Main IELTS Writing Task 1 & Task 2
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iyapo kamoru olarewaju
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06 October 2019 (09:40)
This is very helpful.
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Contents IELTS WRITING TASK 1…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1 IELTS WRITING TASK 2…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 61 TASK 1 1 Some advice to help you avoid common mistakes in IELTS writing task 1: 1. Don't copy the question for your introduction. You should paraphrase the question (i.e. rewrite it using some different words). 2. Don't forget to separate your paragraphs clearly. 3. Don't forget to write a good summary/overview of the information. A quick one-sentence conclusion is not good enough. I prefer to put the overview straight after the introduction, and I try to write 2 sentences describing the information in general. You won't get a high score if you don't write a good overview. 4. Don't describe items separately (e.g. 2 lines on a graph). You should always try to compare things if it is possible to do so. Instead of describing 2 lines separately, compare the 2 lines at key points. 5. Don't try to describe every number on a chart or graph (unless there are only a few numbers). A key skill in task 1 is being able to select the key information and describe or compare it well. I usually mention around 6 or 7 numbers in my main paragraphs. 6. Don't spend longer than 20 minutes on task 1. Practise spending 5 minutes on each of your 4 paragraphs. Stop yourself after 20 minutes; remember that task 2 is worth more marks. 2 The overview / summary is a very important part of your task 1 report. Many people have no trouble describing specific details, but they find it difficult to describe the general features of a graph, chart or diagram. So here are my tips on how to write a good overview: 1. Always try to write two sentences. This forces you to describe two main or general features of the graph, chart or diagram. 2. Don't put any numbers in your overview. Save specific numbers for the 'details' paragraphs. 3. If the graph or chart shows a time period (e.g. years), look for the overall change from the beginning to the end of the period (e.g. from the first year to the last year). 4. ; Look for overall trends, and ignore individual figures that don't fit the trend. For example, if a graph shows a rising trend overall, you can ignore a specific year when the figures decreased save that year for your 'details' paragraphs. 5. If no time period is shown, you can't look for trends. Instead, look for differences and similarities between items. 6. Don't look for individual 'highest' or 'lowest' figures such as a 'peak' on a line graph. Instead, describe the highest and lowest items overall (e.g. which line on the graph was the highest for the whole or most of the period?). 7. Start your overview with a simple phrase that clearly shows the examiner that this is your summary paragraph e.g. It is clear that... , It is noticeable that... , Overall we can see that... 8. If there are two different charts, write one overview sentence about each chart. 9. If there are more than two charts, they must be connected in some way, so look for two main features overall. 10. If the task is to describe a diagram or map that compares things, you can mention the main differences and maybe the number of differences and / or similarities between the two diagrams. 11. If the task is to describe a process diagram, you can mention the total number of stages in the process and say where or how the process begins and ends. 3 The first chart below gives information about the money spent by British parents on their children’s sports between 2008 and 2014. The second chart shows the number of children who participated in three sports in Britain over the same time period. Here's my full answer: The line graphs show the average monthly amount that parents in Britain spent on their children’s sporting activities and the number of British children who took part in three different sports from 2008 to 2014. It is clear that parents spent more money each year on their children’s participation in sports over the six-year period. In terms of the number of children taking part, football was significantly more popular than athletics and swimming. In 2008, British parents spent an average of around £20 per month on their children’s sporting activities. Parents’ spending on children’s sports increased gradually over the following six years, and by 2014 the average monthly amount had risen to just over £30. Looking at participation numbers, in 2008 approximately 8 million British children played football, while only 2 million children were enrolled in swimming clubs and less than 1 million practised athletics. The figures 4 for football participation remained relatively stable over the following 6 years. By contrast, participation in swimming almost doubled, to nearly 4 million children, and there was a near fivefold increase in the number of children doing athletics. (185 words, band 9) The diagram below shows the life cycle of a salmon, from egg to adult fish. ... The diagram illustrates the stages in the life of the salmon, from birth to maturity. It is clear that there are six* main stages as the salmon develops from egg to mature adult. We can also see that salmon spend time in three distinct locations during the cycle, moving from river to estuary to ocean and then back upstream. Salmon begin their lives in rivers where the adult fish lay and incubate their eggs. After emerging from eggs, the young salmon spend the next stage of their lives being reared in freshwater areas. Then, at some point in their development, the fish swim downstream to river estuaries where rearing continues. 5 Following the estuary rearing period, the maturing salmon migrate to the ocean, where they eventually become fully grown adults. Finally, the adult fish travel back upstream to spawning areas of rivers; here they reproduce and lay their eggs, and the life cycle begins anew. (154 words, band 9) * I wrote "six" main stages because these are the stages that I describe in paragraphs 3 and 4. 6 The chart below shows the results of a survey of people who visited four types of tourist attraction in Britain in the year 1999. ... ... The pie chart compares figures for visitors to four categories of tourist attraction and to five different theme parks in Britain in 1999. It is clear that theme parks and museums / galleries were the two most popular types of tourist attraction in that year. Blackpool Pleasure Beach received by far the highest proportion of visitors in the theme park sector. Looking at the information in more detail, we can see that 38% of the surveyed visitors went to a theme park, and 37% of them went to a museum or gallery. By contrast, historic houses and monuments were visited by only 16% of the sample, while wildlife parks and zoos were the least popular of the four types of tourist attraction, with only 9% of visitors. In the theme park sector, almost half of the people surveyed (47%) had been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Alton Towers was the second most popular amusement park, with 17% of the sample, followed by Pleasureland in Southport, with 16%. Finally, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland Windsor had each welcomed 10% of the surveyed visitors. (181 words, band 9) 7 The graph below shows the amounts of waste produced by three companies over a period of 15 years. The line graph compares three companies in terms of their waste output between the years 2000 and 2015. It is clear that there were significant changes in the amounts of waste produced by all three companies shown on the graph. While companies A and B saw waste output fall over the 15-year period, the amount of waste produced by company C increased considerably. In 2000, company A produced 12 tonnes of waste, while companies B and C produced around 8 tonnes and 4 tonnes of waste material respectively. Over the following 5 years, the waste output of companies B and C rose by around 2 tonnes, but the figure for company A fell by approximately 1 tonne. From 2005 to 2015, company A cut waste production by roughly 3 tonnes, and company B reduced its waste by around 7 tonnes. By contrast, company C saw an increase in waste production of approximately 4 tonnes over the same 10-year period. By 2015, company C’s waste output had risen to 10 tonnes, while the respective amounts of waste from companies A and B had dropped to 8 tonnes and only 3 tonnes. (192 words, band 9) 8 The tables below give information about sales of Fairtrade*-labelled coffee and bananas in 1999 and 2004 in five European countries. *Fairtrade: a category of products for which farmers from developing countries have been paid an officially agreed fair price. The tables show the amount of money spent on Fairtrade coffee and bananas in two separate years in the UK, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and Sweden. It is clear that sales of Fairtrade coffee rose in all five European countries from 1999 to 2004, but sales of Fairtrade bananas only went up in three out of the five countries. Overall, the UK saw by far the highest levels of spending on the two products. In 1999, Switzerland had the highest sales of Fairtrade coffee, at €3 million, while revenue from Fairtrade bananas was highest in the UK, at €15 million. By 2004, however, sales of Fairtrade coffee in the UK had risen to €20 million, and this was over three times higher than Switzerland’s sales figure for Fairtrade coffee in that year. The year 2004 also saw dramatic increases in the money spent on Fairtrade bananas in the UK and Switzerland, with revenues rising by €32 million and €4.5 million respectively. Sales of the two Fairtrade products were far lower in Denmark, Belgium and Sweden. Small increases in sales of Fairtrade coffee can be seen, but revenue remained at €2 million or below in all three countries in both years. Finally, it is noticeable that the money spent on Fairtrade bananas actually fell in Belgium and Sweden. 9 Note: This report is a bit longer (216 words) than necessary, but I think it's a useful model answer in terms of its structure and the language used. The diagrams below show the site of a school in 2004 and the plan for changes to the school site in 2024. (Source: Official IELTS Practice Materials 2) The two pictures compare the layout of a school as it was in the year 2004 with a proposed site design for the year 2024. It is clear that the main change for 2024 involves the addition of a new school building. The school will then be able to accommodate a considerably larger number of students. In 2004, there were 600 pupils attending the school, and the two school buildings were separated by a path running from the main entrance to the sports field. By 2024, it is expected that there will be 1000 pupils, and a third building will have been constructed. Furthermore, the plan is to join 10 the two original buildings together, creating a shorter path that links the buildings only. As the third building and a second car park will be built on the site of the original sports field, a new, smaller sports field will need to be laid. A new road will also be built from the main entrance to the second car park. Finally, no changes will be made to the main entrance and original car park. (183 words, band 9) 11 The charts below show the results of a questionnaire that asked visitors to the Parkway Hotel how they rated the hotel's customer service. The same questionnaire was given to 100 guests in the years 2005 and 2010. The pie charts compare visitors’ responses to a survey about customer service at the Parkway Hotel in 2005 and in 2010. It is clear that overall customer satisfaction increased considerably from 2005 to 2010. While most hotel guests rated customer service as satisfactory or poor in 2005, a clear majority described the hotel’s service as good or excellent in 2010. Looking at the positive responses first, in 2005 only 5% of the hotel’s visitors rated its customer service as excellent, but this figure rose to 28% in 2010. Furthermore, while only 14% of guests described customer service in the hotel as good in 2005, almost three times as many people gave this rating five years later. With regard to negative feedback, the proportion of guests who considered the hotel’s customer service to be poor fell from 21% in 2005 to only 12% in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of people who thought customer service was very poor dropped from 15% to only 4% over the 5-year period. Finally, a fall in the number