IELTS Model Essay Score 9 for Direct Questions

This is an estimated band score 9 model for an IELTS writing task 2 direct questions essay. This model essay shows you how to answer each question directly and how to organise the answers into paragraphs.

Some people think that money is one of the most essential factors in promoting happiness.

Do you think people can be happy without much money?

What other factors contribute towards happiness?

Money is considered by many people to be one of the most important contributing factors towards happiness. In my opinion, it is possible for people to be happy even if they have little money and other aspects of life can play a more vital role in creating happiness.

Although having money brings happiness to a lot of people, it does not necessarily follow that people without money are, therefore, unhappy. Take for example the comparison between developing and developed countries, most Westerners would agree that people in developing countries are happier, enjoy stronger family connections and take more pleasure in the simplicities of life to a greater extent than those in developed countries.

One way that people can gain happiness is through their work. For instance, a doctor doing volunteer work in underdeveloped countries may have very little money but the reward of helping people and doing the job they are good at, brings happiness in itself. In other words, happiness can be found by using skills that people are trained for and through job satisfaction.

Finally, another factor influencing happiness is having supportive and loving people in one’s life.  While money may bring the opportunities to enjoy pleasures, few people would enjoy them on their own. Being surrounded by a loving and caring family is considered by most people to be more valuable than any amount of money.

In conclusion, money is not essential for happiness, which can be found through job satisfaction as well as family. If more people strived in life towards true happiness rather than money, the world would be a better place.

Comments: Your task is to give an answer to both questions and no more. Each question may have one or two main points to answer it. Your essay should never have more than 3 body paragraphs. You can see that in this IELTS model essay, the first body paragraph is answering the first question and the second question is answered with two main points in two different body paragraphs. Words = 275 (an appropriate length for writing task 2)

Recommended Lessons

Model Opinion Essay: click here
IELTS Writing Task 2 Practice Essay Questions: click here

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  1. Hi liz,
    I’m so glad that I’ve found your website.How many kinds of essays are in the academic IELTS? Please reply<3<3<3

  2. Powerpuff girl says:

    Hello Liz!
    I have given IELTS thrice . I have been able to score 8 in speaking , reading and listening. But, my score in writing has been 6.5 consistently. I have tried my best to give examples and improve vocabulary. I have analysed myself, could it be because of writing task 1 ? Because I did not make comparisons.
    Please advice as it has become frustrating for me.

    • Giving examples will not increase your score in writing task 2 – examples are optional. I suggest you get my advanced lessons to learn more about the right techniques to use for task 2: Task 1 is only worth 33%. So, certainly you should review it and avoid problems, but the biggest issue will be your task 2.

  3. Hi Liz
    Thanks for your kind efforts. First of all, I have to say this essay is awesome due to the rich ideas you presented.
    I have a question. In Thesis statement we always mention three points which are connecting to question, using for example I my opinion and more importantly our opinion. why did not say your opinion in the thesis statement? you just implied that there are other aspects.

    • Don’t make your thesis too long. Your thesis contains the answer and the body paragraphs contain the details. However, there is no right and wrong. If you do add a bit of detail to your thesis it is ok.

  4. Hello Liz,
    Sometimes the IELTS task 2 questions consist of about 3 questions. In this case, I donnot know which one to start first, structure, places of them in bodies and so on. Could please make it easy for me?
    Thanks in advance.

    • You follow a logical order and answer each question in one body paragraph. Keep organisation simple and language complex.

  5. Hi Liz,
    On the above essay, if the question happend to be like “to what extent do you agree or disagree”. Will it be fine to partly agree or to have a partly disagree answer? Or should we only focus our answer to either agree or disagree.

  6. HI Liz,

    I need your help.

    I have done IELTS for the 3rd time, after attending to an instructor for 3 months period. Unfortunately this time I got the worst result which is 6 in Writing.

    Last 2 times I got 6.5 in writing. This time even I felt confidence on my writing I couldn’t believe how it went further down.

    It was about buying second hand products, what are the reasons and whether it has negative or positive impact.

    I wrote 2 paragraphs explaining 2 reasons and 3rd explaining the impact. What I argued is it has negative impact. What I could think which affected my score is about a phrase I used in conclusion “To put in a nutshell, I pen down saying that”. I saw this clause in a model essay published in a website.

    I could not think what went wrong, was it my ideas or was it my inappropriate word choice.

    Appreciate your comments. Please advice.


  7. hi Mam
    I’m Ajim. I’m confused
    Are both direct answer essay and argumentative essay same??
    question like……
    Why study history?
    Is free speech necessary in a free society??
    Please,help with that.

