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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of young people spending time at shopping malls from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Young People and Shopping Malls

Today, many young people spend too much of their free time at shopping malls. This can be considered negative for young people and society generally.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

In certain countries, it has becoming increasingly common for young people to spend their free time at malls and this is often viewed as a negative. In my opinion, though there are more productive activities, it should be considered a positive overall given the most likely alternatives.

Proponents of this statement point out that malls are typically not a productive use of one’s time. A person who goes to a mall is likely shopping, watching a movie, hanging out idly with friends, eating from a fast food establishment, or engaging in another similarly passive activity. A better use of time could involve playing sports, reading a book, creating art, or working. The rise of malls globally beginning in the 1980s signaled a period when younger individuals strayed from healthy activities and took part in more socially and personally subversive pastimes.

However, the fears detailed above are overblown compared to other free time activities. These days, most young people who are free spend an outsized proportion of their time doing truly unhealthy, passive activities. These largely center around technology and include wasting time on social media, taking pictures, playing online games, chatting online, streaming movies and videos, and using the internet. The mall is now actually a better use of one’s time since it likely will involve in-person socializing, precisely the domain that is most at risk for younger generations and society today.

In conclusion, though time spent at malls is not the ideal activity for a younger person, it is preferable to a more passive lifestyle and should therefore not be condemned. It is likely, however, that malls will continue to decline in popularity in the future so this concern will become less relevant.

Analysis

1. In certain countries, it has becoming increasingly common for young people to spend their free time at malls and this is often viewed as a negative. 2. In my opinion, though there are more productive activities, it should be considered a positive overall given the most likely alternatives.

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

1. Proponents of this statement point out that malls are typically not a productive use of one’s time. 2. A person who goes to a mall is likely shopping, watching a movie, hanging out idly with friends, eating from a fast food establishment, or engaging in another similarly passive activity. 3. A better use of time could involve playing sports, reading a book, creating art, or working. 4. The rise of malls globally beginning in the 1980s signaled a period when younger individuals strayed from healthy activities and took part in more socially and personally subversive pastimes.

  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, the fears detailed above are overblown compared to other free time activities. 2. These days, most young people who are free spend an outsized proportion of their time doing truly unhealthy, passive activities. 3. These largely center around technology and include wasting time on social media, taking pictures, playing online games, chatting online, streaming movies and videos, and using the internet. 4. The mall is now actually a better use of one’s time since it likely will involve in-person socializing, precisely the domain that is most at risk for younger generations and society today.

  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, though time spent at malls is not the ideal activity for a younger person, it is preferable to a more passive lifestyle and should therefore not be condemned. 2. It is likely, however, that malls will continue to decline in popularity in the future so this concern will become less relevant.

  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.

In certain countries, it has becoming increasingly common for young people to spend their free time at malls and this is often viewed as a negative. In my opinion, though there are more productive activities, it should be considered a positive overall given the most likely alternatives.

Proponents of this statement point out that malls are typically not a productive use of one’s time. A person who goes to a mall is likely shopping, watching a movie, hanging out idly with friends, eating from a fast food establishment, or engaging in another similarly passive activity. A better use of time could involve playing sports, reading a book, creating art, or working. The rise of malls globally beginning in the 1980s signaled a period when younger individuals strayed from healthy activities and took part in more socially and personally subversive pastimes.

However, the fears detailed above are overblown compared to other free time activities. These days, most young people who are free spend an outsized proportion of their time doing truly unhealthy, passive activities. These largely center around technology and include wasting time on social media, taking pictures, playing online games, chatting online, streaming movies and videos, and using the internet. The mall is now actually a better use of one’s time since it likely will involve in-person socializing, precisely the domain that is most at risk for younger generations and society today.

In conclusion, though time spent at malls is not the ideal activity for a younger person, it is preferable to a more passive lifestyle and should therefore not be condemned. It is likely, however, that malls will continue to decline in popularity in the future so this concern will become less relevant.