of ‘satisfactory’ ratings in 2010 reflects the fact that more people gave positive responses to the survey in that year. (193 words, band 9) 12 The pie charts below compare water usage in San Diego, California and the rest of the world. mm mm The pie charts give information about the water used for residential, industrial and agricultural purposes in San Diego County, California, and the world as a whole. It is noticeable that more water is consumed by homes than by industry or agriculture in the two American regions. By contrast, agriculture accounts for the vast majority of water used worldwide. In San Diego County and California State, residential water consumption accounts for 60% and 39% of total water usage. By contrast, a mere 8% of the water used globally goes to homes. The opposite trend can be seen when we look at water consumption for agriculture. This accounts for a massive 69% of global water use, but only 17% and 28% of water usage in San Diego and California respectively. Such dramatic differences are not seen when we compare the figures for industrial water use. The same proportion of water (23%) is used by industry in San Diego and worldwide, while the figure for California is 10% higher, at 33%. (168 words, band 9) 13 The chart below shows the amount of time that 10 to 15-year-olds spend chatting on the Internet and playing on games consoles on an average school day in the UK. ... The bar chart compares the time spent by 10 to 15-year-olds in the UK on two activities, namely chatting online and playing computer games. Overall, we can see that playing computer games is marginally more popular than chatting on the Internet. However, completely different trends can be seen if we look at the specific figures for boys and girls. Boys aged between 10 and 15 clearly favour playing on games consoles over chatting online. According to the chart, while 85% of boys play computer games every day, only 55% chat online daily. Furthermore, the majority of boys play on their consoles for more than one hour each day, and 10% do this activity for four hours or more. By contrast, girls prefer chatting online. Close to 70% of 10 to 15-yearold girls engage in online conversation each day, compared to about 50% of this cohort who play computer games. Of the girls who do play on consoles, most of them play for less than an hour, whereas most girls who chat online do so for more than one hour, and nearly 10% chat for four hours or more. Note: I decided to write about boys in one paragraph and girls in the other. However, it would also be fine to write paragraphs about chatting on the Internet and playing on consoles. 14 The line graph compares the percentage of people in three countries who used the Internet between 1999 and 2009. It is clear that the proportion of the population who used the Internet increased in each country over the period shown. Overall, a much larger percentage of Canadians and Americans had access to the Internet in comparison with Mexicans, and Canada experienced the fastest growth in Internet usage. In 1999, the proportion of people using the Internet in the USA was about 20%. The figures for Canada and Mexico were lower, at about 10% and 5% respectively. In 2005, Internet usage in both the USA and Canada rose to around 70% of the population, while the figure for Mexico reached just over 25%. By 2009, the percentage of Internet users was highest in Canada. Almost 100% of Canadians used the Internet, compared to about 80% of Americans and only 40% of Mexicans. 15 The following bar chart has a total of 24 bars. It's impossible to describe 24 pieces of information in only 20 minutes, so you need to select. A simple rule is to select at least one key thing about each country. Here are some examples: Britain: highest spending on all 6 products, give the figure for photographic film. France: second highest for 3 products, but lowest for the other 3. Italy: Italians spent more money on toys than on any other product. Germany: lowest spending overall, similar figures for all 6 products. The bar chart compares consumer spending on six different items in Germany, Italy, France and Britain. It is clear that British people spent significantly more money than people in the other three countries on all six goods. Of the six items, consumers spent the most money on photographic film. People in Britain spent just over £170,000 on photographic film, which is the highest figure shown on the chart. By contrast, Germans were the lowest overall spenders, with roughly the same figures (just under £150,000) for each of the six products. 16 The figures for spending on toys were the same in both France and Italy, at nearly £160,000. However, while French people spent more than Italians on photographic film and CDs, Italians paid out more for personal stereos, tennis racquets and perfumes. The amount spent by French people on tennis racquets, around £145,000, is the lowest figure shown on the chart. Note: - I tried to keep the essay short (154 words) by selecting carefully. - It's difficult to change spend, but I used spending, spenders and paid out. 17 The diagrams below show some principles of house design for cool and for warm climates. Although this question is different from the normal graph/chart questions, you should structure your answer in the same way. Try to write 4 paragraphs: 1. Introduction: paraphrase the question. 2. Summary: describe the main differences - the design of the roof and windows, and the use of insulation. 3. Details: compare the roof design and use of insulation. 4. Details: compare the window design and how windows are used during the day and at night. The diagrams show how house designs differ according to climate. The most noticeable difference between houses designed for cool and warm climates is in the shape of the roof. The designs also differ with regard to the windows and the use of insulation. We can see that the cool climate house has a high-angled roof, which allows sunlight to enter through the window. By contrast, the roof of the warm climate house has a peak in the middle and roof overhangs to shade the windows. Insulation and thermal building materials are used in cool climates to reduce heat loss, whereas insulation and reflective materials are used to keep the heat out in warm climates. 18 Finally, the cool climate house has one window which faces the direction of the sun, while the warm climate house has windows on two sides which are shaded from the sun. By opening the two windows at night, the house designed for warm climates can be ventilated. (162 words, band 9) 19 The diagram below shows the water cycle, which is the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. The picture illustrates the way in which water passes from ocean to air to land during the natural process known as the water cycle. Three main stages are shown on the diagram. Ocean water evaporates, falls as rain, and eventually runs back into the oceans again. Beginning at the evaporation stage, we can see that 80% of water vapour in the air comes from the oceans. Heat from the sun causes water to evaporate, and water vapour condenses to form clouds. At the second stage, labelled ‘precipitation’ on the diagram, water falls as rain or snow. At the third stage in the cycle, rainwater may take various paths. Some of it may fall into lakes or return to the oceans via ‘surface runoff’. Otherwise, rainwater may filter through the ground, reaching the impervious layer of the earth. Salt water intrusion is shown to take place just before groundwater passes into the oceans to complete the cycle. (156 words, band 9) 20 The diagrams below are existing and proposed floor plans for the redevelopment of an art gallery. Here's my advice: 1. Introduction: paraphrase the question 2. Summary: the main changes to the gallery (entrance and use of space) 3. Paragraph comparing entrance, lobby, office, education area 4. Paragraph comparing use of space for exhibitions The first picture shows the layout of an art gallery, and the second shows some proposed changes to the gallery space. It is clear that significant changes will be made in terms of the use of floor space in the gallery. There will be a completely new entrance and more space for exhibitions. At present, visitors enter the gallery through doors which lead into a lobby. However, the plan is to move the entrance to the Parkinson Court side of the building, and visitors will walk straight into the exhibition area. In place of the lobby and office areas, which are shown on the existing plan, the new gallery plan shows an education area and a small storage area. The permanent exhibition space in the redeveloped gallery will be about twice as large as it is now because it will occupy the area that is now used for temporary exhibitions. There will also be a new room 21 for special exhibitions. This room is shown in red on the existing plan and is not currently part of the gallery. (178 words, band 9) The table below gives information about the underground railway systems in six cities. Full essay (band 9): The table shows data about the underground rail networks in six major cities. The table compares the six networks in terms of their age, size and the number of people who use them each year. It is clear that the three oldest underground systems are larger and serve significantly more passengers than the newer systems. The London underground is the oldest system, having opened in 1863. It is also the largest system, with 394 kilometres of route. The second largest system, in Paris, is only about half the size of the London underground, with 199 kilometres of route. However, it serves more people per year. While only third in terms of size, the Tokyo system is easily the most used, with 1927 million passengers per year. Of the three newer networks, the Washington DC underground is the most extensive, with 126 kilometres of route, compared to only 11 kilometres and 28 kilometres for the Kyoto and Los Angeles systems. The Los Angeles network is the newest, having opened in 2001, while the Kyoto network is the smallest and serves only 45 million passengers per year. (185 words) 22 Cambridge IELTS book 7, page 101: The pie charts compare the amount of electricity produced using five different sources of fuel in two countries over two separate years. Total electricity production increased dramatically from 1980 to 2000 in both Australia and France. While the totals for both countries were similar, there were big differences in the fuel sources used. Coal was used to produce 50 of the total 100 units of electricity in Australia in 1980, rising to 130 out of 170 units in 2000. By contrast, nuclear power became the most important fuel source in France in 2000, producing almost 75% of the country’s electricity. Australia depended on hydro power for just under 25% of its electricity in both years, but the amount of electricity produced using this type of power fell from 5 to only 2 units in France. Oil, on the other hand, remained a relatively important fuel source in France, but its use declined in Australia. Both countries relied on natural gas for electricity production significantly more in 1980 than in 2000. (170 words) 23 Full essay (159 words): The chart gives information about UK immigration, emigration and net migration between 1999 and 2008. Both immigration and emigration rates rose over the period shown, but the figures for immigration were significantly higher. Net migration peaked in 2004 and 2007. In 1999, over 450,000 people came to live in the UK, while the number of people who emigrated stood at just under 300,000. The figure for net migration was around 160,000, and it remained at a similar level until 2003. From 1999 to 2004, the immigration rate rose by nearly 150,000 people, but there was a much smaller rise in emigration. Net migration peaked at almost 250,000 people in 2004. After 2004, the rate of immigration remained high, but the number of people emigrating fluctuated. Emigration fell suddenly in 2007, before peaking at about 420,000 people in 2008. As a result, the net migration figure rose to around 240,000 in 2007, but fell back to around 160,000 in 2008. 24 The charts below show the levels of participation in education and science in developing and industrialised countries in 1980 and 1990. The three bar charts show average years of schooling, numbers of scientists and technicians, and research and development spending in developing and developed countries. Figures are given for 1980 and 1990. It is clear from the charts that the figures for developed countries are much higher than those for developing nations. Also, the charts show an overall increase in participation in education and science from 1980 to 1990. People in developing nations attended school for an average of around 3 years, with only a slight increase in years of schooling from 1980 to 1990. On the other hand, the figure for industrialised countries rose from nearly 9 years of schooling in 1980 to nearly 11 years in 1990. From 1980 to 1990, the number of scientists and technicians in industrialised countries almost doubled to about 70 per 1000 people. 