Source: www.rubenvalero.com

PART 1 – WRITING AN ESSAY   (also known as a discursive essay or composition)

The student must write 140-190 words.

There are basically 4 types of essay/composition.

  1. Advantages/Disadvantages   (Pros and cons).
  2. Agree or disagree with the title (in a logical way!)
  3. Giving opinions or suggestions about the title.
  4. Writing about issues in modern society such as: health, pollution, internet, technology, ecology, men and women, economic crisis.


How to write a good discursive essay (composition)

Before you start

Read the question carefully. DO NOT write an irrelevant answer. ANSWER THE QUESTION!

  • Plan your essay. Spend about 5 minutes on this. It will make your life easier
  • Do not give your essay a title
  • Control your time. Spend about 40 minutes

Remember this!

  • You MUST write your essay in 140-190 words. Write 190 words, NOT 140!!
  • A composition is usually more formal than an article, so present your work as a ‘scientific’, coherent argument
  • Use formal language. DO NOT use contractions, colloquial expressions or a ‘chatty’ style
  • Write at least 4 paragraphs with a clear introduction, contrast of arguments and a logical conclusion
  • Make sure your argument is clear
  • Use difficult grammar and more complex sentences
  • Use conditional and passive sentences
  • Don’t worry if you make small mistakes. You will get more points for using difficult grammar
  • Give an opinion ONLY when appropriate
  • Give your opinion at the end, NOT at the beginning

When you have finished

  • Make sure you have expressed yourself clearly
  • Check your writing for grammar mistakes
  • Check your writing for spelling mistakes


Structuring your composition

Most people write about 10-12 words per line.

Mathematics! You have to write a total of 190 words, so you should write about 15 lines in total.

Here’s an example of how to set out your essay

Introduction 3 lines

Contrasting arguments

Paragraph 1       4 lines

Paragraph 2       4 lines


3 lines


Here’s an example of some good expressions you could use in the 4 parts of the essay

Introduction    To begin with/ Firstly,

First of all I would like to consider…

The first thing (I would like to consider) to   be considered is…

Nowadays, it seems that…/ In recent times…


Contrasting arguments  Paragraph 1

On one hand, it could be said that…

Despite the fact that …/ In spite of…

Although it could be said that…

It is often thought that…

Paragraph 2

On the other hand, it could be argued that…

Although it appears that…

Apart from that…

What is more, …

It would seem, however, that…



By and large,/ On balance,/ In conclusion,

Because of / As a result of this / Owing to / As a   consequence of

Therefore, in my opinion,

On this basis, I can conclude that