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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer on the topic of shopping from the real IELTS exam/test.

The question type is a little bit strange because normally IELTS will split these up into 2 questions.

But it is essentially two questions: how does online shopping impact the environment? How does it impact jobs?

The environment is easy but the jobs part is bit harder…

Read how I handled it below!

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

Dave

Before reading my essay, take some time to listen first and make notes on my vocabulary and ideas:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Online Shopping (Real Past IELTS Test/Exam)

Online shopping is becoming more common these days.

What effect could this have on the environment and the types of jobs required?

Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams

The ubiquity of online shopping has brought with it concerns about the environment and an evolving job market. In my opinion, online shopping increases fossil fuel emissions and requires a massive, unskilled workforce for both delivery and production.

Online shopping uses fossil fuels in the making and transportation of goods. In order to manufacture a given product, such as a television, book, or bag of muesli, there is an environmental cost from sourcing and transporting all the elements, powering the factory that assembles it, and creating the plastic packaging, which is also a petroleum byproduct. In the case of a large company like Amazon, the product must be driven or flown to various centres around the country in order to be available for next day delivery. From the storage warehouse, it is then driven or flown to the consumer who ordered it, further burning fossil fuels. The net impact on the environment is self-evidently massive and hastens climate change.

Moreover, online shopping is such a sprawling business that it manipulates the labour market. First of all, there are the workers directly involved. Deliverymen must pack, unpack and ship products while the whole operation also requires a variety of managers, foremen, and office workers. These workers are notoriously underpaid and exploited when working for the largest online retailers, who also streamline the means of production in order to offer the lowest prices. Instead of sourcing from local businesses, which would be slightly more expensive, they opt for large factories largely based in China that can cheaply and quickly produce standardised products. This requires an army of factory workers, working at low wages in unsafe conditions.

In conclusion, online shopping contributes greatly to climate change and has created deep fissures in the job market. Governments should regulate these companies before their rampant profit-driven efficiency has unforeseen social and political implications.

Word Count: 304

Analysis

1. The ubiquity of online shopping has brought with it concerns about the environment and an evolving job market. 2. In my opinion, online shopping increases fossil fuel emissions and requires a massive, unskilled workforce for both delivery and production.

  1. My first sentence simply paraphrases what the overall topic is about.
  2. The second sentence is my opinion – make sure that it is 100% clear!

1. Online shopping uses fossil fuels in the making and transportation of goods. 2. In order to manufacture a given product, such as a television, book, or bag of muesli, there is an environmental cost from sourcing and transporting all the elements, powering the factory that assembles it, and creating the plastic packaging, which is also a petroleum byproduct. 3. In the case of a large company like Amazon, the product must be driven or flown to various centres around the country in order to be available for next day delivery. 4. From the storage warehouse, it is then driven or flown to the consumer who ordered it, further burning fossil fuels. 5. The net impact on the environment is self-evidently massive and hastens climate change.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end of the sentence.
  2. Begin to develop your main idea with specific support. Notice how the specific support pulls out lots of great vocabulary related to the topic.
  3. Continue and try to use real companies like Amazon to support your main idea.
  4. Your paragraph and ideas should have a natural flow of ideas.
  5. In my last sentence I generalise a bit and relate it back to the overall question of the essay.

1. Moreover, online shopping is such a sprawling business that it manipulates the labour market. 2. First of all, there are the workers directly involved. 3. Deliverymen must pack, unpack and ship products while the whole operation also requires a variety of managers, foremen, and office workers. 4. These workers are notoriously underpaid and exploited when working for the largest online retailers, who also streamline the means of production in order to offer the lowest prices. 5. Instead of sourcing from local businesses, which would be slightly more expensive, they opt for large factories largely based in China that can cheaply and quickly produce standardised products. 6. This requires an army of factory workers, working at low wages in unsafe conditions.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a clear main idea.
  2. Begin to develop this one as well. Notice that I sometimes use long, sometimes short, sentences.
  3. Describe what happens with great detail and list as many jobs as you can.
  4. Describe the impact of these jobs – they are generally not regarded as quality jobs.
  5. Continue developing your main idea and writing about how the jobs are different.
  6. Draw conclusions/generalise with your last sentence.

1. In conclusion, online shopping contributes greatly to climate change and has created deep fissures in the job market. 2. Governments should regulate these companies before their rampant profit-driven efficiency has unforeseen social and political implications.

  1. Repeat your opinion and main ideas – don’t make this sentence too long.
  2. Add in a final thought/detail for full marks from the IELTS examiner.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

The ubiquity of online shopping has brought with it concerns about the environment and an evolving job market. In my opinion, online shopping increases fossil fuel emissions and requires a massive, unskilled workforce for both delivery and production.

Online shopping uses fossil fuels in the making and transportation of goods. In order to manufacture a given product, such as a television, book, or bag of muesli, there is an environmental cost from sourcing and transporting all the elements, powering the factory that assembles it, and creating the plastic packaging, which is also a petroleum byproduct. In the case of a large company like Amazon, the product must be driven or flown to various centres around the country in order to be available for next day delivery. From the storage warehouse, it is then driven or flown to the consumer who ordered it, further burning fossil fuels. The net impact on the environment is self-evidently massive and hastens climate change.

Moreover, online shopping is such a sprawling business that it manipulates the labour market. First of all, there are the workers directly involved. Deliverymen must pack, unpack and ship products while the whole operation also requires a variety of managers, foremen, and office workers. These workers are notoriously underpaid and exploited when working for the largest online retailers, who also streamline the means of production in order to offer the lowest prices. Instead of sourcing from local businesses, which would be slightly more expensive, they opt for large factories largely based in China that can cheaply and quickly produce standardised products. This requires an army of factory workers, working at low wages in unsafe conditions.

