IELTS Model Essay: A Bad Situation

Here is a sample IELTS Writing Task 2 essay. Read it carefully to see how to write an essay that will get you a high band score.

Here is my essay for this question:

Some people believe that it is best to accept a bad situation, such as an unsatisfactory job or shortage of money. Others argue that it is better to try and improve such situations.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Cambridge 14 Academic (Test 1)

My Plan

View 1 – accept a bad situation (e.g. badly-paid job, job you don’t like, lack of money, poor health?)

  • some people think it’s fate / karma – nothing they can do
  • sometimes easier to do nothing / change difficult and stressful

View 2 – don’t accept it, try to improve it

  • striving to improve can be difficult but may mean a better life, so worth the effort (e.g. nephew)

My Opinion (attack weakesses of View 1)

  • while easier in short term to do nothing, long term benefits are worth it
  • no such thing as fate – you have control over own life

My Essay

How should we respond to unsatisfactory circumstances in our lives, such as a job we don’t like, relationships that aren’t working or a lack of money? Should we simply accept such situations, or is it better to strive to overcome these in order to make our lives better?

There are certainly arguments in favour of the idea that we should just put up with bad situations. Some people claim that they are all down to fate, and that there is nothing we can do about hardship. Indeed some go further, arguing that people might actually deserve to suffer because of bad karma. While these are, in my opinion, quite extreme views, it is understandable that some people might prefer to do nothing when things are bad: change is difficult and it can be stressful, so in some cases it may be easier to just accept a bad job or poverty. For example, many people put up with tedious or even dangerous jobs which are also badly-paid because the alternative may involve retraining or having to start at the bottom of the payscale.

Despite these arguments, I would argue strongly for the need to try to improve bad situations. Even though change can be hard, it will often lead to long-term benefits such as higher pay and more rewarding work. For example, my nephew resigned a few years ago from a poorly-paid office job to train as a nurse, and now that he has qualified, he has a more secure future ahead of him as well a job which enables him to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Overall then, I feel it is vital for people to try to change things for the better, even if this means stress and greater effort. Personally, I reject the notion of fate and believe that we all have control over our own lives, and we should therefore choose to exercise this, no matter how difficult it may initially be.

(327 words)

Some Comments

‘Discuss both views and give your own opinion’ essays can be tricky. Even though I think that an objective discussion of the two views is sufficient (even for a Band 9), some examiners may argue that such an approach does not produce a “clear position throughout” your essay (which is a Band 7 requirement). It’s therefore ‘safer’ to make your views clear on the two views when you write your body paragraphs.

I did that in this essay. I ‘weaved’ my own views into my discussion of the two views in paragraphs 2 and 3. Even though I disagree with View 1 (accepting bad situations), I acknowledge that there are arguments in favour of this view. For example, I used these phrases in paragraph 2:

  • “There are certainly arguments in favour of the idea…”
  • “it is understandable that…”
  • “change is difficult and it can be stressful”

But in paragraph 3 I made clear that I disagree with these arguments:

  • “Despite these arguments, I would argue strongly for…”
  • “Even though change can be hard, it will often lead to…”

and in paragraph 4, I re-emphasised my overall view and ‘attacked’ View 1:

  • “Overall then, I feel it is vital for…”
  • “Personally, I reject the notion of …”
  • “we should therefore choose to …”


About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.

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