(Model essay) Academic IELTS question seen 26 November 2011 in Melbourne, Australia

Ryan’s notes:

  • I’m aware the examples in this essay are a little broad. To be honest, I had trouble coming up with plausible examples to support the ‘results’ our essay question speaks of. Can you think of better examples? Please post them as a response to this entry.

Recently a poll was conducted that revealed happiness levels in developing countries are higher than in developed countries. What do you think can be learned from this? Explain your views.

I feel that the recent poll revealing higher percentages of happy people among developing countries versus developed countries allows for certain conclusions to be drawn on the social and cultural natures of such nations. The legitimacy of these conclusions will be shown in this essay.

Firstly, the rigidness with which a developed country’s social structure operates can be seen as one of the causes of lowered happiness levels. For example, ‘model’ students in the United States cannot simply have high grades but rather must strive to perfect themselves physically and morally as well. All too often, the stress of trying to fill this publicly accepted ideal lasts a lifetime. This example shows that the additional societal pressures experienced by people in developed countries reduces levels of happiness.

Secondly, developed countries tend to overemphasise individualism, and this can also lead to unhappiness. For instance, young people in China often have a very close-knit family unit that can provide moral support and advice throughout their lives, an arrangement common in other developing countries, too. Developed countries, on the other hand, tend to encourage people to make their own decisions live with the consequences, which is an lifestyle that can be overwhelming and mentally taxing. As this example shows, personal freedom can sometimes work against a person’s level of happiness.

The results of the poll in question is felt to reflect the additional stresses people experience in developed countries. I feel these same pressures will progressively become apparent in developing countries as they grow.

About Ryan

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