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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of rewarding students for success from the real IELTS exam.

It’s an interesting topic and I had a lot of fun writing about it!

My structure is a little bit different from my normal essays – it is fine to write with a different structure if you are fully supporting your main ideas.

Read below to see how it is different.

Dave

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

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay General Training: Rewarding Success

Some think schools should rewards students who have the best academic results, while others think it’s more important to reward students who achieve other types of success (such as sports, music, and good behaviour).

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Real Past IELTS Exam

It is common to reward students for their academic success but many today believe schools should also recognise other areas of excellence such as athletics and behaviour. In my opinion, rewarding academic results is more important as it is a powerful motivator and should not be replicated for other pursuits.

Rewarding academic success is part of an historic system of control. The purpose is self-evident: to psychologically compel continued positive results. For example, in many East Asian countries such as Vietnam where good marks are highly valued, it is not uncommon for parents to offer financial incentives to students, schools to regularly hand out certificates of excellence, and teachers to highlight individuals for praise. All these distinctions are powerful extrinsic motivators that draw students away from the, often monotonous, subject being studied itself to monetary gains, public recognition and the esteem of one’s teachers, respectively. This effectively exploits basic desires for respect and reinforces a pattern of academic excellence.

However, despite the benefits listed above, other types of activities contain their own rewards already. A student who behaves well in class will typically earn the appreciation of teachers or simply do it out of their natural temperament and therefore not require compensation. Students with athletic prowess enjoy the reverence of their peers and the sports themselves. These built-in rewards apply to a variety of fields of success outside traditional school subjects. In fact, rewarding behaviours that students already enjoy doing in themselves might actually hinder motivation. Students could potentially become more focused on the reward than the experience itself and an intrinsic drive will become extrinsic, ironically now requiring tangible reinforcement to continue.

In conclusion, rewarding academics is a proven method of reinforcement that could have the opposite effect of decreasing intrinsic motivation when applied to other areas. Teachers and parents should be wary of the subtle difference between encouraging children and establishing a near-Pavlovian relationship.

Analysis

1. It is common to reward students for their academic success but many today believe schools should also recognise other areas of excellence such as athletics and behaviour. 2. In my opinion, rewarding academic results is more important as it is a powerful motivator and should not be replicated for other pursuits.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic.
  2. Answer the question with a direct opinion.

1. Rewarding academic success is part of an historic system of control. 2. The purpose is self-evident: to psychologically compel continued positive results. 3. For example, in many East Asian countries such as Vietnam where good marks are highly valued, it is not uncommon for parents to offer financial incentives to students, schools to regularly hand out certificates of excellence, and teachers to highlight individuals for praise. 4. All these distinctions are powerful extrinsic motivators that draw students away from the, often monotonous, subject being studied itself to monetary gains, public recognition and the esteem of one’s teachers, respectively. 5. This effectively exploits basic desires for respect and reinforces a pattern of academic excellence.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence. In this essay, I first argue that academic rewards are positive in this paragraph. The next paragraph focuses on why they would not be positive for other areas. Typically these paragraphs would be switched but in this essay I felt the next paragraph is a stronger argument so that is why I put them in this order.
  2. Explain your main idea, if necessary.
  3. Give a specific example.
  4. Develop your example.
  5. Conclude your paragraph by generalising.

1. However, despite the benefits listed above, other types of activities contain their own rewards already. 2. A student who behaves well in class will typically earn the appreciation of teachers or simply do it out of their natural temperament and therefore not require compensation. 3. Students with athletic prowess enjoy the reverence of their peers and the sports themselves. 4. These built-in rewards apply to a variety of fields of success outside traditional school subjects. 5. In fact, rewarding behaviours that students already enjoy doing in themselves might actually hinder motivation. 6. Students could potentially become more focused on the reward than the experience itself and an intrinsic drive will become extrinsic, ironically now requiring tangible reinforcement to continue.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with another main idea at the end.
  2. Begin a hypothetical example.
  3. Here I shift to a related example.
  4. Then I generalise to other examples.
  5. Finally, I explain the importance of these example.
  6. I conclude my paragraph with a strong statement and the final results of my opinion.

