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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of university students working full-time jobs.

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Dave

Before reading, listen to the audio and take notes for some extra practice:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Full Time University Students

Full-time university students spend a lot of time studying. Some say they should do other activities too.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some today feel that university students should focus completely on their studies, while others feel it is important to have a diverse range of interests and activities. In my opinion, extracurriculars are a key part of the university experience.

Those who advocate students dedicating themselves solely to academics can point out the singular learning opportunity. An undergraduate is typically paying large sums of money, burdening themselves with student debt in most cases, in order to become an expert in a given field. This is the only period in life they will have to study a single, chosen subject without the pressures of work. Freedom from a job allows them to invest fully in academics and learn the theories and skills that will form the basis of their entire professional career. Some would argue that there is little value in diluting this experience by taking on other responsibilities.

Nonetheless, outside activities are also an important element of higher education. There are countless examples of successful individuals who joined a comedy or art club unrelated to their major and later ended up working in that field. Even those who do not receive such tangible rewards from their extracurriculars can learn a lot. For example, a student may opt to become involved with a local charity, university initiative or work a part-time job. These will all be formative experiences and may be more memorable and useful for them than the subject they study. Many graduates today switch career paths soon after university regardless, so the respective value of these other activities will increase as they look back on their college experience and recognise what was truly instrumental in their development.

In conclusion, though university is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on a single subject, I believe finding activities outside the classroom also has value. Students should prioritise academics but not ignore the full breadth of learning experiences on offer.

Analysis

1. Some today feel that university students should focus completely on their studies, while others feel it is important to have a diverse range of interests and activities. 2. In my opinion, extracurriculars are a key part of the university experience.

  1. Paraphrase the topic for the essay.
  2. State your opinion clearly.

1. Those who advocate students dedicating themselves solely to academics can point out the singular learning opportunity. 2. An undergraduate is typically paying large sums of money, burdening themselves with student debt in most cases, in order to become an expert in a given field. 3. This is the only period in life they will have to study a single, chosen subject without the pressures of work. 4. Freedom from a job allows them to invest fully in academics and learn the theories and skills that will form the basis of their entire professional career. 5. Some would argue that there is little value in diluting this experience by taking on other responsibilities.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to develop your main idea.
  3. Continue developing the same idea with supporting ideas.
  4. Be as specific as possible.
  5. Conclude the paragraph. I don’t agree with this side so the paragraph is a little shorter.

1. Nonetheless, outside activities are also an important element of higher education. 2. There are countless examples of successful individuals who joined a comedy or art club unrelated to their major and later ended up working in that field. 3. Even those who do not receive such tangible rewards from their extracurriculars can learn a lot. 4. For example, a student may opt to become involved with a local charity, university initiative or work a part-time job. 5. These will all be formative experiences and may be more memorable and useful for them than the subject they study. 6. Many graduates today switch career paths soon after university regardless, so the respective value of these other activities will increase as they look back on their college experience and recognise what was truly instrumental in their development.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea.
  2. Explain your main idea or begin developing it.
  3. Make sure that your ideas flow neatly together.
  4. Give an example if possible. Here I use a hypothetical example.
  5. Explain your example.
  6. Conclude with a strong statement explaining the full results.

1. In conclusion, though university is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on a single subject, I believe finding activities outside the classroom also has value. 2. Students should prioritise academics but not ignore the full breadth of learning experiences on offer.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/extra detail for full marks from the examiner.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Some today feel that university students should focus completely on their studies, while others feel it is important to have a diverse range of interests and activities. In my opinion, extracurriculars are a key part of the university experience.

Those who advocate students dedicating themselves solely to academics can point out the singular learning opportunity. An undergraduate is typically paying large sums of money, burdening themselves with student debt in most cases, in order to become an expert in a given field. This is the only period in life they will have to study a single, chosen subject without the pressures of work. Freedom from a job allows them to invest fully in academics and learn the theories and skills that will form the basis of their entire professional career. Some would argue that there is little value in diluting this experience by taking on other responsibilities.

Nonetheless, outside activities are also an important element of higher education. There are countless examples of successful individuals who joined a comedy or art club unrelated to their major and later ended up working in that field. Even those who do not receive such tangible rewards from their extracurriculars can learn a lot. For example, a student may opt to become involved with a local charity, university initiative or work a part-time job. These will all be formative experiences and may be more memorable and useful for them than the subject they study. Many graduates today switch career paths soon after university regardless, so the respective value of these other activities will increase as they look back on their college experience and recognise what was truly instrumental in their development.

In conclusion, though university is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on a single subject, I believe finding activities outside the classroom also has value. Students should prioritise academics but not ignore the full breadth of learning experiences on offer.

