantages and Disadvantages essays:

In an Advantages and Disadvantages essay such as the one below, you need to discuss the positive and negative perspectives equally and to clearly explain why you think something is an advantage or a disadvantage.  It is common to start Paragraph 1 with the advantages, however this is optional.

Nowadays many students have the opportunity to study some or all of their course in a foreign country. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad?

A possible structure for this type of question is:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Outline your main ideas
    • State your opinion (if the question asks)
  • Paragraph 1
    • State one advantage
    • Explain the benefits of this advantage
    • Give an example or a result
  • Paragraph 2
    • State one disadvantage
    • Explain the negative aspect of this disadvantage
    • Give an example or a result
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas
    • Give your opinion (if asked)

Problem and Solution essays:

In a Problem and Solution essay, such as the one below, you need to think carefully about how to respond to the questions posed. It is also important that you address all parts of the task. The first question will refer to the problem or cause and the second question will refer to the solution. Try to limit yourself to answering these questions only and don’t introduce any further questions/points of your own otherwise you might stray off task.

Overpopulation is a major problem in many urban centres around the world. What problems does this cause? How can we solve the issue of overpopulation?

Try this structure to organise your essay:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Outline your main ideas
  • Paragraph 1
    • State the problem
    • Explain the problem
    • Explain the consequence (result) of this problem
    • Give an example
  • Paragraph 2
    • State the solution
    • Explain the solution
    • Give an example
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas

Discussion essays:

In a Discussion essay, such as the one below, you will be presented with two sides of an issue and you will need to examine both perspectives equally before giving your own conclusion.

In today’s competitive world, many families find it necessary for both parents to go out to work. While some say the children in these families benefit from the additional income, others feel they lack support because of their parents’ absence. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

In this case, your essay structure could look like this:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question AND/OR state both points of view
    • Give your thesis statement (which view you prefer)
  • Paragraph 1
    • State first point of view
    • Discuss this perspective
    • Give a reason why you agree or disagree with this viewpoint
    • Give an example to support your view
  • Paragraph 2
    • State second point of view
    • Discuss this perspective
    • Give a reason why you agree or disagree with this viewpoint
    • Give an example to support your view
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas
    • Restate your opinion

Two-part esssays:

In a Two-part question essay, such as the example below, you will get two questions. You must answer both questions fully otherwise you risk getting a low score for Task Achievement.

In today’s society, success is often measured in terms of wealth and possessions. Do you think these are the best measure of success? What makes a successful person?

So, in this case, I suggest organising your ideas in the following way:

  • Introduction
    • Paraphrase the question
    • Briefly answer both questions
  • Paragraph 1
    • Answer the first question directly
    • Explain your reason(s)
    • Expand your argument (evidence, examples, personal experience)
  • Paragraph 2
    • Answer the second question directly
    • Explain your reason(s)
    • Expand your argument (evidence, examples, personal experience)
  • Conclusion
    • Summarise your main ideas

Please bear in mind that these structures are my suggestions; they are not fixed in stone and you can adapt them to fit what you want to say. However, I highly recommend using these templates to practise organising your ideas into paragraphs then developing them into an essay, in preparation for the writing exam. Having a clear idea of these essay structures will help you stay on task in the exam, manage your time more efficiently and express your ideas clearly.

Remember too to use linking words and phrases to connect your sentences and paragraphs together to improve your scores in Coherence and Cohesion. Stay tuned for a blog post on this topic very soon!

We will soon be launching IELTS Write, where you can supercharge your writing score! Sign up to IELTS Write to access a variety of exclusive IELTS Writing tasks. Our experienced IELTS tutors will give you quick, detailed feedback on your writing. Sign uphere and you’ll be the first to know when we launch!

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