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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from IELTS Cambridge 14 and it is an interesting question.

It seems to me that it is really only possible to take one side with this one – that people should try to improve their situation.

But maybe you disagree!

Regardless, you have to write about both sides. Do one paragraph on one view and the other on the opposite view. Make sure that by the end (and in the introduction) you have chosen a side. Be crystal clear!

One tricky part of this question that you should notice is that the question itself includes two examples of unsatisfactory situations. You don’t have to focus on those examples in your answer though – I didn’t!

If you want to get over your IELTS fears and achieve your dreams (of going abroad or getting a better job), I now offer online lessons complete with feedback, videos, workbooks and more – you can learn more here!

If you need some review on structures your can read about IELTS Task 2 Writing structure here.

Here are some other IELTS Task 2 Writing Sample Answers that I wrote!

 

IELTS Cambridge 14 Sample Answer

IELTS Cambridge 14 Sample Answer

 

 

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Acceptance / Unsatisfactory (IELTS Cambridge 14) by Dave

 

Some people believe that it is best to accept a bad situation, such as an unsatisfactory job or shortage of money. Others argue that it is better to try and improve such situations.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Many people find themselves in situations where they must either accept what life has given them or find a way to move up in the world. In my opinion, although accepting your situation in life may be pragmatic in some cases, it is still better to at least strive to improve your situation as it can usually be bettered to some degree.

On the one hand, the vast majority of people are unable to drastically change their situation and acceptance of this fact will make them feel more satisfied with their lives. The best example of this would be those people living in dire economic conditions. Recent research puts the Democratic Republic of Congo as one of the poorest nations on Earth, both due to a lack of developed infrastructure and internal strife in recent years. For a person living in a small village, ravaged by war or famine, it would be cruel to suggest that they should find a way to improve their lives when it might simply be impossible. Instead, such people may feel they are better off accepting that they cannot make any changes to their situation at the present moment and just focus on their own survival and that of their family. These situations are rare but do exist around the world in various countries, particularly if they are at war or experiencing a severe economic downturn.

On the other hand, few would dispute the fact that in even the most difficult situations people can make their lives better through continued effort. Instances of people who worked hard and became successful abound in both developed and developing nations. Some relevant examples of this are the postwar situations of countries like Germany, Japan, and South Korea. All those countries were devastated by war to greater and lesser degrees yet they are all currently economic powerhouses. In Japan, World War 2 left their population depleted of workers, a deep national debt due to reparations and infrastructure reduced to rubble. By not accepting their situation they were able to become leaders in technology through notable companies like Sony, Nokia and Toyota. The efficacy of the individuals who had to work hard to improve their lives is reflected in the overall progress of the country and should serve as an example to all war-torn nations.

To conclude, there are very few situations where it would be advisable to simply accept an unhappy situation because hard work over a long period will pay off to some degree in the vast majority of cases. By having a more positive attitude it is also more likely that your efforts to make a better life will be rewarded, while a more defeatist attitude is likely to reduce your chances to make changes in life.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. Many people find themselves in situations where they must either accept what life has given them or find a way to move up in the world. 2. In my opinion, although accepting your situation in life may be pragmatic in some cases, it is still better to at least strive to improve your situation as it can usually be bettered to some degree.

1. The first sentence states the topic – write this sentence very quickly because it’s not that important.

2. Next is my opinion, be sure that this is clear and include it in both your introduction and conclusion.

 

1. On the one hand, the vast majority of people are unable to drastically change their situation and acceptance of this fact will make them feel more satisfied with their lives. 2. The best example of this would be those people living in dire economic conditions. 3. Recent research puts the Democratic Republic of Congo as one of the poorest nations on Earth, both due to a lack of developed infrastructure and internal strife in recent years. 4. For a person living in a small village, ravaged by war or famine, it would be cruel to suggest that they should find a way to improve their lives when it might simply be impossible. 5. Instead, such people may feel they are better off accepting that they cannot make any changes to their situation at the present moment and just focus on their own survival and that of their family. 6. These situations are rare but do exist around the world in various countries, particularly if they are at war or experiencing a severe economic downturn.

