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IELTS Writing Task 2
Truancy

In many countries, truancy* is a worrying problem for both parents and educators.
  • What are the causes of truancy, and what may be the effects on the child and the wider community?
  • * truancy = the situation when a child pretends to go to school but in fact goes somewhere else, for example to play unsupervised. The verb is 'to play truant from school.'
How to answer this essay?
  • Introduction:
  • Introduce topic & causes/effects (effects on child & community)
  • Possible causes:
  • Boredom with school, dull lessons
  • Peer pressure, other children do it
  • Possible effects:
  • Lack of progress & career problems (child)
  • Tempted into crime (child)
  • Petty crime e.g. vandalism, litter, anti-social behaviour (community)
  • Conclusion:
  • Causes can be academic & from peers; effects are to do with crime & behaviour.


Model Answer | Marked as Band 8
Cohesive connecting words that improve coherence in writing . Useful less common words that boost fluency in writing .
  • Truancy is an activity which some children regard as amusing or even exciting, but which can have serious impacts on their future and on society as a whole. I can identify two main causes, and three broad effects.
  • Perhaps the main cause is a sense of boredom or frustration with school itself, for instance with the content, pace or organisation of the lessons. This can be seen in the way that pupils often avoid certain lessons but not others, suggesting that specific subjects or teachers are the personal grievance . Another factor may frequently be peer pressure, meaning that pupils feel obliged to play truant because some of their peers or friends are doing this. We can see that the child’s desire to be popular among a peer group may be higher than the motivation to study and progress.
  • Turning to possible effects, the tendency to underperform academically is probably the most serious impact on a pupil’s life, leading to poor exam results and weak career progression in later life. Another effect may be the temptation to participate in petty crime or antisocial behaviour while the child is unsupervised, potentially opening a pathway into more serious crimes later on. For example, a child who commits vandalism may progress to theft and robbery, a trend we see in some major South American cities such as Rio or Buenos Aires. This issue of crime is probably the third major effect, and one that impacts on the community as a whole. For instance, children playing truant may cause damage, drop litter, intimidate elderly people and commit other acts which spread a sense of instability and anxiety, even though the financial impact is low.
  • To sum up, the causes of truancy generally relate to lack of challenge or peer pressures, while the effects are seen in individual underachievement and in minor crime against the community as a whole.
314 words
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