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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of the present moment from the real IELTS recent exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: The Present Moment

Some people think that enjoying the present is more important than planning for the future for both countries and individuals.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many feel that being fully present in the moment is more valuable than thinking of the future in terms of both nations and their residents. In my opinion, this claim is untrue and shortsighted.

Firstly, countries must look to the future to ensure the safe flourishing of all citizens. A country that simply looks to maximize current moments might make unwise decisions that could quickly have catastrophic repercussions. A well-known example of this would be the actions not taken by the United States government in the build-up to The Great Recession of 2007 – 2009. Authorities and governing bodies ignored the over-leveraging of assets and the potential for foreclosures on real estate properties. When the worst scenario occurred, the result was that millions lost their homes and the entire world plunged into a period of stagnation. This same principle applies generally beyond economics and includes the military, medicine, social welfare, and so on.

Secondly, the average person can best attain quality living standards through careful preparation. Admittedly, this can lead to anxiety and a feeling of dissociation with reality. These potential byproducts nonetheless pale in comparison to the risk of not providing for one’s future. For instance, a person who does not study hard in school or apply themselves fully to their career is likely to always face financial pressure. This pressure will itself engender anxiety. In extreme situations, such a person may fail to integrate productively with society. In contrast, someone who thinks about the future, invests wisely, and makes logical decisions is more likely to achieve a sense of happiness and fulfillment.

In conclusion, looking to the future guarantees a higher standard of living and the preservation of various national benefits. Countries in particular must always prioritize consideration of future threats.

Analysis

1. Many feel that being fully present in the moment is more valuable than thinking of the future in terms of both nations and their residents. 2. In my opinion, this claim is untrue and shortsighted.

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

1. Firstly, countries must look to the future to ensure the safe flourishing of all citizens. 2. A country that simply looks to maximize current moments might make unwise decisions that could quickly have catastrophic repercussions. 3. A well-known example of this would be the actions not taken by the United States government in the build-up to The Great Recession of 2007 – 2009. 4. Authorities and governing bodies ignored the over-leveraging of assets and the potential for foreclosures on real estate properties. 5. When the worst scenario occurred, the result was that millions lost their homes and the entire world plunged into a period of stagnation. 6. This same principle applies generally beyond economics and includes the military, medicine, social welfare, and so on.

  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. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Make sure you generalize if your example is too specific.

1. Secondly, the average person can best attain quality living standards through careful preparation. 2. Admittedly, this can lead to anxiety and a feeling of dissociation with reality. 3. These potential byproducts nonetheless pale in comparison to the risk of not providing for one’s future. 4. For instance, a person who does not study hard in school or apply themselves fully to their career is likely to always face financial pressure. 5. This pressure will itself engender anxiety. 6. In extreme situations, such a person may fail to integrate productively with society. 7. In contrast, someone who thinks about the future, invests wisely, and makes logical decisions is more likely to achieve a sense of happiness and fulfillment.

  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.
  6. State the results as well.
  7. Conclude strong.

1. In conclusion, looking to the future guarantees a higher standard of living and the preservation of various national benefits. 2. Countries in particular must always prioritize consideration of future threats.

  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 feel that being fully present in the moment is more valuable than thinking of the future in terms of both nations and their residents. In my opinion, this claim is untrue and shortsighted.

Firstly, countries must look to the future to ensure the safe flourishing of all citizens. A country that simply looks to maximize current moments might make unwise decisions that could quickly have catastrophic repercussions. A well-known example of this would be the actions not taken by the United States government in the build-up to The Great Recession of 2007 – 2009. Authorities and governing bodies ignored the over-leveraging of assets and the potential for foreclosures on real estate properties. When the worst scenario occurred, the result was that millions lost their homes and the entire world plunged into a period of stagnation. This same principle applies generally beyond economics and includes the military, medicine, social welfare, and so on.

Secondly, the average person can best attain quality living standards through careful preparation. Admittedly, this can lead to anxiety and a feeling of dissociation with reality. These potential byproducts nonetheless pale in comparison to the risk of not providing for one’s future. For instance, a person who does not study hard in school or apply themselves fully to their career is likely to always face financial pressure. This pressure will itself engender anxiety. In extreme situations, such a person may fail to integrate productively with society. In contrast, someone who thinks about the future, invests wisely, and makes logical decisions is more likely to achieve a sense of happiness and fulfillment.

In conclusion, looking to the future guarantees a higher standard of living and the preservation of various national benefits. Countries in particular must always prioritize consideration of future threats.

Answers

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

fully present in the moment not thinking about the future

valuable has importance

in terms of concerning

nations countries

residents citizens

claim argue

untrue not true

shortsighted not looking to the future

look to the future thinking of later

ensure make sure of

safe flourishing no danger and getting better

citizens people of a country

simply merely

maximize current moments make the most of right now

make unwise decisions made bad choices

quickly fast

catastrophic repercussions really bad results

A well-known example of this would be a famous instance is

actions steps

build-up period before

The Great Recession of 2007 – 2009 financial crisis of 2008

authorities people in charge

governing bodies ignored people in charge didn’t pay attention to

over-leveraging investing too much

assets money, capital, property, etc.

potential possible

foreclosures homes being lost

real estate properties homes

worst scenario occurred bad thing happened

lost their homes houses foreclosed on

entire world whole Earth

plunged into feel deep into

a period of stagnation time of no growth

principle rule

beyond economics not just the money made in a country

includes applies for

military armies

medicine hospitals

social welfare taking care of people

and so on etc.

