I recently wrote a sample band 9 answer for a student using my writing correction service. I thought the essay was quite useful and so I have decided to share it here for everyone’s benefit. The essay is all about the dangers of reliance upon technology. I’m going to explain it a little, including the structure and vocabulary used.

Analysing the Question

Before you write an essay, you need to make sure that you fully understand the question. Here’s our question for today:

Today our communications, medicine and transport systems all depend on computer technology. Our reliance on computer technology in these fields has created a dangerous situation.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Is this a real IELTS question? I doubt it because there are two statements, so it’s unlikely that you would be asked “do you agree or disagree with this statement?” However, I expect that it is derived from a real one and that the original probably said something like:

Today our communications, medicine, and transport systems all depend on computer technology, but our reliance on this has created a dangerous situation.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

This has made it more logical and removed the needless repetition. Please be aware that most IELTS tutors online (even the ones with millions of followers) cannot actually speak English very well and they create fake questions that cause many problems. You can read about the best and worst IELTS websites here.

Anyway, the point is that you’ve been given an agree or disagree question. You must say whether you agree or disagree with the idea that relying heavily on computers in these fields (medicine, transport, communications) is dangerous.

Planning your Answer

Before you write your essay, you should plan it. By that, I mean decide in advance what you want to say. You should write a little outline to help make your answer logical, developed, and consistent. This will help boost your score for Task Response and Coherence and Cohesion.

First of all, decide whether you agree or disagree. I completely agree, so that’s my position. I will state that in the introduction, explain it in the body paragraphs, and then reaffirm it in the conclusion. My structure will be something like this:

IntroductionIntroduce the topic
State my opinion (I agree)
Body paragraph #1Give the main argument (potential vulnerabilities – examples: terrorist attacks, EMPs, solar flares) . Explain why this is so dangerous.
Body paragraph #2Give the second argument (potential misuse – i.e. spying, government oppression). Give realistic examples.
ConclusionSummarise the essay

Now let’s see my sample answer. Try to track the above structure as you read it.

Sample Band 9 Answer

Over the past century, it seems that almost all aspects of life have transitioned at least partly into the digital realm, with this process accelerating dramatically in the last few decades. However, this has created a dangerous situation, for people are now too reliant upon computer technology.

The first reason why it may prove to have been a mistake to so rapidly and extensively digitise our world is that this potentially creates vulnerabilities. In the analogue world, knowledge and data were stored in numerous ways, meaning that as civilisations collapsed, not all was lost. Pre-literate civilisations managed to record at least some of their wisdom in images and carvings whilst more advanced ones wrote on tablets or in books, but the modern world has stored most of its information on microchips, which could potentially be destroyed. There are various ways this could happen, from a particularly bad computer virus to terrorist attacks on data centres. Perhaps an EMP or solar flare could wipe out all digital data, leading to the loss of countless trillions of terabytes of valuable information that had not been written down anywhere else.

Perhaps a lesser yet more realistic example of a danger concerning the digitisation of our world is that of its misuse. In a democratic society with a relatively open government, it is possible for most data to be accessible, but there is the danger of hacking, leading to, for example, the theft of private medical data or attacks on transport systems for the purpose of creating anarchy. Russia, China, and North Korea routinely engage in such nefarious activities, as well as spying. Prior to the digitisation of so many systems and so much data, it was much harder for bad actors to interfere and truly important or sensitive information could be protected more easily.

In conclusion, the advent of computer technology has allowed for the rapid advancement of various sectors but it has also created numerous very alarming problems and indeed the potential for disaster looms large.


Finally, let’s talk about the language that I’ve used in this essay. I will highlight some interesting words and phrases here, focusing on the ones that are specific to the topic:

  • the digital realm
  • digitise
  • vulnerabilities
  • the analogue world
  • Pre-literate civilisations
  • microchips
  • data centres
  • countless trillions of terabytes of valuable information
  • hacking
  • engage in such nefarious activities

The topic, of course, was technology. You can learn more technology vocabulary here.

In addition to those topic-specific terms, there was a lot of vocabulary used that was natural and appropriate. I don’t say “advanced” because that gives the wrong idea. The right word is always the right word, whether it’s rare or not. However, the correct use of phrases like “disaster looms large” shows the examiner that you have a wide range and the ability to use terms with accuracy. This is essential for a good Lexical Resource score.