Monday, 10 February 2014

CPE Writing Paper 2013 / Part 1 Essay by guest blogger Javi Montoliu from Barcelona

Task: Write an essay summarising and evaluating the key points from both texts. Use your own words throughout as far as possible, and include your own ideas in your answer. You should write 240-280 words. (Texts are about "Positive Psychology", see Proficiency Expert book)

Positive Psychology
Both texts discuss the way positive psychology affects people’s lives. The first one advocates that it has a beneficial effect on those who put it into practice. The second one, on the other hand, states that it might not be favourable for everyone.




The first passage argues that people who buy into positive psychology attain a more joyful life not only for themselves but also for the wider society, but claims that experts of the field compare it to the frivolous self-help books. I personally feel this last statement will resonate with many people because therapies of this kind tend to be fairly senseless and unrealistic, for they tell you what to do but not how to do it. As reported by the text, this particular psychology enhances the person’s well-being and quality of life, thereby giving rise to a much more cheerful and healthy population.


In contrast, the second text proposes that a specific group of people called defensive pessimists react negatively to positive psychology thus stating that it is not suitable for everyone. Whilst we might think these so-called defensive pessimists really expect the worse, they actually adopt a pattern of behaviour which helps them be successful in life, they trick themselves into thinking they’ve performed badly. I would agree that being pessimistic might help them reach their own targets in life; nevertheless, I feel it isn’t beneficial for them to get fully involved in this pessimism.

In conclusion, it could be argued that joy and optimism are not what make us succeed in life. In my opinion, everyone has their own quirks that help them overcome their problems; therefore, any forced beliefs or behaviour will result in an unfavourable response.

Javier Montoliu