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IELTS Writing Task 2 - Studying At University (Two-part Question)

Many students find it harder to study when they are at university or college than when they were at school. (21/10/2023)

Why is this? What can be done to solve the problem?


The shift from secondary school to higher education  is often marked by an apparent increase in the difficulty of studies. This essay is an attempt to shed light on the rationales behind this phenomenon and to propose some viable solutions to it.

One primary reason for the perceived difficulty in university or college is the heightened academic demands . Unlike school, where students follow a standardized curriculum, higher education encourages specialization, necessitating  a more profound understanding of complex concepts . For instance, engineering students might face intricate  mathematical problems, while literature majors usually engage in advanced literary analysis. Another significant factor contributing to the perceived struggle in tertiary education  is the transitional phase itself. Moving from the familiar setting of school to a larger and more diverse campus environment can be socially and emotionally challenging. Students may grapple with  feelings of homesickness, loneliness, or the pressure to fit in. These emotional stressors  can negatively impact their ability to focus on academics and hinder their overall academic performance.

To alleviate  the challenges faced by students in higher education, institutions should actively implement support programs. These programs can include mentorship initiatives, workshops on effective study skills, and counseling services to address emotional stressors. This not only aids in easing the academic transition but also helps students develop essential skills for success. Another pivotal solution involves fostering a culture of peer collaboration  on campuses. Universities should actively promote group study sessions and collaborative projects with a view to creating a supportive social environment. Students can learn from each other's experiences, share strategies for success, and form a network that eases the sense of isolation  that some may feel during the transition.

In conclusion, the significant challenges that many students face during the shift from school to tertiary education often stem from  increased academic demands and emotional pressure. By enhancing academic support programs and fostering inclusivity, institutions can empower  students to overcome these difficulties and ensure a more positive learning experience.



  • higher / tertiary education (phrase) = giáo dục đại học 

  • heightened academic demands (phrase) = áp lực học tập gia tăng 

  • necessitate (v) = yêu cầu, đòi hỏi 

  • a profound understanding of complex concepts (phrase) = sự hiểu biết sâu sắc về các khái niệm phức tạp 

  • intricate (adj) = phức tạp 

  • grapple with sth (phrasal verb) = (nghĩa bóng) vật lộn với một vấn đề nào đó 

  • emotional stressors (phrase) = những nguyên nhân gây căng thẳng cảm xúc 

  • alleviate (v) = giảm bớt

  • a culture of peer collaboration (phrase) = môi trường học tập hợp tác giữa sinh viên với sinh viên 

  • with a view to sth / doing sth (idiom) = với mục đích gì đó 

  • a sense of isolation (phrase) = cảm giác cô đơn 

  • stem from sth (phrasal verb) = bắt nguồn từ cái gì đó

  • empower sb to do sth (phrase) = thúc đẩy ai đó làm việc gì đó 



Body 1: The reasons for the increased difficulty of studies in university or college

  • The academic requirements, especially specialization, in university or college are usually higher than in school → students have to understand complex ideas much more deeply  (e.g. engineering students working on complicated math problems or literature majors analyzing advanced literary concepts)

  • Moving to a bigger and more diverse campus can be emotionally difficult, meaning students might feel homesick, lonely, or pressured to fit in → lower academic performance

Body 2: The solutions to the increased difficulty of studies in university or college

  • Universities or colleges should introduce support programs, including mentorship, workshops on good study habits, and counseling for emotional challenges → students can gain important skills for success

  • Universities or colleges should also encourage students to work together by promoting group study sessions and collaborative projects → a supportive social environment that reduces the feeling of isolation 


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