Answers

focus completely pay attention to totally

diverse range lots of different

extracurriculars outside academics

key part essential element of

advocate support

dedicating committing

solely only

point out argue

singular learning opportunity only chance to learn about

undergraduate first four years of university

sums amounts

burdening stuck under

student debt money you must pay back after graduation

a given field whatever calling they choose

period in life time in their life

pressures of work feeling stressed or burdened by work

invest fully commit to completely

theories ideas

skills practical skills

form the basis make up the foundation for

entire professional career whole working time

little value not much importance

diluting watering down, making weaker

taking on committing to

nonetheless regardless

important element key part

higher education university/college

countless examples many instances

unrelated to their major nothing to do with what they studied

ended up finally/in the end

tangible rewards actually getting something out of

opt choose

local charity nearby community organisation

university initiative uni program

part-time job hourly paid work

formative experiences shaping life experiences

memorable unforgettable

switch career paths change jobs

regardless nonetheless

respective belonging to the specific area mentioned

look back on remember

recognise identify

truly instrumental actually important

once-in-a-lifetime opportunity chance that only happens one time

prioritise consider more important

ignore not pay attention to

full breadth diverse range of

on offer available

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ˈfəʊkəs kəmˈpliːtli 
daɪˈvɜːs reɪnʤ 
ˌɛkstrəkəˈrɪkjʊləz 
kiː pɑːt 
ˈædvəkɪt 
ˈdɛdɪkeɪtɪŋ 
ˈsəʊlli 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈsɪŋgjʊlə ˈlɜːnɪŋ ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti
ˌʌndəˈgrædjʊɪt 
sʌmz 
ˈbɜːdnɪŋ 
ˈstjuːdənt dɛt 
ə ˈgɪvn fiːld
ˈpɪərɪəd ɪn laɪf 
ˈprɛʃəz ɒv wɜːk
ɪnˈvɛst ˈfʊli 
ˈθɪəriz 
skɪlz 
fɔːm ðə ˈbeɪsɪs 
ɪnˈtaɪə prəˈfɛʃənl kəˈrɪə
ˈlɪtl ˈvæljuː 
daɪˈljuːtɪŋ 
ˈteɪkɪŋ ɒn 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ɪmˈpɔːtənt ˈɛlɪmənt 
ˈhaɪər ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən
ˈkaʊntlɪs ɪgˈzɑːmplz 
ˌʌnrɪˈleɪtɪd tuː ðeə ˈmeɪʤə 
ˈɛndɪd ʌp 
ˈtænʤəbl rɪˈwɔːdz 
ɒpt 
ˈləʊkəl ˈʧærɪti
ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsɪti ɪˈnɪʃɪətɪv 
pɑːt-taɪm ʤɒb
ˈfɔːmətɪv ɪksˈpɪərɪənsɪz 
ˈmɛmərəbl 
swɪʧ kəˈrɪə pɑːðz 
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs
rɪsˈpɛktɪv 
lʊk bæk ɒn 
ˈrɛkəgnaɪz 
ˈtruːli ˌɪnstrʊˈmɛntl 
wʌns-ɪn-ə-ˈlaɪftaɪm ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪz 
ɪgˈnɔː 
fʊl brɛdθ 
ɒn ˈɒfə

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Some today feel that university students should f____________________y on their studies, while others feel it is important to have a d_____________________e of interests and activities. In my opinion, e____________________s are a k___________t of the university experience.

Those who a_____________e students d________________g themselves s___________y to academics can p_______________t the s____________________________y. An u__________________e is typically paying large s________s of money, b_________________g themselves with s_______________t in most cases, in order to become an expert in a________________________d. This is the only p________________e they will have to study a single, chosen subject without the p____________________k. Freedom from a job allows them to i__________________y in academics and learn the t_______________s and s_______s that will f__________________s of their e__________________________r. Some would argue that there is l____________________e in d______________g this experience by t________________n other responsibilities.

N_________________s, outside activities are also an i_____________________t of h______________________n. There are c___________________s of successful individuals who joined a comedy or art club u______________________r and later e______________p working in that field. Even those who do not receive such t______________________s from their extracurriculars can learn a lot. For example, a student may o___t to become involved with a l_________________y, u_____________________e or work a p_________________b. These will all be f__________________________s and may be more m________________e and useful for them than the subject they study. Many graduates today s_______________________s soon after university r__________________s, so the r__________________e value of these other activities will increase as they l______________________n their college experience and r________________e what was t__________________________l in their development.

In conclusion, though university is a o______________________________y to focus on a single subject, I believe finding activities outside the classroom also has value. Students should p________________e academics but not i_____________e the f__________________h of learning experiences o_____________r.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Watch here the day in the life of a student at a university in Japan with lots of good vocabulary in it:

Reading Practice

Read from the Yale Tribune about the benefits of working while in school:

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Studying

Are you studying or working?

Do you prefer to learn in the morning or in the evening?

What subject do like to study best?

Real IELTS Speaking Exam

Writing Practice

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

Many schools today require students to work without pay for companies as part of their education.

Is this more advantageous to students or companies?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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