25 Spending on research and development also saw rapid growth in these countries, reaching $350 billion in 1990. By contrast, the number of science workers in developing countries remained below 20 per 1000 people, and research spending fell from about $50 billion to only $25 billion. (187 words) 26 The diagram below shows how the Australian Bureau of Meteorology collects up-to-the-minute information on the weather in order to produce reliable forecasts. Here is my full essay (170 words): The figure illustrates the process used by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to forecast the weather. There are four stages in the process, beginning with the collection of information about the weather. This information is then analysed, prepared for presentation, and finally broadcast to the public. Looking at the first and second stages of the process, there are three ways of collecting weather data and three ways of analysing it. Firstly, incoming information can be received by satellite and presented for analysis as a satellite photo. The same data can also be passed to a radar station and presented on a radar screen or synoptic chart. Secondly, incoming information may be collected directly by radar and analysed on a radar screen or synoptic chart. Finally, drifting buoys also receive data which can be shown on a synoptic chart. 27 At the third stage of the process, the weather broadcast is prepared on computers. Finally, it is delivered to the public on television, on the radio, or as a recorded telephone announcement. The table below gives information on consumer spending on different items in five different countries in 2002. Percentage of national consumer expenditure by category – 2002 The table shows percentages of consumer expenditure for three categories of products and services in five countries in 2002. It is clear that the largest proportion of consumer spending in each country went on food, drinks and tobacco. On the other hand, the leisure/education category has the lowest percentages in the table. Out of the five countries, consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco was noticeably higher in Turkey, at 32.14%, and Ireland, at nearly 29%. The proportion of spending on leisure and education was also highest in Turkey, at 4.35%, while expenditure on clothing and footwear was significantly higher in Italy, at 9%, than in any of the other countries. It can be seen that Sweden had the lowest percentages of national consumer expenditure for food/drinks/tobacco and for clothing/footwear, at nearly 16% and just over 5% respectively. Spain had slightly higher figures for these categories, but the lowest figure for leisure/education, at only 1.98%. Note: - Which information did I choose to include in my 'summary' paragraph? - Why did I use past and present tenses in paragraph 2? - How did I group the information for paragraphs 3 and 4? The graph and table below give information about water use worldwide and water consumption in two different countries. 28 The charts compare the amount of water used for agriculture, industry and homes around the world, and water use in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is clear that global water needs rose significantly between 1900 and 2000, and that agriculture accounted for the largest proportion of water used. We can also see that water consumption was considerably higher in Brazil than in the Congo. In 1900, around 500km³ of water was used by the agriculture sector worldwide. The figures for industrial and domestic water consumption stood at around one fifth of that amount. By 2000, global water use for agriculture had increased to around 3000km³, industrial water use had risen to just under half that amount, and domestic consumption had reached approximately 500km³. In the year 2000, the populations of Brazil and the Congo were 176 million and 5.2 million respectively. Water consumption per person in Brazil, at 359m³, was much higher than that in the Congo, at only 8m³, and this could be explained by the fact that Brazil had 265 times more irrigated land. (184 words, band 9) 29 The table below shows the proportion of different categories of families living in poverty in Australia in 1999. The table gives information about poverty rates among six types of household in Australia in the year 1999. It is noticeable that levels of poverty were higher for single people than for couples, and people with children were more likely to be poor than those without. Poverty rates were considerably lower among elderly people. Overall, 11% of Australians, or 1,837,000 people, were living in poverty in 1999. Aged people were the least likely to be poor, with poverty levels of 6% and 4% for single aged people and aged couples respectively. Just over one fifth of single parents were living in poverty, whereas only 12% of parents living with a partner were classed as poor. The same pattern can be seen for people with no children: while 19% of single people in this group were living below the poverty line, the figure for couples was much lower, at only 7%. (150 words, band 9) 30 The map below is of the town of Garlsdon. A new supermarket (S) is planned for the town. The map shows two possible sites for the supermarket. (From Cambridge IELTS 5) Here is some advice: 1. Introduction - Just paraphrase the question (instead of 'two possible sites' you could write 'two potential locations'). 2. Summary - The main point is that the first site (S1) is outside the town, whereas the second site is in the town centre. Also, you could mention that the map shows the position of both sites relative to a railway and three roads which lead to three smaller towns. 3. Details (2 paragraphs) - Don't write a separate paragraph about each site; it's much better to compare the sites. I'd write one paragraph comparing the position of each site relative to Garlsdon (mention the different areas of the town), and another paragraph about the positions relative to transport links with the other three towns. The map shows two potential locations (S1 and S2) for a new supermarket in a town called Garlsdon. The main difference between the two sites is that S1 is outside the town, whereas S2 is in the town centre. The sites can also be 31 compared in terms of access by road or rail, and their positions relative to three smaller towns. Looking at the information in more detail, S1 is in the countryside to the north west of Garlsdon, but it is close to the residential area of the town. S2 is also close to the housing area, which surrounds the town centre. There are main roads from Hindon, Bransdon and Cransdon to Garlsdon town centre, but this is a no traffic zone, so there would be no access to S2 by car. By contrast, S1 lies on the main road to Hindon, but it would be more difficult to reach from Bransdon and Cransdon. Both supermarket sites are close to the railway that runs through Garlsdon from Hindon to Cransdon. 32 The climograph below shows average monthly temperatures and rainfall in the city of Kolkata. The chart compares average figures for temperature and precipitation over the course of a calendar year in Kolkata. It is noticeable that monthly figures for precipitation in Kolkata vary considerably, whereas monthly temperatures remain relatively stable. Rainfall is highest from July to August, while temperatures are highest in April and May. Between the months of January and May, average temperatures in Kolkata rise from their lowest point at around 20°C to a peak of just over 30°C. Average rainfall in the city also rises over the same period, from approximately 20mm of rain in January to 100mm in May. While temperatures stay roughly the same for the next four months, the amount of rainfall more than doubles between May and June. Figures for precipitation remain above 250mm from June to September, peaking at around 330mm in July. The final three months of the year see a dramatic fall in precipitation, to a low of about 10mm in December, and a steady drop in temperatures back to the January average. (173 words, band 9) 33 The bar charts compare students of different ages in terms of why they are studying and whether they are supported by an employer. It is clear that the proportion of students who study for career purposes is far higher among the younger age groups, while the oldest students are more likely to study for interest. Employer support is more commonly given to younger students. Around 80% of students aged under 26 study to further their careers, whereas only 10% study purely out of interest. The gap between these two proportions narrows as students get older, and the figures for those in their forties are the same, at about 40%. Students aged over 49 overwhelmingly study for interest (70%) rather than for professional reasons (less than 20%). Just over 60% of students aged under 26 are supported by their employers. By contrast, the 30-39 age group is the most self-sufficient, with only 30% being given time off and help with fees. The figures rise slightly for students in their forties and for those aged 50 or more. (178 words, band 9) 34 The chart below shows numbers of incidents and injuries per 100 million passenger miles travelled (PMT) by transportation type in 2002. The bar chart compares the number of incidents and injuries for every 100 million passenger miles travelled on five different types of public transport in 2002. It is clear that the most incidents and injuries took place on demandresponse vehicles. By contrast, commuter rail services recorded by far the lowest figures. A total of 225 incidents and 173 injuries, per 100 million passenger miles travelled, took place on demand-response transport services. These figures were nearly three times as high as those for the second highest category, bus services. There were 76 incidents and 66 people were injured on buses. Rail services experienced fewer problems. The number of incidents on light rail trains equalled the figure recorded for buses, but there were significantly fewer injuries, at only 39. Heavy rail services saw lower numbers of such events than light rail services, but commuter rail passengers were even less likely to experience problems. In fact, only 20 incidents and 17 injuries occurred on commuter trains. (165 words, band 9) Note: Don't worry about the repetition of "incidents and injuries" in this essay. There are no perfect synonyms for these words, although I managed to use "problems" and "such events" later in the essay. The most important thing is to describe the data clearly and make some good comparisons. 35 The graph below shows the proportion of the population aged 65 and over between 1940 and 2040 in three different countries. The line graph compares the percentage of people aged 65 or more in three countries over a period of 100 years. It is clear that the proportion of elderly people increases in each country between 1940 and 2040. Japan is expected to see the most dramatic changes in its elderly population. In 1940, around 9% of Americans were aged 65 or over, compared to about 7% of Swedish people and 5% of Japanese people. The proportions of elderly people in the USA and Sweden rose gradually over the next 50 years, reaching just under 15% in 1990. By contrast, the figures for Japan remained below 5% until the early 2000s. Looking into the future, a sudden increase in the percentage of elderly people is predicted for Japan, with a jump of over 15% in just 10 years from 2030 to 2040. By 2040, it is thought that around 27% of the Japanese population will be 65 years old or more, while the figures for Sweden and the USA will be slightly lower, at about 25% and 23% respectively. (178 words, band 9) 36 Average weekly household expenditure by region, 2007-09 Weekly expenditure (£) Here are my 10 sentences: 1. The bar chart shows average weekly spending by households in different areas of England between 2007 and 2009. 2. Households in the south of the country spent more on average than those in the north. 3. Average weekly spending by households was highest in London and lowest in the North East. 4. English households spent on average around £470 per week. 5. The average expenditure for households in London was about £560 per week, almost £100 more than the overall figure for England. 