IELTS Essay Writing: The Argument-led and Thesis-led Approaches

You can approach your IELTS essay task in two different ways. For example, you may opt for an argument-led approach or a thesis-led approach.

Consider the essay questions given below.

1. Nowadays more and more teenagers get involved in criminal activities. Why do you think this is happening? What can be done to prevent this?

2. Nowadays more and more teenagers get involved in criminal activities. What can be done to prevent this?

The first essay topic includes two questions whereas the second one includes just one topic. When your essay topic asks you to answer more than one question, the argument-led approach is more suitable because it allows you to discuss and compare different views and analyse problems. The thesis-led approach is more useful when you have to answer only one question and when you have a clear opinion on that.

The argument led approach

This approach is helpful while discussing different views or comparing advantages and disadvantages.

Read the essay topic given below.

A large number of unmarried youngsters now live on their own in cities away from their hometowns. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

This essay asks you to compare the advantages and disadvantages of a particular trend. Before you start writing brain storm ideas for both sides of the argument; that is, both for and against the issue.

In your introduction, paraphrase the question showing the topic clearly. Do not repeat the exact same words or phrases given in the question. Of course, this is not always possible and sometimes you will have to repeat some of the words. However, avoid the repetition of the entire question at all costs. You may express your opinion in the introduction itself.

Here is a sample introduction statement.

The number of unmarried men and women who live on their own are definitely on the rise. This trend has both positive and negative aspects. For one thing, when people live on their own, they learn to become self-reliant. On the other hand, too much freedom can sometimes lead them astray.

Develop the body of your response

Now that you have clearly stated that this trend has both positive and negative sides, you have to develop your body paragraphs accordingly.

You may write about the positive sides in the first body paragraph. Make sure you support your arguments with valid examples from your own experience. Do not write anything about the negative sides in this paragraph. Discuss only one main point in each paragraph. In the next body paragraph, you can write about the negative sides. Conclude your essay by summarizing the main points.

The Thesis-led approach

Read the essay question given below.

A large number of unmarried youngsters now live on their own in cities away from their hometowns. Is this a positive or negative trend?

As you can see, this essay topic clearly asks for your opinion. The argument-led approach is not suitable in this case. Instead, you have to opt for the thesis-led approach. This approach is suitable when you have or when you are required to take a clear opinion on a particular topic.

If you believe that something is good or right, the whole of your essay – your introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion – should support that view. Do not write about the negative aspects after you have clearly stated that something is good. Now in case, you believe that something is bad, do not write one paragraph explaining why it is bad and another paragraph analyzing the positive aspects of the situation.

Here is a sample introduction statement for the essay topic given above.

More and more unmarried young men and women now live on their own in large cities. This is clearly a positive development. When people live on their own, they learn many skills necessary for success in life. For example, they learn to be responsible for their actions. They also learn to become self-reliant.

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