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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer taken from the real test related to reducing stress.

Here it is:

Many psychologists recommend that the best way to relieve stress is to do nothing at all for a period of time during the day.

Do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Tests

The structure of the essay is an agree/disagree essay.

For these IELTS essays you must choose a side. You can write about both sides but by the end you must choose an overall point of view.

If you don’t, you will get band 5 for task achievement.

It is a seemingly simple question but when I started to write about it there are a couple of thorny (difficult) issues.

The question is about whether or not taking a break is the best way to reduce stress.

If you write about how taking a break is the best way to reduce stress – it is really hard!

That is because it is obvious: take a break = less stress. How can you further support that?

Read below to see what I did with the question.

You can read more about IELTS structures here.

My other sample answers for IELTS writing task 2 can be found here.

Finally, you can apply for my online courses that include videos, workbooks, review, and feedback for $14.99 a month here.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Stress

Many pschologists recommend that the best way to relieve stress is to do nothing at all for a period of time during the day.

Do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Tests

One of the most pressing issues for first world countries is how to reduce their stress levels and this has led some psychologists to propose a daily period of rest. Although I think that daily rest would be helpful, it is more important to take an active role in stress relief.

Proponents of a rest period suggest that taking a break has proven health benefits related to stress reduction. It is very common in Latin American countries and some Southeast Asian countries to take an afternoon ‘siesta’ or short nap before resuming work. Research has supported the myriad health benefits related to this stress-free period. It lowers blood pressure, increases serotonin in the brain, and aids memory function. Besides the statistics from studies that breaks reduce stress, there is also anecdotal evidence that taking a break energises people in both the short and long term. Plowing on without breaks, on the contrary, can lead to an increase in stress and has been linked to related health problems.

Instead of taking a rest, I believe that joining a team sport will do more to relieve stress. Doctors and scientists agree that exercise is the best way to cut down on stress overall. In most parts of the world, football is the most common sport both to watch and participate in. Playing football reduces your stress by releasing endorphins in the brain that make people happier, strengthening the heart to better withstand stressful situations, and helping people to relax by working in a team towards a shared goal. The teamwork aspect cannot be underestimated, and is integral to most sports, as it does more to reduce stress and reset your body for a new day than any other activity.

To conclude, although taking a rest certainly helps reduce stress, the best way to unwind is to play a sport. People should set aside time at least once a week to partake in team sporting activities.

Analysis

1. One of the most pressing issues for first world countries is how to reduce their stress levels and this has led some psychologists to propose a daily period of rest. 2. Although I think that daily rest would be helpful, it is more important to take an active role in stress relief.

  1. The first sentence restates/paraphrases the main topic for the essay. Don’t spend a lot of time on this – write it quikly and get going!
  2. The second sentence gives my opinion – be clear and choose a side!

1. Proponents of a rest period suggest that taking a break has proven health benefits related to stress reduction. 2. It is very common in Latin American countries and some Southeast Asian countries to take an afternoon ‘siesta’ or short nap before resuming work. 3. Research has supported the myriad health benefits related to this stress-free period. 4. It lowers blood pressure, increases serotonin in the brain, and aids memory function. 5. Besides the statistics from studies that breaks reduce stress, there is also anecdotal evidence that taking a break energises people in both the short and long term. 6. Plowing on without breaks, on the contrary, can lead to an increase in stress and has been linked to related health problems.

  1. The first sentence is a topic sentence giving the main idea for the whole paragraph – health benefits related to stress.
  2. My second sentence begins a specific example. Try to be as specific as possible.
  3. The third sentence continues to support the same main idea with research.
  4. The fourth sentence gives specific examples of the parts of the brain impacted by taking a break.
  5. My fifth sentence further supports the same main idea.
  6. The last sentence concludes the paragraph by using a counter-point to again support my main idea. Focus on 1 main idea, fully developed!

1. Instead of taking a rest, I believe that joining a team sport will do more to relieve stress. 2. Doctors and scientists agree that exercise is the best way to cut down on stress overall. 3. In most parts of the world, football is the most common sport both to watch and participate in. 4. Playing football reduces your stress by releasing endorphins in the brain that make people happier, strengthening the heart to better withstand stressful situations, and helping people to relax by working in a team towards a shared goal. 5. The teamwork aspect cannot be underestimated, and is integral to most sports, as it does more to reduce stress and reset your body for a new day than any other activity.

  1. The first sentence of the second paragraph is also a topic sentence with my main idea – doing a sport does more to reduce stress overall. Notice that I keep my opinion weak – it has a greater overall impact.
  2. My second sentence begins my support for this main idea.
  3. The third sentence focuses on the very specific example of football.
  4. My next sentence details the specific ways that football reduces stress – be as specific as possible.
  5. The final sentence adds more support for the same main idea – sports do more to help reduce stress.

1. To conclude, although taking a rest certainly helps reduce stress, the best way to unwind is to play a sport. 2. People should set aside time at least once a week to partake in team sporting activities.

  1. The first sentence of my conclusion restates my opinion – make sure that you have a clear, overall opinion!
  2. My final sentence gives an extended detail that most examiners require for band 7+ for task achievement. Read more about it here.

