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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether people should travel or work during a gap year from a real IELTS recent exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Work or Travel during a Gap Year?

Some people believe that students should acquire working experience during their gap year instead of traveling.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Some feel that if a student decides to take a gap-year it is better to work than to travel. I am generally in agreement with this proposition as it will better prepare individuals to choose a university major.

Those who argue in favor of travel contend that after school, individuals may be too busy to travel for an extended period. Graduates must typically either begin applying for graduate school or for positions in the workforce. Once a person has a job, they will then only have limited time for holidays, most of which they are likely to spend with family. This is why many high school graduates take advantage of the freedom before university to explore exotic destinations that require long flights like countries in Southeast Asia and South America.

However, there is immense value in work experience that can inform one’s future career choices. Most students are ill-equipped to make a career choice at the age of 18 and this is reflected in the number of graduates who switch jobs and never establish a career in their field of study. By working for a year, not only will students have a firmer understanding of the challenges of the typical workweek, but they might also gain perspective as to what kind of work they enjoy. For instance, a prospective film student who interns at a film studio may decide that they would prefer to work in a less stressful environment and subsequently change majors.

In conclusion, despite the singular opportunity to travel that a gap-year provides, it is more important to work and learn one’s career inclinations. There could naturally also be some balance between work and travel.

Analysis

1. Some feel that if a student decides to take a gap-year it is better to work than to travel. 2. I am generally in agreement with this proposition as it will better prepare individuals to choose a university major.

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

1. Those who argue in favor of travel contend that after school, individuals may be too busy to travel for an extended period. 2. Graduates must typically either begin applying for graduate school or for positions in the workforce. 3. Once a person has a job, they will then only have limited time for holidays, most of which they are likely to spend with family. 4. This is why many high school graduates take advantage of the freedom before university to explore exotic destinations that require long flights like countries in Southeast Asia and South America.

  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.

1. However, there is immense value in work experience that can inform one’s future career choices. 2. Most students are ill-equipped to make a career choice at the age of 18 and this is reflected in the number of graduates who switch jobs and never establish a career in their field of study. 3. By working for a year, not only will students have a firmer understanding of the challenges of the typical workweek, but they might also gain perspective as to what kind of work they enjoy. 4. For instance, a prospective film student who interns at a film studio may decide that they would prefer to work in a less stressful environment and subsequently change majors.

  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.

1. In conclusion, despite the singular opportunity to travel that a gap-year provides, it is more important to work and learn one’s career inclinations. 2. There could naturally also be some balance between work and travel.

  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.

Some feel that if a student decides to take a gap-year it is better to work than to travel. I am generally in agreement with this proposition as it will better prepare individuals to choose a university major.

Those who argue in favor of travel contend that after school, individuals may be too busy to travel for an extended period. Graduates must typically either begin applying for graduate school or for positions in the workforce. Once a person has a job, they will then only have limited time for holidays, most of which they are likely to spend with family. This is why many high school graduates take advantage of the freedom before university to explore exotic destinations that require long flights like countries in Southeast Asia and South America.

However, there is immense value in work experience that can inform one’s future career choices. Most students are ill-equipped to make a career choice at the age of 18 and this is reflected in the number of graduates who switch jobs and never establish a career in their field of study. By working for a year, not only will students have a firmer understanding of the challenges of the typical workweek, but they might also gain perspective as to what kind of work they enjoy. For instance, a prospective film student who interns at a film studio may decide that they would prefer to work in a less stressful environment and subsequently change majors.

In conclusion, despite the singular opportunity to travel that a gap-year provides, it is more important to work and learn one’s career inclinations. There could naturally also be some balance between work and travel.

