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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of economic progress from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Economic Progress

Many governments think that economic progress is their most important goal. Some people, however, think that other types of progress are equally important for a country.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Many today have made the argument that governments are overly focused on economic development to the detriment of more valuable areas of progress. In my opinion, though economic progress is often the catalyst for different forms of growth, the other areas are at least equally as important.

Supporters of economic progress point out its importance for individuals and societies generally. A thriving economy allows the average citizen to increase their quality of life in various ways. Individuals who are provided good jobs and lucrative opportunities are able to afford better healthcare, own a home potentially, purchase luxuries, and take holidays. In the aggregate, all these minor additions combine to ground a satisfied and happy life, though they are naturally not absolute guarantees. The clearest evidence of the value of this approach is that voters in democratic nations like the United States typically base their decisions primarily on economic factors.

However, economics is the basis for other areas of progress. This relates to education, standards of living, infrastructure, and, most importantly in the 21st century, the environment. In past centuries, individuals could be forgiven for considering economics to be the most important duty of governments. Today, the possibility that the Earth will face cataclysmic changes in the next century has dramatically shifted that calculus. Most researchers agree that overpopulation and the manufacturing and consumption of consumer goods are greatly exacerbating climate change and may lead to seismic disruptions for all life on Earth. Therefore, simply prioritizing the economic causes of a degrading environment would be short-sighted.

In conclusion, though economics is the basic foundation of modern civil societies, governments today should not neglect equally as crucial aspects such as the environment. The economy is means for enacting other reforms, not an end in itself.

Analysis

1. Many today have made the argument that governments are overly focused on economic development to the detriment of more valuable areas of progress. 2. In my opinion, though economic progress is often the catalyst for different forms of growth, the other areas are at least equally as important.

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

1. Supporters of economic progress point out its importance for individuals and societies generally. 2. A thriving economy allows the average citizen to increase their quality of life in various ways. 3. Individuals who are provided good jobs and lucrative opportunities are able to afford better healthcare, own a home potentially, purchase luxuries, and take holidays. 4. In the aggregate, all these minor additions combine to ground a satisfied and happy life, though they are naturally not absolute guarantees. 5. The clearest evidence of the value of this approach is that voters in democratic nations like the United States typically base their decisions primarily on economic factors.

  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 sometimes include the counterpoint here too.

1. However, economics is the basis for other areas of progress. 2. This relates to education, standards of living, infrastructure, and, most importantly in the 21st century, the environment. 3. In past centuries, individuals could be forgiven for considering economics to be the most important duty of governments. 4. Today, the possibility that the Earth will face cataclysmic changes in the next century has dramatically shifted that calculus. 5. Most researchers agree that overpopulation and the manufacturing and consumption of consumer goods are greatly exacerbating climate change and may lead to seismic disruptions for all life on Earth. 6. Therefore, simply prioritizing the economic causes of a degrading environment would be short-sighted.

  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. Continue your development.
  6. Finish strong.

1. In conclusion, though economics is the basic foundation of modern civil societies, governments today should not neglect equally as crucial aspects such as the environment. 2. The economy is means for enacting other reforms, not an end in itself.

  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.

Many today have made the argument that governments are overly focused on economic development to the detriment of more valuable areas of progress. In my opinion, though economic progress is often the catalyst for different forms of growth, the other areas are at least equally as important.

Supporters of economic progress point out its importance for individuals and societies generally. A thriving economy allows the average citizen to increase their quality of life in various ways. Individuals who are provided good jobs and lucrative opportunities are able to afford better healthcare, own a home potentially, purchase luxuries, and take holidays. In the aggregate, all these minor additions combine to ground a satisfied and happy life, though they are naturally not absolute guarantees. The clearest evidence of the value of this approach is that voters in democratic nations like the United States typically base their decisions primarily on economic factors.

