Let’s assume that we are going to write an essay in response to the following Task 2 question chosen from Cambridge IELTS 17, Academic Test 1:
WRITING TASK 2 You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:
It is important for people to take risks, both in their professional lives and their personal lives.
Do you think the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
1. Let’s choose the keywords in the question.
Here are the keywords that we can highlight in the question:
It is important for people to take risks, both in their professional lives and their personal lives.
Do you think the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages?
These keywords help to identify the main topic and focus of the question, which is about the importance of taking risks in both professional and personal lives and whether the advantages of doing so outweigh the disadvantages.
2. Let’s read and analyze the statement and the question.
The IELTS Writing Task 2 question provided is an opinion-based question that requires you to discuss whether the advantages of taking risks in professional and personal lives outweigh the disadvantages.
The statement presents the idea that taking risks is important in both professional and personal aspects of life.
The question asks you to consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking risks and decide whether the advantages are more significant than the disadvantages.
3. Let’s think about the “structure” of our essay.
One very common essay structure for responding to this IELTS Writing Task 2 question would typically consist of an introduction, two main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. However, depending on your point of view and the ideas you want to include in your essay, you might decide to use other structures to communicate your ideas more effectively.
To respond to this specific question, let’s assume that you believe “the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.”
In this specific question, you can use a 5-paragraph structure instead of a 4-paragraph structure to ensure a more comprehensive and balanced discussion. By using 5 paragraphs, you are able to:
- Clearly introduce the topic and state your position in the introduction.
The introduction can set the context and provide an overview of the essay’s main argument. Its main function is to introduce the topic of taking risks in personal and professional life and to state your position that the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages.
- Provide two separate body paragraphs to discuss the advantages of taking risks in different contexts: one for personal growth (Body Paragraph 1) and another for professional advantages (Body Paragraph 2).
This separation allows for a more in-depth exploration of each aspect and helps the reader better understand the distinct benefits in both personal and professional settings.
- Dedicate a separate body paragraph (Body Paragraph 3) to address the criticisms and potential disadvantages of taking risks.
By doing so, you can demonstrate an understanding of opposing viewpoints and enhances the credibility of your argument.
- Wrap up the essay with a clear and concise conclusion that summarizes the main argument and reiterates your position.
By using 5 paragraphs, you can present a more nuanced and thorough discussion, which is essential for a high-scoring IELTS Writing Task 2 essay. A 4-paragraph structure might not provide enough space to discuss the advantages in both personal and professional contexts or to fully address the criticisms while still maintaining a coherent and well-organized argument.
This essay structure allows you to organize your thoughts logically and present a coherent, well-developed argument in response to the question.
Remember to use appropriate vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures to express your ideas clearly and effectively. Also, ensure that your response is well-organized and that your arguments are coherent and logically developed.
4. Let’s brainstorm and generate ideas.
You’ll want to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of taking risks in personal and professional life. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Advantages of taking risks:
- Personal growth: Taking risks can help individuals learn new skills, overcome fears, and build confidence.
- Opportunities: Risk-taking can lead to new opportunities, such as job promotions, starting a business, or forming new relationships.
- Innovation: In professional settings, taking risks can lead to breakthroughs, creative solutions, and advancements in various fields.
- Resilience: Facing the consequences of taking risks can help individuals develop resilience and adaptability, essential qualities for personal and professional success.
- Regret minimization: Risk-taking can help individuals avoid the regret of not trying or not pursuing their dreams.
Disadvantages of taking risks:
- Financial loss: In professional settings, taking risks can result in financial loss, such as investing in a startup that fails or losing a job due to a risky decision.
- Emotional stress: The uncertainty and potential consequences of taking risks can lead to stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil.
- Damaged relationships: Taking risks in personal life, such as pursuing a romantic relationship or making a significant life change, may strain or damage existing relationships.
- Health and safety: Some risks may involve physical danger or threaten an individual’s health and safety, such as engaging in extreme sports or other risky activities.
- Time and resources: Taking risks may require significant investments of time and resources, which may not always yield positive outcomes.
After brainstorming these ideas, you can structure your essay by presenting both sides of the argument and then stating your opinion on whether the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages. Be sure to use examples and evidence to support your points.
5. Let’s write a sample essay (sample essay 1.)
(Remember: we assumed that you believe “the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.”)
