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This is my IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of experiences before and after school and being a teenager from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Experiences Before and After School

Some people believe that the experiences children have before they go to school will have the greatest effect on their future life. Others argue that experiences gained when they are teenagers have a bigger influence.

Discuss both views and give your own opinions.

Many would argue that experiences with the greatest impact occur before one becomes a teenager. In my opinion, the most pivotal stages of development in fact take place during one’s teenage years.

The argument for the primacy of childhood experiences is supported by years of psychological research. In the early 20th century, researchers such as Jean Piaget began to analyze and perform experiments on young children in order to verify theories about how the human mind develops. Over the last century, these studies have evolved and it is now commonly accepted in the field of psychology that very early experiences definitively shape one’s later personality and identity. This is particularly the case when a child undergoes trauma such as abuse or neglect at home. These children are then more likely to have mental health disorders later in life and suffer generally from low self-esteem.

However, decisions made as a teenager are more directly impactful on the future. The arguments made above are compelling but also difficult to verify beyond the purely theoretical. The choices a teenager makes have tangible effects. Most teenagers begin to settle into distinct social groups that will help inform their future identity, take up potentially lasting hobbies, choose the sports they will play later in life, and may even decide on a future career. The experiences a teenager gains through these activities will in turn allow them to shift their focus in life, such as by pursuing a scientific rather than artistic field in higher education.

In conclusion, despite the research showing the impact of childhood development, there are more important practical life choices made as a late adolescent. Therefore, it is key that teenagers are supported fully by both parents and teachers.

Analysis

1. Many would argue that experiences with the greatest impact occur before one becomes a teenager. 2. In my opinion, the most pivotal stages of development in fact take place during one’s teenage years.

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

1. The argument for the primacy of childhood experiences is supported by years of psychological research. 2. In the early 20th century, researchers such as Jean Piaget began to analyze and perform experiments on young children in order to verify theories about how the human mind develops. 3. Over the last century, these studies have evolved and it is now commonly accepted in the field of psychology that very early experiences definitively shape one’s later personality and identity. 4. This is particularly the case when a child undergoes trauma such as abuse or neglect at home. 5. These children are then more likely to have mental health disorders later in life and suffer generally from low self-esteem.

  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 short and long sentences.
  6. Finish the paragraph strong.

1. However, decisions made as a teenager are more directly impactful on the future. 2. The arguments made above are compelling but also difficult to verify beyond the purely theoretical. 3. The choices a teenager makes have tangible effects. 4. Most teenagers begin to settle into distinct social groups that will help inform their future identity, take up potentially lasting hobbies, choose the sports they will play later in life, and may even decide on a future career. 5. The experiences a teenager gains through these activities will in turn allow them to shift their focus in life, such as by pursuing a scientific rather than artistic field in higher education.

  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.

1. In conclusion, despite the research showing the impact of childhood development, there are more important practical life choices made as a late adolescent. 2. Therefore, it is key that teenagers are supported fully by both parents and teachers.

  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 would argue that experiences with the greatest impact occur before one becomes a teenager. In my opinion, the most pivotal stages of development in fact take place during one’s teenage years.

The argument for the primacy of childhood experiences is supported by years of psychological research. In the early 20th century, researchers such as Jean Piaget began to analyze and perform experiments on young children in order to verify theories about how the human mind develops. Over the last century, these studies have evolved and it is now commonly accepted in the field of psychology that very early experiences definitively shape one’s later personality and identity. This is particularly the case when a child undergoes trauma such as abuse or neglect at home. These children are then more likely to have mental health disorders later in life and suffer generally from low self-esteem.

However, decisions made as a teenager are more directly impactful on the future. The arguments made above are compelling but also difficult to verify beyond the purely theoretical. The choices a teenager makes have tangible effects. Most teenagers begin to settle into distinct social groups that will help inform their future identity, take up potentially lasting hobbies, choose the sports they will play later in life, and may even decide on a future career. The experiences a teenager gains through these activities will in turn allow them to shift their focus in life, such as by pursuing a scientific rather than artistic field in higher education.

In conclusion, despite the research showing the impact of childhood development, there are more important practical life choices made as a late adolescent. Therefore, it is key that teenagers are supported fully by both parents and teachers.