  8. Hi,

    I would like to ask you a question in connection with Task 2 from a Sample Test.
    The task is:”Concern for the environment is growing rapidly and more and more people are choosing to be ‘eco-tourists’-travelling in responsible,environmentally-friendly ways.As a result,the eco-tourism industry is expanding.

    To what extent do you think this is a positive trend?”

    Is it an opinion essay or a combination essay (opinion and direct question essay) ?

    Thank you in advance!

    • It is a direct question essay which requires your opinion. You must state if you think it is positive or not and explain your point of view.

      • How to diffrenciate between direct question and opinion question while both of them are asking ( why do you think ? )

        • An opinion essay is categorised by the fact that the only question is “do you agree or disagree?”. The direct question essay contains two or more questions to answer. However, both require an opinion. The catgorises are mainly used by teachers in order to teach – so don’t worry so much. Just follow the instructions.

  9. Thanks for help

  10. Ahmed Mustafa says:

    Hi Liz,

    Thank you for this great website with many useful tips and tricks.

    I have been struggling with my essays for a while, and I was wondering if you can give me a hand by pointing mistakes or odd writing style.

    While money comes as number one priority for some people, other think that it is not of that importance. Money can but many materialistic assets , but it falls behind when it comes to intangible relations. Personally, I do not think what wealth can buy happiness.

    Firstly, Money has taken over our lives significantly. For example, some are convinced that it is better to cry in a luxurious car such as BMW rather than on your foot, trying to exaggerate the importance of money, but they are oblivious to the truth if being sad and maybe devastated in both cases. For sure money is important but not such an extent. It can buy a breathtaking house with stunning views, but with neither a family nor children.

    Secondly, family ties play an important role in drawing a smile on the one’s face. For instance, whenever I feel down, I check old photos with my family, and a torrent of rekindled memories come across my mind. while many families work their fingers to the bone, trying to achieve a satisfactory amount of money monthly, they forget to give their children an adequate amount of care and love. A justification for this social transformation can be related to the capitalist greedy world that we live in.

    Thirdly, religion can be a source of stability during the journey of life. when people face a bitter hardship, religion is this thing that bring them back on their feet. This spiritual relation works as the guardian guide, bringing peace which in turn brings happiness.

    In conclusion, it always feels great to have a six digit bank account, but this will bring neither satisfaction nor joy to the life. In my opinion, we need to be more focused on being humans rather than our banks.

  11. Hello Liz,
    First of all, many thanks for this amazing website. I find it the best in aiding me with my IELTS test.
    Secondly, I don’t think I understand the difference between Direct Essays and Cause-Solution ones. I mean, isn’t every Cause-Solution essay fundamentally a Direct one? ( and not vice versa of course)

    • Sure. It is still a direct question. However, the label of “Direct Question Essay” refers to essays which don’t fall into the other categories and generally just ask questions such as “What is happiness?” “Why is it difficult to define?”.

  12. Hello Liz,
    Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

    how would you write an introduction for essays that cannot be easily paraphrased. for example



    • Tomorrow I will put this question up on facebook for all students to try and then on Thursday I’ll write a model background statement and post it on this blog. Thanks for sharing this question.

      • parjinder says:

        Lending money more on public services instead of spending any music and theatre would not be ever fruitful, and I believe authorities must invest in them.

        Would this introduction be OK?

        please reply. m

  13. Dear Liz,

    Hello, I’m your big fan in Tokyo. I’d like to show my sincere gratidude to you for creating such a useful website for those who want to get better scores in IELTS. I have one question in terms of subjectiveness in writing essay. Some people told me that it is better to avoid using such subjective phrases as “In my opinion” or “I believe”. Is that the case for IELTS writing?

  14. Hi Liz,
    Is this essay a Direct Question type? I mean, even if it asks about “causes” and asks our “opinion”.

    (“The continued rise in the world’s population is the greatest problem faced by the humanity at the present time.”
    What are the causes of this continued rise?
    Do you agree that it is the greatest problem faced by humanity?)

    • It is a direct questions essay which uses one question from the cause type essay and one question from the opinion type essay. So, it’s a combination essay requiring you to answer each question directly.

  15. Mostafa says:

    Hi Liz,

    Bunch of thanks for your so much useful blog.
    the 2nd paragraph of body paragraphs you wrote: for instance, a doctor (SINGLE) doing volunteer work in underdeveloped countries may have ( HAS) ……..and doing the job they are (HE IS) good at,

    • “may have” we never change the second verb and “may” never changes. We often refer to individual people as “they” in academic writing rather than he/she.

      • Veselina says:

        Hi Liz, your lessons are amazing! Thank you so much for all that information and useful advices. Regarding the latter conversation I’m always in doubt about plural and singular when referring to individual people in academic writing so could you please tell me in this sentence ”For instance, an accountant will never know that singing bring/s them/him? more happiness, if they/he do/does? not decide to make a change” should I replace all singular with plural?
        Your help will be highly appreciated. Thank you once again.