1. My first sentence is the topic sentence and clearly states what the paragraph will be about – some people will feel more satisfied by accepting their situation.

2. The second sentence start my example by focusing on countries where the economy is bad.

3. My third sentence focus more specifically on the Congo as my main example.

4. The fourth sentence further develops this example of the Congo.

5. The fifth sentence pulls out some general conclusions related to this example.

6. My sixth sentence makes the example more general by relating it to similar countries.

 

 

1. On the other hand, few would dispute the fact that in even the most difficult situations people can make their lives better through continued effort. 2. Instances of people who worked hard and became successful abound in both developed and developing nations. 3. Some relevant examples of this are the postwar situations of countries like Germany, Japan, and South Korea. 4. All those countries were devastated by war to greater and lesser degrees yet they are all currently economic powerhouses. 5. In Japan, World War 2 left their population depleted of workers, a deep national debt due to reparations and infrastructure reduced to rubble. 6. By not accepting their situation they were able to become leaders in technology through notable companies like Sony, Nokia and Toyota. 7. The efficacy of the individuals who had to work hard to improve their lives is reflected in the overall progress of the country and should serve as an example to all war-torn nations.

1. My first sentence is the topic sentence that again says the main topic for the whole paragraph – people can change their lives through effort. It’s a simple main idea but make sure that you develop your simple, obvious main ideas with clear, extended examples!

2. My second sentence begins to introduce the example of countries impacted by wars.

3. The third sentence makes those examples more specific by focusing on some real countries.

4. My fourth sentence describes why those countries are good examples of countries making changes.

5. The fifth sentence focuses specifically on Japan.

6. The sixth sentence talks about the people and companies of Japan because this is more relevant to the question.

7. The sixth sentence continues to focus on how individuals making an effort can change their lives and how this will be reflected in the overall progress/condition of a nation.

 

 

1. To conclude, there are very few situations where it would be advisable to simply accept an unhappy situation because hard work over a long period will pay off to some degree in the vast majority of cases. 2. By having a more positive attitude it is also more likely that your efforts to make a better life will be rewarded, while a more defeatist attitude is likely to reduce your chances to make changes in life.

1. The first sentence states my opinion for the second time and my main reason why.

2. My second sentence adds an extra detail that many examiners will require for band 7 and above.

 

 

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the words in bold mean? If you’re not sure, don’t use a dictionary – try to figure out the meaning from the whole sentence then check your answers below!

Many people find themselves in situations where they must either accept what life has given them or find a way to move up in the world. In my opinion, although accepting your situation in life may be pragmatic in some cases, it is still better to at least strive to improve your situation as it can usually be bettered to some degree.

On the one hand, the vast majority of people are unable to drastically change their situation and acceptance of this fact will make them feel more satisfied with their lives. The best example of this would be those people living in dire economic conditions. Recent research puts the Democratic Republic of Congo as one of the poorest nations on Earth, both due to a lack of developed infrastructure and internal strife in recent years. For a person living in a small village, ravaged by war or famine, it would be cruel to suggest that they should find a way to improve their lives when it might simply be impossible. Instead, such people may feel they are better off accepting that they cannot make any changes to their situation at the present moment and just focus on their own survival and that of their family. These situations are rare but do exist around the world in various countries, particularly if they are at war or experiencing a severe economic downturn.

On the other hand, few would dispute the fact that in even the most difficult situations people can make their lives better through continued effort. Instances of people who worked hard and became successful abound in both developed and developing nations. Some relevant examples of this are the postwar situations of countries like Germany, Japan, and South Korea. All those countries were devastated by war to greater and lesser degrees yet they are all currently economic powerhouses. In Japan, World War 2 left their population depleted of workers, a deep national debt due to reparations and infrastructure reduced to rubble. By not accepting their situation they were able to become leaders in technology through notable companies like Sony, Nokia and Toyota. The efficacy of the individuals who had to work hard to improve their lives is reflected in the overall progress of the country and should serve as an example to all war-torn nations.