6. Households in the South East, East and South West also spent more than the national average. 7. Weekly household spending figures for those three regions were approximately £520, £490 and £480 respectively. 8. Similar levels of household spending were seen in the West Midlands, the North West and the East Midlands, at about £430 to £450 per week. 9. In the region of Yorkshire and the Humber, households spent approximately £400 per week, while expenditure in the North East was around £10 per week lower than this. 10. It is noticeable that average weekly expenditure by households in the North East was around £80 less than the national average, and around £170 less than the London average. 37 The chart below shows the total number of Olympic medals won by twelve different countries. The bar chart compares twelve countries in terms of the overall number of medals that they have won at the Olympic Games. It is clear that the USA is by far the most successful Olympic medal winning nation. It is also noticeable that the figures for gold, silver and bronze medals won by any particular country tend to be fairly similar. The USA has won a total of around 2,300 Olympic medals, including approximately 900 gold medals, 750 silver and 650 bronze. In second place on the all-time medals chart is the Soviet Union, with just over 1,000 medals. Again, the number of gold medals won by this country is slightly higher than the number of silver or bronze medals. Only four other countries - the UK, France, Germany and Italy - have won more than 500 Olympic medals, all with similar proportions of each medal colour. Apart from the USA and the Soviet Union, China is the only other country with a noticeably higher proportion of gold medals (about 200) compared to silver and bronze (about 100 each). (178 words, band 9) 38 The table compares the percentages of people using different functions of their mobile phones between 2006 and 2010. Throughout the period shown, the main reason why people used their mobile phones was to make calls. However, there was a marked increase in the popularity of other mobile phone features, particularly the Internet search feature. In 2006, 100% of mobile phone owners used their phones to make calls, while the next most popular functions were text messaging (73%) and taking photos (66%). By contrast, less than 20% of owners played games or music on their phones, and there were no figures for users doing Internet searches or recording video. Over the following 4 years, there was relatively little change in the figures for the top three mobile phone features. However, the percentage of people using their phones to access the Internet jumped to 41% in 2008 and then to 73% in 2010. There was also a significant rise in the use of mobiles to play games and to record video, with figures reaching 41% and 35% respectively in 2010. Note: The above essay isn't perfect, but it's still good enough for a band 9. You are not expected to write a masterpiece in only 20 minutes. 39 The two maps below show an island, before and after the construction of some tourist facilities. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words The diagrams illustrate some changes to a small island which has been developed for tourism. It is clear that the island has changed considerably with the introduction of tourism, and six new features can be seen in the second diagram. The main developments are that the island is accessible and visitors have somewhere to stay. Looking at the maps in more detail, we can see that small huts have been built to accommodate visitors to the island. The other physical structures that have been added are a reception building, in the middle of the island, and a restaurant to the north of the reception. Before these developments, the island was completely bare apart from a few trees. 40 As well as the buildings mentioned above, the new facilities on the island include a pier, where boats can dock. There is also a short road linking the pier with the reception and restaurant, and footpaths connect the huts. Finally, there is a designated swimming area for tourists off a beach on the western tip of the island. (175 words, band 9) 41 The graph below shows the average number of UK commuters travelling each day by car, bus or train between 1970 and 2030. Here's the essay I wrote with my students' help: The line graph compares figures for daily travel by workers in the UK using three different forms of transport over a period of 60 years. It is clear that the car is by far the most popular means of transport for UK commuters throughout the period shown. Also, while the numbers of people who use the car and train increase gradually, the number of bus users falls steadily. In 1970, around 5 million UK commuters travelled by car on a daily basis, while the bus and train were used by about 4 million and 2 million people respectively. In the year 2000, the number of those driving to work rose to 7 million and the number of commuting rail passengers reached 3 million. However, there was a small drop of approximately 0.5 million in the number of bus users. By 2030, the number of people who commute by car is expected to reach almost 9 million, and the number of train users is also predicted to rise, to nearly 5 million. By contrast, buses are predicted to become a less popular choice, with only 3 million daily users. 42 Here's my full essay using last week's ideas: The line graph compares average yearly spending by Americans on mobile and landline phone services from 2001 to 2010. It is clear that spending on landline phones fell steadily over the 10-year period, while mobile phone expenditure rose quickly. The year 2006 marks the point at which expenditure on mobile services overtook that for residential phone services. In 2001, US consumers spent an average of nearly $700 on residential phone services, compared to only around $200 on cell phone services. Over the following five years, average yearly spending on landlines dropped by nearly $200. By contrast, expenditure on mobiles rose by approximately $300. In the year 2006, the average American paid out the same amount of money on both types of phone service, spending just over $500 on each. By 2010, expenditure on mobile phones had reached around $750, while the figure for spending on residential services had fallen to just over half this amount. (162 words, band 9) 43 ... nymph = immature form of an insect moult = shed or lose old feathers, hair or skin to allow for new growth The diagram illustrates the various stages in the life of a honey bee. We can see that the complete life cycle lasts between 34 and 36 days. It is also noticeable that there are five main stages in the development of the honey bee, from egg to mature adult insect. The life cycle of the honey bee begins when the female adult lays an egg; the female typically lays one or two eggs every 3 days. Between 9 and 10 days later, each egg hatches and the immature insect, or nymph, appears. During the third stage of the life cycle, the nymph grows in size and sheds its skin three times. This moulting first takes place 5 days after the egg hatches, then 7 days later, and again another 9 days later. After a total of 30 to 31 days from the start of the cycle, the young adult honey bee emerges from its final moulting stage, and in the space of only 4 days it reaches full maturity. (169 words, band 9) 44 The bar graph shows the global sales (in billions of dollars) of different types of digital games between 2000 and 2006. The bar chart compares the turnover in dollars from sales of video games for four different platforms, namely mobile phones, online, consoles and handheld devices, from 2000 to 2006. It is clear that sales of games for three out of the four platforms rose each year, leading to a significant rise in total global turnover over the 7-year period. Sales figures for handheld games were at least twice as high as those for any other platform in almost every year. In 2000, worldwide sales of handheld games stood at around $11 billion, while console games earned just under $6 billion. No figures are given for mobile or online games in that year. Over the next 3 years, sales of handheld video games rose by about $4 billion, but the figure for consoles decreased by $2 billion. Mobile phone and online games started to become popular, with sales reaching around $3 billion in 2003. In 2006, sales of handheld, online and mobile games reached peaks of 17, 9 and 7 billion dollars respectively. By contrast, turnover from console games dropped to its lowest point, at around $2.5 billion. 45 The map shows the growth of a village called Chorleywood between 1868 and 1994. It is clear that the village grew as the transport infrastructure was improved. Four periods of development are shown on the map, and each of the populated areas is near to the main roads, the railway or the motorway. From 1868 to 1883, Chorleywood covered a small area next to one of the main roads. Chorleywood Park and Golf Course is now located next to this original village area. The village grew along the main road to the south between 1883 and 1922, and in 1909 a railway line was built crossing this area from west to east. Chorleywood station is in this part of the village. The expansion of Chorleywood continued to the east and west alongside the railway line until 1970. At that time, a motorway was built to the east of the village, and from 1970 to 1994, further development of the village took place around motorway intersections with the railway and one of the main roads. Don't just read this essay once. Spend some time analysing it: In what order did I describe the information shown on the map? What information did I choose for paragraphs 3 and 4? What good vocabulary does the essay contain? 46 Note: I've underlined some good phrases. The bar chart shows the number of hot dogs and buns eaten in 15 minutes by the winners of ‘Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest’ in Brooklyn, USA between 1980 and 2010. It is noticeable that the number of hot dogs and buns eaten by winners of the contest increased dramatically over the period shown. The majority of winners were American or Japanese, and only one woman had ever won the contest. Americans dominated the contest from 1980 to 1996, and the winning number of hot dogs and buns consumed rose from only 8 to around 21 during that time. 1983 and 1984 were notable exceptions to the trend for American winners. In 1983 a Mexican won the contest after eating 19.5 hot dogs, almost double the amount that any previous winner had eaten, and 1984 saw the only female winner, Birgit Felden from Germany. A Japanese contestant, Takeru Kobayashi, reigned as hot dog eating champion for six years from 2001 to 2006. Kobayashi’s winning totals of around 50 hot dogs were roughly double the amount that any previous 47 winner had managed. However, the current champion, American Joey Chestnut, took hot dog eating to new heights in 2009 when he consumed an incredible 68 hot dogs and buns in the allotted 15 minutes. 48 The graph below shows trends in US meat and poultry consumption. (Note: I'm ignoring the forecast and treating 2012 as a past year) The line graph shows changes in the per capita consumption of beef, pork, broilers and turkey in the United States between 1955 and 2012. It is noticeable that beef was by far the most popular of the four types of meat for the majority of the 57-year period. However, a considerable rise can be seen in the consumption of broilers, with figures eventually surpassing those for beef. Between 1955 and 1976, US beef consumption rose from around 60 to a peak of 90 pounds per person per year. During the same period, consumption of broilers also rose, to nearly 30 pounds per person, while the figures for pork fluctuated between 50 and 40 pounds per person. Turkey was by far the least popular meat, with figures below 10 pounds per capita each year. By 2012, the amount of beef consumed by the average American had plummeted to around 50 pounds, but the consumption of broilers had doubled since the 1970s, to approximately 55 pounds per capita. By contrast, there were no significant changes in the trends for pork and turkey consumption over the period as a whole. Task: Analyse the above paragraphs carefully. Look at which figures I decided to include, the language used for comparisons, and the way I divided the description into two separate paragraphs. 