IELTS Essay task: personality shaped by experience or characteristics?

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Research indicates that the characteristics we are born with have much more influence on our personality and development than any experience we may have in our life. Which factor do you think is more dominant?

(250 words, 40 minutes)

Strategy: We are targetting a 7 or 8 bands essay. Not seeking perfection. Have you heard the phrase “perfection paralysis”? We must avoid that.

The essay asks us to link two things: 

1. Characteristics we’re born with VS experience in life

2. Personality and development

Introduction to the essay must introduce all these elements. A possible introduction is:

Human personality and development is shaped by several factors ranging from experiences since childhood to innate characteristics. Though psychologists have conducted several experiments to ascertain which factor is dominant, I believe personal experiences play a greater role.

Okay. Here’s what I’ve done. To introduce the topic I just rephrased the question statement and gave my opinion. Note that I’ve used various synonyms (in bold).

Now that I’ve expressed my opinion, its time to justify it in body paragraphs with reasons and examples.

Paragraph 1: Reason 1, Example 1.

Paragraph 2: Reason 1, Example 2.

Reason 1: Experience during childhood plays crucial role in a child’s learning. Social factors, education of parents, role of teachers. (Expand)

Example 1: English school educated kids secure better employment later in life than students who were educated in other schools. (Expand)

Reason 2: Time to brainstorm. Hint: Employment.

Example 2: Brainstorm. Hint: Employment.

Finally, time to conclude the essay. Write an introduction that includes elements of future and summary. For instance:

Thus, to shape better personality and foster brain’s healthy development we should aim at creating a healthy social, economic and educational environment. (Expand)

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