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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of the best time in history to be living from IELTS Cambridge 16, the general training test.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: The Best Time in History

Some people say that now is the best time in history to be living.

What is your opinion about this?

What other time in history would be interesting to live in?

Many today claim that we are living at the pinnacle of human progress and civilization. I am largely in agreement with this sentiment and believe that living in Europe during the Renaissance would also be interesting.

The standard of living enjoyed by the average person today is unprecedented. This can be evidenced across a variety of areas including medicine, technology, entertainment, transportation, art, and so on. A person living hundreds of years ago had a much higher probability of fighting in a war or dying early because of disease. Even if they survived these perils, they would likely still have to work long days at difficult occupations such as farming. Today, most people work around 40 hours a week in a comfortable office with air conditioning or heating. The only meaningful tradeoff now is that technology has become so pervasive, in terms of social media and streaming platforms, that people are mentally and physically passive.

Another period in history that would be interesting to reside in would be the Renaissance. The Renaissance is often hailed as the beginning of modern civilization and striving for truly great achievements. There were significant advances made in science and medicine during this time period. More importantly, the arts were elevated to a height comparable with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo created some of the greatest masterpieces in human history. I would enjoy being alive then in order to either participate in or simply observe the optimism of the European Renaissance, particularly in contrast to the cynical passivity of modern life.

In conclusion, people today are more entitled than any previous generations though there are tradeoffs related to technology. It would also be ideal to live in a period such as the Renaissance when human expression and endeavor were flourishing.

Analysis

1. Many today claim that we are living at the pinnacle of human progress and civilization. 2. I am largely in agreement with this sentiment and believe that living in Europe during the Renaissance would also be interesting.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. The standard of living enjoyed by the average person today is unprecedented. 2. This can be evidenced across a variety of areas including medicine, technology, entertainment, transportation, art, and so on. 3. A person living hundreds of years ago had a much higher probability of fighting in a war or dying early because of disease. 4. Even if they survived these perils, they would likely still have to work long days at difficult occupations such as farming. 5. Today, most people work around 40 hours a week in a comfortable office with air conditioning or heating. 6. The only meaningful tradeoff now is that technology has become so pervasive, in terms of social media and streaming platforms, that people are mentally and physically passive.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Use counterexamples to add more support.
  6. Finish with a strong statement.

1. Another period in history that would be interesting to reside in would be the Renaissance. 2. The Renaissance is often hailed as the beginning of modern civilization and striving for truly great achievements. 3. There were significant advances made in science and medicine during this time period. 4. More importantly, the arts were elevated to a height comparable with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. 5. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo created some of the greatest masterpieces in human history. 6. I would enjoy being alive then in order to either participate in or simply observe the optimism of the European Renaissance, particularly in contrast to the cynical passivity of modern life.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. This paragraph can be longer than the other one.

1. In conclusion, people today are more entitled than any previous generations though there are tradeoffs related to technology. 2. It would also be ideal to live in a period such as the Renaissance when human expression and endeavor were flourishing.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

Take some notes on the vocabulary below and then check with my definitions:

Many today claim that we are living at the pinnacle of human progress and civilization. I am largely in agreement with this sentiment and believe that living in Europe during the Renaissance would also be interesting.

The standard of living enjoyed by the average person today is unprecedented. This can be evidenced across a variety of areas including medicine, technology, entertainment, transportation, art, and so on. A person living hundreds of years ago had a much higher probability of fighting in a war or dying early because of disease. Even if they survived these perils, they would likely still have to work long days at difficult occupations such as farming. Today, most people work around 40 hours a week in a comfortable office with air conditioning or heating. The only meaningful tradeoff now is that technology has become so pervasive, in terms of social media and streaming platforms, that people are mentally and physically passive.

Another period in history that would be interesting to reside in would be the Renaissance. The Renaissance is often hailed as the beginning of modern civilization and striving for truly great achievements. There were significant advances made in science and medicine during this time period. More importantly, the arts were elevated to a height comparable with the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo created some of the greatest masterpieces in human history. I would enjoy being alive then in order to either participate in or simply observe the optimism of the European Renaissance, particularly in contrast to the cynical passivity of modern life.

In conclusion, people today are more entitled than any previous generations though there are tradeoffs related to technology. It would also be ideal to live in a period such as the Renaissance when human expression and endeavor were flourishing.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

Many today claim that lots of people say

pinnacle peak, top point, best time

human progress mankind developing and getting better

civilization people living together in communities

I am largely in agreement with this sentiment I mostly agree

the Renaissance period in Europe and Italy especially around the 1500s

The standard of living enjoyed by how well people live

average person normal citizen

unprecedented never happened before

evidenced across supported by

variety many types

medicine doctors and hospitals

technology computers, internet, robots, etc.

entertainment movies, TV, etc.

transportation traveling

art paintings, movies, music, etc.

and so on etc.

hundreds of years ago 100+ years in the past

much higher probability better chance of

dying early not much longevity

disease flus, cancer, etc.

survived get through

perils dangers

work long days work all day

difficult occupations hard jobs

comfortable office normal workplace

air conditioning keeps the room cool

heating furnaces

meaningful tradeoff big downside

pervasive common

in terms of related to

social media TikTok, Instagram, etc.

streaming platforms Netflix, YouTube, etc.