49 The chart below shows the process of waste paper recycling. The flow chart shows how waste paper is recycled. It is clear that there are six distinct stages in this process, from the initial collection of waste paper to the eventual production of usable paper. At the first stage in the paper recycling process, waste paper is collected either from paper banks, where members of the public leave their used paper, or directly from businesses. This paper is then sorted by hand and separated according to its grade, with any paper that is not suitable for recycling being removed. Next, the graded paper is transported to a paper mill. Stages four and five of the process both involve cleaning. The paper is cleaned and pulped, and foreign objects such as staples are taken out. Following this, all remnants of ink and glue are removed from the paper at the de-inking stage. Finally, the pulp can be processed in a paper making machine, which makes the end product: usable paper. (160 words, band 9) 50 The diagrams below show how houses can be protected in areas which are prone to flooding. ... ... Here's my full band 9 report: The diagrams compare two different methods of defence for homes which are at risk of being flooded. The key difference between the diagrams is that they show flood protection with and without a stopbank. In either case, the at-risk home is raised on stilts above ground level. The first diagram shows how a stopbank acts as a flood barrier to stop river water from flooding homes. The stopbank is a small mound of land next to the river that is higher than the 100-year flood level, and prevents the river from bursting its banks. Nearby houses can be built on stilts to prevent flooding from rainwater, and a floodgate beneath the stopbank can be opened to allow this ‘ponding’ to drain off into the river. When there is no stopbank, as shown in the second diagram, there will be nothing to stop the river from flooding. In this case, the solution is to put buildings on stilts. The height of the stilts is measured so that the floor of the house is 300mm above the 100-year flood level. This measurement is called the ‘freeboard’. 51 The table below shows the amount of waste production (in millions of tonnes) in six different countries over a twenty-year period. The chart compares the amounts of waste that were produced in six countries in the years 1980, 1990 and 2000. In each of these years, the US produced more waste than Ireland, Japan, Korea, Poland and Portugal combined. It is also noticeable that Korea was the only country that managed to reduce its waste output by the year 2000. Between 1980 and 2000, waste production in the US rose from 131 to 192 million tonnes, and rising trends were also seen in Japan, Poland and Portugal. Japan’s waste output increased from 28 to 53 million tonnes, while Poland and Portugal saw waste totals increase from 4 to 6.6 and from 2 to 5 million tonnes respectively. The trends for Ireland and Korea were noticeably different from those described above. In Ireland, waste production increased more than eightfold, from only 0.6 million tonnes in 1980 to 5 million tonnes in 2000. Korea, by contrast, cut its waste output by 12 million tonnes between 1990 and 2000. 52 The pie charts compare the expenditure of a school in the UK in three different years over a 20-year period. It is clear that teachers’ salaries made up the largest proportion of the school’s spending in all three years (1981, 1991 and 2001). By contrast, insurance was the smallest cost in each year. In 1981, 40% of the school’s budget went on teachers’ salaries. This figure rose to 50% in 1991, but fell again by 5% in 2001. The proportion of spending on other workers’ wages fell steadily over the 20-year period, from 28% of the budget in 1981 to only 15% in 2001. Expenditure on insurance stood at only 2% of the total in 1981, but reached 8% in 2001. Finally, the percentages for resources and furniture/equipment fluctuated. The figure for resources was highest in 1991, at 20%, and the proportion of spending on furniture and equipment reached its peak in 2001, at 23%. (158 words, band 9) 53 The table below shows changes in the numbers of residents cycling to work in different areas of the UK between 2001 and 2011. The table compares the numbers of people who cycled to work in twelve areas of the UK in the years 2001 and 2011. Overall, the number of UK commuters who travelled to work by bicycle rose considerably over the 10-year period. Inner London had by far the highest number of cycling commuters in both years. In 2001, well over 43 thousand residents of inner London commuted by bicycle, and this figure rose to more than 106 thousand in 2011, an increase of 144%. By contrast, although outer London had the second highest number of cycling commuters in each year, the percentage change, at only 45%, was the lowest of the twelve areas shown in the table. Brighton and Hove saw the second biggest increase (109%) in the number of residents cycling to work, but Bristol was the UK’s second city in terms of total numbers of cycling commuters, with 8,108 in 2001 and 15,768 in 2011. Figures for the other eight areas were below the 10 thousand mark in both years. (172 words, band 9) 54 The diagram below shows how solar panels can be used to provide electricity for domestic use. The picture illustrates the process of producing electricity in a home using solar panels. It is clear that there are five distinct stages in this process, beginning with the capture of energy from sunlight. The final two steps show how domestic electricity is connected to the external power supply. At the first stage in the process, solar panels on the roof of a normal house take energy from the sun and convert it into DC current. Next, this current is passed to an inverter, which changes it to AC current and regulates the supply of electricity. At stage three, electricity is supplied to the home from an electrical panel. At the fourth step shown on the diagram, a utility meter in the home is responsible for sending any extra electric power outside the house into the grid. Finally, if the solar panels do not provide enough energy for the household, electricity will flow from the utility grid into the home through the meter. Note: I've underlined examples of the two language features that make process diagram descriptions special: 'steps' language, and passive verbs. 55 The charts below compare the age structure of the populations of France and India in 1984. mm mm The two charts compare the populations of France and India in terms of age distribution by gender in the year 1984. It is clear that the population of India was younger than that of France in 1984, with a noticeably larger proportion of people aged under 20. France, on the other hand, had a significantly larger percentage of elderly inhabitants. In India, close to 14% of people were aged 5 or under, and each five-year age bracket above this contained an increasingly smaller proportion of the population. France’s population, by contrast, was more evenly distributed across the age ranges, with similar figures (around 7% to 8% of all people) for each five-year cohort between the ages of 0 and 40. Somewhere between 10% and 15% of all French people were aged 70 or older, but the equivalent figure for India was only 2%. Looking more closely at gender, there was a noticeably higher proportion of French women than men in every cohort from age 50 upwards. For example, almost 3% of French 70- to 75-year-olds were women, while just under 2% were men. No significant gender differences can be seen on the Indian population chart. (199 words, band 9) 56 The pie charts below show how dangerous waste products are dealt with in three countries. The charts compare Korea, Sweden and the UK in terms of the methods used in each country to dispose of harmful waste. It is clear that in both the UK and Sweden, the majority of dangerous waste products are buried underground. By contrast, most hazardous materials in the Republic of Korea are recycled. Looking at the information in more detail, we can see that 82% of the UK’s dangerous waste is put into landfill sites. This disposal technique is used for 55% of the harmful waste in Sweden and only 22% of similar waste in Korea. The latter country recycles 69% of hazardous materials, which is far more than the other two nations. While 25% of Sweden's dangerous waste is recycled, the UK does not recycle at all. Instead, it dumps waste at sea or treats it chemically. These two methods are not employed in Korea or Sweden, which favour incineration for 9% and 20% of dangerous waste respectively. (159 words, band 9) 57 The chart below shows the total number of minutes (in billions) of telephone calls in the UK, divided into three categories, from 19952002. The bar chart compares the amount of time spent by people in the UK on three different types of phone call between 1995 and 2002. It is clear that calls made via local, fixed lines were the most popular type, in terms of overall usage, throughout the period shown. The lowest figures on the chart are for mobile calls, but this category also saw the most dramatic increase in user minutes. In 1995, people in the UK used fixed lines for a total of just over 70 billion minutes for local calls, and about half of that amount of time for national or international calls. By contrast, mobile phones were only used for around 4 billion minutes. Over the following four years, the figures for all three types of phone call increased steadily. By 1999, the amount of time spent on local calls using landlines had reached a peak at 90 billion minutes. Subsequently, the figure for this category fell, but the rise in the other two types of phone call continued. In 2002, the number of minutes of national / international landline calls passed 60 billion, while the figure for mobiles rose to around 45 billion minutes. (197 words, band 9) 58 The bar chart below shows the proportions of English men and women of different ages who were living alone in 2011. The pie chart compares the numbers of bedrooms in these one-person households. ... Living alone in England by age and gender, 2011 Number of bedrooms in one-person households (England, 2011) The two charts give information about single-occupant households in England in the year 2011. The bar chart compares figures for occupants' age and gender, and the pie chart shows data about the number of bedrooms in these homes. Overall, females made up a higher proportion of people living alone than males, and this difference is particularly noticeable in the older age categories. We can also see that the most common number of bedrooms in a single-occupant home was two. A significant majority of the people aged 65 or over who were living alone in England in 2011 were female. Women made up around 72% of single 59 occupants aged 75 to 84, and 76% of those aged 85 or over. By contrast, among younger adults the figures for males were higher. For example, in the 35-49 age category, men accounted for nearly 65% of people living alone. In the same year, 35.4% of one-person households in England had two bedrooms, while one-bedroom and three-bedroom homes accounted for 28% and 29.8% of the total. Under 7% of single-occupant homes had four or more bedrooms. (189 words, band 9) 60 TASK 2 61 IELTS Writing Task 2: how to answer any question Today I want to show you what happens in my brain when I see any IELTS Writing Task 2 question. Here are my thinking steps: 1. I read the question very carefully, maybe three times. I ask myself "What's the topic? What is the question asking me to write about?" 2. I underline the key things that must be included in the essay. I always answer every part of the question. 3. Now I think about my 4 paragraph structure. I can write any type of essay in 4 paragraphs; I just need to decide what to put in each paragraph. 4. If I need to give my opinion, I think "What is the easiest opinion to explain? What good vocabulary could I use?" 5. Then I write down some vocabulary ideas that are related to the topic. 6. I try to write 2 sentences for the introduction: I introduce the topic, then give a simple answer (including my opinion if the question asks for it). 7. I write short 'topic sentences' to start each paragraph, then develop my ideas by explaining and supporting with examples. 8. I look at the question from time to time in order to check that I'm answering every part of it. 9. I know that I write about 10 words per line; I can quickly check the approximate number of words that I've written. 10. If I need more words (to reach 250), I expand one of my examples in the main body paragraphs. If necessary, I draw an arrow to show where I want to add the extra words. 