average person normal resident

best attain quality living standards live their best lives

through careful preparation thinking ahead

admittedly it is true that

anxiety nervousness

dissociation not connecting to

reality the real world

potential products possible items

nonetheless regardless

pale in comparison not as important as

risk threat

providing for supporting

apply themselves fully to their career work hard

face financial pressure have money trobles

engender anxiety make them feel nervous

In extreme situations in some cases

fail to integrate productively don’t join in a good way

In contrast however

invests wisely put money in stocks, property

makes logical decisions choose well

achieve a sense of happiness and fulfillment feel good about their lives

guarantees makes sure of

higher standard of living quality of life

preservation keeping alive

various national benefits good things for the country

in particular especially

prioritize consideration make more important caring about

threats risks

Pronunciation

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

ˈfʊli ˈprɛznt ɪn ðə ˈməʊmənt
ˈvæljʊəbl
ɪn tɜːmz ɒv
ˈneɪʃənz
ˈrɛzɪdənts
kleɪm
ʌnˈtruː
ˌʃɔːtˈsaɪtɪd
lʊk tuː ðə ˈfjuːʧə
ɪnˈʃʊə
seɪf ˈflʌrɪʃɪŋ
ˈsɪtɪznz
ˈsɪmpli
ˈmæksɪmaɪz ˈkʌrənt ˈməʊmənts
meɪk ʌnˈwaɪz dɪˈsɪʒənz
ˈkwɪkli
ˌkætəˈstrɒfɪk ˌriːpɜːˈkʌʃənz
ə wɛl-nəʊn ɪgˈzɑːmpl ɒv ðɪs wʊd biː
ˈækʃ(ə)nz
ˈbɪldʌp
ðə greɪt rɪˈsɛʃən ɒv
ɔːˈθɒrɪtiz
ˈgʌvənɪŋ ˈbɒdiz ɪgˈnɔːd
ˈəʊvə-ˈliːvərɪʤɪŋ
ˈæsɛts
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl
fɔːˈkləʊʒəz
rɪəl ɪsˈteɪt ˈprɒpətiz
wɜːst sɪˈnɑːrɪəʊ əˈkɜːd
lɒst ðeə həʊmz
ɪnˈtaɪə wɜːld
plʌnʤd ˈɪntuː
ə ˈpɪərɪəd ɒv stægˈneɪʃən
ˈprɪnsəpl
bɪˈjɒnd ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪks
ɪnˈkluːdz
ˈmɪlɪtəri
ˈmɛdsɪn
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈwɛlfeə
ænd səʊ ɒn
ˈævərɪʤ ˈpɜːsn
bɛst əˈteɪn ˈkwɒlɪti ˈlɪvɪŋ ˈstændədz
θruː ˈkeəfʊl ˌprɛpəˈreɪʃən
ədˈmɪtɪdli
æŋˈzaɪəti
dɪˌsəʊsɪˈeɪʃən
ri(ː)ˈælɪti
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈprɒdʌkts
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
peɪl ɪn kəmˈpærɪsn
rɪsk
prəˈvaɪdɪŋ fɔː
əˈplaɪ ðəmˈsɛlvz ˈfʊli tuː ðeə kəˈrɪə
feɪs faɪˈnænʃəl ˈprɛʃə
ɪnˈʤɛndər æŋˈzaɪəti
ɪn ɪksˈtriːm ˌsɪtjʊˈeɪʃənz
feɪl tuː ˈɪntɪgreɪt prəˈdʌktɪvli
ɪn ˈkɒntrɑːst
ɪnˈvɛsts ˈwaɪzli
meɪks ˈlɒʤɪkəl dɪˈsɪʒənz
əˈʧiːv ə sɛns ɒv ˈhæpɪnɪs ænd fʊlˈfɪlmənt
ˌgærənˈtiːz
ˈhaɪə ˈstændəd ɒv ˈlɪvɪŋ
ˌprɛzə(ː)ˈveɪʃən
ˈveərɪəs ˈnæʃənl ˈbɛnɪfɪts
ɪn pəˈtɪkjʊlə
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪz kənˌsɪdəˈreɪʃən
θrɛts

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 feel that being f_________________________t is more v____________e than thinking of the future i______________f both n___________s and their r__________s. In my opinion, this c_____m is u_______e and s____________d.

Firstly, countries must l________________e to e_______e the s_____________g of all c_________s. A country that s_______y looks to m__________________s might m_________________________s that could q_______y have c________________________s. A_________________________________e the a________s not taken by the United States government in the b________p to T___________________________________9. A____________s and g_________________________d the o__________________g of a_________s and the p_________l for f_____________s on r______________________s. When the w____________________d, the result was that millions l___________________s and the e____________________________________________n. This same p__________e applies generally b_______________s and i__________s the m_______y, m________e, s_____________e, a____________n.

Secondly, the a_______________n can b___________n q_________________________s t______________________n. A____________y, this can lead to a__________y and a feeling of d______________n with r________y. These p____________________s n___________s p____________________n to the r____k of not p______________r one’s future. For instance, a person who does not study hard in school or a____________________________r is likely to always f____________________________e. This pressure will itself e________________y. I____________________s, such a person may f___________________________y with society. I______________t, someone who thinks about the future, i______________y, and m_______________________s is more likely to a_________________________________________t.

In conclusion, looking to the future g____________s a h______________________g and the p___________n of v__________________________s. Countries i________________r must always p_______________________n of future t_________s.

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://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/6-ways-to-live-in-the-moment

Speaking Practice

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

Talk about a goal that you want to achieve in the future. Include:

What the goal is

When you thought of it

How you will accomplish it

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some feel that it is a waste of time to plan for the future and it is more important to focus on the present.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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