Task 2: Gap Year

by katisss

More general question about the paragraph order in a Pro contra essay:

The opinion you agree with is first or second paragraph?

And inside the paragraph - start with more important and go to less important sub-points?

In some countries, young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

Here is the corrected version (corrections highlighted in bold)

Some people recommend students to travel the world for a year before starting university. Others argue a “gap year” is a waste of time and money. I will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of spending a gap year traveling after school.

Many people think that a gap year can help a young person to gain some life and work experience prior to starting university, as well as develop as a person. For a young person, traveling provides an opportunity to broaden their horizons and learn about different countries and cultures. Spending some time in a country while working also makes for a less superficial encounter than only being there as a tourist. Besides, travelers can gain work experience and potentially improve their foreign language skills. This experience can be an important advantage in a more international oriented economy. Additionally, a “gap year” can aid a person in becoming more independent and grown up, as it will require some organization skills and the ability to manage their finances. It can also be argued that right after school is a good time in life to see the world as most young people do not have any family and professional obligations yet.

However, there are valid concerns whether the time and money for a gap year are well spent . Probably the most serious problem about a gap year is its impact on future academic performance; young people taking a gap year may fall behind their peers or lose the motivation to study altogether. Moreover, school leavers are generally likely to end up with unskilled jobs abroad that barely cover their expenses, especially if they do not have advanced knowledge of the foreign language used in a country. Therefore, the work experience gained may not be very relevant to a person's career later and the work might not offer a lot of opportunity to practice a foreign language. From a more practical point of view it is also worth considering that not everyone feels comfortable living in a camper van, tent or hostel for months.

In conclusion, I think time is a valuable resource at any age. There are a number of good alternatives to taking a gap year immediately after school: studying abroad, interning or working in a foreign country once you have completed studying. These alternatives later in a person’s career might be a more focused approach that offers better work opportunities, and ultimately, may prove a better experience than a gap year.

Further Comments:

A very good essay, and as you can see very few errors. You fully answer the question and it is well-organized as well. Good vocabulary and complex grammar structures.

It would not get the top score because it would need nearly no errors for this, but it would get a very high score.

don’t = should be ‘do not’ as you don’t normally abbreviate in academic writing

Your other questions:

The opinion you agree with is first or second paragraph?

And inside the paragraph start with more important and that goes to less important subpoints?

I don’t think these things would be likely to affect your score as long as you wrote a well organized, supported and grammatically correct essay; however, yes, you would start with more important points (same as in task 1 – mention the most important things first), and then less important.

Whether you wish to put the opposing opinion first or last does not matter too much. However, you are probably better to put it first if you do want to make a choice. This is because you want to persuade someone of your opinion, so it is better to present the other side, then finish with your arguments. That will make your arguments more persuasive.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions.


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