62 Is it acceptable to use "I" or "my" in IELTS writing? As an ex-examiner, my advice is that you should use phrases like "I believe" or "in my opinion" when the question asks for your opinion e.g To what extent do you agree or disagree? Some teachers tell students not to use "I" in academic essays, but this advice is really for university academic writing, not IELTS. Do you AGREE? IELTS Writing Task 2: the confidence to be 'simple' If the question asks whether YOU agree or disagree, don't write a paragraph about what other people think. The whole essay should be about YOUR views. For many of the students I've taught, a breakthrough (or big improvement) came when they found the confidence to write in a more 'simple' way. When you stop worrying about whether you need to include passives, conditionals or 'difficult academic words' in your essays, you are free to focus on answering the question and explaining your ideas coherently. It takes confidence to change your approach and to believe that the 'simple' way will work. Note: Remember that 'simple' is not the same thing as 'easy'! IELTS Writing Task 2: agree, disagree or partly agree? Here's some advice for people who are still confused about "agree or disagree" questions: If you completely agree or completely disagree: Make your opinion clear in the introduction and conclusion. Explain one reason for your opinion in paragraph 2 and another in paragraph 3. Imagine that you are persuading the examiner that your opinion is right. Don't write a paragraph about what 'other people' think. If you do that, you are in danger of writing a "discuss both views" essay. If you mention the opposite argument, make sure that you refute it (explain why you think it's wrong), like I did in paragraph 2 of this essay. If you partly agree: Make it clear in the introduction and conclusion that you have a balanced view i.e. that you accept both sides of the argument to some extent, like I did in last week's lesson. Write one paragraph about each side of the argument. But do this from your point of view e.g. On the one hand, I accept that... / On the other hand, I also believe that... 63 Don't write a discussion essay e.g. some people believe / other people argue... PS. This week's (free) video lesson will also help with this "agree, disagree or partly agree" problem. It will be ready tomorrow. 64 Families who send their children to private schools should not be required to pay taxes that support the state education system. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Some people believe that parents of children who attend private schools should not need to contribute to state schools through taxes. Personally, I completely disagree with this view. For a variety of reasons, it would be wrong to reduce taxes for families who pay for private education. Firstly, it would be difficult to calculate the correct amount of tax reduction for these families, and staff would be required to manage this complex process. Secondly, we all pay a certain amount of tax for public services that we may not use. For example, most people are fortunate enough not to have to call the police or fire brigade at any time in their lives, but they would not expect a tax reduction for this. Finally, if wealthy families were given a tax discount for sending their children to private schools, we might have a situation where poorer people pay higher taxes than the rich. In my opinion, we should all be happy to pay our share of the money that supports public schools. It is beneficial for all members of society to have a high quality education system with equal opportunities for all young people. This will result in a well-educated workforce, and in turn a more productive and prosperous nation. Parents of children in private schools may also see the advantages of this in their own lives. For example, a company owner will need well qualified and competent staff, and a wellfunded education system can provide such employees. In conclusion, I do not believe that any financial concessions should be made for people who choose private education. (269 words, band 9) 65 We cannot help everyone in the world that needs help, so we should only be concerned with our own communities and countries. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Some people believe that we should not help people in other countries as long as there are problems in our own society. I disagree with this view because I believe that we should try to help as many people as possible. On the one hand, I accept that it is important to help our neighbours and fellow citizens. In most communities there are people who are impoverished or disadvantaged in some way. It is possible to find homeless people, for example, in even the wealthiest of cities, and for those who are concerned about this problem, there are usually opportunities to volunteer time or give money to support these people. In the UK, people can help in a variety of ways, from donating clothing to serving free food in a soup kitchen. As the problems are on our doorstep, and there are obvious ways to help, I can understand why some people feel that we should prioritise local charity. At the same time, I believe that we have an obligation to help those who live beyond our national borders. In some countries the problems that people face are much more serious than those in our own communities, and it is often even easier to help. For example, when children are dying from curable diseases in African countries, governments and individuals in richer countries can save lives simply by paying for vaccines that already exist. A small donation to an international charity might have a much greater impact than helping in our local area. In conclusion, it is true that we cannot help everyone, but in my opinion national boundaries should not stop us from helping those who are in need. (280 words, band 9) 66 There are many different types of music in the world today. Why do we need music? Is the traditional music of a country more important than the international music that is heard everywhere nowadays? It is true that a rich variety of musical styles can be found around the world. Music is a vital part of all human cultures for a range of reasons, and I would argue that traditional music is more important than modern, international music. Music is something that accompanies all of us throughout our lives. As children, we are taught songs by our parents and teachers as a means of learning language, or simply as a form of enjoyment. Children delight in singing with others, and it would appear that the act of singing in a group creates a connection between participants, regardless of their age. Later in life, people’s musical preferences develop, and we come to see our favourite songs as part of our life stories. Music both expresses and arouses emotions in a way that words alone cannot. In short, it is difficult to imagine life without it. In my opinion, traditional music should be valued over the international music that has become so popular. International pop music is often catchy and fun, but it is essentially a commercial product that is marketed and sold by business people. Traditional music, by contrast, expresses the culture, customs and history of a country. Traditional styles, such as ...(example)..., connect us to the past and form part of our cultural identity. It would be a real pity if pop music became so predominant that these national styles disappeared. In conclusion, music is a necessary part of human existence, and I believe that traditional music should be given more importance than international music. (261 words, band 9) 67 Some people think that all teenagers should be required to do unpaid work in their free time to help the local community. They believe this would benefit both the individual teenager and society as a whole. Do you agree or disagree? Many young people work on a volunteer basis, and this can only be beneficial for both the individual and society as a whole. However, I do not agree that we should therefore force all teenagers to do unpaid work. Most young people are already under enough pressure with their studies, without being given the added responsibility of working in their spare time. School is just as demanding as a full-time job, and teachers expect their students to do homework and exam revision on top of attending lessons every day. When young people do have some free time, we should encourage them to enjoy it with their friends or to spend it doing sports and other leisure activities. They have many years of work ahead of them when they finish their studies. At the same time, I do not believe that society has anything to gain from obliging young people to do unpaid work. In fact, I would argue that it goes against the values of a free and fair society to force a group of people to do something against their will. Doing this can only lead to resentment amongst young people, who would feel that they were being used, and parents, who would not want to be told how to raise their children. Currently, nobody is forced to volunteer, and this is surely the best system. In conclusion, teenagers may choose to work for free and help others, but in my opinion we should not make this compulsory. (250 words, band 9) 68 Some people believe that hobbies need to be difficult to be enjoyable. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Some hobbies are relatively easy, while others present more of a challenge. Personally, I believe that both types of hobby can be fun, and I therefore disagree with the statement that hobbies need to be difficult in order to be enjoyable. On the one hand, many people enjoy easy hobbies. One example of an activity that is easy for most people is swimming. This hobby requires very little equipment, it is simple to learn, and it is inexpensive. I remember learning to swim at my local swimming pool when I was a child, and it never felt like a demanding or challenging experience. Another hobby that I find easy and fun is photography. In my opinion, anyone can take interesting pictures without knowing too much about the technicalities of operating a camera. Despite being straightforward, taking photos is a satisfying activity. On the other hand, difficult hobbies can sometimes be more exciting. If an activity is more challenging, we might feel a greater sense of satisfaction when we manage to do it successfully. For example, film editing is a hobby that requires a high level of knowledge and expertise. In my case, it took me around two years before I became competent at this activity, but now I enjoy it much more than I did when I started. I believe that many hobbies give us more pleasure when we reach a higher level of performance because the results are better and the feeling of achievement is greater. In conclusion, simple hobbies can be fun and relaxing, but difficult hobbies can be equally pleasurable for different reasons. Note: Notice that we used examples as the basis of both main paragraphs. 