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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the real IELTS exam on the topic of taking a year off to travel also known as a gap year in the UK.

It is an interesting topic and I tried to come up with a unique opinion (not that you need to do that on IELTS!).

Be sure to check out my courses and corrections as well!

Dave

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

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Gap Year (Real Past IELTS Exam)

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?

Real Past IELTS Exam

It is very common for privileged students from developed nations to take a year for travel between the end of high school and beginning of university in lieu of working part-time. In my opinion, it is much better to develop your capacity for leisure activity rather than getting a job in this interim period.

The main reason many advocate employment during a gap year is the cultivation of a strong work ethic. When someone begins working, their bad habits necessarily subside. For example, a worker has to be on time, work diligently, follow orders, get along with co-workers, show initiative, have a positive attitude, endure long days, and make ends meet with little pay. This is the molding process of adulthood which entails reconciling your personal desires with the expectations of the community at large. The individual who opts to spend their gap year working, will enter university more well-rounded, disciplined, and humble.

However, a strong work ethic is bound to develop later while the ability to enjoy one’s leisure while traveling is a far more valuable skill. Most people acclimate to work with a part-time job during high school or in unversity. At worst, they develop these qualities after graduation. Since they have been either working or studying their entire lives they have neglected the ability to enjoy leisure that distinguishes higher classes. The average person who has been working their entire life goes on holiday or retires and feels restless. To enjoy your leisure time traveling you must be able to set aside future worries, live in the moment, get outside your comfort zone, have a wide range of hobbies and skills, and be active for a full day without a workday. Chances to cultivate these habits will see far less light with a career and family so it is best to nourish them before university.

In conclusion, the gap year is a crucial space for individuals to develop a personal relationship to their leisure time. This is important as an ever-advancing career can become an undesirable transformational experience.

Analysis

1. It is very common for privileged students from developed nations to take a year for travel between the end of high school and beginning of university in lieu of working part-time. 2. In my opinion, it is much better to develop your capacity for leisure activity rather than getting a job in this interim period.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion.

1. The main reason many advocate employment during a gap year is the cultivation of a strong work ethic. 2. When someone begins working, their bad habits necessarily subside. 3. For example, a worker has to be on time, work diligently, follow orders, get along with co-workers, show initiative, have a positive attitude, endure long days, and make ends meet with little pay. 4. This is the molding process of adulthood which entails reconciling your personal desires with the expectations of the community at large. 5. The individual who opts to spend their gap year working, will enter university more well-rounded, disciplined, and humble.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to support your main idea.
  3. Give a specific example or details.
  4. State the results or develop your example.
  5. Continue with the overall results of your example.

1. However, a strong work ethic is bound to develop later while the ability to enjoy one’s leisure while traveling is a far more valuable skill. 2. Most people acclimate to work with a part-time job during high school or in unversity. 3. At worst, they develop these qualities after graduation. 4. Since they have been either working or studying their entire lives they have neglected the ability to enjoy leisure that distinguishes higher classes. 5. The average person who has been working their entire life goes on holiday or retires and feels restless. 6. To enjoy your leisure time traveling you must be able to set aside future worries, live in the moment, get outside your comfort zone, have a wide range of hobbies and skills, and be active for a full day without a workday. 7. Chances to cultivate these habits will see far less light with a career and family so it is best to nourish them before university.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a main idea at the end. Notice that this paragraph is longer because this is the idea that I agree with.
  2. Here I start by disparaging the argument from the paragraph before.
  3. This sentence is also about the last paragraph.
  4. Here I shift back to the main idea of this paragraph.
  5. I develop it with a hypothetical example.
  6. I give specific details of what it means to develop your leisure abilities.
  7. I conclude by relating this back to the overall essay question.

1. In conclusion, the gap year is a crucial space for individuals to develop a personal relationship to their leisure time. 2. This is important as an ever-advancing career can become an undesirable transformational experience.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/detail to end the essay.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

It is very common for privileged students from developed nations to take a year for travel between the end of high school and beginning of university in lieu of working part-time. In my opinion, it is much better to develop your capacity for leisure activity rather than getting a job in this interim period.

The main reason many advocate employment during a gap year is the cultivation of a strong work ethic. When someone begins working, their bad habits necessarily subside. For example, a worker has to be on time, work diligently, follow orders, get along with co-workers, show initiative, have a positive attitude, endure long days, and make ends meet with little pay. This is the molding process of adulthood which entails reconciling your personal desires with the expectations of the community at large. The individual who opts to spend their gap year working, will enter university more well-rounded, disciplined, and humble.

However, a strong work ethic is bound to develop later while the ability to enjoy one’s leisure while traveling is a far more valuable skill. Most people acclimate to work with a part-time job during high school or in unversity. At worst, they develop these qualities after graduation. Since they have been either working or studying their entire lives they have neglected the ability to enjoy leisure that distinguishes higher classes. The average person who has been working their entire life goes on holiday or retires and feels restless. To enjoy your leisure time traveling you must be able to set aside future worries, live in the moment, get outside your comfort zone, have a wide range of hobbies and skills, and be active for a full day without a workday. Chances to cultivate these habits will see far less light with a career and family so it is best to nourish them before university.

In conclusion, the gap year is a crucial space for individuals to develop a personal relationship to their leisure time. This is important as an ever-advancing career can become an undesirable transformational experience.