To conclude, there are very few situations where it would be advisable to simply accept an unhappy situation because hard work over a long period will pay off to some degree in the vast majority of cases. By having a more positive attitude it is also more likely that your efforts to make a better life will be rewarded, while a more defeatist attitude is likely to reduce your chances to make changes in life.

 

 

Answers:

find themselves in situations: are in situations (that weren’t their fault)

move up in the world: improve your standing in life

pragmatic: dealing with the world realistically and sensibly

strive: try hard

bettered to some degree: get a little bit better

drastically change: change a lot

acceptance of this fact: believe something is true

dire economic conditions: severe economic problems

developed infrastructure: good roads, buildings, etc.

internal strife: deep problems in a country

ravaged by war or famine: destroyed by war and hunger

at the present moment: right now

severe economic downturn: the economy getting much worse

dispute: disagree with

continued effort: keep trying

instances abound: lots of examples

relevant examples: examples that are related to this issue

devastated: destroyed or greatly weakened

to greater and lesser degrees: to some extent

depleted of: empty of

deep national debt: a country owing a lot of money

reparations: paying money back for wrong-doing

reduced to rubble: made into ruins

notable companies: prominent companies

efficacy: the ability to make something happen/accomplish something

reflected: mirrored

war-torn nations: countries with wars hurting them

advisable: recommended

to some degree: to some extent

rewarded: get a reward/something back

defeatist attitude: thinking that everything will turn out badly/you will always lose

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many people _________________ where they must either accept what life has given them or find a way to _____________. In my opinion, although accepting your situation in life may be _____________ in some cases, it is still better to at least ____________ to improve your situation as it can usually be ____________.

On the one hand, the vast majority of people are unable to ____________ their situation and ____________ will make them feel more satisfied with their lives. The best example of this would be those people living in ____________. Recent research puts the Democratic Republic of Congo as one of the poorest nations on Earth, both due to a lack of ____________ and ____________ in recent years. For a person living in a small village, ____________, it would be cruel to suggest that they should find a way to improve their lives when it might simply be impossible. Instead, such people may feel they are better off accepting that they cannot make any changes to their situation ____________ and just focus on their own survival and that of their family. These situations are rare but do exist around the world in various countries, particularly if they are at war or experiencing a ____________.

On the other hand, few would ____________ the fact that in even the most difficult situations people can make their lives better through ________________________ of people who worked hard and became successful ____________ in both developed and developing nations. Some ____________ of this are the postwar situations of countries like Germany, Japan, and South Korea. All those countries were ____________ by war ____________ yet they are all currently economic powerhouses. In Japan, World War 2 left their population ____________ workers, a ____________ due to ____________ and infrastructure ____________. By not accepting their situation they were able to become leaders in technology through ____________ like Sony, Nokia and Toyota. The ____________ of the individuals who had to work hard to improve their lives i____________ in the overall progress of the country and should serve as an example to all____________.

To conclude, there are very few situations where it would be ____________ to simply accept an unhappy situation because hard work over a long period will pay off ____________ in the vast majority of cases. By having a more positive attitude it is also more likely that your efforts to make a better life will be ____________, while a more ____________ is likely to reduce your chances to make changes in life.

 

 

 

 

Links from YouTube and Articles

Germany after the War

Japan under American Occupation

DR Congo’s journey into chaos – BBC News

3 Habits That Will Change Your Life

 

 

 

 

Comment below – What kind of habits have you changed to make your life better?

 

In my morning, I’ll typically…

In terms of my study habits…

When I get into a relationship, I try to…

The biggest change I’ve made in my life in recent years is…

 

 

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