IELTS Writing Task 2/ Essay Topics with sample answer.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 20 - Not everything that is learned is contained in books

IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task

It is said that "Not everything that is learned is contained in books".

Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1: (Notion: the knowledge we gather from our experience is far more important)
Books are our best companions and source of knowledge from our infant time till the end of life. Our learning begins by reading books. Books open new horizons in front of us. But sometimes the hardest and most important lessons we learn in life come from our participation in different situations. The things we learn in real-life can never be learned through anything else. We can't learn everything from books and in my opinion, the knowledge we gather from our experience is far more important, than anything else.
Of course, learning from books in a formal educational institution and learning from books for someone's own interest are highly important. Books are like open doors. Whenever someone read books, it helps the readers to broaden their power of imagination, to introduce them new ideas. In facts, books are a fine collection of ideas, experiences, imaginations and innovations of writers for the readers. But everyone's life is quite different than others. So, we sometimes face a whole new situation. I believe, most important lessons cannot be taught. It must be faced and learned all by ourselves. The experiences we gather from our daily life help us to rectify our future act. We learn from watching a situation even if we are not the part of it. We even learn from the stories we hear from our friends or family members about some strange situations that have occurred. 
No one can teach us how to live alone, how to share our feelings, how to create self-respects. Those all must be learned from our experiences. Experiencing our own triumphs and disasters is really the only way to learn how to deal with life. Books, teachers, parents give us guidelines and our experiences give the perfection of it.  
(Approximately 295 words)
(This model answer has been prepared by the site developer. However, please note that this is just one example out of many possible answers.)

Idea Generation for this IELTS Essay:

Essay Type: Compare & Contrast + Your opinion.

Main question of this IELTS Essay:

A. Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books.

B. Which one is more important and why?

Compare: Comparing the knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books.

  • Books present us true facts, history, subject matter expertise, story and knowledge that we need to evolve as a true human. Our life experience also gives us wisdom, knowledge and teaches us lessons to become the better persons we are.
  • Books are the primary source of knowledge and enhance our horizon. Experience gathered in life also provides us guideline and wisdom to broaden our horizon.
  • Both are excellent sources of knowledge and unparalleled sources of great wisdom.
  • Without reading, we cannot home our brain. Without experiencing things we cannot learn how to deal with difficulties.  
  • Without reading books we can't become wise enough to gather the right experience and lessons in our life.
  • Books give us knowledge and our experience and practice hones it.

Contrast: Contrasting the knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books.

  • Books provide us theoretical knowledge while our experiences give us firsthand knowledge.
  • Theories learned from books are often pointless if you cannot use it in our life.
  • Lessons learned from books are often forgotten but we never forget our first-hand experience.
  • Lessons learned from an experience could never be learned from reading.
  • Most important lessons in life can't be taught, but experienced.
  • Books contain the experience gathered by many generations and their observation. Experience is limited to a person only.
  • Some knowledge could only be learned from books like the atmosphere of Mars but can never be experienced by a person.

In favour of Books:

  • Books are important to raise our concept about important subjects affecting our life, like science, nature, or health.
  • The materials we learn from books can help us to become more competitive in our real life, at our job or study.
  • Books increase our abstract thinking. We will be able to have better conceptual thoughts if we analysis them before by reading more books.
  • Reading more books, we will have better basics to create better frames in practice. Those only trusting on their sole experience may make more mistakes.
  • Books improve our self-confidence. Reading about experts’ opinions, we will able to rely more on performance in practice.
  • Books can help us to become successful businesspersons than those who just rely on their experience.
  • Humans can save their money as they read more due to using other professionals’ knowledge and experience written in books.

In favour of Practical Experience:

  • Practical lessons help us to have more deeply understanding, while theory learned from books will be forgotten far easier.
  • Having a better experience, we can save our time. We may have to review several times a book to learn about its subjects, while by having enough experience it is not necessary we review them.
  • By having more practice, we will become more flexible to critical conditions.
  • Experience assists us to become more socially active. Instead of studying materials in an isolated condition, for example in a library, we can meet more people by practising more.

Sample Opinion 1:

I personally agree with those studying more books than those just relying on experience. They will have a better performance in their work and education, more competitive, better confidence, and more rich by saving more time than those just use their experience.

[The above points should be helpful to aid you generating your own ideas and then turning them into a nicely written IELTS Essay. Add any point you think we have missed in the comment section.]