Answers

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

argue point out

experiences things that happen in life

greatest impact occur biggest effect happen

teenager between the ages of 13 and 19

most pivotal stages of development biggest part of growing up

argument point

primacy importance

supported by helped by

psychological research learning about the human mind

In the early 20th century soon after 1900

analyze look closely at

perform experiments do studies

in order to so that

verify theories make sure ideas are true

Over the last century the previous 100 years

studies research

evolved changed over time

now commonly accepted everyone now believes

in the field of psychology in the study of the human mind

definitively shape clearly influence

personality temperament, identity

identity who you are

This is particularly the case when especially true when

undergoes trauma experiences really bad things

abuse hurt

neglect not pay attention to

more likely probably going to happen

mental health disorders psychological problems

suffer generally have issues overall

low self-esteem not feel good about yourself

in fact take place actually happen

directly impactful clearly affect

compelling persuasive

verify make sure it is true

beyond the purely theoretical past just the realm of ideas

tangible effects real impact

settle into choose

distinct distinguishable

social groups friend groups

inform contribute to

take up join

potentially possible

lasting hobbies lifelong interests

decide on a future career choose a job for later

activities what people do in life

shift their focus in life change direction

pursuing trying to do for a career

artistic field the arts

higher education university

despite regardless of

late adolescent teenage years

key crucial

supported fully helped 100%

Pronunciation

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

ˈɑːgjuː 
ɪksˈpɪərɪənsɪz 
ˈgreɪtɪst ˈɪmpækt əˈkɜː 
ˈtiːnˌeɪʤə
məʊst ˈpɪvətl ˈsteɪʤɪz ɒv dɪˈvɛləpmənt 
ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ˈpraɪməsi 
səˈpɔːtɪd baɪ 
ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl rɪˈsɜːʧ
ɪn ði ˈɜːli ˈtwɛntɪəθ ˈsɛnʧʊri
ˈænəlaɪz 
pəˈfɔːm ɪksˈpɛrɪmənts 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
ˈvɛrɪfaɪ ˈθɪəriz 
ˈəʊvə ðə lɑːst ˈsɛnʧʊri 
ˈstʌdiz 
ɪˈvɒlvd 
naʊ ˈkɒmənli əkˈsɛptɪd 
ɪn ðə fiːld ɒv saɪˈkɒləʤi 
dɪˈfɪnɪtɪvli ʃeɪp 
ˌpɜːsəˈnælɪti 
aɪˈdɛntɪti
ðɪs ɪz pəˈtɪkjʊləli ðə keɪs wɛn 
ˌʌndəˈgəʊz ˈtrɔːmə 
əˈbjuːs 
nɪˈglɛkt 
mɔː ˈlaɪkli 
ˈmɛntl hɛlθ dɪsˈɔːdəz 
ˈsʌfə ˈʤɛnərəli 
ləʊ sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm
ɪn fækt teɪk pleɪs 
dɪˈrɛktli ˈɪmpæktf(ə)l 
kəmˈpɛlɪŋ 
ˈvɛrɪfaɪ 
bɪˈjɒnd ðə ˈpjʊəli θɪəˈrɛtɪkəl
ˈtænʤəbl ɪˈfɛkts
ˈsɛtl ˈɪntuː 
dɪsˈtɪŋkt 
ˈsəʊʃəl gruːps 
ɪnˈfɔːm 
teɪk ʌp 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəli 
ˈlɑːstɪŋ ˈhɒbiz
dɪˈsaɪd ɒn ə ˈfjuːʧə kəˈrɪə
ækˈtɪvɪtiz 
ʃɪft ðeə ˈfəʊkəs ɪn laɪf
pəˈsjuːɪŋ 
ɑːˈtɪstɪk fiːld 
ˈhaɪər ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən
dɪsˈpaɪt 
leɪt ˌædəʊˈlɛsnt
kiː 
səˈpɔːtɪd ˈfʊli 

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:

Many would a_______e that e______________s with the g____________________r before one becomes a teenager. In my opinion, the m_____________________________t i_______________e during one’s teenage years.

The a___________t for the p_________y of childhood experiences is s_____________y years of p_________________h. I_____________________y, researchers such as Jean Piaget began to a_________e and p_________________s on young children i________________o v__________________s about how the human mind develops. O_________________________y, these s________s have e________d and it is n_____________________d i_________________________y that very early experiences d__________________e one’s later p_____________y and i________y. T______________________n a child u_______________________a such as a_____e or n_______t at home. These children are then m___________y to have m_______________________s later in life and s_______________y from l__________________m.

However, decisions made as a teenager are more d______________________l on the future. The arguments made above are c___________g but also difficult to v__________y b__________________________l. The choices a teenager makes have t______________________s. Most teenagers begin to s_____________o d_____________________s that will help i__________m their future identity, t________p p____________y l___________________s, choose the sports they will play later in life, and may even d___________n a_______________r. The experiences a teenager gains through these a_____________s will in turn allow them to s_________________e, such as by p___________g a scientific rather than a_______________d in h___________________n.

In conclusion, d__________e the research showing the impact of childhood development, there are more important practical life choices made as a l_________________t. Therefore, it is k___y that teenagers are s____________________y by both parents and teachers.

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.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/lifelong-impact-of-adverse-childhood-experiences-is-a-message-for-us-all-1.4862307

Speaking Practice

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

School

  1. Did you like your school when you were a child?
  2. What did you learn about?
  3. Did you have a favorite teacher?
  4. Are there many rules in schools in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some people believe that the experiences children have before they go to school will have the greatest effect on their future life. Others argue that experiences gained when they are teenagers have a bigger influence.

Discuss both views and give your own opinions.


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