Answers

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

certain countries some nations

increasingly common happens more and more

malls shopping centers

often viewed as a negative usually considered bad

productive activities useful uses of your time

considered thought of

positive overall good in general

given the most likely alternatives considering what will probably happen instead

proponents supporters

statement point out statement argue

typically usually

productive use good use

shopping buying things

hanging out idly with friends just spending time with friends

fast food establishment fast food restaurants

engaging in doing

similarly passive activity not very active pastime

involve have to do with

rise increase

globally all over the world

signaled was a mark of

period time

strayed gone off the path to

took part in participated in

socially with others

personally relating to individuals

subversive pastimes undermining uses of time

fears detailed above threats explained before

overblown compared to emphasized too much relative to

outsized proportion too much emphasis

truly really

passive not active

largely center around mostly has to do with

wasting time not good use of free time

social media Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

streaming movies watching shows online, Netflix

actually in fact

likely probably

involve in-person socializing will be hanging around with friends

precisely exactly

domain area

most at risk concerning area

younger generations not old people, youths

ideal perfect

preferable better

lifestyle how people live

condemned criticized

decline decrease

popularity how common it is

concern worry

less relevant not an issue any more

Pronunciation

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

ˈsɜːtn ˈkʌntriz
ɪnˈkriːsɪŋli ˈkɒmən 
mɔːlz 
ˈɒf(ə)n vjuːd æz ə ˈnɛgətɪv
prəˈdʌktɪv ækˈtɪvɪtiz
kənˈsɪdəd 
ˈpɒzətɪv ˈəʊvərɔːl 
ˈgɪvn ðə məʊst ˈlaɪkli ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪvz
prəˈpəʊnənts 
ˈsteɪtmənt pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li 
prəˈdʌktɪv juːz 
ˈʃɒpɪŋ
ˈhæŋɪŋ aʊt ˈaɪdli wɪð frɛndz
fɑːst fuːd ɪsˈtæblɪʃmənt 
ɪnˈgeɪʤɪŋ ɪn 
ˈsɪmɪləli ˈpæsɪv ækˈtɪvɪti
ɪnˈvɒlv 
raɪz 
ˈgləʊbəli 
ˈsɪgnld 
ˈpɪərɪəd 
streɪd 
tʊk pɑːt ɪn 
ˈsəʊʃəli 
ˈpɜːsnəli 
səbˈvɜːsɪv ˈpɑːstaɪmz
fɪəz ˈdiːteɪld əˈbʌv 
ˌəʊvəˈbləʊn kəmˈpeəd tuː 
ˈaʊtsaɪzd prəˈpɔːʃən 
ˈtruːli 
ˈpæsɪv 
ˈlɑːʤli ˈsɛntər əˈraʊnd 
ˈweɪstɪŋ taɪm 
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə
ˈstriːmɪŋ ˈmuːviz 
ˈækʧʊəli 
ˈlaɪkli 
ɪnˈvɒlv ɪn-ˈpɜːsn ˈsəʊʃəlaɪzɪŋ
prɪˈsaɪsli 
dəʊˈmeɪn 
məʊst æt rɪsk 
ˈjʌŋə ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz 
aɪˈdɪəl 
ˈprɛfərəbl 
ˈlaɪfˌstaɪl 
kənˈdɛmd
dɪˈklaɪn 
ˌpɒpjʊˈlærɪti 
kənˈsɜːn 
lɛs ˈrɛlɪvənt

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:

In c__________________s, it has becoming i___________________n for young people to spend their free time at m____s and this is o________________________e. In my opinion, though there are more p______________________s, it should be c_____________d a p_________________l g_____________________________s.

P___________-s of this s____________t p___________t that malls are t__________y not a p_____________e of one’s time. A person who goes to a mall is likely s___________g, watching a movie, h___________________________s, eating from a f____________________________t, or e____________n another s___________________________y. A better use of time could i_________e playing sports, reading a book, creating art, or working. The r____e of malls g_______y beginning in the 1980s s__________d a p________d when younger individuals s___________d from healthy activities and t_______________n more s_________y and p______________________________s.

However, the f_________________e are o______________n c________d to other free time activities. These days, most young people who are free spend an o__________________n of their time doing t_____y unhealthy, p____e activities. These l________________________d technology and include w____________e on s__________a, taking pictures, playing online games, chatting online, s_______________s and videos, and using the internet. The mall is now a___________y a better use of one’s time since it l_______y will i_________e i____________________g, p___________y the d_________n that is m____________k for y___________________s and society today.

In conclusion, though time spent at malls is not the i_______l activity for a younger person, it is p_________e to a more passive l________e and should therefore not be c__________d. It is likely, however, that malls will continue to d_______e in p____________y in the future so this c_______n will become l_______________t.

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:

Speaking Practice

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

Shopping

  1. What do you usually shop for?
  2. Do you often go to malls?
  3. Do you shop online a lot?
  4. How common are shopping centers in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Shopping is now one of the most popular forms of leisure activities in many countries for young adults.

Why is this?

Do you think this is a positive or a negative development?


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