Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll find out if there is a ‘right’ answer for IELTS Writing Task 2.

We had an interesting question from a 3 Keys’ student recently:

If the question is like:
“Why are young people leaving their homes from rural areas to study or work in the cities? Do the advantages of this development outweigh its disadvantages?”

I’m confused about the second question. Adv/disadv for who? Society/teenagers/their parents?

The first time I wrote the answer about advdisadv for youngsters themselves. Then I read an example answer essay, in which were outlined advdisadv for society in general.

What do you reckon is the right thing here? And will it be the mistake and the reason for lowering my score if the answer will be slightly another idea from what was assumed in the question? 

Great question!

In fact, writing about the advantages/disadvantages from the perspective of young people, society, and/or the parents would all be acceptable and appropriate.


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There is not one ‘right way’ to answer any question.

As long as your reasons, examples and details are directly connected to the topic, you’re meeting the requirements for a high Task Response score.

As to this particular question, I would also tackle it from the side of the young people, as they are the focus of the question.

The more directly and clearly you answer the question, the safer your scores are.

When students attempt to get fancy or complicated with their ideas, they often veer off topic, and this hurts the score in more than one aspect.

The truth is, you’re not graded on the complexity of your ideas as much as the clarity of your ideas.

So, being simple and straightforward is always a better option if you’re aiming for a 7 or higher.

In sum, don’t waste time trying to come up with complex ideas. Focus your efforts on clear organization, linking words, high-level vocabulary and variety of sentence structures.

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