This article would explain an IELTS writing question from Cambridge 17 Test 1 essay, and give you one possible approach to answer the question. Consider this essay as a band 8. As a matter of fact, this one blog is more than enough to get you started with IELTS essay writing.
Cambridge 17 Test 1 Essay 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?
Understanding the Q
If we were to mark some keywords, I would have marked three keywords – TAKE RISKS, PROFESSIONAL LIFE, and PERSONAL LIFE. Now, these 3 keywords are just the statement in the question, but what is the question asking us – it’s asking if there are more advantages or more disadvantages to taking risks.
How to answer this Q
There is no correct answer to this question. In fact, in IELTS essay questions, your opinion does not matter much… I mean, it’s not important but necessary. If the question asks you for an opinion then you should answer it, but it does not matter which side you agree to.
Now, the next thing is to figure out your approach to answering the essay. I mean… what ideas should you include in body paragraphs 1 and 2?? So, to be clear, before I start writing an essay, I PLAN IT first.
Planning the essay
Planning takes a maximum of 5 minutes. Nothing more. While planning ask yourself this question: What does the question want from me? or in other simpler words, “do I think there are more advantages or more disadvantages? Well, I think there are more advantages.
So, one method to answer this question would be to write one advantage in the first body paragraph and another advantage in the second paragraph. But, this approach would be incomplete. You know, the question is asking you to compare advantages and disadvantages and wants to know your opinion on it. If you write an essay which only discusses the advantages, then you are not doing a true comparison, you are possibly one-sided, or one may claim that your answer was incomplete. So, what you need to understand is that you need to talk about both advantages and disadvantages.
With this understanding, one thing is clear… one paragraph should be for advantages and another for disadvantages. now, bear in mind that my opinion is – MORE ADVANTAGES. So, my second paragraph would discuss the advantages of taking risks, and I’ll try to be assertive (assertive = having or showing a confident and forceful personality) when I write that paragraph. Contrastingly, the first paragraph would discuss disadvantages, but in a tentative (tentative=not certain or fixed) manner. Finally, I would conclude the essay with a conclusion paragraph, which would reiterate my opinion. A simple plan has been shared below, have a look!
In the image above, you can see that my opinion is that there are more advantages to taking risks. Next, you can see that the image describes body paragraph 1, which would have a weak (tentative tone). Body 1 would specifically talk about two points: Unplanned Investment – stock market investment risk, and superbikes – the risk of accidents. Similarly, looking at the image you can know what the body paragraph 2 would be discussing. Now, there are many benefits to planning an essay. First, you won’t go off-topic. Second, your opinion is clear and your ideas are well defined. Third, you save up a lot of time writing and conceptualising ideas (avoid going blank while writing).
If you want to know the details of planning an essay, then watch this video.
Cambridge 17 Test 1 essay sample
It is claimed that in personal and professional lives, some people find it imperative to take risks. Even though there are a few limitations to taking chances in life, there are many merits to this attitude.
It seems there are a few disadvantages to taking unnecessary risks. Firstly, investments which are not planned and executed well may be one of the biggest chances one can take in professional life. Suppose an individual invests in some stocks in the financial market. When this person did this, he never looked into the accounting books of the company. After a few months, this investor finds out that he has incurred heavy losses in that trade. Besides, this risk-taking attitude might also create myriad troubles in an individual’s personal life. Most youngsters, nowadays, have a super-bike with them. In order to impress the opposite gender, they engage in dangerous stunts. Often, these lead to fatal accidents and in some extreme cases, these individuals end up losing their life. Hence, un-calculated risks might have some drawbacks.
From a different perspective, not only would our professional life, but our personal life would also improve by taking risks. Primarily, people who take chances in their professional life grow faster in their careers. Sometimes businessmen take loans from banks in order to meet the growing demand for their products. This capital is utilised for purchasing different raw materials and services. In a way, such calculated risks can become opportunities to excel. Similarly, many students also tread the unknown during their teenage. When I was in high school, I never had money to buy bus tickets. Most days, I would hang onto the railing on the exterior of a bus and as the bus neared the school, I would jump off. If I had not taken this risk, then possibly I would have been working as an uneducated labourer in a factory. Hence, sometimes in life, one has to play with fire and it can be quite beneficial.
In my opinion, accepting challenges is a part of life, and it has quite a few benefits in one’s personal and professional life.
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