IELTS Model Essay: Increased Life Expectancy

IELTS Model Essay Living Longer

In this post, I’m going to write an IELTS Writing Task 2 model essay in response to this question about increased life expectancy from Test 2 of The Official Cambridge Guide To IELTS:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

One of the consequences of improved medical care is that people are living longer and life expectancy is increasing.

Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own  knowledge or experience. 

Write at least 250 words. 

Let’s go through my 4 Step Approach to essay planning:

  1. Analyse The Question
  2. Decide My Position
  3. Generate My Ideas
  4. Develop My Ideas
I’ll write these 4 steps out in full, so you can see my thinking. Obviously, you won’t have time to write all this down when you plan your essay, but you will have time to think the 4 steps through in your head. In fact, Steps 2 to 4 might happen together, if you think deeply enough about your views.

Step 1: Analyse The Question

The first thing to do is analyse the question. 

TWO things are mentioned here: (1) “people are living longer” and (2) “life expectancy is increasing”. However, these are not two separate issues; I think life expectancy is mentioned to emphasise the fact that this will continue into the future, so it’s a long-term issue. 

Now, I don’t want to die, so living longer only has advantages to me, but the question isn’t about ME, it’s about people in general; society.

So let’s reword the question, so it’s clearer: do the advantages of living longer outweigh the disadvantages for society?

Step 2: Decide My Position (What Do I Think?)

So, what do I REALLY think about this issue? In other words, what’s my position on this issue?

Clearly – if you REALLY think about this issue – there are BOTH advantages AND disadvantages to living longer for society, so you should discuss both advantages and disadvantages of you want to write a well-developed response (and have a chance of getting a Band 8 for TR).

On the whole, I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, because we can do more with our lives, BUT only if living longer means being healthier for longer, and being able to pay for retirement.

Step 3: Generate My Ideas (Why Do I Think This?)

Now let’s expand my position – why do I take this position? This is really just an expansion of the position I outlined above, into 4 main ideas.

Advantages:

  1. A longer retirement means more opportunities for recreational pursuits – (assuming they have the health and money to pay for it.)
  2. Grandparents can help to look after and offer advice to their grandchildren, making life easier for parents.

Disadvantages:

  1. Older people are more likely to suffer from health problems, especially chronic health problems such as diabetes and back pain.
  2. If older people don’t work, they need a larger pension to pay for their longer retirement.

Step 4: Develop My Ideas

Next, I’m going to develop my ideas using a logical structure. This will give me a clear essay plan. 

Introduction:

  • people are living longer, and can expect to live longer, because of improved health care. Seems like a good thing, but are there any disadvantages of this trend?

Body Paragraph 1: Advantages

  • Main Idea 1: more time to be active and useful
  • Explanation 1: opportunities for activities, hobbies
  • Explanation 2: more people to look after our younger generation

Body Paragraph 2: Disadvantages

  • Main Idea: Both these advantages depend on good health and money.
  • Explanation 1: older people more likely to have poor health; health care costs
  • Example: chronic health problems (diabetes, muscle pain)
  • Explanation 2: pension funds may be limited. Who will pay?

Conclusion

  • advantages greater, but they depend on health and wealth.

So, all I need to do now is expand these notes into full sentences and link them together

So here’s my essay:

My Model Essay

Over the last half century, life expectancy across the world has been rising as a result of better quality healthcare. This means that today we have an ageing population. On the face of it, living longer seems to be a good thing – after all, nobody really want to die! – but a decent old age depends on health and wealth.

Many people in their seventies and eighties, and even older, are able to enjoy a long and fulfilling retirement. They can travel to new destinations and get involved in a wide range of hobbies and activities that were impossible while working and bringing up a family. Those with grandchildren may also be able to help young, busy parents with such tasks as collecting children from school; moreover, they could share their life experiences with the younger generation.

But while there are tremendous benefits to increased life expectancy, they depend, to an extent, on being healthy and having money. Older people are more likely to suffer from medical problems, especially chronic illnesses like diabetes and muscle pain, which can seriously restrict the kinds of activities they do. This also means increased health care costs, for both individuals and society. In addition, if older people aren’t working, they will have to rely on savings and pensions to pay for their lifestyle, but many older people simply won’t have been able to save enough for a long old age.

Overall then, I feel that the benefits of living older are clear, but these must be balanced against the implications for health and money. If living longer simply means chronic health complaints and grinding poverty for a longer time, it is questionable as to whether it is an advantage at all.

288 words

I hope my model essay helps to show you how to write at a Band 8 or Band 9 level. If you think others will find this essay useful, please share it.

Posted in IELTS Writing Task 2.