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This is a real question from the IELTS Writing Task 2 test in December 2018.

I’m a former IELTS examiner and I’ve taken some time to write a sample answer and provide some vocabulary and other exercises related to it – enjoy!

Take a look at my other sample answer here.

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance (by Dave)

Many people try to balance work and other parts of their life. However, this is very difficult to do. What are the problems associated with this? What is the best way to achieve a better balance?

People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. 2. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

  1. The first sentence contains the topic for this essay – don’t spend too long writing this sentence!

  2. My second sentence contains my overall opinion as well as both my main ideas (you don’t have to include your main ideas here if you don’t know them yet).

1. The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. 2. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. 3. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. 4. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. 5. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. 6. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. 7. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

  1. The first sentence is a topic sentence telling the reader what the whole paragraph is about: overwork and mental health.

  2. My second sentence explains why overwork is a problem now.

  3. The third sentence develops this further.

  4. The fourth sentence shows what the end result of this is.

  5. The fifth sentence introduces the area of mental health, another effect of overworking.

  6. My sixth sentence gives an example of the conditions people who work too much can suffer from.

  7. My seventh sentence concludes the paragraph by saying that these problems are on the rise.

1. The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. 2. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. 3. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. 4. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. 5. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

  1. The first sentence is another topic sentence that says my main solution: working more efficiently.

  2. My second sentence claims that this solution is reasonable.

  3. The third sentence gives the example of how someone can use a smartphone to get more work done.

  4. My fourth sentence continues to explain what people can do to be more efficient.

  5. The fifth sentence details how people must change their habits to save time for their personal lives.

1. In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. 2. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

  1. My first sentence repeats my opinion about the problem and the best solution.

  2. The second sentence adds an extra detail that some examiners require for bands 7+ for task achievement!

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Do some practice with the vocabulary – can you work out what they mean without a dictionary? Read and then check your answers!

People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

Answers:

increasingly concerned: more and more worried

work-life balance: an equal amount of time working and having free time

mental health issues: problems such as stress, depression, etc.

primary issues: main problems

global financial crisis of 2008: in 2008 when the stock market in American and around the world crashed and caused a recession

pushed out of: must leave or are fired

willing to work for less: will work for less money

catch up: get up to date, not be behind

end result: final outcome

eats away: makes smaller, cuts away from, decreases

combat: fight against 

ideal world: perfect world

alleviate the burden: make the situation better or easier

pragmatic: doing something realistically and reasonably

productivity applications: apps on your phone or tablet such as a to do list to save you time

scroll: use your thumb to look through a page on the internet

small sacrifice: takes very little away from you

loved one: someone that you care about such as your spouse or a family member

especially apparent: very obvious

current economic climate: the way the economy is at the moment

maximise efficiency: make more efficient

worthwhile passions: good things to spend your time doing that you care about a lot

life is passing them by: they are too busy to enjoy life or do what they want

Vocabulary Practice

People today are _________________ with individual happiness and ________________. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes ________________ and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The ________________ associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the ________________, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get ________________ their jobs by younger graduates ________________ and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to ________________. The ________________ is more work, which ________________ at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to ________________ being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ________________, there would be ways to ________________ that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more ________________ solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use ________________ when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to ________________ through Facebook or read the news but that is a ________________ to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a ________________

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are ________________ because of the ________________ and the best solution is to find ways to ________________. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more ________________ and not feel as though their ________________

.

Links

School of Life: Work-Life Balance

How to Maintain Work-Life Balance

Life at Google

Kim Kaupe

Here are some activity ideas for when you watch the videos above: Subtitles or not?.

Comment below – Do you have a good work-life balance?

Not especially…

I guess you could say so…

At moment I do, but in the past…

I work all day, every day so…


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