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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of luck and a person’s aims from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Luck

Whether or not a person achieves their aims in life is mostly related to luck.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some are of the belief that luck is the determining factor when accomplishing a given goal. In my opinion, luck is pivotal in individual situations but its importance decreases over larger sample sizes.

The main argument for the primacy of luck is highly visible, singular examples. This translates to extremely successful individuals. For instance, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were exceptionally intelligent and hard-working but they would never have become leading figures in history if they had not grown up in California in the 1970s during the computer boom. It is likely they would still be successful regardless of their era and place of birth but the extent of influence would be more limited. This same principle applies for the average individual as there are moments in one’s life that are best credited to good luck or an advantageous situation.

However, the significance of luck decreases over time. Take, for example, an average person. They may be born into a wealthy family and have a good start in life; they are lucky from the onset. Nonetheless, if they are not hard-working, there is a strong chance they will not be able to accomplish their goals in life. The reverse is true of someone born into a bad situation. There are exceptions, where the situation is dire or the period in history precludes success, but most people who apply themselves over a long period of time will ‘make their own luck’. This is because as sample sizes become larger, the influence of variance naturally decreases. It still requires some extraordinary luck to attain huge aims but more modest ones result from repeated action rather than fortune.

In conclusion, luck is decisive in particular instances but not more generally. It is therefore more important to place greater value on working hard in the long-term than on the off-chance of being lucky.

Analysis

1. Some are of the belief that luck is the determining factor when accomplishing a given goal. 2. In my opinion, luck is pivotal in individual situations but its importance decreases over larger sample sizes.

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

1. The main argument for the primacy of luck is highly visible, singular examples. 2. This translates to extremely successful individuals. 3. For instance, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were exceptionally intelligent and hard-working but they would never have become leading figures in history if they had not grown up in California in the 1970s during the computer boom. 4. It is likely they would still be successful regardless of their era and place of birth but the extent of influence would be more limited. 5. This same principle applies for the average individual as there are moments in one’s life that are best credited to good luck or an advantageous situation.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Start a specific example.
  4. Develop it.
  5. Generalise from your example.

1. However, the significance of luck decreases over time. 2. Take, for example, an average person. 3. They may be born into a wealthy family and have a good start in life; they are lucky from the onset. 4. Nonetheless, if they are not hard-working, there is a strong chance they will not be able to accomplish their goals in life. 5. The reverse is true of someone born into a bad situation. 6. There are exceptions, where the situation is dire or the period in history precludes success, but most people who apply themselves over a long period of time will ‘make their own luck’. 7. This is because as sample sizes become larger, the influence of variance naturally decreases. 8. It still requires some extraordinary luck to attain huge aims but more modest ones result from repeated action rather than fortune.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Add specific support such as a hypothetical example.
  4. Develop the example.
  5. Very your short and long sentences.
  6. Add in any exceptions.
  7. Explain your logic.
  8. Conclude with a strong, clear statement.

1. In conclusion, luck is decisive in particular instances but not more generally. 2. It is therefore more important to place greater value on working hard in the long-term than on the off-chance of being lucky.

  1. Repeat your main ideas and your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Some are of the belief that luck is the determining factor when accomplishing a given goal. In my opinion, luck is pivotal in individual situations but its importance decreases over larger sample sizes.

The main argument for the primacy of luck is highly visible, singular examples. This translates to extremely successful individuals. For instance, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were exceptionally intelligent and hard-working but they would never have become leading figures in history if they had not grown up in California in the 1970s during the computer boom. It is likely they would still be successful regardless of their era and place of birth but the extent of influence would be more limited. This same principle applies for the average individual as there are moments in one’s life that are best credited to good luck or an advantageous situation.

However, the significance of luck decreases over time. Take, for example, an average person. They may be born into a wealthy family and have a good start in life; they are lucky from the onset. Nonetheless, if they are not hard-working, there is a strong chance they will not be able to accomplish their goals in life. The reverse is true of someone born into a bad situation. There are exceptions, where the situation is dire or the period in history precludes success, but most people who apply themselves over a long period of time will ‘make their own luck’. This is because as sample sizes become larger, the influence of variance naturally decreases. It still requires some extraordinary luck to attain huge aims but more modest ones result from repeated action rather than fortune.

In conclusion, luck is decisive in particular instances but not more generally. It is therefore more important to place greater value on working hard in the long-term than on the off-chance of being lucky.