1. In conclusion, rewarding academics is a proven method of reinforcement that could have the opposite effect of decreasing intrinsic motivation when applied to other areas. 2. Teachers and parents should be wary of the subtle difference between encouraging children and establishing a near-Pavlovian relationship.

  1. Repeat your opinion clearly.
  2. Add in an extra detail or finish summarising your opinion.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Try to figure out the meaning from the sentence and then check below:

It is common to reward students for their academic success but many today believe schools should also recognise other areas of excellence such as athletics and behaviour. In my opinion, rewarding academic results is more important as it is a powerful motivator and should not be replicated for other pursuits.

Rewarding academic success is part of an historic system of control. The purpose is self-evident: to psychologically compel continued positive results. For example, in many East Asian countries such as Vietnam where good marks are highly valued, it is not uncommon for parents to offer financial incentives to students, schools to regularly hand out certificates of excellence, and teachers to highlight individuals for praise. All these distinctions are powerful extrinsic motivators that draw students away from the, often monotonous, subject being studied itself to monetary gains, public recognition and the esteem of one’s teachers, respectively. This effectively exploits basic desires for respect and reinforces a pattern of academic excellence.

However, despite the benefits listed above, other types of activities contain their own rewards already. A student who behaves well in class will typically earn the appreciation of teachers or simply do it out of their natural temperament and therefore not require compensation. Students with athletic prowess enjoy the reverence of their peers and the sports themselves. These built-in rewards apply to a variety of fields of success outside traditional school subjects. In fact, rewarding behaviours that students already enjoy doing in themselves might actually hinder motivation. Students could potentially become more focused on the reward than the experience itself and an intrinsic drive will become extrinsic, ironically now requiring tangible reinforcement to continue.

In conclusion, rewarding academics is a proven method of reinforcement that could have the opposite effect of decreasing intrinsic motivation when applied to other areas. Teachers and parents should be wary of the subtle difference between encouraging children and establishing a near-Pavlovian relationship.

Answers

common all around

reward students give something to students in appreciation

academic success doing well in school subjects

recognise acknowledge

excellence doing really well

athletics sports

behaviour how you act in class

powerful motivator good source of motivation

replicated repeated

pursuits areas

historic system of control been used a long time to enforce behaviour

self-evident needs no explanation

psychologically compel force to do

continued positive results keep getting good marks

highly valued very important

not uncommon common

financial incentives money

regularly hand out certificates of excellence give awards

highlight individuals for praise single out students to say they did well

distinctions separations, elevations

powerful extrinsic motivators something outside the activity itself that makes you want to do it

draw take from

often monotonous usually boring

monetary gains financial incentives

public recognition respect of others

esteem of one’s teachers admiration from teachers

respectively in turn

effectively exploits basic desires does a good job taking advantage of human psychology

reinforces supports

pattern trend

despite the benefits listed above regardless of the mentioned advantages

contain have within them

behaves well in class a good student, not naughty

earn gain

appreciation reverence

natural temperament your personality

compensation getting something back

athletic prowess ability with sports

reverence admiration

peers other students

built-in already there

outside traditional school subjects not just what you study in school

hinder hold back

potentially possible

more focused care more about

experience itself the activity in itself

intrinsic drive not for outside rewards

extrinsic for outside rewards

ironically coincidentally

tangible reinforcement physical reward

proven method working way of doing something

opposite effect reverse impact

applied to other areas transferred to non-academics

wary careful of

subtle difference hard to see distinction

encouraging children praising kids

establishing a near-Pavlovian relationship making them require your praise/reinforcement