Vocabulary

Try to figure out what the words in bold mean below or think of a synonym for each one, then check your answers in the answer key:

One of the most pressing issues for first world countries is how to reduce their stress levels and this has led some psychologists to propose a daily period of rest. Although I think that daily rest would be helpful, it is more important to take an active role in stress relief.

Proponents of a rest period suggest that taking a break has proven health benefits related to stress reduction. It is very common in Latin American countries and some Southeast Asian countries to take an afternoon ‘siesta‘ or short nap before resuming work. Research has supported the myriad health benefits related to this stress-free period. It lowers blood pressure, increases serotonin in the brain, and aids memory function. Besides the statistics from studies that breaks reduce stress, there is also anecdotal evidence that taking a break energises people in both the short and long term. Plowing on without breaks, on the contrary, can lead to an increase in stress and has been linked to related health problems.

Instead of taking a rest, I believe that joining a team sport will do more to relieve stress. Doctors and scientists agree that exercise is the best way to cut down on stress overall. In most parts of the world, football is the most common sport both to watch and participate in. Playing football reduces your stress by releasing endorphins in the brain that make people happier, strengthening the heart to better withstand stressful situations, and helping people to relax by working in a team towards a shared goal. The teamwork aspect cannot be underestimated, and is integral to most sports, as it does more to reduce stress and reset your body for a new day than any other activity.

To conclude, although taking a rest certainly helps reduce stress, the best way to unwind is to play a sport. People should set aside time at least once a week to partake in team sporting activities.

Answers:

pressing issues important problems

first world countries rich, developed countries

reduce their stress lessen anxiety

propose suggest

active role more proactive about

stress relief reducing stress

proponents supporters

siesta break

resuming work getting back to work

myriad health benefits many ways it is good for health

lowers blood pressure good for your heart

serotonin a chemical in the brain

aids memory function helps you remember better

statistics figures/facts

anecdotal hearsay

energises gives energy to

plowing on without breaks continuing to work without stopping

cut down on reduce

participate in take part in

releasing endorphins making you happier

strengthening making stronger

withstand get through

shared goal common purpose

underestimated think too little of

integral essential

reset your body recharge

unwind relax

set aside time make time for

partake participate in

Pronunciation

ˈprɛsɪŋ ˈɪʃuːz 
fɜːst wɜːld ˈkʌntriz 
rɪˈdjuːs ðeə strɛs 
prəˈpəʊz 
ˈæktɪv rəʊl 
strɛs rɪˈliːf
prəˈpəʊnənts 
sɪˈɛstə
rɪˈzjuːmɪŋ wɜːk
ˈmɪrɪəd hɛlθ ˈbɛnɪfɪts
ˈləʊəz blʌd ˈprɛʃə
serotonin
eɪdz ˈmɛməri ˈfʌnŋkʃən
stəˈtɪstɪks 
ˌænɪkˈdəʊt(ə)l 
ˈɛnəʤaɪzɪz 
ˈplaʊɪŋ ɒn wɪˈðaʊt breɪks
kʌt daʊn ɒn 
pɑːˈtɪsɪpeɪt ɪn
rɪˈliːsɪŋ endorphins 
ˈstrɛŋθənɪŋ 
wɪðˈstænd 
ʃeəd gəʊl
ˌʌndəˈrɛstɪmeɪtɪd
ˈɪntɪgrəl 
ˌriːˈsɛt jɔː ˈbɒdi 
ʌnˈwaɪnd 
sɛt əˈsaɪd taɪm 
pɑːˈteɪk 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

One of the most ____________________ for ____________________ is how to ____________________ and this has led some psychologists to ____________________ a daily period of rest. Although I think that daily rest would be helpful, it is more important to take an ____________________ in ____________________.

____________________ of a rest period suggest that taking a break has proven health benefits related to stress reduction. It is very common in Latin American countries and some Southeast Asian countries to take an afternoon ‘ ____________________‘ or short nap before ____________________. Research has supported the ____________________ related to this stress-free period. It ____________________, increases ____________________ in the brain, and ____________________. Besides the ____________________ from studies that breaks reduce stress, there is also ____________________ evidence that taking a break ____________________ people in both the short and long term. ____________________, on the contrary, can lead to an increase in stress and has been linked to related health problems.

Instead of taking a rest, I believe that joining a team sport will do more to relieve stress. Doctors and scientists agree that exercise is the best way to ____________________ stress overall. In most parts of the world, football is the most common sport both to watch and ____________________. Playing football reduces your stress by ____________________ in the brain that make people happier, ____________________ the heart to better ____________________ stressful situations, and helping people to relax by working in a team towards a ____________________. The teamwork aspect cannot be ____________________, and is ____________________ to most sports, as it does more to reduce stress and ____________________ for a new day than any other activity.

To conclude, although taking a rest certainly helps reduce stress, the best way to ____________________ is to play a sport. People should ____________________ at least once a week to ____________________ in team sporting activities.

 

 

Listening Practice

Listen and review the ideas/vocabulary from my sample answer:

Reading Practice

Read and review the causes of anxiety and stress:

https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/causes-anxiety

Comment any questions that you have below!


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