Answers

of the belief believe

luck good fortune

determining factor decisive

accomplishing achieving

given goal any random aim

pivotal key

individual situations certain contexts

importance decreases over larger sample sizes value is less important over time and many examples

main argument primary reason

primacy central importance

highly visible well-known

singular unique

translates means

extremely successful individuals people who have done well

exceptionally intelligent really smart

leading figures in history major leaders, people

grown up as they get older

computer boom computers beginning to develop

regardless nonetheless

era time period

extent degree

influence shaping

limited small, not much

same principle applies this translates to

average individual normal person

moments times

best credited is due to

advantageous situation good spot

significance importance

average person normal person

wealthy rich

good start good beginning

onset beginning

nonetheless regardless of

strong chance good odds

accomplish achieve

reverse switch

exceptions situations that don’t fit

dire dangerous

precludes success cancels out the possibility of success

apply also works for

over a long period of time for a while

sample sizes number of examples

influence of variance how important luck is

naturally decreases declines of course

requires needs

extraordinary amazing

modest humble

result from comes from

repeated action doing something over and over

rather than fortune instead of luck

decisive key

particular instances some examples

generally overall

place greater value put more importance on

off-chance sometimes

Pronunciation

ɒv ðə bɪˈliːf 
lʌk 
dɪˈtɜːmɪnɪŋ ˈfæktə 
əˈkɒmplɪʃɪŋ 
ˈgɪvn gəʊl
ˈpɪvətl 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃənz 
ɪmˈpɔːtəns ˈdiːkriːsɪz ˈəʊvə ˈlɑːʤə ˈsɑːmpl ˈsaɪzɪz
meɪn ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ˈpraɪməsi 
ˈhaɪli ˈvɪzəbl
ˈsɪŋgjʊlə 
trænsˈleɪts 
ɪksˈtriːmli səkˈsɛsfʊl ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz
ɪkˈsɛpʃənli ɪnˈtɛlɪʤənt 
ˈliːdɪŋ ˈfɪgəz ɪn ˈhɪstəri 
grəʊn ʌp 
kəmˈpjuːtə buːm
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs 
ˈɪərə 
ɪksˈtɛnt 
ˈɪnflʊəns 
ˈlɪmɪtɪd
seɪm ˈprɪnsəpl əˈplaɪz
ˈævərɪʤ ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl 
ˈməʊmənts 
bɛst ˈkrɛdɪtɪd 
ˌædvənˈteɪʤəs ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃən
sɪgˈnɪfɪkəns 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn
ˈwɛlθi 
gʊd stɑːt 
ˈɒnsɛt
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
strɒŋ ʧɑːns 
əˈkɒmplɪʃ 
rɪˈvɜːs 
ɪkˈsɛpʃənz
ˈdaɪə 
prɪˈkluːdz səkˈsɛs
əˈplaɪ 
ˈəʊvər ə lɒŋ ˈpɪərɪəd ɒv taɪm 
ˈsɑːmpl ˈsaɪzɪz 
ˈɪnflʊəns ɒv ˈveərɪəns 
ˈnæʧrəli ˈdiːkriːsɪz
rɪˈkwaɪəz 
ɪksˈtrɔːdnri 
ˈmɒdɪst 
rɪˈzʌlt frɒm 
rɪˈpiːtɪd ˈækʃ(ə)n 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn ˈfɔːʧən
dɪˈsaɪsɪv 
pəˈtɪkjʊlər ˈɪnstənsɪz 
ˈʤɛnərəli
pleɪs ˈgreɪtə ˈvæljuː 
ɒf-ʧɑːns 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Some are o_______________f that l_____k is the d____________________r when a______________________g a g_____________l. In my opinion, luck is p______l in i___________________________s but its i___________________________________________s.

The m____________________t for the p_____________y of luck is h_______________e, s__________r examples. This t_____________s to e______________________________________s. For instance, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were e_________________________t and hard-working but they would never have become l_______________________________y if they had not g____________p in California in the 1970s during the c_______________m. It is likely they would still be successful r________________s of their e___a and place of birth but the e_________t of i__________e would be more l___________d. This s_____________________s for the a_____________________l as there are m_______________s in one’s life that are b_____________d to good luck or an a________________________n.

However, the s________________e of luck decreases over time. Take, for example, an a___________________n. They may be born into a w___________y family and have a g________________t in life; they are lucky from the o______t. N______________s, if they are not hard-working, there is a s______________e they will not be able to a_____________h their goals in life. The r_________e is true of someone born into a bad situation. There are e_____________s, where the situation is d____e or the period in history p__________________s, but most people who a_______y themselves o________________________e will ‘make their own luck’. This is because as s_______________s become larger, the i___________________________________s. It still r____________s some e_________________________y luck to attain huge aims but more m____________t ones r_______________m r_________________n r_________________n f___________e.

In conclusion, luck is d___________e in p_____________________s but not more g______________y. It is therefore more important to p_____________________e on working hard in the long-term than on the o_____________e of being lucky.

Listening Practice

Listen below and take some notes or practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

Speaking Practice

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

Work

  1. Why did you choose your job?
  2. How much work do you do in a week?
  3. Do you have to work on weekends as well?

Writing Practice

Write about the related topic below then check with my sample answer:

In some cultures, children are often told that they can achieve anything if they try hard enough.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of giving children this message?


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