Answers

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

decides chooses

take a gap-year a year off before university

I am generally in agreement with this proposition overall i think the same

better prepare have better preparations, be ready

university major what you study in university

those who argue in favor of supporters

contend argue

extended period long time

graduates people done with school

typically usually

applying for trying to get a job at

graduate school after the first 4 years at uni

positions jobs

workforce people who work

limited time not much time

most of which the majority of these

high school graduates those 18 years old

take advantage of exploit

freedom ability to do what you want

explore exotic destinations go to far away places

require long flights have to fly a long time to get there

immense value lots of importance

work experience having a job

inform help one to decide

future career choices what you do for work later

ill-equipped not prepared

reflected in evidenced by

switch jobs go to a new position

establish a career have a long-term job

field of study what you major in

firmer understanding better knowledge of

challenges difficulties

typical workweek normal working hours

gain perspective see the whole picture

prospective film student someone who will study about movies

interns works for free

studio film company

less stressful environment not so anxious place

subsequently after that

majors what you study in uni

singular opportunity unique chance

provides allows for

inclinations what you like

naturally of course

balance keep equal

Pronunciation

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

dɪˈsaɪdz 
teɪk ə gæp-jɪə 
aɪ æm ˈʤɛnərəli əˈgriːmənt wɪð ðɪs ˌprɒpəˈzɪʃən 
ˈbɛtə prɪˈpeə 
ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti ˈmeɪʤə
ðəʊz huː ˈɑːgjuː ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv 
kənˈtɛnd 
ɪksˈtɛndɪd ˈpɪərɪəd
ˈgrædjʊəts 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li 
əˈplaɪɪŋ fɔː 
ˈgrædjʊət skuːl 
pəˈzɪʃənz 
ˈwɜːkˌfɔːs
ˈlɪmɪtɪd taɪm 
məʊst ɒv wɪʧ 
haɪ skuːl ˈgrædjʊəts 
teɪk ədˈvɑːntɪʤ ɒv 
ˈfriːdəm 
ɪksˈplɔːr ɪgˈzɒtɪk ˌdɛstɪˈneɪʃənz 
rɪˈkwaɪə lɒŋ flaɪts 
ɪˈmɛns ˈvæljuː 
wɜːk ɪksˈpɪərɪəns 
ɪnˈfɔːm 
ˈfjuːʧə kəˈrɪə ˈʧɔɪsɪz
ɪl-ɪˈkwɪpt 
rɪˈflɛktɪd ɪn 
swɪʧ ʤɒbz 
ɪsˈtæblɪʃ ə kəˈrɪə 
fiːld ɒv ˈstʌdi
ˈfɜːmər ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ 
ˈʧælɪnʤɪz 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)l ˈwɜːkwiːk
geɪn pəˈspɛktɪv 
prəsˈpɛktɪv fɪlm ˈstjuːdənt 
ˈɪntɜːnz 
ˈstjuːdɪəʊ 
lɛs ˈstrɛsf(ə)l ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt 
ˈsʌbsɪkwəntli 
ˈmeɪʤəz
ˈsɪŋgjʊlər ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 
prəˈvaɪdz
ˌɪnklɪˈneɪʃənz
ˈnæʧrəli 
ˈbæləns 

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:

Some feel that if a student d_______s to t__________________r it is better to work than to travel. I____________________________________n as it will b________________e individuals to choose a u______________r.

T__________________________f travel c_________d that after school, individuals may be too busy to travel for an e________________d. G__________s must t__________y either begin a_______________r g________________l or for p____________s in the w_______________e. Once a person has a job, they will then only have l______________e for holidays, m________________h they are likely to spend with family. This is why many h______________________s t___________________e of the f________m before university to e_____________________________s that r_____________________s like countries in Southeast Asia and South America.

However, there is i______________________e in w____________________e that can i___________m one’s f__________________s. Most students are i___________________d to make a career choice at the age of 18 and this is r_____________n the number of graduates who s_______________s and never e____________________r in their f_______________y. By working for a year, not only will students have a f_______________________g of the c_____________s of the t__________________k, but they might also g____________________e as to what kind of work they enjoy. For instance, a p________________________t who i__________s at a film s_______o may decide that they would prefer to work in a l________________________t and s________________y change m_______s.

In conclusion, despite the s________________________y to travel that a gap-year p____________s, it is more important to work and learn one’s career i_____________s. There could n_____________y also be some b__________e between work and travel.

Listening Practice

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

Reading Practice

Read more and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.goabroad.com/articles/gap-year/gap-year-options

Speaking Practice

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

Your Home Nation/Country

  1. Where are you from?
  2. What do you like the most about your country?
  3. Where would you like to live in your country?
  4. Are people in your country patriotic?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related chart below and then check with my sample answer:

After graduation many students take a year to travel. Some think that it would be more useful to work for a year.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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