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Are children under more pressure than in the past?
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April 7, 2012
8:42 pm
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Today’s children are living under more pressure from the society than children in the past. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?


Today’s world is in the competitive age. Everyday is alive with challenges especially among children. They compete with one another for something in the endless race every day and night. And so the life of today’s children is too hectic to enjoy fully than that of the children in the past. In this essay, I will point out why children get stress and suggest ways of allowing children to grow up in a non-stressful environment.

From kindergarten to university, today’s children lives are too hectic. First and foremost, they have to go to school. In the classroom, sometimes they are under pressure and stressful because of the favor shown by their teachers. After school, they have to have extra tuition and other courses so that they can learn as many things as possible. Finally they arrive home and then they have to do their homework. This is the daily life of today’s children. Whether they want to do or not, they are being pushed all the time. The parents want their children to be well-rounded ones. They neglect what their children are actually enthusiastic in. They should understand the capacity of their children and realize that their children are not supermen. This is why, most of children are not happy at home and always under stress.

Due to globalization, children have to study extra-curricular lessons to keep abreast of other children of their age around the globe. Sometimes they forget to laugh, wrestling with their school lessons and burdens. Following the lure of success, popularity and rank, they get gradually away from the simple environment. They become the silly ones who do not know how to relax and how to savor the peace of nature. In the long run, they easily get aggressive, greedy and intolerant. These all are because of the violent hitting of their stressful environment in which they grow up. In my opinion, to lighten all of their burdens, children should have some activities such as going picnics, taking a walk, spend their leisure together with their friends.

In conclusion, to solve the problem of such stressful society for the children, the teachers, the parents and the children all together should have mutual understanding to each other regardless of their age.

April 22, 2012
5:30 pm
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writefix
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Hi Moemoe

Yokama has written on a very similar topic. What do you think? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the two essays?

April 28, 2012
1:34 pm
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first part:

Today’s world is in the (a) competitive age. Everyday is alive with challenges especially among children. They compete with one another for something in the endless race every day and night. And so the life of today’s children is too hectic to enjoy fully than that of the children in the past. In this essay, I will point out why children get stress and suggest ways of allowing children to grow up in a non-stressful environment.

 

1. Everyday is alive with challenges especially among children: ( some incorrect words)

Everyday has different/great/stiff challenges, especially for children

2. They compete with one another for something in the endless race every day and night:(simplify; article)

They compete with each in endless race every day and night

3. And so the life of today’s children is too hectic to enjoy fully than that of the children in the past.( some incorrect words)

So today's children do rarely enjyed the life fully, compared to the children in the past.

 

 second part:

From kindergarten to university, today’s children lives are too hectic. First and foremost, they have to go to school. In the classroom, sometimes they are under pressure and stressful because of the favor shown by their teachers. After school, they have to have ( two' have' here, could you chage another word? like ' pay extra tuition' ) extra tuition and other courses so that they can learn as many things as possible. Finally they arrive home and then they have to do their homework. This is the daily life of today’s children. Whether they want to do or not, they are being pushed all the time. The parents want their children to be well-rounded ones. They neglect what their children are actually enthusiastic in. They should understand the capacity of their children and realize that their children are not supermen. This is why, most of children are not happy at home and always under stress.

 

1. From kindergarten to university, today’s children lives are too hectic. First and foremost, they have to go to school. In the classroom, sometimes they are under pressure and stressful because of the favor shown by their teachers. After school, they have to have ( two' have' here, could you chage another word? like ' pay extra tuition' ) extra tuition and other courses so that they can learn as many things as possible. Finally they arrive home and then they have to do their homework.

(I think you need some link words so that the readers can understand more well. I rewrite it in this way, hope you don't mind)

From kindergarden to high school to univerity, children today are living under great pressure. First, studying in classroom, they have to compete with their classmates for the favor of teachers. Then, after school, those who have fallen behind need  to participate in some cram schools, in order to keep pace with their elite peers. However, unfortunately, tons of homework are waiting for them when they finally return/arrive at home

April 28, 2012
2:25 pm
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HI, Moemoe.

I have commeted for you with two paragraphs. I think your main problem is your connection between these sentences. Sometimes I feel confused with your meanings. You have to express your idea more clearly.

So, some links would help. Also, have a theme in every paragraph is very important. The best way to do this, in my view, is to place the theme sentence as the first sentence in your body part.

In addation, you have some minor grammar errors( I am sure most of them are out of your carelessness, you can entirely correct these minor erros for yourself). I always think that if you want to progress, you need to learn to check the minor grammar errors for yourself. Don't ignore this step, it is really helpful. Trust me, I have experienced it. You can never know what you can gain through correcting your own essays.

So, you can try to fix your body 2.

April 29, 2012
12:09 pm
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Thanks Yokama for taking the time to look at Moemoe's essay

Cohesive Devices

One of the main points you made was linking words ('First,' 'Next,' 'Another point is that,' etc.) 

