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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay related to teenagers and their development compared to young children.

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IELTS Essay: Teenagers

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 researchers claim that early childhood experiences are more formative that the later, teenage years. In my opinion, though this may be supported by studies, it makes more sense that adolescence shapes futures the most.

Those who believe in the primacy of the pre-school years can point out the effect of early experiences on neurodevelopment. It has become a common refrain among psychologists that the majority of personality formation is in the first 2 years of life. This stems from the relationship children have with their parents, whether they are shown unconditional love and, conversely, if there is any neglect or abuse present in the household. As the child continues to mature and become aware of their surroundings, societal influences intrude and include gender stereotypes, early friendships, and imitation of one’s parents. By the time a child reaches kindergarten, most of their social and personal identity is, allegedly, fixed.

Despite the valid arguments detailed above, I believe the teenage years are when individuals truly begin to navigate the demands of others against their own personal desires. The key life events that take place in the teenage years include an increase in academic pressure, more nuanced social relationships, increased responsibility at home, and, crucially, the biological changes of puberty. These are the foundation of finding one’s place in the world and managing wants against what is expected of an individual by friends, family, school, and society at large. Some teenagers find a balance early and excel while others struggle for long periods that may last into adulthood. On the whole, these experiences outweigh those accumulated as a young child.

In conclusion, though the childhood years are developmentally important, nothing is a better predictor of the future than the issues that must be resolved as teenagers. It is therefore important that teenagers are given latitude to grow and express themselves.

Analysis

1. Many researchers claim that early childhood experiences are more formative that the later, teenage years. 2. In my opinion, though this may be supported by studies, it makes more sense that adolescence shapes futures the most.

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

1. Those who believe in the primacy of the pre-school years can point out the effect of early experiences on neurodevelopment. 2. It has become a common refrain among psychologists that the majority of personality formation is in the first 2 years of life. 3. This stems from the relationship children have with their parents, whether they are shown unconditional love and, conversely, if there is any neglect or abuse present in the household. 4. As the child continues to mature and become aware of their surroundings, societal influences intrude and include gender stereotypes, early friendships, and imitation of one’s parents. 5. By the time a child reaches kindergarten, most of their social and personal identity is, allegedly, fixed.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it.
  4. Continue developing it.
  5. Conclude the paragraph by relating it back to the overall question.

1. Despite the valid arguments detailed above, I believe the teenage years are when individuals truly begin to navigate the demands of others against their own personal desires. 2. The key life events that take place in the teenage years include an increase in academic pressure, more nuanced social relationships, increased responsibility at home, and, crucially, the biological changes of puberty. 3. These are the foundation of finding one’s place in the world and managing wants against what is expected of an individual by friends, family, school, and society at large. 4. Some teenagers find a balance early and excel while others struggle for long periods that may last into adulthood. 5. On the whole, these experiences outweigh those accumulated as a young child.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Use specific details and examples as support.
  4. Continue to develop it and carry your point into the future.
  5. Conclude with a strong statement.

1. In conclusion, though the childhood years are developmentally important, nothing is a better predictor of the future than the issues that must be resolved as teenagers. 2. It is therefore important that teenagers are given latitude to grow and express themselves.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/detail. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many researchers claim that early childhood experiences are more formative that the later, teenage years. In my opinion, though this may be supported by studies, it makes more sense that adolescence shapes futures the most.

Those who believe in the primacy of the pre-school years can point out the effect of early experiences on neurodevelopment. It has become a common refrain among psychologists that the majority of personality formation is in the first 2 years of life. This stems from the relationship children have with their parents, whether they are shown unconditional love and, conversely, if there is any neglect or abuse present in the household. As the child continues to mature and become aware of their surroundings, societal influences intrude and include gender stereotypes, early friendships, and imitation of one’s parents. By the time a child reaches kindergarten, most of their social and personal identity is, allegedly, fixed.

Despite the valid arguments detailed above, I believe the teenage years are when individuals truly begin to navigate the demands of others against their own personal desires. The key life events that take place in the teenage years include an increase in academic pressure, more nuanced social relationships, increased responsibility at home, and, crucially, the biological changes of puberty. These are the foundation of finding one’s place in the world and managing wants against what is expected of an individual by friends, family, school, and society at large. Some teenagers find a balance early and excel while others struggle for long periods that may last into adulthood. On the whole, these experiences outweigh those accumulated as a young child.

In conclusion, though the childhood years are developmentally important, nothing is a better predictor of the future than the issues that must be resolved as teenagers. It is therefore important that teenagers are given latitude to grow and express themselves.

Answers

claim argue

early childhood experiences when kids

more formative shape you more

supported by studies research indicates

makes more sense more logical

adolescence teenage years

shapes futures the most influences later life a lot

primacy of the pre-school years key importance of the years before starting school

point out argue about

neurodevelopment how the brain grows/changes

common refrain often said

majority most of

personality formation identity

stems from comes from

shown unconditional love like without any strings/conditions

conversely in contrast

neglect not pay attention to

abuse present in the household being hurt in your home

mature grow up

aware of their surroundings know about what is around them

societal influences intrude people around interfere

include gender stereotypes boy/girl social beliefs

early friendships friends as kids

imitation copy

by the time at the point

social and personal identity how you are in public and to yourself

allegedly supposedly

fixed unchanging

despite the valid arguments detailed above regardless of the good points made before

truly actually

navigate the demands get through the expectations

against their own personal desires in contrast to what you really want

key life events life events

take place happen

academic pressure stress from school

nuanced social relationships complex interrelations with others

increased responsibility at home have to do more at home

crucially very importantly

biological changes of puberty how the body changes as a teenager

foundation of finding one’s place in the world basis of knowing where you want to be in life

managing wants against what is expected of an individual balancing desires against work, family, friends, etc.