However, economics is the basis for other areas of progress. This relates to education, standards of living, infrastructure, and, most importantly in the 21st century, the environment. In past centuries, individuals could be forgiven for considering economics to be the most important duty of governments. Today, the possibility that the Earth will face cataclysmic changes in the next century has dramatically shifted that calculus. Most researchers agree that overpopulation and the manufacturing and consumption of consumer goods are greatly exacerbating climate change and may lead to seismic disruptions for all life on Earth. Therefore, simply prioritizing the economic causes of a degrading environment would be short-sighted.

In conclusion, though economics is the basic foundation of modern civil societies, governments today should not neglect equally as crucial aspects such as the environment. The economy is means for enacting other reforms, not an end in itself.

Answers

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

Many today have made the argument some today point out that

overly focused on economic development to the detriment of care too much about money and that hurts

more valuable areas of progress places that are more important to develop

though economic progress is often the catalyst for different forms of growth despite the fact economics is the reason that other areas can develop typically

other areas are at least equally as important they are of the same importance

Supporters of economic progress point out those in favor of finance argue

importance value

generally overall

A thriving economy allows the average citizen to a good economy lets normal people

increase their quality of life in various ways improve standards of living a variety of aspects

provided given

lucrative opportunities good chances

afford better healthcare go to better hospitals

own a home potentially buy a house possible

purchase luxuries buy nice things

take holidays go on vacation

In the aggregate combined

all these minor additions combine to ground a satisfied and happy life these little factors add up to be the basis of happiness

naturally not absolute guarantees of course don’t mean it will happen 100%

The clearest evidence of the value of this approach is that the best support for this way of thinking is

voters in democratic nations like the United States residents in countries like the USA

typically base their decisions primarily on economic factors usually vote because of how the economy is doing

basis foundation

relates to concerns

infrastructure buildings, roads, schools, etc.

most importantly in the 21st century crucially today

In past centuries in the past

individuals could be forgiven for considering it was understandable to think

most important duty of governments the main responsibility

face cataclysmic changes in the next century things might get really bad over the next 100 years

dramatically shifted that calculus greatly changes one’s way of thinking about it

overpopulation too many people

manufacturing and consumption of consumer goods using products

greatly exacerbating climate change making global warming worse

may lead to seismic disruptions for all life on Earth can greatly hurt all animals and plants

simply merely

economic causes financial roots

degrading environment worsening nature

short-sighted not long-term thinking

the basic foundation of modern civil societies the basis of the world today

should not neglect equally as crucial aspects ought to not forget about other key areas

such as the environment including nature

The economy is means for enacting other reforms economics is a way to achieve other things