You rewrote Moemoe's paragraph as follows:

From kindergarten to high school to university, children today are living under great pressure. First, studying in classroom, they have to compete with their classmates for the favor of teachers. Then, after school, those who have fallen behind need to participate in some cram schools, in order to keep pace with their elite peers. However, unfortunately, tons of homework is waiting for them when they finally return home. (68 words, 4 sentences,  17 words per sentence)

It's true that words and phrases like "First of all," "In addition," "Then," or "Another point is that" can help the reader. However, they can also be left out if the sequence is clear from the content of the sentence.

IELTS calls these 'cohesive devices' -  ways to join related sentences together. They are good, BUT there is a danger that if you add them at the start of every sentence, your writing looks mechanical

Here's what the IELTS Task 2 Writing Descriptors say about it (under the heading Coherence and Cohesion, which basically means 'flow'):

  • Band 4uses some basic cohesive devices but these may be inaccurate or repetitive
  • Band 5: makes inadequate, inaccurate or over-use of cohesive devices
  • Band 6: uses cohesive devices effectively, but cohesion within and/or between sentences may be faulty or mechanical 
  • Band 7: uses a range of cohesive devices appropriately although there may be some under-/over-use
  • Band 8: manages all aspects of cohesion well

So you don't need to add them all the time -  in other words, don't over-use them. If your sentence is clear, it may not need a 'first,' 'next', 'another point' or  - even worse - the horrible 'To illustrate.'

April 29, 2012
6:54 pm
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Hallo Yokama and Mr.writefix,

          I reallly thank both of you so much. Actually I am learning German language now. But I urgently need IELTS score for my university entrance. My IELTS exam date is 26.May. I need to get at least 5.5 for the university entrance.

I think I cannot get this score only with two-month preparation.

What should I study and how should I study?

Could anyone give me a piece of advice?

 

With my heart-felt thank,

moemoe

April 29, 2012
10:40 pm
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HI, Moemoe

 

You are studying German! How brilliant you are! Is that cool? I heard it was quite hard to learn! Compared to English, which one is harder in your mind?

You definitely can do that! Band 5.5 is a relative easy score to get. I mean, you only need to achieve 5.5 in both reading and listening, and 5 in writing and speaking. It is not hard to score. Expecially in R. and L., you can gain a higher score than 5.5 comparatively easily. Of course, you need to practice! Just the IELTS 4-8 can be enough.

I think 2 months is enough. But now it is one month left. I think the best way you need to do is to get a higher score in your reading and listening, in order to balance your overall score.

If your minor errors in writting can be diminished, I think you can at least get band 5 in this section! But remember, do address all the questions in the essay topic, and don't forget to write above 250 words.

In terms of speaking, the most important thing is fluency. When the examiner asks your questions which you don't know, don't froze there and think too long! Say something! Even you are not so sure! Do your best to answer the questions immediately! Another very important thing——don't copy your answers from a IELTS book entirely. Because it seems like the examiers are good at identifying if you are reciting or not. You can use some ideas or words on the IELTS book, but use your own sentences to organise. If you do so, I think you can get band 5.5 in speaking at least, as long as you can make the examiners understanding most things you are talking about.

With regard to listening and reading, as I said above, just practise can help. Use the series of Cambridge IELTS. Be strict to time( 30 min and 60 min each). Then, after completing them, you should do intensive reading and listening. That is, you need to replay your radio until you figure out what they are talking about. Likewise, try to understand each sentence . In this way, your levels of R. and L. could be improve unconsciously.

April 29, 2012
11:06 pm
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HI, Writefix.

 

Thanks for reminding me.

I know what you are refering. However, In fact, I avoid using basic links too often in my essays. I used those words because I think these sentences are in a series of an event. I mean, they have time sequence. And at first, I didn't understand Moemoe's context very well. So I suggested these phrases. Somehow I thought it was a little lack of fluency. Maybe because we are not the native English users, I felt a little confused what was Moemoe trying to express.

But I still thanks that you could give me suggestion, I very appreciate that. I will look out this problem——being mechanical in my essays.

May 1, 2012
2:41 am
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ံHello Yokama,

        Thank you so much for your supportive advice. I really appreciate your recommendation.

I'm now trying my best to get 5.5 score, following your guideline.

All of your tips are very useful for me.

Yes, of course, German language is more difficult than English. Its Pronunciation and Grammar are different from English.

Sometimes I feel a little confused between English and German.

Anyhow, million thanks to you.

 

With my heart-felt thank,

moemoe

May 1, 2012
11:38 am
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A few words about Moemoe's essay.

Readability Analysis

I put this essay in the http://www.read-able.com/ readability analysis tool (it’s under “Useful Links” at the top of this page) and I was very happy to see all the green in the result. Click the icon to enlarge the picture.