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ˈkɒmən 
rɪˈwɔːd ˈstjuːdənts
ˌækəˈdɛmɪk səkˈsɛs 
ˈrɛkəgnaɪz 
ˈɛksələns 
æθˈlɛtɪks 
bɪˈheɪvjə
ˈpaʊəfʊl ˈməʊtɪveɪtə 
ˈrɛplɪkeɪtɪd 
pəˈsjuːts
hɪsˈtɒrɪk ˈsɪstɪm ɒv kənˈtrəʊl
sɛlf-ˈɛvɪdənt
ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəli kəmˈpɛl 
kənˈtɪnju(ː)d ˈpɒzətɪv rɪˈzʌlts
ˈhaɪli ˈvæljuːd
nɒt ʌnˈkɒmən 
faɪˈnænʃəl ɪnˈsɛntɪvz 
ˈrɛgjʊləli hænd aʊt səˈtɪfɪkɪts ɒv ˈɛksələns
ˈhaɪˌlaɪt ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz fɔː preɪz
dɪsˈtɪŋkʃənz 
ˈpaʊəfʊl ɛksˈtrɪnsɪk ˈməʊtɪveɪtəz 
drɔː 
ˈɒf(ə)n məˈnɒtnəs
ˈmʌnɪtəri geɪnz
ˈpʌblɪk ˌrɛkəgˈnɪʃən 
ɪsˈtiːm ɒv wʌnz ˈtiːʧəz
rɪsˈpɛktɪvli
ɪˈfɛktɪvli ˈɛksplɔɪts ˈbeɪsɪk dɪˈzaɪəz 
ˌriːɪnˈfɔːsɪz 
ˈpætən 
dɪsˈpaɪt ðə ˈbɛnɪfɪts ˈlɪstɪd əˈbʌv
kənˈteɪn 
bɪˈheɪvz wɛl ɪn klɑːs 
ɜːn 
əˌpriːʃɪˈeɪʃ(ə)n 
ˈnæʧrəl ˈtɛmpərəmənt 
ˌkɒmpɛnˈseɪʃən
æθˈlɛtɪk ˈpraʊɪs 
ˈrəvərəns 
pɪəz 
ˈbɪltˈɪn 
ˌaʊtˈsaɪd trəˈdɪʃənl skuːl ˈsʌbʤɪkts
ˈhaɪndə 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəli 
mɔː ˈfəʊkəst 
ɪksˈpɪərɪəns ɪtˈsɛlf 
ɪnˈtrɪnsɪk draɪv 
ɛksˈtrɪnsɪk
aɪˈrɒnɪkəli 
ˈtænʤəbl ˌriːɪnˈfɔːsmənt 
ˈpruːvən ˈmɛθəd 
ˈɒpəzɪt ɪˈfɛkt 
əˈplaɪd tuː ˈʌðər ˈeərɪəz
ˈweəri 
ˈsʌtl ˈdɪfrəns 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤɪŋ ˈʧɪldrən 
ɪsˈtæblɪʃɪŋ ə nɪə-ˈpævlɒviːˈɛn rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪp

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

It is c____________n to r_________________s for their a__________________s but many today believe schools should also r___________e other areas of e_____________e such as a______________s and b________________r. In my opinion, rewarding academic results is more important as it is a p__________________________r and should not be r_____________d for other p____________s.

Rewarding academic success is part of an h______________________________l. The purpose is s________________t: to p___________________________l c_________________________s. For example, in many East Asian countries such as Vietnam where good marks are h_________________d, it is n__________________n for parents to offer f__________________s to students, schools to r___________________________________________e, and teachers to h_____________________________________e. All these d________________s are p_____________________s that d_____w students away from the, o______________________s, subject being studied itself to m_________________s, p_____________________n and the e_______________________s, r________________y. This e_______________________________s for respect and r_____________s a p____________n of academic excellence.

However, d_______________________________e, other types of activities c__________n their own rewards already. A student who b________________________s will typically e________n the a_________________n of teachers or simply do it out of their n______________________t and therefore not require c_____________________n. Students with a____________________s enjoy the r_________________e of their p________s and the sports themselves. These b__________n rewards apply to a variety of fields of success o_______________________________s. In fact, rewarding behaviours that students already enjoy doing in themselves might actually h__________r motivation. Students could p_______________y become m________________d on the reward than the e__________________f and an i______________e will become e_____________c, i______________y now requiring t___________________________t to continue.

In conclusion, rewarding academics is a p_________________d of reinforcement that could have the o_______________t of decreasing intrinsic motivation when a______________________s. Teachers and parents should be w________y of the s_____________________e between e_______________________n and e_______________________________________p.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Watch a well-known animation related to this topic:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic here:

https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/magazine/success/Rewarding-academic-excellence/1843788-3460756-15nai2yz/index.html

Speaking Practice

Practice speaking with the real questions from IELTS speaking below:

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 topic from the exam and then check with my sample answer below:

Many feel that students today should learn practical skills at school such as car maintenance and managing a bank account.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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