Today, I’m going to share with you a sample band 9 answer that I wrote for one of my students. This is something I provide as part of my IELTS writing correction service. I give every student a full essay, written by me, that would score band 9 according to the IELTS marking criteria.
Here is the question that I was given:
At present, the media greatly affects people’s lives.
What impact does this have on society?
Is it a negative or positive development?
Is this a real IELTS question? Probably not. In fact, I have altered it slightly to improve the grammar, which is always a warning sign. However, it is very similar to a real one and I guess that it actually did come from a genuine IELTS test.
Answering the Question
What you need to do is first analyse the question and then plan your answer.
First of all, this is a 2 part question. That mean, of course, a question with two parts. For this sort of question, the structure that you use will be simple:
- answer question 1
- answer question 2
My answer is also going to be simple. I will first say that there are many ways that the media influences us (with examples) and then say that is both positive and negative (with examples).
However, I will make it a little more complex because this is a band 9 essay. I’m going to introduce a negative example in paragraph 2 and then a positive one in paragraph 3. I will add a linking sentence that bridges the gap, linking my ideas in an advanced way.
Here is my sample answer to the above IELTS writing question:
In the twenty-first century, media seems ever present in the lives of people all around the world. This essay will look into its impact and also discuss whether it is positive or negative.
The role of the media is huge and it will probably continue to grow. Throughout the world, people’s opinions and beliefs are shaped by the media. Whether it is a newspaper, a TV channel, a website, or a social media app, these organizations have the power to make us vote for a political party, alter our views on particular social issues, or taken an interest in some area of life. In other words, the power that they wield is immense. In the United States, the media appears to have recently divided the population into rival political factions, with devastating consequences for society as a whole.
The above example makes it seem as though the media is purely negative, but this is not true. When unscrupulous individuals use it to manipulate large numbers of people into doing something, then of course it is problematic, but that is not always how media works. There have been honest, upstanding media outlets throughout history whose commitment to spreading truth has helped solve great problems. Take, for example, the Washington Post’s expose of Richard Nixon’s crimes during the Watergate scandal. It is clear, then, that the media’s power is neither positive nor negative; instead, it is what people let it be.
In conclusion, the media has a very large degree of control over people’s lives and this seems to be growing. It affects many parts of society, and in some ways this is rather negative, whilst in others it is positive.
Let’s briefly discuss the positive features of the above essay:
- a simple but effective intro that raises the topic and states what will follow
- two clearly structured body paragraphs
- fully-developed ideas with examples
- some – but not too many – transitional phrases
- excellent grammar and accurate use of vocabulary
- a reasonable conclusion that neatly summarises everything previously discussed
Hi David, I enjoy reading your well thought out essays. I noticed that your essay is a discussion essay with no direct opinion given. The question asks: Is it a negative OR positive development? To me, this sounds like this question requires an opinion and not only a discussion? Are they asking you to make a choice? I would be interested in your thinking? Peter
I’d say that this is a 2 part question and I answered both parts. The first asks about the impact on society and the second is about it being positive/negative. I would say that the latter is certainly an opinion because nothing is objectively positive or negative. However, it’s also possible in such situations to give balance. As long as the explanation for the balance is clear and reasonable, I’d say it’s no problem.