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student's essay comments: mistake with tech product purchasing


ETS Question

mistake when purchasing technological devices

Q 28. What is the biggest mistake people make when they buy technological devices

Clarie: The product’s functions do not match your needs. 

Paul: Software is different from what you already have so you have to learn all again how to use it.

TOEFL student essay comments

This is certainly a controversial topic that has generated much discussion in recent years. Claire and I are on the same page regarding our position on buying unnecessary products. I would also like to add that people recently imitated each other without even considering if it is worth following them. In fact, people prefer to follow new trends, and they are inspired by copying famous bloggers and blindly trust them. For instance, my son follows several well-known Youtubers. He checks their pages periodically, and if there is any new product they have, he will buy it directly without thinking. Therefore, today, he owns a Mac, laptop, and Apple watch, in addition to his phone. Even though he does not use them often, he likes to collect them. To sum it up, I think the most common mistake that people make is mimicking famous individuals and purchasing any item they may advertise.

Problems with this essay:

  • Get rid of the filler sentence (= the first sentence). It doesn’t boost your score.

  • Your view is different from Claire’s, so saying “agreeing “ is not correct.

Claire’s thesis: People buy products with features that they don’t need. 

Your thesis: People buy products just because influencers say so.

You will score high when you contribute to the discussion ( = provide your own reasons), instead of copying or summarizing students’ ideas) 

  • Your thesis ( = I think the most common mistake that people make is mimicking famous individuals and purchasing any item they may advertise) should have been presented at the beginning, not at the end. Ideas need to move from general to specific. As we write, our ideas become clear and precise, and this is why you should rewrite your intro. Don't use a template that has filler sentences.

  • Incorrect word usage: 

    • inspire (positive connotation) → imitate (negative connotation) 

    • periodically ( = occasionally) → regularly, frequently, constantly, often

    • without thinking → without hesitation, without a second thought

    • (How many items???) Therefore, today, he owns a Mac, laptop, and Apple watch, in addition to his phone → Consequently, he now owns several tech devices that perform similar functions, including a Mac laptop, Apple watch, and a cell phone.  

    • individuals → influencers

Corrected versions

sample 1

One of the most prevalent errors people tend to make is the act of emulating well-known figures and purchasing any product they happen to endorse. Take, for example, my son's fascination with various famous YouTubers. He regularly visits their channels, and as soon as they promote a new product, he rushes to buy it without hesitation. Consequently, he now possesses a Mac, a laptop, an Apple watch, and, of course, his smartphone. Even though he doesn't use these items frequently, he takes pleasure in collecting them. This trend illustrates how influential celebrities and social media personalities can be when it comes to consumer behavior, often leading people to acquire products they may not truly need.

sample 2

Many people impulsively buy products endorsed by famous individuals, even if they don't need them. This is evident in my son's case. He is a big fan of several popular YouTubers, and he often buys whatever they promote, without much thought. As a result, he now owns a Mac, a laptop, an Apple Watch, and a smartphone, even though he mostly uses only his smartphone. He regrets buying most of the tech devices, but he was swayed by the allure of products associated with his favorite influencers. This highlights the importance for consumers to think critically and make informed decisions, rather than blindly following trends set by famous people.

sample 3

Social media endorsements can significantly influence people to buy tech devices they don't need. This phenomenon is widespread, with people blindly following the recommendations of social influencers without researching or considering their actual needs. This trend is particularly prevalent in the digital age, where famous YouTubers, Instagrammers, and other social media personalities have vast followings and are often viewed as experts in various fields, including technology. These influencers frequently feature and endorse the latest gadgets, creating a sense of urgency and desire among their followers to acquire the same items. As a result, many people end up with tech devices they may not need or fully understand. They often make purchases driven by the appeal of owning what their favorite influencers showcase, leading to financial strain and disappointment. This impulsive buying can result in unused or underutilized tech gadgets gathering dust on shelves, making it a costly and unwise decision.

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