  16. Hi Liz,

    I found your lessons and comment so useful. By the way, if I am not mistaken there is a typo in this essay. The last sentence of the third paragraph of body body paragraphs should be modified to: “being surrounded by a loving and caring family is considered to ‘be’ more valuable than any amount of money”. Indeed, in the original sentence “be” has been missed.



  17. Qasim Azam says:

    hi Liz
    please mention all the styles of asking opinion in the question. Yet, I have problem to understand the question about asking for opinion.

  18. if i divided this essay into
    Intro:includes paraphrasing ,and thesis that includes my opinion
    BP1: Admittedly,there r some benefits 4 money,,,,
    BP2:Nevertheless,despite ,,,,,,
    Conclusion:conclude my opinion
    is it ok?

  19. Dear Liz,

    If the question starts as “can people be happy without much money” instead of starting “Do you think people can be happy without much money”, still do we need to give my opinion???

  20. Is it correct to write therefore in the middle of the sentence. For example you have written “it does not necessarily follow that people without money are, therefore, unhappy.

    • Yes. It is flexible and good for a high score. Using it always at the start of a sentence is mechanical which is a characteristic of band score 6.

  21. Rahul Bajaj says:

    Hi Liz ,, I just want to give my gratitude to your selfless intention of helping all ones in need.
    I was having three things to ask regarding grammar.
    1 ) Can we use second conditional sentence of imagination in past tense i.e. referring to yesterday incident of discussion She told “If you weren’t married , I would purpose you”
    2 ) Can we use the sentence of compulsion “Have to” in continuous tone i.e. I am having to do this.
    3 ) Can we say the repent in opposite way which has not happened ” If you had not gone , you would have not got the chance to speak” while actually one has gone means the work has been attended still can we imagine in “Not” with 3rd conditional sentence

    Lots of love sis !!

  22. So in this task all that we need to do is simply answering the question ? It would be no need for a paragraph with our opinion ( like in the opinion essays) ?

    Thank you

  23. Hi, Liz!
    I am confused about the usage of “take for example”. I learned “take sth for example” but it seems that you use “take for example sth”(take for example the comparison …). Are both usages the same?
    Besides, in concluding paragraph, I guess the word “though”( happiness can be found though job satisfaction …) should be “through”.

    • Yes, both are fine to use but make sure you only use what you understand fully and know how to use. Mistakes will lower your score. The second point was indeed a typo.
      All the best

  24. ***I am not good in vocabularies. And i am currently having a hard time writing essays. Please take a look at my work and feel free to criticize. please.***

    One can define happiness as a state of euphoria in having things that are greatly desired by a person. In doing so, one must have the means of getting it and this is where money comes in. Some people think that money is vital to be happy. I agree. In a world where almost everything has price tags, money can buy happiness. For simple reasons, based on the not-so-important yet basic necessities like cellphones and cars. For a foreign worker like me, mobile phone gives me the chance to converse with my family as if I am home, keeping me from being homesick. Cars on the other hand take you to the places you wanted to explore and visit. In order to have these two, you need money in your account.

    Some people in the society, however, believe that one can be happy without much money in their pockets. For a normal person easily moved with simple things like love and friendship, this is true. This may seem to be very cliche but yes, like me, a reciprocated love and a hug from a dear friend elates me and makes me happy.

    Aside from dollar bills, there are other factors that can give you happiness. Some of these are your family, friends, hobbies and work. Though your family may be unsupportive sometimes, your friends having the exact opposite of your ideas, hobbies that may injure you few times, and work that may drain your energy at most, they still bring happiness for free. Just the thought of being alone is implausible. It is then enough to be thankful and happy for having them.


    • I generally comment on IELTS exam technique rather than English. Try to avoid writing about yourself or friends in an IELTS essay. Don’t use “you” or “your”. Also try to balance your paragraphs and make sure that each main point is equally developed. Vocabulary is not a problem, you need to learn more about essay writing techniques. Please see the rules for posting writing:

      • Thank you liz. I find your page very helpful. I’ll practice more using your samples. 🙂

      • Radhakrishnan Rajendran says:

        Hi Liz,

        You have mentioned in the above comment, not to mention about oneself. To clarify, do you mean to say we should not use the real life examples while writing the IELTS essays.
        I thought this was a better idea to correlate oneself’s real life experience when we are providing an example.

        R. Radhakrishnan

        • You use examples from your own experience about the world, not your own experience about your personal life. You should present examples in a way suitable for essay writing which doesn’t include stories about yourself or people you know. It should be your experience of the world.
          All the best

  25. Hm Monir says:

    I am really happy connecting with IELTSLIZ. I strongly belief , If anybody wanna make a good band score in IELTS , he/she follow the instruction of Liz.

