IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Essay: teenage years or adult lives bring more happiness?

Some people think that the teenage years are the happiest times of most people’s lives. Others think that adult life brings more happiness

This sample essay was taken from a certain Cambridge IELTS book (I forgot the exact book number.) The examiner regarded this writing as excellent. 

Girl in the picture: Ouyang Na Na

Some people think that the teenage years are the happiest times of most people’s lives. Others think that adult life brings more happiness, in spite of greater responsibilities. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

[1] What’s the happiest time in people’s lives: youth or old age: school, career or retirement? All of those have been suggested, but teenage years and adulthood both have many supporters.


[2] Those who believe teenagers are the happiest people cite their lack of responsibilities as a significant factor. They are supported financially and emotionally by their parents, and although they may be included in family decisions, they are not ultimately responsible. However, adolescents are on the threshold of adult life; they are old enough to get a part-time job, so they can enjoy their first taste of financial independence, and their future study and career lie ahead.


[3] Apart from these serious concerns, young people have an active social life with their friends, often simply by hanging out with them. And of course, there is the excitement of first love and first heartbreak. With all these to experience, teenagers see their parents’ lives as boring and stressful.


[4] However, the reverse is also true. Adults see anxious, self-dramatising adolescents, and appreciate the joys of maturity. These may include a content family life, long-lasting friendships and a career. Long-term relationships may not have the fireworks of adolescence, but are stronger, because of the wealth of shared experience. At work, many of us are stimulated by the professional skills we acquire, which ensures that our jobs remain interesting.


[5] The greatest benefit, though, is that maturity gives you greater confidence in your own judgement in all areas of life. You are not afraid to express your opinion when others disagree and, unlike a teenager, you know when to let things go.


[6] Both periods can be happy times, but I look back at my teenage years with no desire to go back. Adult life may be less dramatic, but fireworks don’t keep you warm.  (297 words)

Miss Chan’s comment: I like the last sentence of this essay (in italics). What is the meaning of it?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section. 

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