69 In the developed world, average life expectancy is increasing. What problems will this cause for individuals and society? Suggest some measures that could be taken to reduce the impact of ageing populations. It is true that people in industrialised nations can expect to live longer than ever before. Although there will undoubtedly be some negative consequences of this trend, societies can take steps to mitigate these potential problems. As people live longer and the populations of developed countries grow older, several related problems can be anticipated. The main issue is that there will obviously be more people of retirement age who will be eligible to receive a pension. The proportion of younger, working adults will be smaller, and governments will therefore receive less money in taxes in relation to the size of the population. In other words, an ageing population will mean a greater tax burden for working adults. Further pressures will include a rise in the demand for healthcare, and the fact young adults will increasingly have to look after their elderly relatives. There are several actions that governments could take to solve the problems described above. Firstly, a simple solution would be to increase the retirement age for working adults, perhaps from 65 to 70. Nowadays, people of this age tend to be healthy enough to continue a productive working life. A second measure would be for governments to encourage immigration in order to increase the number of working adults who pay taxes. Finally, money from national budgets will need to be taken from other areas and spent on vital healthcare, accommodation and transport facilities for the rising numbers of older citizens. In conclusion, various measures can be taken to tackle the problems that are certain to arise as the populations of countries grow older. (265 words, band 9) 70 Some people regard video games as harmless fun, or even as a useful educational tool. Others, however, believe that videos games are having an adverse effect on the people who play them. In your opinion, do the drawbacks of video games outweigh the benefits? Many people, and children in particular, enjoy playing computer games. While I accept that these games can sometimes have a positive effect on the user, I believe that they are more likely to have a harmful impact. On the one hand, video games can be both entertaining and educational. Users, or gamers, are transported into virtual worlds which are often more exciting and engaging than real-life pastimes. From an educational perspective, these games encourage imagination and creativity, as well as concentration, logical thinking and problem solving, all of which are useful skills outside the gaming context. Furthermore, it has been shown that computer simulation games can improve users’ motor skills and help to prepare them for real-world tasks, such as flying a plane. However, I would argue that these benefits are outweighed by the drawbacks. Gaming can be highly addictive because users are constantly given scores, new targets and frequent rewards to keep them playing. Many children now spend hours each day trying to progress through the levels of a game or to get a higher score than their friends. This type of addiction can have effects ranging from lack of sleep to problems at school, when homework is sacrificed for a few more hours on the computer or console. The rise in obesity in recent years has also been linked in part to the sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise that often accompany gaming addiction. In conclusion, it seems to me that the potential dangers of video games are more significant than the possible benefits. (258 words, band 9) 71 Foreign visitors should pay more than local visitors for cultural and historical attractions. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion? It is sometimes argued that tourists from overseas should be charged more than local residents to visit important sites and monuments. I completely disagree with this idea. The argument in favour of higher prices for foreign tourists would be that cultural or historical attractions often depend on state subsidies to keep them going, which means that the resident population already pays money to these sites through the tax system. However, I believe this to be a very shortsighted view. Foreign tourists contribute to the economy of the host country with the money they spend on a wide range of goods and services, including food, souvenirs, accommodation and travel. The governments and inhabitants of every country should be happy to subsidise important tourist sites and encourage people from the rest of the world to visit them. If travellers realised that they would have to pay more to visit historical and cultural attractions in a particular nation, they would perhaps decide not to go to that country on holiday. To take the UK as an example, the tourism industry and many related jobs rely on visitors coming to the country to see places like Windsor Castle or Saint Paul’s Cathedral. These two sites charge the same price regardless of nationality, and this helps to promote the nation’s cultural heritage. If overseas tourists stopped coming due to higher prices, there would be a risk of insufficient funding for the maintenance of these important buildings. In conclusion, I believe that every effort should be made to attract tourists from overseas, and it would be counterproductive to make them pay more than local residents. (269 words, band 9) 72 Some people think that governments should give financial support to creative artists such as painters and musicians. Others believe that creative artists should be funded by alternative sources. Discuss both views and give your own opinion. People have different views about the funding of creative artists. While some people disagree with the idea of government support for artists, I believe that money for art projects should come from both governments and other sources. Some art projects definitely require help from the state. In the UK, there are many works of art in public spaces, such as streets or squares in city centres. In Liverpool, for example, there are several new statues and sculptures in the docks area of the city, which has been redeveloped recently. These artworks represent culture, heritage and history. They serve to educate people about the city, and act as landmarks or talking points for visitors and tourists. Governments and local councils should pay creative artists to produce this kind of art, because without their funding our cities would be much less interesting and attractive. On the other hand, I can understand the arguments against government funding for art. The main reason for this view is that governments have more important concerns. For example, state budgets need to be spent on education, healthcare, infrastructure and security, among other areas. These public services are vital for a country to function properly, whereas the work of creative artists, even in public places, is a luxury. Another reason for this opinion is that artists do a job like any other professional, and they should therefore earn their own money by selling their work. In conclusion, there are good reasons why artists should rely on alternative sources of financial support, but in my opinion government help is sometimes necessary. 73 Nowadays animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Some people argue that these experiments should be banned because it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer, while others are in favour of them because of their benefits to humanity. Discuss both views and give your own opinion. It is true that medicines and other products are routinely tested on animals before they are cleared for human use. While I tend towards the viewpoint that animal testing is morally wrong, I would have to support a limited amount of animal experimentation for the development of medicines. On the one hand, there are clear ethical arguments against animal experimentation. To use a common example of this practice, laboratory mice may be given an illness so that the effectiveness of a new drug can be measured. Opponents of such research argue that humans have no right to subject animals to this kind of trauma, and that the lives of all creatures should be respected. They believe that the benefits to humans do not justify the suffering caused, and that scientists should use alternative methods of research. On the other hand, reliable alternatives to animal experimentation may not always be available. Supporters of the use of animals in medical research believe that a certain amount of suffering on the part of mice or rats can be justified if human lives are saved. They argue that opponents of such research might feel differently if a member of their own families needed a medical treatment that had been developed through the use of animal experimentation. Personally, I agree with the banning of animal testing for non-medical products, but I feel that it may be a necessary evil where new drugs and medical procedures are concerned. In conclusion, it seems to me that it would be wrong to ban testing on animals for vital medical research until equally effective alternatives have been developed. (270 words, band 9) 74 In recent years, there has been growing interest in the relationship between equality and personal achievement. Some people believe that individuals can achieve more in egalitarian societies. Others believe that high levels of personal achievement are possible only if individuals are free to succeed or fail according to their individual merits. What is your view of the relationship between equality and personal success? In my opinion, an egalitarian society is one in which everyone has the same rights and the same opportunities. I completely agree that people can achieve more in this kind of society. Education is an important factor with regard to personal success in life. I believe that all children should have access to free schooling, and higher education should be either free or affordable for all those who chose to pursue a university degree. In a society without free schooling or affordable higher education, only children and young adults from wealthier families would have access to the best learning opportunities, and they would therefore be better prepared for the job market. This kind of inequality would ensure the success of some but harm the prospects of others. I would argue that equal rights and opportunities are not in conflict with people’s freedom to succeed or fail. In other words, equality does not mean that people lose their motivation to succeed, or that they are not allowed to fail. On the contrary, I believe that most people would feel more motivated to work hard and reach their potential if they thought that they lived in a fair society. Those who did not make the same effort would know that they had wasted their opportunity. Inequality, on the other hand, would be more likely to demotivate people because they would know that the odds of success were stacked in favour of those from privileged backgrounds. In conclusion, it seems to me that there is a positive relationship between equality and personal success. (260 words) Note: I'm not sure that this was a 'real' IELTS question (maybe the student who sent it to me remembered it wrongly) because it is a bit confusing: it seems strange to me to imply that "egalitarian/equality" is the opposite of "free to succeed or fail". Anyway, I hope you still find the essay useful. 75 Explain some of the ways in which humans are damaging the environment. What can governments do to address these problems? What can individual people do? Humans are responsible for a variety of environmental problems, but we can also take steps to reduce the damage that we are causing to the planet. This essay will discuss environmental problems and the measures that governments and individuals can take to address these problems. Two of the biggest threats to the environment are air pollution and waste. Gas emissions from factories and exhaust fumes from vehicles lead to global warming, which may have a devastating effect on the planet in the future. As the human population increases, we are also producing ever greater quantities of waste, which contaminates the earth and pollutes rivers and oceans. Governments could certainly make more effort to reduce air pollution. They could introduce laws to limit emissions from factories or to force companies to use renewable energy from solar, wind or water power. They could also impose ‘green taxes’ on drivers and airline companies. In this way, people would be encouraged to use public transport and to take fewer flights abroad, therefore reducing emissions. Individuals should also take responsibility for the impact they have on the environment. They can take public transport rather than driving, choose products with less packaging, and recycle as much as possible. Most supermarkets now provide reusable bags for shoppers as well as ‘banks’ for recycling glass, plastic and paper in their car parks. By reusing and recycling, we can help to reduce waste. In conclusion, both national governments and individuals must play their part in looking after the environment. Note: This essay is exactly 250 words long. I've tried to make it as simple as possible, but it's still good enough to get a band 9. 