1) When writing an 'agree or disagree' essay, is it better to have a strong view and ignore the other side of the argument, or should we try to address both sides?
Both ways are equally acceptable. A few students have commented that I seem to prefer addressing both sides of the argument (click here for an example). However, I've also written some one-sided essays like this one. It really depends on the ideas that you have, so your planning time is extremely important for this type of question.
2) What's the best way to approach the following question?: "Financial education should be a mandatory component of the school program. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?"
This question doesn't allow you to partly agree: either financial education should be mandatory, or it shouldn't. Think about which view would be easier to support, then make some notes. Click here to see my ideas for a similar topic.
PS. Thanks to those of you who wished me a happy Christmas!