not an end in itself not just to be pursued for its own purpose

Pronunciation

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

ˈmɛni təˈdeɪ hæv meɪd ði ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ˈəʊvəli ˈfəʊkəst ɒn ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk dɪˈvɛləpmənt tuː ˈdɛtrɪmənt ɒv 
mɔː ˈvæljʊəbl ˈeərɪəz ɒv ˈprəʊgrəs
ðəʊ ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈprəʊgrəs ɪz ˈɒf(ə)n ðə ˈkætəlɪst fɔː ˈdɪfrənt fɔːmz ɒv grəʊθ 
ˈʌðər ˈeərɪəz ɑːr æt liːst ˈiːkwəli æz ɪmˈpɔːtənt
səˈpɔːtəz ɒv ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈprəʊgrəs pɔɪnt aʊt 
ɪmˈpɔːtəns 
ˈʤɛnərəli
ə ˈθraɪvɪŋ i(ː)ˈkɒnəmi əˈlaʊz ði ˈævərɪʤ ˈsɪtɪzn tuː 
ˈɪnkriːs ðeə ˈkwɒlɪti ɒv laɪf ɪn ˈveərɪəs weɪz
prəˈvaɪdɪd 
ˈluːkrətɪv ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪtiz 
əˈfɔːd ˈbɛtə ˈhɛlθkeə
əʊn ə həʊm pəʊˈtɛnʃəli
ˈpɜːʧəs ˈlʌkʃəriz 
teɪk ˈhɒlədeɪz
ɪn ði ˈægrɪgɪt
ɔːl ðiːz ˈmaɪnər əˈdɪʃ(ə)nz ˈkɒmbaɪn tuː graʊnd ə ˈsætɪsfaɪd ænd ˈhæpi laɪf
ˈnæʧrəli nɒt ˈæbsəluːt ˌgærənˈtiːz
ðə ˈklɪərɪst ˈɛvɪdəns ɒv ðə ˈvæljuː ɒv ðɪs əˈprəʊʧ ɪz ðæt
ˈvəʊtəz ɪn ˌdɛməˈkrætɪk ˈneɪʃənz laɪk ðə jʊˈnaɪtɪd steɪts 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li beɪs ðeə dɪˈsɪʒənz ˈpraɪmərɪli ɒn ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈfæktəz
ˈbeɪsɪs 
rɪˈleɪts tuː 
ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə
məʊst ɪmˈpɔːtəntli ɪn ðə ˈtwɛnti fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri
ɪn pɑːst ˈsɛnʧʊriz
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz kʊd biː fəˈgɪvn fɔː kənˈsɪdərɪŋ 
məʊst ɪmˈpɔːtənt ˈdjuːti ɒv ˈgʌvnmənts
feɪs ˌkætəˈklɪzmɪk ˈʧeɪnʤɪz ɪn ðə nɛkst ˈsɛnʧʊri 
drəˈmætɪk(ə)li ˈʃɪftɪd ðæt ˈkælkjʊləs
ˌəʊvəˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən 
ˌmænjʊˈfækʧərɪŋ ænd kənˈsʌm(p)ʃən ɒv kənˈsjuːmə gʊdz 
ˈgreɪtli ɛksˈæsə(ː)beɪtɪŋ ˈklaɪmɪt ʧeɪnʤ 
meɪ liːd tuː ˈsaɪzmɪk dɪsˈrʌpʃənz fɔːr ɔːl laɪf ɒn ɜːθ
ˈsɪmpli 
ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈkɔːzɪz 
dɪˈgreɪdɪŋ ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt 
ʃɔːt-ˈsaɪtɪd
ðə ˈbeɪsɪk faʊnˈdeɪʃən ɒv ˈmɒdən ˈsɪvl səˈsaɪətiz
ʃʊd nɒt nɪˈglɛkt ˈiːkwəli æz ˈkruːʃəl ˈæspɛkts 
sʌʧ æz ði ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt
ði i(ː)ˈkɒnəmi ɪz miːnz fɔːr ɪˈnæktɪŋ ˈʌðə ˌriːˈfɔːmz
nɒt ən ɛnd ɪn ɪtˈsɛlf

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 that governments are o_______________________________n e______________________________________f m_________________________s. In my opinion, t______________________________________r d______________________________h, the o______________________________________________t.

S__________________________________________t its i______________e for individuals and societies g__________y. A____________________________________________________o i___________________________________s. Individuals who are p__________d good jobs and l_______________________s are able to a________________________e, o____________________________y, p____________________s, and t____________s. I_______________e, a______________________________________o g_______________________________e, though they are n___________________________s. T___________________________________________________t v______________________________________s t___________________________________________s.

However, economics is the b_______s for other areas of progress. This r________o education, standards of living, i_________________e, and, m_____________________________y, the environment. I_______________s, i___________________________________________________g economics to be the m____________________________s. Today, the possibility that the Earth will f___________________________________y has d_________________________s. Most researchers agree that o_______________n and the m_____________________________________s are g_______________________________e and m_____________________________________________h. Therefore, s______y prioritizing the e___________________s of a d_______________________t would be s___________d.

In conclusion, though economics is t__________________________________________s, governments today s___________________________________________________________t. T____________________________________________s, n____________________________f.

Listening Practice

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

https://www.youtube.com/c/TheEconomist

Reading Practice

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

https://sustainabilitymag.com/top10/top-10-greenest-countries-2

Speaking Practice

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

Work (Model answer available on my Patreon)

  1. Are you student or are you working now?
  2. What do you like about your job/school at the moment?
  3. What job would you like to do in the future?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topics below:

Developing the economy will always damage the environment.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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