This is a sample essay on computer games. You’ll find notes on the essay to help you write it below. These notes are organised into these sections to help you understand how IELTS essays works:
planning and understanding the question
structure and task response
vocabulary and ideas
coherence and cohesion
Planning and understanding the question
An increasing trend nowadays is for young adults to play computer games. Some people say this is a negative development. Discuss and give your opinion.
This is a discussion essay where you need to give your opinion. How you approach the essay will depend slightly on what you think. In this essay I state a strong opinion that it is a negative development and all my content paragraphs are “negative”. It is equally possible to take a more balanced approach and say that it is partly positive. In that case one content paragraph would be “positive”
Addressing the topic
Note that the question asks you about “young adults” and “computer games” this means that all your ideas should focus on those points. Any points that relate to children for example would be irrelevant. This is a point I discuss in detail in this lesson on addressing the topic in IELTS essays.
The Computer Games Essay
There can be little doubt that more and more people are becoming addicted to computer games and this is especially true for young adults. My view is this is a dangerous development for both society and the people concerned.
The dangers to society of computer gaming addiction among young adults are clear. There is strong evidence to show that there is a connection between violent crime and playing games that do not respect human life. It has been shown for instance that while there is little harm in a few hours of recreational gaming a week, people who spend many hours a day at their gaming consoles are much more likely to commit crimes. This is particularly true of young men in their twenties and thirties who are typically the section of society who become most addicted to games.
The problems that too much gaming can cause young adults as individuals are equally apparent. One particular problem is that they are at a stage of life when they need to concentrate on establishing relationships and perhaps starting families. Again there is evidence to show that people who play too many games find it more difficult to build a lasting relationship and if they do, they provide a poor example to their children.
Another set of problems that gaming addiction can cause in this age bracket is at work. This is because too much gaming can cause loss of concentration and that in turn can lead to reduced efficiency in the workplace. This is of course a problem for the company and may also lead to the individual failing to get promotion or even being fired.
In conclusion my own view is very clear. The growth of the gaming habit among young adults can have negative effects for society as a whole and individuals both at home and at work.
Notes on essay structure and task response
This essay is perhaps a little long at 310 words – the third topic paragraph is included to give you more ideas. The essay would be complete without that paragraph
Focus on question
Note how each paragraph refers to “young adults” and “computer games”. It’s important to do this to get task response right. An easy mistake to make is to talk about the dangers of computer games in general.
You should see how I identify a clear position in the introduction (they are bad) and develop that through the whole essay. It is a good idea to be 100% clear about your position and use phrases such as “My view is” eg
My view is this is a dangerous development for both society and the people concerned.
Note also that it is important to maintain that position throughout the essay. See how I reflect it in the opening sentences of the content paragraphs and the conclusion. This is one area where there is no problem in repeating words or ideas – you just want to vary them slightly as in
In conclusion my own view is very clear.
This is a short/light introduction. Two sentences can be enough. I clearly identify the topic of the question and establish my own position. An alternative approach would be to use 3 sentences to say:
1. This is happening.
2. I think it’s bad.
3. I’m going to discuss why
Note how each content paragraph is about a different aspect of the effect of computer games. I organise my ideas carefully. The first is about society and crime, the second family and home life and the third about work.
Note also that each paragraph starts with a clear (and quite short) sentence stating what the problem/main point is. I develop that point in the other sentences with reasons and examples that relate to young adults.
The conclusion matches the introduction closely. This is a good idea. I don’t introduce any new points I re-state my point of view and quickly summarise the main points: society/family/work
Notes on vocabulary and ideas
This essay is about young adults and playing computer games. I have highlighted in red and blue the words and phrases I use for these ideas. You should see:
there is quite a lot of repetition – this is not a bad thing provided there is also some variety. It can help to repeat words and phrases to help the examiner see what you are talking about. This is part of cohesion.
there is also variety – I don’t try too hard here for “clever words” I vary the form of words quite a lot (e.g. addiction and addicted) – this is smart.
Some of the best vocabulary comes in the use of examples. I use collocations such as
respect human life
build a lasting relationship
provide an example to
loss of concentration
establish a relationship
This is a useful model for you to follow. It is language like this that impresses.
I did have more ideas for this essay but I concentrated on 2/3. You should see how each paragraph is a separate idea. I then develop that idea briefly with a reason and examples that clearly relate to young adults:
problem for society – connection between violent games and crime – young adults play these games most
problem for individual – people who play games are bad at relationships – young adults are building relationships
problem for individual – games addiction bad for performance at work – young adults are starting jobs
I found these ideas by thinking of the word “addiction” and then asking “when” why” “where” ‘how”. This is a technique I discuss in this lesson on finding ideas.
If you run out of ideas you can make them up!!! This can work well when you need an example to prove a point. In this essay I talk about evidence for gaming causing crime. I don’t have it. That’s not a problem.
There are more ideas I didn’t use in this essay. Here are a few positive ideas for you to think about.
Different types of games:
some games are creative e.g. city building games can be seen as positive as they build important skills and provide information about how society works relevant to young adults
some games are educational e.g. language based games that can help educate young adults who may have a poor educational background
Gaming communities: people meet other people by playing games online – another positive
Notes on coherence and cohesion
This essay is extremely coherent. I identify my position in the introduction and say that it is a problem for both society and the individual. The first content paragraph talks about the society problem (crime) and the following paragraphs talk about individual problems (family and work).
Parallel words/structures and synonyms
Note how the different content paragraphs start with similar phrases. It can help to borrow language from one paragraph to another.
The dangers to
The problems that
Another set of problems
are parallel words/structures that show the examiner that I am writing about something similar but different in each paragraph. Note how I vary these words and don’t just repeat them. Note too how I vary clear and apparent – two words that mean the same thing:
are equally apparent
This is helps the examiner see that I am linking ideas together.
Reasons and examples
In each paragraph I use reasons and examples. Both content paragraphs 1/2 follow a PEE pattern – where I say something, explain it and give an example. You might note how I use “evidence” to provide examples. If you’re looking for a more advanced way to use examples this works well, eg
There is evidence that
It has been shown that
Notes on grammar
The grammar is varied. This matters. I use both shorter and simpler sentences as well as more complex structures.
Do not ignore the use of simple sentences when you want to make a point clearly. This is typically when you are writing your topic sentences. Here are mine:
The dangers to society of computer gaming addiction among young adults are clear.
The problems that too much gaming can cause young adults as individuals are equally apparent.
Another set of problems that gaming addiction can cause in this age bracket is at work.
More complex structures
If you want to see some more complex structures you can use for yourself, look at these relatives:
It has been shown for instance that while there is little harm in a few hours of recreational gaming a week, people who spend many hours a day at their gaming consoles are much more likely to commit crimes
This is particularly true of young men in their twenties and thirties who are typically the section of society who become most addicted to games.
Again there is evidence to show that people who play too many games find it more difficult to build a lasting relationship and if they do, they provide a poor example to their children.
These are all “defining” relative clauses. This is a complex structure that is very useful in essays. You want to be precise when you write so you define exactly who you are talking about. How do you that? You use relative clauses. If this is a new idea to you – matching grammar to meaning – I suggest you check out this lesson on relative clauses.