In today’s rapidly changing world, taking risks is often seen as a necessary part of achieving success and personal growth. While it is true that embracing risks can sometimes lead to negative consequences, this essay argues that the advantages of taking risks in personal and professional life outweigh the disadvantages.
Undoubtedly, risk-taking can lead to significant personal growth. By stepping out of one’s comfort zone and confronting challenges, individuals can develop new skills, overcome fears, and build self-confidence. For instance, an employee who chooses to present a bold, innovative idea during a meeting may improve their public speaking abilities and even receive recognition for their creativity. Furthermore, taking risks can open doors to new opportunities, such as job promotions, starting a business, or forming new relationships. Embracing uncertainty enables people to explore their potential and make life-changing decisions that they might not have considered otherwise.
In professional contexts, risk-taking is often associated with innovation and progress. Companies and organizations that embrace calculated risks can achieve groundbreaking advancements in their respective industries. For example, tech giants like Apple and Amazon consistently take risks with new products and services, which has led to their global success.
However, critics argue that taking risks can result in financial loss, emotional stress, and damaged relationships. While these concerns are valid, it is essential to differentiate between reckless risk-taking and calculated risks. By weighing potential outcomes and considering the consequences, individuals can make informed decisions that minimize the likelihood of negative results. Moreover, the lessons learned from taking risks and facing challenges can help individuals become better equipped to handle future obstacles in life.
In conclusion, although taking risks can lead to some negative consequences, the advantages of embracing challenges in personal and professional life significantly outweigh the disadvantages. By taking calculated risks, individuals can unlock new opportunities, foster innovation, and experience personal growth, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling life.
6. Let’s analyze the structure of sample essay 1:
The given 5-paragraph IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essay has the following structure:
This paragraph introduces the topic of taking risks in personal and professional life. It also presents the main argument that the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages.
Body Paragraph 1:
This paragraph discusses the advantages of taking risks in terms of personal growth. It provides examples of how risk-taking can help individuals develop new skills, overcome fears, and build self-confidence. It also highlights the role of risk-taking in opening up new opportunities.
Body Paragraph 2:
This paragraph focuses on the advantages of risk-taking in professional contexts. It emphasizes the importance of calculated risks for innovation and progress within companies and industries.
Body Paragraph 3:
This paragraph acknowledges the critics’ concerns regarding the potential negative consequences of taking risks, such as financial loss, emotional stress, and damaged relationships. However, it argues that by differentiating between reckless risk-taking and calculated risks, individuals can minimize negative outcomes. It also emphasizes the value of learning from risks and challenges in preparing for future obstacles.
The concluding paragraph summarizes the essay’s main argument that the advantages of taking risks in personal and professional life outweigh the disadvantages. It restates the benefits of calculated risk-taking, such as unlocking new opportunities, fostering innovation, and promoting personal growth, leading to a more fulfilling life.
This structure effectively presents a balanced argument, addresses the critics’ concerns, and provides a clear, well-supported conclusion.
7. Let’s analyze the paragraphs of sample essay 1:
Here’s an analysis of the structure of each paragraph in the provided IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essay:
- Context: Introduces the topic of risk-taking in today’s rapidly changing world.
- Thesis statement: Clearly states the essay’s argument that the advantages of taking risks in personal and professional life outweigh the disadvantages.
Body Paragraph 1 (Advantages – Personal Growth and Opportunities):
- Topic sentence: Asserts that risk-taking can lead to significant personal growth.
- Supporting details: Provides examples of how taking risks can help individuals develop new skills, overcome fears, and build self-confidence.
- Additional point: Explains how taking risks can open doors to new opportunities and enable people to make life-changing decisions.
Body Paragraph 2 (Advantages – Professional Context):
- Topic sentence: Highlights that risk-taking is often associated with innovation and progress in professional contexts.
- Supporting details: Gives examples of successful companies that have embraced risks, leading to their global success.
Body Paragraph 3 (Addressing Disadvantages):
- Topic sentence: Acknowledges the critics’ argument that taking risks can result in financial loss, emotional stress, and damaged relationships.
- Counterargument: Emphasizes the importance of differentiating between reckless risk-taking and calculated risks.
- Supporting details: Explains how making informed decisions can minimize negative outcomes and how lessons learned from risk-taking can help individuals handle future obstacles.