Image Enlarger

A grade level of 9 means that a native speaker of about 14 or 15 should be able to read this essay easily. That’s the level you are aiming at in IELTS. You can find more about readability and the other statistics here.

If you want to imagine an audience for your essay, DON’T think of an old IELTS examiner with glasses and a bad tie or a horrible cardigan.

Instead, think of your smart 15-year-old brother or niece who studies English in a private school. If they don’t understand the words and the ideas, you need to rewrite and make it clearer. It doesn't matter how hard you've worked: if they can't read it, you need to fix it. It’s your responsibility to make it clear, not theirs to work to understand it!

Word Count and Sentence Length

This essay has 377 words.  That’s probably a little too much to write in just 40 minutes for the IELTS exam, but if you can do it, well done!  I don’t recommend such long essays for anyone who is aiming for Band 5 or 6, however - stay at about 250-280 words maximum.

The average number of words per sentence in 15.7. This is OK. It’s just at the upper end of what I recommend -  12 -15 words per sentence on average. You can find professional writers who use a lot of very short sentences because they are strong and have impact.  Here, Moemoe has short sentences like these:

  • This is the daily life of today’s children. (8 words)
  • From kindergarten to university, today’s children lives are too hectic. (10 words)
  • The parents want their children to be well-rounded ones.  (9 words)
  • They neglect what their children are actually enthusiastic in. (9 words)

Moemoe also has some long sentences (up to 29 words) but not too many monster sentences (except for the conclusion – more on this later). This is good. Everyone should aim for a mix of long and short, and for a mix of sentence types -  simple, compound and complex. But no monsters, please.

Vocabulary

Only 7.69% of the words Moemoe uses are complicated. This is good. The writing task is NOT about showing the examiner that you know long, complicated words (that comes in the IELTS Reading test). Instead, it’s about choosing the right words.  By ‘right,’ I mean commonly understood, precisely chosen for their exact meaning, and showing some sense of style. Have a look at what the IELTS desciptors for IELTS Task 2 say under Lexical Resource.

Is it perfect?

No,  it isn’t. There are some grammar and usage errors. But I’m not going to talk about them here! I’ll look at some in a separate post. For now, just try to follow Moemoe’s example of (1) a mix of short and long sentences and (2) fairly simple vocabulary. It’s a great basis for a good score.

May 1, 2012
12:19 pm
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Hi Moemoe and Yokama

Good luck on the 26th, and please come back and let us know how you did here

As Yokama says, 5.5 is not very difficult. Some really good advice, especially about speaking! Don't try to be perfect - just talk! 

Listening

In addition, make sure you do some practice Listening tests with a timer. To get Band 6 (forget about 5 or 5.5) you probably only need to get about 24 or 25 questions right out of 40. It's a secret -  it depends on each paper and we don't know exactly. Here are some rough calculators: 

The important point is that you don't need to get all the questions right. Even 30 right will get you around Band 7.  In the listening, there is a lot -  A LOT - of time for looking ahead. Use it. Predict what the answer will be before you read. Is it a number? a date? a name?

There is also time to check your answers. Don't bother. My advice is don't change anything. Instead, look ahead at the next section.

The listening gets more difficult as the four sections progress. You should aim to get all of Section 1 and 2 correct, and most of Section 3. If you are good at listening, you will get another 8 or 9 marks in Section 4.

Reading

It's the same for reading. Don't try to answer perfectly. Just attempt everything, and move on quickly. When you are finished all the readings, go back and do the hard questions again. You have less than 90 seconds per question. 

In the reading, read the questions first, and do any questions which are summaries or gap-fills first or ordering events/people/ideas first. You can get a very quick understanding of the passage by reading the questions first. Leave what-is-the-main-idea questions until the end -  they are a lot of work for only one mark.

Jump around like a bunny. Unless you are a fast reader, there isn't time to read all 2500 words slowly and carefully.  Skim, scan, look at headings and subheadings, first sentences, last sentences; look for thesis sentences and main ideas. 

Some teachers say you should start at the beginning and read carefully. That's fine, if you have all afternoon and you are reading a newspaper with a nice cup of coffee. This is a reading test. The way you read it is quite different from the way you read a novel or a magazine or an email.

Writing

In the writing, look at some of the many examples of graphs here for Task 1, and spend only 40 minutes on Task 2. In Task 1 have an overall statement

Overall, the biggest group of Internet users are young people, but people over 65 are starting to use it more and more.

Don't quote the question, and don't talk about the X or Y axis. Just talk about the people behind the lines and figures. 

English and German?

One teacher who taught us Spanish and French in high school told us that when he was driving across the mountains from France to Spain he would sing Spanish songs, or vice versa.

So make sure you sing something in English on the morning of the IELTS test!  Here's Adele (Someone Like You) with lyrics, and here (to confuse you) here's a German band (Fools Garden) with their song Lemon Tree (in English, with lyrics). Maybe it will help!

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