mentally and physically passive not active in mind or body

another period in history in the past

reside in live in

hailed complimented

modern civilization the world today

striving for truly great achievements trying to create new things

significant advances made in big jumps forward in

during this time period in this era

More importantly even more important is

elevated raised up

height comparable with level similar to

Ancient Greeks and Romans people from Italy and Greece thousands of years ago

greatest masterpieces amazing works of art

in order to so that

participate in take part in

simply observe just watch

optimism hopeful attitude

particularly in contrast especially compared to

cynical passivity people giving up on life

modern life the world today

entitled allowed to have

previous generations people in the past

tradeoffs downsides

ideal perfect

human expression art

endeavor trying

flourishing doing well

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈmɛni təˈdeɪ kleɪm ðæt 
ˈpɪnəkl 
ˈhjuːmən ˈprəʊgrəs 
ˌsɪvɪlaɪˈzeɪʃən
aɪ æm ˈlɑːʤli ɪn əˈgriːmənt wɪð ðɪs ˈsɛntɪmənt 
ðə rəˈneɪsəns 
ðə ˈstændəd ɒv ˈlɪvɪŋ ɪnˈʤɔɪd baɪ 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn 
ʌnˈprɛsɪdəntɪd
ˈɛvɪdənst əˈkrɒs 
vəˈraɪəti 
ˈmɛdsɪn
tɛkˈnɒləʤi
ˌɛntəˈteɪnmənt
ˌtrænspɔːˈteɪʃən
ɑːt
ænd səʊ ɒn
ˈhʌndrədz ɒv jɪəz əˈgəʊ 
mʌʧ ˈhaɪə ˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈdaɪɪŋ ˈɜːli 
dɪˈziːz
səˈvaɪvd 
ˈpɛrɪlz
wɜːk lɒŋ deɪz 
ˈdɪfɪkəlt ˌɒkjʊˈpeɪʃənz 
ˈkʌmf(ə)təbl ˈɒfɪs 
eə kənˈdɪʃnɪŋ 
ˈhiːtɪŋ
ˈmiːnɪŋfʊl tradeoff 
pɜːˈveɪsɪv
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv 
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə 
ˈstriːmɪŋ ˈplætfɔːmz
ˈmɛntəli ænd ˈfɪzɪkəli ˈpæsɪv
əˈnʌðə ˈpɪərɪəd ɪn ˈhɪstəri 
rɪˈzaɪd ɪn 
heɪld 
ˈmɒdən ˌsɪvɪlaɪˈzeɪʃən 
ˈstraɪvɪŋ fɔː ˈtruːli greɪt əˈʧiːvmənts
sɪgˈnɪfɪkənt ədˈvɑːnsɪz meɪd ɪn 
ˈdjʊərɪŋ ðɪs taɪm ˈpɪərɪəd
mɔːr ɪmˈpɔːtəntli
ˈɛlɪveɪtɪd 
haɪt ˈkɒmpərəbl wɪð 
ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nt griːks ænd ˈrəʊmənz
ˈgreɪtɪst ˈmɑːstəpiːsɪz 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
pɑːˈtɪsɪpeɪt ɪn 
ˈsɪmpli əbˈzɜːv 
ˈɒptɪmɪzm 
pəˈtɪkjʊləli ɪn ˈkɒntrɑːst 
ˈsɪnɪkəl pæˈsɪvɪti 
ˈmɒdən laɪf
ɪnˈtaɪtld 
ˈpriːviəs ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz 
tradeoffs 
aɪˈdɪəl 
ˈhjuːmən ɪksˈprɛʃən 
ɪnˈdɛvə 
ˈflʌrɪʃɪŋ

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

M________________________t we are living at the p___________e of h______________s and c___________n. I________________________________________t and believe that living in Europe during t______________e would also be interesting.

T_____________________________y the a_______________n today is u________________d. This can be e_________________s a v________y of areas including m_________e, t_____________y, e__________________t, t______________n, a__t, a___________n. A person living h___________________o had a m___________________y of fighting in a war or d______________y because of d__________e. Even if they s__________d these p_______s, they would likely still have to w_________________s at d____________________s such as farming. Today, most people work around 40 hours a week in a c____________________e with a_____________________g or h__________g. The only m_________________f now is that technology has become so p__________e, i______________________________a and s________________________s, that people are m____________________________e.

A______________________y that would be interesting to r_________n would be the Renaissance. The Renaissance is often h______d as the beginning of m__________________n and s________________r t__________________s. There were s______________________________n science and medicine d___________________________d. M___________________y, the arts were e___________d to a h______________________h the A_____________________s. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo created some of the g_______________________s in human history. I would enjoy being alive then i____________o either p________________n or s________________e the o__________m of the European Renaissance, p_______________________t to the c___________________y of m____________e.

In conclusion, people today are more e________d than any p___________________s though there are t___________s related to technology. It would also be i______l to live in a period such as the Renaissance when h_________________n and e___________r were f_____________g.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/29/50-reasons-were-living-through-the-greatest-period.aspx

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Civilization

  1. Is this the best period in human history to be living?
  2. How has technology improved life?
  3. Does it have any major negatives?
  4. Do you think progress will continue in the future?
  5. Are there any areas where humanity is not making progress?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

A rise in the standard of living in a country often only seems to benefit cities rather than rural areas.

What problems can this cause?

How might these problems be reduced?


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