  26. Hello Liz,
    Firstly, I want to thank you to much for your unlimited helping .

    Could you please tell me the thesis sentence and scope of the assay bellow.
    I think it is not opinion assay but direct question it true ?

    (News plays an important part of most people’s lives. Why is news so important to people? Why is so much news dedicated to bad news? Should the news focus on good news instead?)

    • Hi,

      Here’s an example of an introduction for this essay. You can see that I have combined the background and thesis statements because there are three questions to answer. This is a direct essay question and your task is to answer each question clearly.

      “Following the news is important for most people because it affects their daily lives. Although, bad news is mainly reported because it is both important information to know and also because it is sensational, it would be better to have a balance of both good and bad news being reported daily.”

      From the above introduction, you can find I have introduced the topic and also answered each of the questions.
      All the best

  27. hi liz,in this discussion essay topic you gave” Some people think that environmental problems should be solved on a global scale while others believe it is better to deal with them internationally.”
    i find it difficult differenting global scale fro internationally. what is really the difference between the two

    • I also found that particular question to be a little confusing, it actually the first question under the section of IELTS discussion essay sample questions. It’s very difficult posting the link as that feature is disabled on this page.

  28. Hi Liz,

    I noticed in the model essay you used -money – in every paragraph can one use wherewithal or finance.

    • Hi,

      Unfortunately, these words can’t be used as a substitute for money in this essay, in this context. Some words will be repeated throughout an essay because not all words have an exact paraphrase which is suitable to the context. This is the reason that paraphrasing is considered a high level skill because it can so easily go wrong.

  29. Thank you so much for many things that could help me to overcome my Ielts test on 31\1\2015 ,but im still afraid of how can i mange my information , i need more practice in writing , how can i improve myself .

    • Hi,
      If you only have a short time before your test, you can:
      1.Concentrate on a selection of about 5 complex sentence structures (using a clause, conditional sentences, sentences starting with gerunds, sentences starting with although or while and sentences connected with a linker). Practice the sentences to make them more accurate – being more accurate will increase your score.
      2. Review your uncountable nouns (too many students forget them and the errors lower the band score).
      3. Prepare ideas for topics – make sure you practice analysing tasks from different topics to get relevant answers.
      4. Make sure you follow the correct essay structure – you get points for paragraphs.
      5. Choose some linking words that you will try to use in your essay and practice sentences with them to make sure you use them correctly. Here’s a sample list: although, however, thus, consequently, as a result, and , but, in addition, furthermore, also, firstly, in conclusion, so, therefore.
      6. Get your essay assessed by an IELTS teacher find out your weaknesses and your strengths.
      7. Learn about the requirements of the band score you are aiming for – here’s a link to the band score descriptors for IELTS writing task 2:
      I hope that helps. Good luck!!

    • Here’s a link to IELTS sample essay questions to practice. The essay questions are organised by topic and also by type of essay:

  30. Hi,
    Thank you for your sharing.

    I think that “simplicities” word is an uncountable noun, so just “simplicity”.

    • I’m very glad you are think about countable and uncountable nouns. I wish more students would focus on this. In this context, ‘simplicity’ can be used as a plural noun. Take a look at this dictionary definition with sample sentences to learn more about using this word:

      • vinusha says:

        hi liz,
        I am unable to score all the bands at a time, if i’m able to score in writing, i’m loosing my score in listening and vice versa. It happen for me three times,can u suggest me a solution for this problem. I am dentist back home i want to clear my ielts in uk,so that i can register as dentist in uk.Please help me to score band 7 in all modules.

        • Hi,

          It sounds like your level of English is borderline 7. This is probably the reason for getting 7 at times but not at others. If you post a piece of writing to me, I’ll let you know if your level of English is the issue or not (make sure you include your aims in your post along with the essay question). The other reason may be due to the techniques you are using in the exam. For listening and reading, you need to go through each incorrect answer and make a note to see if you got the answer wrong due to language or technique. However, as I said, you really need to get your level of English checked to see where the problem lies.
          All the best

          • Jose Bohorquez Romani says:

            Dear liz,

            My name is Jose and I took the IELTS test examination 3 times. My results in writing were as follow 6,6.5, and 6. I was quite shock when I got my last result, as for my third attempt I studied harder and I knew more vocabulary. As result, I checked the IELTS criteria and I found out for the first time that I was not using complex and compound sentences in my essays! I believe other students are making the same mistakes as well. Many people on the internet advice to check old essays in order to imitate them. However, if you do not know the theory behind each sentence construction, it is very hard to imbibe the knowledge. It would be very beneficial for the community if you emphasize this point in one of your videos.



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