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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of pictures being used in newspapers and the media from the real IELTS general training exam.

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Dave

Competitiveness for Men & Women

Some claim that men are naturally more competitive than women.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Men are stereotypically considered to be more competitive than women. In my opinion, though this is ostensibly true, in fact, competitiveness just finds different expression in females.

The traditional argument in favor of this claim is that men are predisposed genetically to aggressive traits. Men have elevated levels of the hormone testosterone. This is supposedly an evolved adaptation as males in human pre-history had to battle one another for dominance and required a surplus of strength to hunt and provide for the whole family. In the modern world, this translates to a heightened aggressiveness often reflected in the number of ambitious men, driven to excel in their chosen field. Numerous studies and tests have confirmed the surface-level validity of this argument.

However, this ignores the fact that women simply have different outlets for their competitive qualities. In the past, societal prejudices often discouraged women from expressing an interest in competitive sports and ambitious career paths. It is now more common for females to embrace their competitive drive and strive for goals similar to men. However, this is merely a redirection of innate desires that were already present. Instead of competing in traditionally competitive fields, women in past generations focused their energies towards more domestic matters. These might not have been as seemingly competitive but women nonetheless had to compete against each other to gain the highest possible position in society available to them at the time.

In conclusion, despite the evolutionary evidence to support the natural competitiveness of males, I feel that the sexes are generally equal in this area though women express this desire more subtly. Such narrow stereotyping of both genders is often overly simplistic.

Analysis

1. Men are stereotypically considered to be more competitive than women. 2. In my opinion, though this is ostensibly true, in fact, competitiveness just finds different expression in females.

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

1. The traditional argument in favor of this claim is that men are predisposed genetically to aggressive traits. 2. Men have elevated levels of the hormone testosterone. 3. This is supposedly an evolved adaptation as males in human pre-history had to battle one another for dominance and required a surplus of strength to hunt and provide for the whole family. 4. In the modern world, this translates to a heightened aggressiveness often reflected in the number of ambitious men, driven to excel in their chosen field. 5. Numerous studies and tests have confirmed the surface-level validity of this argument.

  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. You can use research as support.

1. However, this ignores the fact that women simply have different outlets for their competitive qualities. 2. In the past, societal prejudices often discouraged women from expressing an interest in competitive sports and ambitious career paths. 3. It is now more common for females to embrace their competitive drive and strive for goals similar to men. 4. However, this is merely a redirection of innate desires that were already present. 5. Instead of competing in traditionally competitive fields, women in past generations focused their energies towards more domestic matters.65. These might not have been as seemingly competitive but women nonetheless had to compete against each other to gain the highest possible position in society available to them at the time.

  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. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!
  6. Finish with a strong statement.

1. In conclusion, despite the evolutionary evidence to support the natural competitiveness of males, I feel that the sexes are generally equal in this area though women express this desire more subtly. 2. Such narrow stereotyping of both genders is often overly simplistic.

  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.

Men are stereotypically considered to be more competitive than women. In my opinion, though this is ostensibly true, in fact, competitiveness just finds different expression in females.

The traditional argument in favor of this claim is that men are predisposed genetically to aggressive traits. Men have elevated levels of the hormone testosterone. This is supposedly an evolved adaptation as males in human pre-history had to battle one another for dominance and required a surplus of strength to hunt and provide for the whole family. In the modern world, this translates to a heightened aggressiveness often reflected in the number of ambitious men, driven to excel in their chosen field. Numerous studies and tests have confirmed the surface-level validity of this argument.

However, this ignores the fact that women simply have different outlets for their competitive qualities. In the past, societal prejudices often discouraged women from expressing an interest in competitive sports and ambitious career paths. It is now more common for females to embrace their competitive drive and strive for goals similar to men. However, this is merely a redirection of innate desires that were already present. Instead of competing in traditionally competitive fields, women in past generations focused their energies towards more domestic matters. These might not have been as seemingly competitive but women nonetheless had to compete against each other to gain the highest possible position in society available to them at the time.

In conclusion, despite the evolutionary evidence to support the natural competitiveness of males, I feel that the sexes are generally equal in this area though women express this desire more subtly. Such narrow stereotyping of both genders is often overly simplistic.

