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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the new Cambridge IELTS 17 book of past test papers on the topic of taking risks in professional and personal lives.

You can read essays and guides for the other IELTS Cambridge books, including Cambridge 17, here:

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 17

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 16

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 15

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 14

The Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 13

Dave

IELTS Cambridge 17 Essay: Taking Risks in Professional and Personal Lives

It is important for people to take risks, in both their professional lives and personal lives.

Do the advantages of taking these risks outweigh the disadvantages?

Some would argue that taking risks, both in terms of one’s private life and one’s working career, is advantageous overall. I am generally in agreement with this contention due to the potential for advancement and growth.

Firstly, risk-taking can expedite one’s career goals. Many workers decide early on that they are content with their position in society and therefore often fail to actualize their potential. Others, however, attempt various business enterprises and transition from field to field in order to find a good match. Although this may lead to short-term setbacks, in the long-term such ambitious individuals are far more likely to become very successful in life. Assuming that these risks are taken early in one’s career, there is a strong likelihood that they will eventually profit the risk-taker in question.

Moreover, an individual who takes risks will also develop more mature personal relationships. In more conservative countries, many young people do not begin to have serious romantic relationships until after university. The result of this is that they are often immature and it can lead to poor and naive choices in terms of marriage and parenting. In contrast, a person who takes risks in their personal life and enters into various relationships throughout high school and university will become a better judge of character. Their allegedly risky behavior can then serve as the foundation for personal growth and increased maturity.

In conclusion, taking risks can be a catalyst for tremendous growth and is therefore advisable. The disadvantages of risk-taking can also be mitigated in most contexts by not being inordinately reckless.

Analysis

1. Some would argue that taking risks, both in terms of one’s private life and one’s working career, is advantageous overall. 2. I am generally in agreement with this contention due to the potential for advancement and growth.

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

1. Firstly, risk-taking can expedite one’s career goals. 2. Many workers decide early on that they are content with their position in society and therefore often fail to actualize their potential. 3. Others, however, attempt various business enterprises and transition from field to field in order to find a good match. 4. Although this may lead to short-term setbacks, in the long-term such ambitious individuals are far more likely to become very successful in life. 5. Assuming that these risks are taken early in one’s career, there is a strong likelihood that they will eventually profit the risk-taker in question.

  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. Short sentences can make your writing clearer.

1. Moreover, an individual who takes risks will also develop more mature personal relationships. 2. In more conservative countries, many young people do not begin to have serious romantic relationships until after university. 3. The result of this is that they are often immature and it can lead to poor and naive choices in terms of marriage and parenting. 4. In contrast, a person who takes risks in their personal life and enters into various relationships throughout high school and university will become a better judge of character. 5. Their allegedly risky behavior can then serve as the foundation for personal growth and increased maturity.

  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. Finish the paragraph strong.

1. In conclusion, taking risks can be a catalyst for tremendous growth and is therefore advisable. 2. The disadvantages of risk-taking can also be mitigated in most contexts by not being inordinately reckless.

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

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Some would argue that taking risks, both in terms of one’s private life and one’s working career, is advantageous overall. I am generally in agreement with this contention due to the potential for advancement and growth.

Firstly, risk-taking can expedite one’s career goals. Many workers decide early on that they are content with their position in society and therefore often fail to actualize their potential. Others, however, attempt various business enterprises and transition from field to field in order to find a good match. Although this may lead to short-term setbacks, in the long-term such ambitious individuals are far more likely to become very successful in life. Assuming that these risks are taken early in one’s career, there is a strong likelihood that they will eventually profit the risk-taker in question.

Moreover, an individual who takes risks will also develop more mature personal relationships. In more conservative countries, many young people do not begin to have serious romantic relationships until after university. The result of this is that they are often immature and it can lead to poor and naive choices in terms of marriage and parenting. In contrast, a person who takes risks in their personal life and enters into various relationships throughout high school and university will become a better judge of character. Their allegedly risky behavior can then serve as the foundation for personal growth and increased maturity.

In conclusion, taking risks can be a catalyst for tremendous growth and is therefore advisable. The disadvantages of risk-taking can also be mitigated in most contexts by not being inordinately reckless.

Answers

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

taking risks making decisions that are not always safe

in terms of concerning

private life personal lives

working career jobs

advantageous overall good in general

I am generally in agreement with this contention I mostly agree

due to because of

potential possible

advancement moving forward

growth becoming a better person

risk-taking making risky decisions

expedite make faster

career goals pursue a good job and career path

decide early on choose from the beginning

content satisfied with

position job

fail to actualize don’t fully achieve

attempt try

business enterprises jobs and businesses

transition from field to field move from job to job

good match good fit

short-term setbacks drawbacks right away

ambitious individuals people with big dreams

are far more likely to become greater chance they will

Assuming given that

risks are taken doing risky actions

career job

strong likelihood good chance of it

profit what you get/earn

risk-taker person who takes risks

in question being discussed here

develop change

mature personal relationships better interactions with others

conservative countries traditional nations

serious romantic relationships boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, etc.