Alternative Answer 2: (Notion : Knowledge gained from books plays a very important role in the modern life)   
People are learning and practising through their entire life. I believe that life experience and practice are the basic reasons of the humankind's evolution. However, in my opinion, knowledge gained from books plays a very important role in the modern life.
The most obviously important advantage of books is that they hold all knowledge gained by previous generations. People write books about their discoveries and inventions, which are gained through practice and experience. This knowledge is accumulated in books that are passed from generation to generation. So, basically, people get all knowledge about the previous achievements from books, analyse it and then, according to their experience and new data, write new books. In this case, books are the holders of humankind's experience.
For example, at old times people thought that the Earth was flat. It was concluded from observations and studying. However, the next generations, using the experience of their ancestors, proved that the Earth was round. Personally, I think that books are very important because they are able to give people the basic and fundamental knowledge. Books store history, the important events and discoveries. Without them, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to move forward, make new discoveries and inventions.

To summarise, I think a person should take basic knowledge from books because it will help him to make his own inventions, conclusions and discoveries. Only using both books and one’s experience one can move forward.
Model Answer 3: (Notion: Wisdom can only be acquired through experience)
It is said that "knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad". It contrasts the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge refers to the awareness of the facts surrounding an object or an activity, while wisdom refers to the judgment as to how and when to use that knowledge. While knowledge can be gained from conventional sources of information such as books, but wisdom can only be acquired through experience.
We refer to sources of information such as books for knowledge in our daily lives, yet the only way to master those skills is by practice. It is only through doing that one realises the subtle intricacies of the actions being performed. This can be seen in our daily lives. At college, students are given a coursework in programming that lasts about a semester. However, it is not the coursework that makes them a good programmer in their profession. Rather it is the constant experience they gain while they are programming that makes them a better programmer. After spending a certain time in the profession, they may not remember what they learnt in books but they can still be a good programmer.
History is filled with numerous examples that only underscore the above-mentioned fact. Michael Jordan learned to play basketball during his high school days. That is when he learnt the rules of the game. However, it was 'practice' that gave him the required experience to hone his skills. The rules of the game did not change throughout his gaming career; rather he became more and more adept every time he played the game to become a legendary basketball player.
Thus, while books may teach a person how to do a particular task, they cannot sharpen his skills at that task. It can only be done through experience.
(by Pankaj Kohli)
Model Answer 4:
Books are the great source of information since the dawn of time. Throughout history, books passed the information from generation to generation. What we study in our educational life helps us in our professional life. In the following paragraphs, I will explain my point of view.

Firstly, information gained from books are as important as from gaining experience, books help us to learn basic knowledge we can call it a guide for professional life. For instance, my friend Asif recently start working as an accountant and he told me that what I studied in university through books is very helpful in practical life. This makes it clear that learning books help us in our future.

In addition to this, Knowledge gained through experience help us to understand more clearly what we read in the book. For example, my friend Junaid told me that when he wants to go somewhere for dinner, outing or a strange place he also uses his street directory for directions rather than GPS because next time it will be easy to go to the same place without a street directory. This makes it clear that Learning from book and use that in practical life increase our knowledge.

To sum up, whatever we study in a book is as important as learning through experience. It has been proven that both are very important for learning. Thus, it is recommended that knowledge gained from books or experience is never useless it will help us somewhere in our future life so keep learning.
( by Faisal Khan )
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Bindia Agarwal
This was really great to go through but if anyone wants to get online training, please inbox me at
Amanpreet Singh
It provides a lot of knowledge regarding Essay information as well as notions of writing.
From many years ago till now, people always wanted and still want to enhance their experience and knowledge in many different ways such as arguing with each other, travelling, observing something, reading books, and learning from a mentor and so on. Education and work are most important to obtain the life experience we need to live a better life. The issue whether we learn most valuable lessons and knowledge from books or from our own experience is always controversial and this debate is ongoing. From my everyday experience and observation, I think these two are useful when we aid from both of them together. I will explain my opinion with some reasons and examples below.Books and traditional classroom education are useful for enhancing our knowledge and for creating a thirst for learning. You can learn and use from other people’s experience with your teachers, classmates seniors etc. and the lessons learned from the academic books can never be gained from personal experience. A big difference is always prominent between an educated and illiterate person. In this regards, things learned from books play a very vital role in shaping our characters. You should use these educations in the real world in work environment. For example when I graduated from universities I was helped from lessons and knowledge of book in my job and it is very useful for me.On the other hand, experience gained from in vocational education, real life experience, travelling, discussion and learning from experiencing and so on are valuable and you can use this knowledge in the future. The lessons we learn from books often become useless as we do not use them in our life. On the other hand, books can teach us how a boat floats in the water, how to built a boat. But surviving in a stormy night in a river while being in a boat, would depend on our real life experience. Accumulation of the personal experience and life lessons are also good but are limited in nature. Books donate you a wide vision about many different things. For example, I worked with few people who gained knowledge from work environment. They were strong and thorough in their work but were unable in other work and situations which were completely new and works that required innovation and creative thinking.For the last word, I think a single source of knowledge is insufficient and should be used with together if we want best results and outputs.