Answers

privileged lucky, rich, born in a developed country

developed nations rich countries

in lieu of instead of

part-time hourly paid, not full-time

capacity ability

leisure activity not having to work

interim period time in between

advocate argue for

gap year year before university in the UK

cultivation development

strong work ethic hard worker, disciplined

necessarily subside have to decrease/get weaker

on time not late

diligently focused, not lazy

get along with co-workers on good terms with other employees

show initiative ambitious

positive attitude good outlook

endure get through

make ends meet with little pay pay their bills without a high salary

molding process maturing

adulthood becoming an adult

entails reconciling involved balancing

personal desires what an individual wants

expectations of the community at large what the world wants

gap year year before uni

well-rounded all around

disciplined hard-working

humble not arrogant

strong work ethic disciplined

bound to will inevitably

far more much more

acclimate get used to

at worst in the worst situation

neglected don’t pay attention to

distinguishes higher classes separates the best from the worst

retires stop working

restless not content

set aside future worries forget about future problems

live in the moment present in the here and now

get outside your comfort zone be willing to try new things

wide range of hobbies and skills lots of interests

workday 9-5 job

cultivate these habits develop these qualities

far less much less

nourish feed

crucial space important place/time

personal relationship to their leisure time understand well how to use free time

ever-advancing career ambition

undesirable transformational experience not wanted change in yourself

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ˈprɪvɪlɪʤd 
dɪˈvɛləpt ˈneɪʃənz 
ɪn ljuː ɒv 
pɑːt-taɪm
kəˈpæsɪti 
ˈlɛʒər ækˈtɪvɪti 
ˈɪntərɪm ˈpɪərɪəd
ˈædvəkɪt 
gæp jɪə 
ˌkʌltɪˈveɪʃən 
strɒŋ wɜːk ˈɛθɪk
ˈnɛsɪsərɪli səbˈsaɪd
ɒn taɪm
ˈdɪlɪʤəntli
gɛt əˈlɒŋ wɪð kəʊ-ˈwɜːkəz
ʃəʊ ɪˈnɪʃɪətɪv
ˈpɒzətɪv ˈætɪtjuːd
ɪnˈdjʊə 
meɪk ɛndz miːt wɪð ˈlɪtl peɪ
ˈməʊldɪŋ ˈprəʊsɛs 
əˈdʌlthʊd 
ɪnˈteɪlz ˈrɛkənsaɪlɪŋ 
ˈpɜːsnl dɪˈzaɪəz 
ˌɛkspɛkˈteɪʃənz ɒv ðə kəˈmjuːnɪti æt lɑːʤ
gæp jɪə 
wɛl-ˈraʊndɪd
ˈdɪsɪplɪnd
ˈhʌmbl
strɒŋ wɜːk ˈɛθɪk 
baʊnd tuː 
fɑː mɔː 
əˈklaɪmeɪt 
æt wɜːst
nɪˈglɛktɪd 
dɪsˈtɪŋgwɪʃɪz ˈhaɪə ˈklɑːsɪz
rɪˈtaɪəz 
ˈrɛstlɪs
sɛt əˈsaɪd ˈfjuːʧə ˈwʌriz
lɪv ɪn ðə ˈməʊmənt
gɛt ˌaʊtˈsaɪd jɔː ˈkʌmfət zəʊn
waɪd reɪnʤ ɒv ˈhɒbiz ænd skɪlz
ˈwɜːkdeɪ
ˈkʌltɪveɪt ðiːz ˈhæbɪts 
fɑː lɛs 
ˈnʌrɪʃ 
ˈkruːʃəl speɪs 
ˈpɜːsnl rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪp tuː ðeə ˈlɛʒə taɪm
ˈɛvər-ədˈvɑːnsɪŋ kəˈrɪə 
ˌʌndɪˈzaɪərəbl ˌtrænsfəˈmeɪʃən(ə)l ɪksˈpɪərɪəns

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

It is very common for p_____________d students from d___________________s to take a year for travel between the end of high school and beginning of university i________f working p__________e. In my opinion, it is much better to develop your c___________y for l__________________y rather than getting a job in this i______________d.

The main reason many a______________e employment during a g___________r is the c______________n of a s___________________c. When someone begins working, their bad habits n__________________e. For example, a worker has to be o_________e, work d_____________y, follow orders, g________________________s, s__________________e, have a p________________e, e__________e long days, and m___________________________y. This is the m_______________s of a________________d which e__________________g your p______________________s with the e____________________________________________e. The individual who opts to spend their gap year working, will enter university more w________________d, d______________d, and h___________e.

However, a s__________________c is b_____________o develop later while the ability to enjoy one’s leisure while traveling is a f__________e valuable skill. Most people a___________e to work with a part-time job during high school or in unversity. A_________t, they develop these qualities after graduation. Since they have been either working or studying their entire lives they have n____________d the ability to enjoy leisure that d___________________________s. The average person who has been working their entire life goes on holiday or r_________s and feels r__________s. To enjoy your leisure time traveling you must be able to s______________________s, l_________________t, g_____________________________e, have a w________________________________s, and be active for a full day without a w___________y. Chances to c__________________________s will see f___________s light with a career and family so it is best to n____________h them before university.

In conclusion, the gap year is a c___________e for individuals to develop a p______________________________________e. This is important as an e________________________________r can become an u_________________________________________e.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn more about taking a gap year with BBC 6 Minute English:

Reading Practice

Learn about some gap-year work opportunities here:

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions about travel from the real speaking exam below:

Travelling

Do you like travelling?

What is the most beautiful country you have visited?

Would you like to have a job that demands travelling to other countries?

What problems can occur when travelling?

Real Past IELTS Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the topic below then check my sample answer:

Many people today are choosing to travel to other countries.

Why is this happening?

Is this a positive or negative development?

Recent IELTS Exam

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