The result of this is that the consequence is

immature not mature, childish

poor not good

naive innocent

in terms of concerning

enters into various relationships throughout have many different relationships during

better judge of character understand people better

allegedly it is assumed that

serve as the foundation for are the basis for

personal growth how a person changes and gets better

increased maturity growing as a person

a catalyst for tremendous the cause of big

advisable a good idea

mitigated weakened

contexts situations

inordinately reckless very risky

Pronunciation

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

ˈteɪkɪŋ rɪsks
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv 
ˈpraɪvɪt laɪf 
ˈwɜːkɪŋ kəˈrɪə 
ˌædvənˈteɪʤəs ˈəʊvərɔːl
aɪ æm ˈʤɛnərəli ɪn əˈgriːmənt wɪð ðɪs kənˈtɛnʃən 
djuː tuː 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl 
ədˈvɑːnsmənt 
grəʊθ
rɪsk-ˈteɪkɪŋ 
ˈɛkspɪdaɪt 
kəˈrɪə gəʊlz
dɪˈsaɪd ˈɜːli ɒn 
ˈkɒntɛnt 
pəˈzɪʃən 
feɪl tuː ˈækʧʊəlaɪz 
əˈtɛmpt 
ˈbɪznɪs ˈɛntəpraɪzɪz 
trænˈzɪʃ(ə)n frɒm fiːld tuː fiːld 
gʊd mæʧ
ʃɔːt-tɜːm ˈsɛtbæks
æmˈbɪʃəs ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz 
ɑː fɑː mɔː ˈlaɪkli tuː bɪˈkʌm 
əˈsjuːmɪŋ 
rɪsks ɑː ˈteɪkən 
kəˈrɪə
strɒŋ ˈlaɪklɪhʊd 
ˈprɒfɪt 
rɪsk-ˈteɪkə 
ɪn ˈkwɛsʧən
dɪˈvɛləp 
məˈtjʊə ˈpɜːsnl rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps
kənˈsɜːvətɪv ˈkʌntriz
ˈsɪərɪəs rəʊˈmæntɪk rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps 
ðə rɪˈzʌlt ɒv ðɪs ɪz ðæt 
ˌɪməˈtjʊə 
pʊə 
nɑːˈiːv 
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv 
ˈɛntəz ˈɪntuː ˈveərɪəs rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps θru(ː)ˈaʊt 
ˈbɛtə ˈʤʌʤ ɒv ˈkærɪktə 
əˈlɛʤdli 
sɜːv æz ðə faʊnˈdeɪʃən fɔː 
ˈpɜːsnl grəʊθ 
ɪnˈkriːst məˈtjʊərɪti
ə ˈkætəlɪst fɔː trɪˈmɛndəs 
ədˈvaɪzəbl
ˈmɪtɪgeɪtɪd 
ˈkɒntɛksts 
ɪˈnɔːdɪnɪtli ˈrɛklɪs

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:

Some would argue that t________________s, both i____________f one’s p_____________e and one’s w______________r, is a_____________________l. I_________________________________________________n d______o the p_________l for a_________t and g_________h.

Firstly, r__________g can e_________e one’s c__________s. Many workers d______________n that they are c_______t with their p________n in society and therefore often f____________e their potential. Others, however, a_______t various b__________________s and t___________________________d in order to find a g_________h. Although this may lead to s________________________s, in the long-term such a____________________s a_______________________________e very successful in life. A___________g that these r________________n early in one’s c_______r, there is a s_____________d that they will eventually p______t the r___________________________n.

Moreover, an individual who takes risks will also d__________p more m______________________s. In more c____________________________s, many young people do not begin to have s___________________________s until after university. T_________________________t they are often i____________e and it can lead to p____r and n____e choices i________________f marriage and parenting. In contrast, a person who takes risks in their personal life and e____________________________________t high school and university will become a b_________________r. Their a__________y risky behavior can then s_______________________________r p___________________h and i________________y.

In conclusion, taking risks can be a____________________________s growth and is therefore a__________e. The disadvantages of risk-taking can also be m__________d in most c______________s by not being i____________________s.

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.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passion/202105/how-inspire-yourself-take-risks

Speaking Practice

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

Life Goals

  1. How important is it for people to set goals?
  2. Do people set different goals at different stages of life?
  3. Are personal goals more important than professional goals?
  4. What sort of goals do young people today set?
  5. Are people becoming more pessimistic about their life goals?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topics below:

Some people prefer to spend their lives doing the same things and avoiding change. Others, however, think that change is always good.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.


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