This type of essay question asks test-takers to evaluate two sides to an issue and say which side has more merit. This is a very common essay type but is often answered poorly.

Many test-takers use three body paragraphs to answer this question. The first two for an analysis of each side, and the final paragraph to give their opinions. This is a good strategy, but only if the test-taker has an advanced level of English. It is important to remember that IELTS examiners will only award high scores to ideas that are well developed, which means each of the three paragraphs will need to be carefully written and not too short. Usually that requires writing 350 words or more.

For most test-takers it makes more sense to write two paragraphs. The first analyses the side that is weaker, and the second paragraph presents the reasons why the other side is stronger. This combines the discussion and opinion and requires fewer words overall.

In the essay below, a two-paragraph strategy has been used. Study the paragraph construction in detail. The first paragraph uses a single main argument, while the second uses two arguments but clearly orders both and develops them fully. More than two points in a paragraph will lead to ‘listing’ which means there will be many points but not enough development.

Remember, all the model essays shown on this website follow structures that can be learned and practised by taking the writing courses available. There is no better way to study IELTs writing.


You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Some people believe that it is good to share as much information as possible in scientific research, business and the academic world. Others believe that some information is too important or too valuable to be shared freely.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answers and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or

Write at least 250 words

Model essay

In the modern world, advancements in technology have enabled communication on a scale never seen before, and sharing of information has become commonplace. The benefits of this cooperation, such as scientific progress and poverty reduction, are undeniable, but the need for national security and protecting business ideas must also be important considerations.

If information is shared as much as possible, it may harm businesses and national security. Information that could be weaponised, biological research for example, should be kept away from violent groups to maintain national security. In terms of commercial information, some would be highly damaging to competitive fairness if freely shared, such as patented products which may have cost a company enormous amounts of money in research and development. Without restrictions, rival companies could steal ideas and research, which would harm many businesses worldwide. Therefore, restrictions need to be in place in some cases.

However, there are also two compelling arguments why some information should be shared as freely as possible. Firstly, when scientific information is easily available progress is faster, because more scientists can work on problems together. This can lead to eradication of diseases, for example, or to technological advances that benefit humanity as a whole. Secondly, poorer nations can benefit from unrestricted information, especially when research is too advanced or expensive for their own universities and companies, leading to stronger economies and a decrease in the wealth gap. Therefore, sharing as much information as possible would have enormous benefits worldwide.

In conclusion, while information restrictions benefit private interests and can prevent scientific information from being misused, the advantages in terms of poverty eradication and scientific progress are much greater. Therefore, authorities around the world should take action to make information as free as possible.

289 words

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