Answers

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

stereotypically considered thought about in a prejudiced way

competitive wanting to beat other people, aggressive

ostensibly true seems to be the case

in fact actually

different expression varied ways

females woman

traditional argument old claim

claim argument

predisposed genetically innately built

aggressive traits competitive qualities

elevated levels increased amounts

hormone testosterone chemical that makes you aggressive

supposedly apparently

evolved adaptation learned over time

in human pre-history before people started writing down histories

battle one another for dominance fight for supremacy

required needed

surplus more than needed

strength power

hunt catch animals

provide for the whole family support everyone

in the modern world in today’s world

translates means

heightened aggressiveness more competitiveness

reflected in mirrored in

ambitious competitive, wanting to excel over others

driven to excel pushed to do well

chosen field where they work

numerous studies many reports

surface-level validity superficially true

ignores the fact that doesn’t pay attention to

different outlets varied ways

competitive qualities aggressive traits

in the past formerly

societal prejudices discrimination in public perception

discouraged not encouraged, dissuaded

expressing showing

interest in care about

ambitious career paths trying to excel in a career

embrace cherish, enjoy

competitive drive trying hard to excel

strive for try hard

merely only

redirection change the way

innate desires basic inclinations

already present there right now

instead of rather than

past generations focused people a long time ago cared about

towards to/at

domestic matters household things

seemingly apparently

nonetheless regardless

against each other fighting one another

gain get

highest possible position in society pinnacle of their place in life

available to them at the time can be found then

despite regardless of

evidence support

natural innate

generally equal overall about the same

area place

desire drive

subtly not overtly, quietly

narrow simplistic, not broad

simplistic not complex

Pronunciation

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

ˌstɛrɪəˈtɪpɪk(ə)li kənˈsɪdəd 
kəmˈpɛtɪtɪv 
ɒsˈtɛnsəbli truː
ɪn fækt
ˈdɪfrənt ɪksˈprɛʃən 
ˈfiːmeɪlz
trəˈdɪʃənl ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
kleɪm 
ˌpriːdɪsˈpəʊzd ʤɪˈnɛtɪk(ə)li 
əˈgrɛsɪv treɪts
ˈɛlɪveɪtɪd ˈlɛvlz 
ˈhɔːməʊn tɛˈstɒstəˌrəʊn
səˈpəʊzɪdli 
ɪˈvɒlvd ˌædæpˈteɪʃ(ə)n 
ɪn ˈhjuːmən priː-ˈhɪstəri 
ˈbætl wʌn əˈnʌðə fɔː ˈdɒmɪnəns 
rɪˈkwaɪəd 
ˈsɜːpləs 
strɛŋθ 
hʌnt 
prəˈvaɪd fɔː ðə həʊl ˈfæmɪli
ɪn ðə ˈmɒdən wɜːld
trænsˈleɪts 
ˈhaɪtnd əˈgrɛsɪvnɪs 
rɪˈflɛktɪd ɪn 
æmˈbɪʃəs 
ˈdrɪvn tuː ɪkˈsɛl 
ˈʧəʊzn fiːld
ˈnjuːmərəs ˈstʌdiz 
ˈsɜːfɪs-ˈlɛvl vəˈlɪdɪti 
ɪgˈnɔːz ðə fækt ðæt 
ˈdɪfrənt ˈaʊtlɛts 
kəmˈpɛtɪtɪv ˈkwɒlɪtiz
ɪn ðə pɑːst
səˈsaɪətl ˈprɛʤʊdɪsɪz 
dɪsˈkʌrɪʤd 
ɪksˈprɛsɪŋ 
ˈɪntrɪst ɪn 
æmˈbɪʃəs kəˈrɪə pɑːðz
ɪmˈbreɪs 
kəmˈpɛtɪtɪv draɪv 
straɪv fɔː 
ˈmɪəli 
ˌriːdɪˈrɛkʃən 
ɪˈneɪt dɪˈzaɪəz 
ɔːlˈrɛdi ˈprɛznt
ɪnˈstɛd ɒv 
pɑːst ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz ˈfəʊkəst 
təˈwɔːdz 
dəʊˈmɛstɪk ˈmætəz
ˈsiːmɪŋli 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs 
əˈgɛnst iːʧ ˈʌðə 
geɪn 
ˈhaɪɪst ˈpɒsəbl pəˈzɪʃən ɪn səˈsaɪəti 
əˈveɪləbl tuː ðɛm æt ðə taɪm
dɪsˈpaɪt 
ˈɛvɪdəns 
ˈnæʧrəl 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈiːkwəl 
ˈeərɪə 
dɪˈzaɪə 
ˈsʌtli
ˈnærəʊ 
sɪmˈplɪstɪk

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:

Men are s__________________________d to be more c_______________e than women. In my opinion, though this is o___________________e, i_________t, competitiveness just finds d_________________n in f__________s.

The t____________________t in favor of this c____m is that men are p_____________________y to a____________________s. Men have e__________________s of the h_____________________e. This is s______________________y an e_____________________n as males i___________________y had to b_____________________________e and r____________d a s__________s of s_________h to h______t and p________________________y. I_____________________d, this t_____________s to a h_________________________s often r_____________n the number of a_______________s men, d_________________l in their c_______________d. N_________________s and tests have confirmed the s_____________________y of this argument.

However, this i__________________________t women simply have d____________________s for their c_____________________s. I_______________t, s________________s often d____________d women from e___________g an i_____________n competitive sports and a_________________s. It is now more common for females to e___________e their c________________e and s____________r goals similar to men. However, this is m_______y a r_______________n of i_______________s that were a________________t. I____________f competing in traditionally competitive fields, women in p_____________________d their energies t__________s more d__________________s. These might not have been as s____________y competitive but women n_____________s had to compete a____________________r to g_____n the h________________________________y a__________________________e.

In conclusion, d__________e the evolutionary e__________e to support the n______l competitiveness of males, I feel that the sexes are g________________l in this a_____a though women express this d_____e more s_______y. Such n______w stereotyping of both genders is often overly s_____________c.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://hbr.org/2019/11/research-how-men-and-women-view-competition-differently

Speaking Practice

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

Competition

  1. How helpful is competition for children?
  2. Is it good to have a competitive attitude?
  3. How are the attitudes of professionals and amateurs different?
  4. How are children awarded competition prizes in your country?
  5. What are the adverse effects of competition on children?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

In many schools and universities today, women have a tendency to study the humanities (such as the arts and languages) while men more often major in science related subjects. Some believe this tendency should be changed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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