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This IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer is from IELTS Cambridge 13 and is around the topic of society, generally.

I wrote it and I’m a former IELTS examiner so you can trust the quality. You can also find vocabulary, grammar, links, and more below!

Stop reading this and start reading all that!

(Or check out some of my other sample answers here.)

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 13: Choice (by Dave)

Some people believe that nowadays we have too many choices. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge. Write at least 250 words.

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

 

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

  • My first sentence repeats the question and topic. Don’t stress too much about this sentence!

  • The second sentence states my overall opinion and main reason for it (getting away from the mainstream).

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

  • My first sentence is the topic sentence, which tells the half-asleep, mostly drunk examiner what the paragraph is about (choice makes life more complicated).

  • The second sentence jumps right into the example of different products to choose from. It is good to focus on one specific area of choice because this is such a general topic!

  • The third sentence explains why choice in supermarkets can be bad.

  • The forth sentence clearly states the negative impact.

  • The fifth sentence continues the example by talking about supermarkets.

  • My sixth sentence continues the example into the area of online streaming services.

  • The seventh sentence develops the example further.

  • My eighth sentence generalizes the example and connects it back to my topic sentence.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

  • My first sentence is my topic sentence with the idea that choice allows people to pursue what they actually like.

  • The second sentence introduces the example of the music industry.

  • My third sentence develops this example by comparing it to the past.

  • My fourth sentence says that things are now different.

  • The fifth sentence describes how things are different now.

  • My sixth sentence further explains why this is a positive trend.

  • The seventh sentence summarises the paragraph and ties it back to my overall opinion.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

  • The first sentence restates my overall opinion. Make sure you give a clear opinion!

  • My second sentence gives some more detail to finish off the essay. Put your pencil down now and say a prayer to the IELTS gods!

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Practice with the words below – can you figure out what they mean just by reading the sentence they are in? Write down what you think each one means before checking your answers!

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

Answers:

decrying: opposing, condemning or saying something is bad

relative to the past: compared to the past

proclaiming: claiming or saying

opens up: makes possible

mainstream: what most people like and is presented by large media companies

hardly: barely, almost not at all

little actual impact: not much of an effect

this is also the case when it comes to: it is also true for

streaming services: services like Netflix where you can watch directly online

upwards of: more than

dominant cultural trends: what is popular in music, film, etc. at the moment

taken place: to happen

advent: the beginning of something

fractured: split apart

replicated: reproduced, repeated

taken as a whole: overall, in general, considered from a larger perspective

diverse cultural experience: lots of different kinds of art, music, film, culture

 

Vocabulary Practice

It is common nowadays to hear people __________________ the number of choices people have __________________ and __________________ the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it __________________ options outside the __________________.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with __________________ any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with __________________. __________________ online __________________ like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying __________________ $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside __________________. The best example of this is the changes that have __________________ in the music industry over the last 20 years with the __________________ of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more __________________. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been __________________ in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive __________________.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more __________________ for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

 

Grammar – Present Perfect

This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well.

One of the challenges that students have with using the present perfect in both writing and speaking is that sometimes they are interchangeable. People in the UK tend to overuse the present perfect, while it is used less by speakers in the USA.

Someone from the UK is more likely to say “I haven’t got it” and someone from the USA “I don’t have it” or in the UK “I’ve lost my mind” and the US “I lost my mind.”

Both are correct so don’t stress too much about those small differences. Focus on using it for events in the past that are still relevant or still continuing.

In this sentence: “This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well,” I am talking about an event (lots of choice) that has spread to many different industries. It is still happening now and it has present relevance so I use the present perfect.

The form for present perfect is really simple: have/has + past participle.

The more you practice using it in your speaking and writing, the better chance you have of using it on the real test and impressing the examiner!

 

Links

The Paradox of Choice

Too Much Choice?

The Choice

Weapon of Choice

When you watch the videos, try using some of these activities to improve your listening at the same time: Improve your Listening.

 

Comment below – what kind of music do you like? Movies? TV?

I’m really into…

My favourite is… 

Depends on my mood, sometimes I enjoy… 

I hate everything but…


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