Next in our custom essays blog series is a type of essay question that crops up again and again in exams at all academic levels: ‘for and against’. This type of essay question typically asks the writer to provide arguments, reasons and evidence both for and against a certain opinion or statement, and sometimes also to conclude which is the stronger side of the argument. This is exactly the kind of essay that can cause students to panic under exam pressure, as a clear, structured essay format is required to tackle it correctly. Luckily, armed with our custom essay format for this particular type of question, you will be well on your way to top marks!

For and Against

In a ‘for and against’ essay, the most common trap students fall into is breaking the essay into two large chunks, with the first dealing with all the reasons ‘for’ in one big chunk, before launching into all the ‘against’ reasons in a second long paragraph. The key to gaining top marks in this type of exam question is to create a sharply structured, clear essay format that separates your points into different ideas rather than allowing them to converge into two enormous arguments.

What your custom essay should include

  • Introduction. Set out the key points for and against the argument, making it clear that there are several different ideas on each side: avoid the trap of making it sound like a simple argument with only one point on either side.
  • Paragraph 1. Using a signpost sentence to make it clear which point you are starting with, set out your strongest argument for, backing it up with evidence, quotes and reasons.
  • Paragraphs 2 and 3. Further different arguments for, clearly signposted and supported, making it clear that they are new ideas and have different reasons behind them so the examiner can see that you have thought widely about the issue from different points of view.
  • Linking Sentence. Referring back to the title of the essay to show that you are sticking to the question, this sentence acknowledges that although you have so far concentrated on reasons for, there are actually also several strong reasons against, which you will now explore.
  • Paragraphs 5 and 6. In separate paragraphs, set out the reasons against the argument, using a similar format as before with signpost sentences and evidence. Again, make it clear that there are several separate points. These paragraphs may refer specifically to points made in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, if they directly contradict them.
  • Conclusion. Sum up the main points for and against the argument and, using your evidence to explain why, make a final decision on which side is the strongest.