1. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
a) Be careful! A lot of candidates think that they only have to write about one side of
the argument in ‘To what extent…’ questions. ‘To what extent’ means ‘how much’, so you might only agree 40% for example, therefore you will need to write most of your answer on the ‘disagree’ side, even though the word ‘disagree’ isn’t in the question.
a) Quite easy this one. When you ‘discuss’ something it means to look at all relevant sides of an argument.
3. What are the causes of pollution and suggest some possible solutions.
b) If the question has the word ‘and’ in it, then it is going to be a two-part question.
Two-part questions need two-part answers: 1 paragraph on the first part and 1 paragraph on the second part. Usually, at least one part is concerned with ‘causes’, ‘effects’ or ‘solutions’. Often, as in question 5, one part of the question deals with one side of an argument (‘for’, ‘against’, ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’); if this is the case, you should write about that side ONLY, otherwise, if you write about both sides, you won’t
have enough time to write about the second part of the question.
4. What are the qualities of a good teacher?
c) If the question starts with ‘What are the…’ and mentions only one thing (i.e.: ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘advantages’ or ‘disadvantages’), then it is a ‘list’ question. With ‘list’
questions all you need to do is provide a list of things that support the question – in this case a list of qualities that make a good teacher. Normally, candidates will spend one paragraph on each point and explaining it in detail, so they might have three or four body paragraphs.
5. What are the arguments for free education for everyone and outline con ways in which this might be possible.
b) See question 3.
6. Do you agree or disagree with the statement?
a) ‘Do you _____ or _____ ?’ questions are asking for both sides of an argument, they are not ‘yes/no’ questions. It is highly unlikely that you will completely agree or disagree with a particular topic, so you are expected to write about both sides.
7. What are the arguments for and against compulsory education to the age of 18?
a) Questions starting with ‘What are the…’ followed by two points need an answer that talks about both points. These points are usually opposites: ‘for’, ‘against’, ‘good’, ‘bad’ etc. Be careful not to confuse these questions with ‘list’ questions.