In conclusion, online shopping contributes greatly to climate change and has created deep fissures in the job market. Governments should regulate these companies before their rampant profit-driven efficiency has unforeseen social and political implications.

Answers

ubiquity common

brought with it concerns also adds worries

evolving job market changing employment practices

fossil fuel emissions buring oil

unskilled workforce labourers

delivery mailing/sending

production making

manufacture producing

given product whatever it is they make

muesli cereal with oats, dried fruits, etc.

sourcing getting it from

elements parts

powering making operate

assembles puts together

packaging how it is wrapped

petroleum byproduct also comes from oil

centres buildings

next day delivery getting your package within 24hrs

storage warehouse where they stockpile products

burning fossil fuels contributing to climate change

net impact overall effect

self-evidently massive clearly huge

hastens speeds up

sprawling business very large operation

manipulates has control over

directly involved contribute to clearly

deliverymen people who carry packages

whole operation entire business

notoriously underpaid famously poorly paid

exploited taken advantage of

online retailers companies that sell products online

streamline make more efficient

means of production how something is made

offer have

opt for choose

based in located in

standardised all the same, consistent

army of factory workers lots of workers

low wages little salary

unsafe conditions dangerous working situation

greatly a lot

deep fissures fractured/huge gaps

rampant profit-driven efficiency uncontrolled pursuit of money

unforeseen hard to predict

implications results

Pronunciation

ju(ː)ˈbɪkwɪti 
brɔːt wɪð ɪt kənˈsɜːnz 
ɪˈvɒlvɪŋ ʤɒb ˈmɑːkɪt
ˈfɒsl fjʊəl ɪˈmɪʃənz 
ʌnˈskɪld ˈwɜːkˌfɔːs 
dɪˈlɪvəri 
prəˈdʌkʃən
ˌmænjʊˈfækʧə 
ˈgɪvn ˈprɒdʌkt
ˈmjuːzli
ˈsɔːsɪŋ 
ˈɛlɪmənts
ˈpaʊərɪŋ
əˈsɛmblz
ˈpækɪʤɪŋ
pɪˈtrəʊlɪəm ˈbaɪˌprɒdʌkt
ˈsɛntəz 
nɛkst deɪ dɪˈlɪvəri
ˈstɔːrɪʤ ˈweəhaʊs
ˈbɜːnɪŋ ˈfɒsl fjʊəlz
nɛt ˈɪmpækt 
sɛlf-ˈɛvɪdəntli ˈmæsɪv 
ˈheɪsnz 
ˈsprɔːlɪŋ ˈbɪznɪs 
məˈnɪpjʊleɪts 
dɪˈrɛktli ɪnˈvɒlvd
dɪˈlɪvəri mɛn 
həʊl ˌɒpəˈreɪʃən 
nəʊˈtɔːrɪəsli ˌʌndəˈpeɪd 
ɪksˈplɔɪtɪd 
ˈɒnˌlaɪn riːˈteɪləz
ˈstriːmlaɪn 
miːnz ɒv prəˈdʌkʃən
ˈɒfə 
ɒpt fɔː 
beɪst ɪn 
ˈstændədaɪzd 
ˈɑːmi ɒv ˈfæktəri ˈwɜːkəz
ləʊ ˈweɪʤɪz 
ʌnˈseɪf kənˈdɪʃənz
ˈgreɪtli 
diːp ˈfɪʃəz 
ˈræmpənt ˈprɒfɪt-ˈdrɪvn ɪˈfɪʃənsi 
ˌʌnfɔːˈsiːn 
ˌɪmplɪˈkeɪʃənz

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

The u_____________ of online shopping has b_____________ about the environment and an e _____________. In my opinion, online shopping increases f_____________ and requires a massive, u_____________ for both d_____________ and p_____________.

Online shopping uses fossil fuels in the making and transportation of goods. In order to m_____________ a g_____________, such as a television, book, or bag of m_____________, there is an environmental cost from s _____________ and transporting all the e_____________, p_____________ the factory that a_____________ it, and creating the plastic p_____________, which is also a p_____________. In the case of a large company like Amazon, the product must be driven or flown to various c_____________ around the country in order to be available for n_____________ . From the s_____________, it is then driven or flown to the consumer who ordered it, further b_____________. The n_____________ on the environment is s_____________ and h_____________ climate change.

Moreover, online shopping is such a s_____________ that it manipulates the labour market. First of all, there are the workers d_____________. D_____________ must pack, unpack and ship products while the w_____________ also requires a variety of managers, foremen, and office workers. These workers are n_____________ and e_____________ when working for the largest o_____________, who also s_____________ the m_____________ in order to o _____________ the lowest prices. Instead of sourcing from local businesses, which would be slightly more expensive, they o_____________ large factories largely b_____________ China that can cheaply and quickly produce s _____________ products. This requires an a_____________, working at low w _____________ in u_____________.

In conclusion, online shopping contributes g_____________ to climate change and has created d_____________ in the job market. Governments should regulate these companies before their r_____________ has u_____________ social and political i_____________ .

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Watch the video below to get ideas for your own examples:

Reading Practice

Read this article for more ideas in case if a similar topic comes up on your test:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/01/amazon-made-online-commerce-bewildering/580660/

Speaking Practice

Answer the questions below and post your audio/video in my Facebook group:

Shopping

  1. Do people in your country shop at malls or street markets?
  2. Is online shopping common?
  3. Is it better to shop alone or with friends?
  4. Why is online shopping becoming more popular?
  5. Is shopping a waste of time?

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