- Restates the thesis: Asserts that the advantages of embracing challenges in personal and professional life significantly outweigh the disadvantages.
- Summary of main points: Highlights the benefits of taking calculated risks, including unlocking new opportunities, fostering innovation, and experiencing personal growth.
- Final thought: Concludes that taking calculated risks can lead to a more fulfilling life.
8. Why is this a good sample essay?
This sample essay is a good example for several reasons:
Clear structure: The essay follows a clear structure with an introduction, body paragraphs discussing both sides of the argument, and a conclusion. This organization makes it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s ideas and understand their position.
Clear position: The writer clearly states their position in the introduction and maintains it throughout the essay. This helps the reader understand the overall argument and how each point relates to the main question.
Relevant examples: The essay includes relevant and specific examples to support the writer’s points. These examples provide concrete evidence for the claims being made, making the argument more persuasive.
Balanced discussion: The essay discusses both advantages and disadvantages of taking risks, providing a balanced view of the issue. This approach demonstrates the writer’s ability to consider different perspectives and think critically about the topic.
Coherence and cohesion: The essay uses appropriate cohesive devices and transition words to connect ideas and paragraphs. This contributes to the overall coherence and cohesion of the essay, making it easier for the reader to follow the writer’s line of thought.
Varied vocabulary and sentence structure: The essay demonstrates a wide range of vocabulary and varied sentence structures, which helps convey ideas more effectively and engages the reader.
Grammatical accuracy: While there are a few minor errors, the essay is mostly grammatically accurate. This level of accuracy enhances the clarity of the writer’s ideas and ensures that the reader can easily understand the intended meaning.
9. What is the score of this IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essay?
Here is a brief evaluation based on the four assessment criteria used for IELTS Writing Task 2:
Task Response: The essay addresses the question, presents a clear position, and supports the argument with relevant examples. It could benefit from a more in-depth discussion of the disadvantages, but overall, it accomplishes the task requirements.
To better understand this scoring criterion, you may read the following article: Task Response: The Secret Sauce for Boosting Your IELTS Writing Task 2 Score
Coherence and Cohesion: The essay is well-organized with a clear structure, including an introduction, body paragraphs discussing both advantages and disadvantages, and a conclusion. The paragraphs are linked through the appropriate use of cohesive devices and transition words.
Lexical Resource: The essay demonstrates a wide range of vocabulary with varied word choices, such as “groundbreaking advancements,” “reckless risk-taking,” and “calculated risks.” The vocabulary is appropriate for the context and helps express ideas clearly.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy: The essay displays a variety of sentence structures, and the grammar is mostly accurate. There are a few minor errors, but they do not detract from the overall clarity and coherence of the essay.
Considering these aspects, the essay is likely to receive a high band score.
10. A deeper look at the vocabulary used
This sample essay demonstrates effective use of vocabulary in several ways, which contributes to its overall quality:
Varied vocabulary: The essay employs a diverse range of vocabulary, which showcases the writer’s command of the English language. Using varied vocabulary can make the essay more engaging and easier to read.
Academic collocations: The essay contains academic collocations such as “rapidly changing world,” “achieving success,” and “groundbreaking advancements.” These collocations are commonly found in academic writing and help create a more formal tone appropriate for IELTS Writing Task 2.
Topic-specific collocations: The essay includes topic-specific collocations like “develop new skills,” “overcome fears,” and “public speaking abilities.” These collocations help convey the writer’s in-depth understanding of the topic and make the essay more focused and coherent.
Precise language: The essay uses precise language to convey ideas clearly and effectively. For example, the writer differentiates between “reckless risk-taking” and “calculated risks,” which adds nuance to the argument.
Synonyms and paraphrasing: The writer effectively uses synonyms and paraphrasing to avoid repetition and demonstrate lexical resources. For instance, “embracing risks,” “taking risks,” and “embracing challenges” are used interchangeably throughout the essay.
Idiomatic expressions: The essay incorporates idiomatic expressions like “stepping out of one’s comfort zone” and “opening doors to new opportunities,” which make the writing more engaging and natural-sounding.
By using a rich and varied vocabulary, we demonstrated a strong command of the English language, which can positively impact your score in the IELTS Writing Task 2.
