Quick Guide to Writing a Successful To What Extent Essay

Quick Guide to Writing a Successful To What Extent Essay

So, your teacher gave a simple assignment - to write a ‘to what extent’ essay. You are heartened by the nature of the task and assume that you’ll finish it in less than an hour. After all, just admitting that you agree or disagree with the statement and to what degree is all you asked to do.

You submit the paper and feel shocked when you see the score. How come you got an F for the minimalistic essay? How come the teacher didn’t get the idea of your inventive approach towards doing your homework or writing the exam?

Friend, we feel for you, but this essay type is really tricky. It involves more work than just saying, ‘I completely agree’ or ‘The author is right on the one hand, but on the other hand, I do not take this statement.’

So, in this article, we’ll detail the ‘to what extent’ essay and will show you how to write it in the right way.

What’s the Purpose of a ‘To What Extent’ Essay?

Before you learn how to answer to what extent question, let’s first take a look at the anatomy of this essay type.

This essay is usually inquiring about the importance or impact of one factor in relation to a wider concept or topic. It also makes an inquiry about the level of your consent and discontent on a specific topic.

For example, ‘To what extent do you agree that robots will replace manpower someday?’. Or ‘In your opinion, to what extent did Abraham Lincoln contributed to the death of slavery?’.

In other words, the aim of the ‘to what extent’ essay is to encourage the student to make a claim about the given topic and assess other conditions that affected the given phenomenon.

Things to Look For in Your Compelling ‘to What Extent’ Essay

The greatest challenge of the ‘to what extent’ essay is that you have to provide a perfect blend between the solid facts and your own in-depth evaluation. In other words, always think of the:

  • facts and supportive materials on a narrow topic;
  • facts and supportive materials on a broader topic;
  • your own evaluation of the events, facts, etc.

Let’s consider the prompt about Abraham Lincoln as an example. At first, you should find and provide facts about the accomplishments of this persona (these would be pieces of information on the narrow topic). Then, mind searching for the materials about actions taken in the USA towards fighting slavery (this would be data to support the broader topic). And, finally, you’ve got to weigh how Lincoln’s legacy correlates with the general solution of the slavery problem.

Thus, you’ve got to apply a wide range of skills to write a winning ‘to what extent’ essay. You should show great research and analytical skills. In case you struggle with finding reputable and trusted sources online, you can always go to the school or college library or ask for assistance from a professional writer.

The Structure of the ‘to What Extent’ Essay

The surest way to write a great essay is to follow the commonly accepted structure. You’ve probably mastered the art of using the introduction, body, and conclusion by the time you are given this type of assignment. But the standard five-paragraph essay construction requires more detailed explanations so you could write a well-reasoned ‘to what extent’ essay.


It’s not a surprise that all essays start with the introduction. This part of writing actualizes the subject matter and gives a hint on what’s the author’s point of view towards this or that question.

After you set the topic, you should express your attitude towards the idea provided in the statement. You can say that you completely agree or disagree. You can say that there are only several rational aspects that resonate with you, while some things do not awaken any positive response in your mind.

The key point of the introduction is to make a spoiler of what you are going to talk about in your essay, so do not keep it too long. 3-5 sentences are enough to briefly set the mood of your work and prepare the reader for more profound thoughts.


This is the most important part of the essay because it should contain your arguments and supportive facts in relation to your own ideas. In this structural element, you detail your point of view and give evidence of why you think that way.

The structure of the body will vary depending on what ideas you would like to deliver. But let’s assume that you partially agree with the suggested prompt and have some arguments against the initial thesis.

In this case, devote the first paragraph to explain why you agree with the statement. Break your ideas into logical blocks by combining your own ideas and facts from history, theory, or life. 

Use the next paragraph to show disagreement with the idea expressed in the prompt. Imagine that the reader is a complete rookie in the subject matter you are writing about and do your best to provide relevant and strong arguments to show why the thesis is not completely right.

In the final paragraph of the body suggest how the initial statement could be improved and what idea is more appropriate for you.


In the last paragraph, summarize the arguments and drive your own attitude to the problem, personality, or phenomenon.

The biggest mistake students make in this section is introducing completely new viewpoints that haven’t been shared in the essay. Remember once and for all. A conclusion is a part of the essay where you grab all your ideas together and make a generalized statement towards the essay prompt.

The Final Thought

By now, you should have known how to answer to what extent questions in the essay if you get one. Even though it might look overwhelming at first sight, it’s not as challenging as you suppose. Thorough research, detailed evaluation of facts, and proper structuring will help you craft an excellent ‘to what extent’ essay, even when you have only 40 minutes at your disposal.