76 Universities should accept equal numbers of male and female students in every subject. To what extent do you agree or disagree? In my opinion, men and women should have the same educational opportunities. However, I do not agree with the idea of accepting equal proportions of each gender in every university subject. Having the same number of men and women on all degree courses is simply unrealistic. Student numbers on any course depend on the applications that the institution receives. If a university decided to fill courses with equal numbers of males and females, it would need enough applicants of each gender. In reality, many courses are more popular with one gender than the other, and it would not be practical to aim for equal proportions. For example, nursing courses tend to attract more female applicants, and it would be difficult to fill these courses if fifty per cent of the places needed to go to males. Apart from the practical concerns expressed above, I also believe that it would be unfair to base admission to university courses on gender. Universities should continue to select the best candidates for each course according to their qualifications. In this way, both men and women have the same opportunities, and applicants know that they will be successful if they work hard to achieve good grades at school. If a female student is the best candidate for a place on a course, it is surely wrong to reject her in favour of a male student with lower grades or fewer qualifications. In conclusion, the selection of university students should be based on merit, and it would be both impractical and unfair to change to a selection procedure based on gender. (265 words, band 9) 77 Some people think that museums should be enjoyable places to entertain people, while others believe that the purpose of museums is to educate. Discuss both views and give you own opinion. People have different views about the role and function of museums. In my opinion, museums can and should be both entertaining and educational. On the one hand, it can be argued that the main role of a museum is to entertain. Museums are tourist attractions, and their aim is to exhibit a collection of interesting objects that many people will want to see. The average visitor may become bored if he or she has to read or listen to too much educational content, so museums often put more of an emphasis on enjoyment rather than learning. This type of museum is designed to be visually spectacular, and may have interactive activities or even games as part of its exhibitions. On the other hand, some people argue that museums should focus on education. The aim of any exhibition should be to teach visitors something that they did not previously know. Usually this means that the history behind the museum’s exhibits needs to be explained, and this can be done in various ways. Some museums employ professional guides to talk to their visitors, while other museums offer headsets so that visitors can listen to detailed commentary about the exhibition. In this way, museums can play an important role in teaching people about history, culture, science and many other aspects of life. In conclusion, it seems to me that a good museum should be able to offer an interesting, enjoyable and educational experience so that people can have fun and learn something at the same time. (253 words, band 9) 78 Some people believe that studying at university or college is the best route to a successful career, while others believe that it is better to get a job straight after school. Discuss both views and give your opinion. When they finish school, teenagers face the dilemma of whether to get a job or continue their education. While there are some benefits to getting a job straight after school, I would argue that it is better to go to college or university. The option to start work straight after school is attractive for several reasons. Many young people want to start earning money as soon as possible. In this way, they can become independent, and they will be able to afford their own house or start a family. In terms of their career, young people who decide to find work, rather than continue their studies, may progress more quickly. They will have the chance to gain real experience and learn practical skills related to their chosen profession. This may lead to promotions and a successful career. On the other hand, I believe that it is more beneficial for students to continue their studies. Firstly, academic qualifications are required in many professions. For example, it is impossible to become a doctor, teacher or lawyer without having the relevant degree. As a result, university graduates have access to more and better job opportunities, and they tend to earn higher salaries than those with fewer qualifications. Secondly, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive, and sometimes there are hundreds of applicants for one position in a company. Young people who do not have qualifications from a university or college will not be able to compete. For the reasons mentioned above, it seems to me that students are more likely to be successful in their careers if they continue their studies beyond school level. (271 words, band 9) 79 Several languages are in danger of extinction because they are spoken by very small numbers of people. Some people say that governments should spend public money on saving these languages, while others believe that would be a waste of money. Discuss both these views and give your opinion. It is true that some minority languages may disappear in the near future. Although it can be argued that governments could save money by allowing this to happen, I believe that these languages should be protected and preserved. There are several reasons why saving minority languages could be seen as a waste of money. Firstly, if a language is only spoken by a small number of people, expensive education programmes will be needed to make sure that more people learn it, and the state will have to pay for facilities, teachers and marketing. This money might be better spent on other public services. Secondly, it would be much cheaper and more efficient for countries to have just one language. Governments could cut all kinds of costs related to communicating with each minority group. Despite the above arguments, I believe that governments should try to preserve languages that are less widely spoken. A language is much more than simply a means of communication; it has a vital connection with the cultural identity of the people who speak it. If a language disappears, a whole way of life will disappear with it, and we will lose the rich cultural diversity that makes societies more interesting. By spending money to protect minority languages, governments can also preserve traditions, customs and behaviours that are part of a country’s history. In conclusion, it may save money in the short term if we allow minority languages to disappear, but in the long term this would have an extremely negative impact on our cultural heritage. (258 words) 80 Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology. In what ways has technology affected the types of relationships that people make? Has this been a positive or negative development? It is true that new technologies have had an influence on communication between people. Technology has affected relationships in various ways, and in my opinion there are both positive and negative effects. Technology has had an impact on relationships in business, education and social life. Firstly, telephones and the Internet allow business people in different countries to interact without ever meeting each other. Secondly, services like Skype create new possibilities for relationships between students and teachers. For example, a student can now take video lessons with a teacher in a different city or country. Finally, many people use social networks, like Facebook, to make new friends and find people who share common interests, and they interact through their computers rather than face to face. On the one hand, these developments can be extremely positive. Cooperation between people in different countries was much more difficult when communication was limited to written letters or telegrams. Nowadays, interactions by email, phone or video are almost as good as face-to-face meetings, and many of us benefit from these interactions, either in work or social contexts. On the other hand, the availability of new communication technologies can also have the result of isolating people and discouraging real interaction. For example, many young people choose to make friends online rather than mixing with their peers in the real world, and these ‘virtual’ relationships are a poor substitute for real friendships. In conclusion, technology has certainly revolutionised communication between people, but not all of the outcomes of this revolution have been positive. (257 words, band 9) 81 Nowadays celebrities are more famous for their glamour and wealth than for their achievements, and this sets a bad example to young people. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? It is true that some celebrities are known for their glamorous lifestyles rather than for the work they do. While I agree that these celebrities set a bad example for children, I believe that other famous people act as positive role models. On the one hand, many people do achieve fame without really working for it. They may have inherited money from parents, married a famous or wealthy person, or they may have appeared in gossip magazines or on a reality TV programme. A good example would be Paris Hilton, who is rich and famous for the wrong reasons. She spends her time attending parties and nightclubs, and her behaviour promotes the idea that appearance, glamour and media profile are more important than hard work and good character. The message to young people is that success can be achieved easily, and that school work is not necessary. On the other hand, there are at least as many celebrities whose accomplishments make them excellent role models for young people. Actors, musicians and sports stars become famous idols because they have worked hard and applied themselves to develop real skills and abilities. They demonstrate great effort, determination and ambition, which is required for someone who wants to be truly successful in their chosen field. An example is the actor and martial artist Jackie Chan, who has become world famous through years of practice and hard work. This kind of self-made celebrity can inspire children to develop their talents through application and perseverance. (Add your own conclusion) 82 When choosing a job, the salary is the most important consideration. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Many people choose their jobs based on the size of the salary offered. Personally, I disagree with the idea that money is the key consideration when deciding on a career, because I believe that other factors are equally important. On the one hand, I agree that money is necessary in order for people to meet their basic needs. For example, we all need money to pay for housing, food, bills, health care, and education. Most people consider it a priority to at least earn a salary that allows them to cover these needs and have a reasonable quality of life. If people chose their jobs based on enjoyment or other non-financial factors, they might find it difficult to support themselves. Artists and musicians, for instance, are known for choosing a career path that they love, but that does not always provide them with enough money to live comfortably and raise a family. Nevertheless, I believe that other considerations are just as important as what we earn in our jobs. Firstly, personal relationships and the atmosphere in a workplace are extremely important when choosing a job. Having a good manager or friendly colleagues, for example, can make a huge difference to workers’ levels of happiness and general quality of life. Secondly, many people’s feelings of job satisfaction come from their professional achievements, the skills they learn, and the position they reach, rather than the money they earn. Finally, some people choose a career because they want to help others and contribute something positive to society. In conclusion, while salaries certainly affect people’s choice of profession, I do not believe that money outweighs all other motivators. (275 words, band 9) 83 Some people think that in the modern world we are more dependent on each other, while others think that people have become more independent. Discuss both views and give your own opinion. People have different views about whether we are more or less dependent on others nowadays. In my view, modern life forces us to be more independent than people were in the past. There are two main reasons why it could be argued that we are more dependent on each other now. Firstly, life is more complex and difficult, especially because the cost of living has increased so dramatically. For example, young adults tend to rely on their parents for help when buying a house. Property prices are higher than ever, and without help it would be impossible for many people to pay a deposit and a mortgage. Secondly, people seem to be more ambitious nowadays, and they want a better quality of life for their families. This means that both parents usually need to work full-time, and they depend on support from grandparents and babysitters for child care. However, I would agree with those who believe that people are more independent these days. In most countries, families are becoming smaller and more dispersed, which means that people cannot count on relatives as much as they used to. We also have more freedom to travel and l