Here are 10 academic collocations and 10 topic-specific collocations from the provided IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essay that you can use when practicing:
- rapidly changing world
- achieving success
- personal growth
- negative consequences
- comfort zone
- confronting challenges
- life-changing decisions
- professional contexts
- groundbreaking advancements
- calculated risks
- develop new skills
- overcome fears
- build self-confidence
- public speaking abilities
- job promotions
- starting a business
- forming new relationships
- embrace uncertainty
- potential outcomes
- handle future obstacles
11. A deeper look at grammar
This sample essay demonstrates good grammar in several ways, contributing to its overall clarity and effectiveness:
Sentence variety: The essay contains a mix of simple, compound, and complex sentences. This variety creates a natural flow and rhythm, making the essay easier to read and understand.
Correct verb tenses: The essay uses appropriate verb tenses to convey information and ideas clearly. Present simple tense is used for general statements and facts, while past simple and present perfect tenses are used when necessary to describe past events or experiences.
Proper subject-verb agreement: The essay consistently uses the correct form of the verb to agree with the subject, ensuring that sentences are grammatically accurate.
Accurate pronoun usage: The essay uses pronouns effectively and accurately, maintaining a clear connection between the pronoun and its antecedent.
Parallel structure: The essay employs parallel structure in lists and comparisons, contributing to its readability and logical flow. For example, “develop new skills, overcome fears, and build self-confidence” maintains a consistent verb form throughout the list.
Appropriate use of conjunctions: The essay utilizes coordinating (and, but, or) and subordinating (although, while, because) conjunctions to connect ideas and create coherent relationships between clauses.
Correct punctuation: The essay demonstrates proper punctuation usage, including commas, periods, and semicolons, which helps clarify meaning and ensure smooth transitions between ideas.
Accurate use of prepositions: The essay employs prepositions correctly, contributing to the overall clarity and precision of the language.
Clear and concise language: The essay avoids wordiness and unnecessary repetition, using precise vocabulary and clear phrasing to convey ideas effectively.
Consistent grammatical style: The essay maintains a consistent grammatical style, which contributes to its overall coherence and readability.
These elements of good grammar help create a well-structured, clear, and engaging essay that effectively communicates the writer’s ideas, which is crucial for achieving a high score on the IELTS Writing Task 2.
12. Sample essay 2 – Disadvantages outweigh the advantages
(Now we assume that you believe “the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.”)
Taking risks is an integral aspect of human nature, and individuals often face choices that involve risks in both their personal and professional lives. The question of whether the advantages of taking risks outweigh the disadvantages is a matter of personal perspective. In this essay, I will argue that the disadvantages of taking risks generally outweigh the advantages.
Undeniably, there are several advantages to taking risks. Personal growth, for instance, often stems from stepping out of one’s comfort zone and embracing new experiences. Additionally, risk-taking can lead to new opportunities, such as job promotions or the establishment of meaningful relationships. In the professional realm, innovation thrives when individuals dare to think outside the box, potentially leading to groundbreaking advancements in various fields.
However, the disadvantages of taking risks can be more substantial and far-reaching. Financial loss is a significant concern, particularly when it comes to risky investments or business decisions. Such losses may not only affect the individual but also their family and employees, who may suffer from the consequences of these choices. Emotional stress is another drawback, as the uncertainty associated with risk-taking can lead to anxiety and mental strain. In some cases, the emotional toll may even outweigh any potential gains from the risk.
Furthermore, risk-taking in personal relationships can jeopardize existing connections with friends and family, resulting in long-lasting damage. Additionally, certain risks, such as engaging in extreme sports or other potentially dangerous activities, may pose a threat to an individual’s health and safety. Lastly, the investment of time and resources in taking risks may not always yield positive outcomes, leading to wasted efforts and disappointment.
In conclusion, while taking risks can lead to personal growth, new opportunities, and innovation, the potential negative consequences in terms of financial loss, emotional stress, damaged relationships, health and safety, and the squandering of time and resources generally outweigh the advantages. It is essential for individuals to carefully assess the risks and benefits before making decisions that could have long-lasting repercussions in their personal and professional lives.
13. Up to you
Based on the discussion we had for the sample essay 1, can you answer the following questions for sample essay 2?
- Can you analyze the structure of sample essay 2?
- Can you analyze the paragraphs of sample essay 2?
- Why is this a good sample essay?
- Why does this IELTS Writing Task 2 sample essay achieve a high band score?
Type your responses in the comments and we will evaluate them 😊