society at large friends, work, family, etc.

find a balance early learn early on how to manage

excel get better

struggle fight with

long periods a lot of time

last into adulthood continue as you get older

on the whole generally

outweigh stronger than

accumulated add up

developmentally important important milestones in growing up

better predictor of the future paves the way for later life

resolved as teenagers fixed in adolescence

given latitude allowed freedom

express themselves act freely

Pronunciation

kleɪm 
ˈɜːli ˈʧaɪldhʊd ɪksˈpɪərɪənsɪz 
mɔː ˈfɔːmətɪv 
səˈpɔːtɪd baɪ ˈstʌdiz
meɪks mɔː sɛns 
ˌædəʊˈlɛsns 
ʃeɪps ˈfjuːʧəz ðə məʊst
ˈpraɪməsi ɒv ðə priː-skuːl jɪəz 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈnjʊərəʊˌdɪˈvɛləpmənt
ˈkɒmən rɪˈfreɪn 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˌpɜːsəˈnælɪti fɔːˈmeɪʃən 
stɛmz frɒm 
ʃəʊn ˌʌnkənˈdɪʃənl lʌv 
ˈkɒnvɜːsli
nɪˈglɛkt 
əˈbjuːsˈprɛznt ɪn ðə ˈhaʊshəʊld
məˈtjʊə 
əˈweər ɒv ðeə səˈraʊndɪŋz
səˈsaɪətl ˈɪnflʊənsɪz ɪnˈtruːd 
ɪnˈkluːd ˈʤɛndə ˈstɪərɪətaɪps
ˈɜːli ˈfrɛndʃɪps
ˌɪmɪˈteɪʃən 
baɪ ðə taɪm 
ˈsəʊʃəl ænd ˈpɜːsnl aɪˈdɛntɪti 
əˈlɛʤdli
fɪkst
dɪsˈpaɪt ðə ˈvælɪd ˈɑːgjʊmənts ˈdiːteɪld əˈbʌv
ˈtruːli 
ˈnævɪgeɪt ðə dɪˈmɑːndz 
əˈgɛnst ðeər əʊn ˈpɜːsnl dɪˈzaɪəz
kiː laɪf ɪˈvɛnts 
teɪk pleɪs 
ˌækəˈdɛmɪk ˈprɛʃə
nju(ː)ˈɑːnst ˈsəʊʃəl rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps
ɪnˈkriːst rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti æt həʊm
ˈkruːʃəli
ˌbaɪəʊˈlɒʤɪkəl ˈʧeɪnʤɪz ɒv ˈpjuːbəti
faʊnˈdeɪʃən ɒv ˈfaɪndɪŋ wʌnz pleɪs ɪn ðə wɜːld 
ˈmænɪʤɪŋ wɒnts əˈgɛnst wɒt ɪz ɪksˈpɛktɪd ɒv ən ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl 
səˈsaɪəti æt lɑːʤ
faɪnd ə ˈbæləns ˈɜːli 
ɪkˈsɛl 
ˈstrʌgl 
lɒŋ ˈpɪərɪədz 
lɑːst ˈɪntuː əˈdʌlthʊd
ɒn ðə həʊl
aʊtˈweɪ 
əˈkjuːmjʊleɪtɪd 
dɪˌvɛləpˈmɛntli ɪmˈpɔːtənt
ˈbɛtə prɪˈdɪktər ɒv ðə ˈfjuːʧə 
rɪˈzɒlvd æz ˈtiːnˌeɪʤəz
ˈgɪvn ˈlætɪtjuːd 
ɪksˈprɛs ðəmˈsɛlvz

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many researchers c_______m that e____________________________s are m______________________e that the later, teenage years. In my opinion, though this may be s______________________s, it m__________________e that a_______________e s____________________________t.

Those who believe in the p________________________________s can p__________t the effect of early experiences on n____________________t. It has become a c____________________n among psychologists that the m____________y of p__________________________n is in the first 2 years of life. This s___________m the relationship children have with their parents, whether they are s___________________________e and, c______________y, if there is any n__________t or a____________________________d. As the child continues to m__________e and become a_________________________s, s______________________________e and i_______________________s, e__________________________s, and i______________n of one’s parents. B_________________e a child reaches kindergarten, most of their s________________________y is, a______________y, f________d.

D________________________________________e, I believe the teenage years are when individuals t______y begin to n______________________s of others a_____________________________s. The k_______________s that t____________e in the teenage years include an increase in a_________________e, more n_____________________________s, i______________________________e, and, c___________y, the b_____________________________y. These are the f___________________________________________d and m_________________________________________________________l by friends, family, school, and s________________e. Some teenagers f_____________________y and e_______l while others s___________e for l_____________s that may l____________________d. O_______________e, these experiences o____________h those a_______________d as a young child.

In conclusion, though the childhood years are d_________________________t, nothing is a b_____________________________e than the issues that must be r__________________________s. It is therefore important that teenagers are g_____________________e to grow and e____________________s.

Listening Practice

Listen about this topic below and use these ideas to practice:

Reading Practice

Read and practice with the following article using these ideas:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-the-label/201309/babys-first-year-matters

Speaking Practice

Improve your speaking with these real questions from the IELTS speaking exam:

Teenagers

  1. Is the behaviour of teenagers today better than when you were a teenager?
  2. When should teenagers start to take on more responsibilities?
  3. What kinds of responsibilities?
  4. How have attitudes towards teenagers changed in recent years?
  5. What can parents do if teenagers are unwilling to take on more responsibility?

Writing Practice

Write about the following related IELTS writing question then check with my sample answer below:

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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