Band 9 Essays: Discuss Both Sides – Art at School

Some people think that children should learn to paint or draw at school. Others believe it is just a waste of time. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

GENERAL POINTS – (1) You must discuss both sides. If you only discuss the “good” or the “bad” side, you will not get above Band 5 (2) Aim for TWO ideas for each side, but ONE is okay if you can explain it well with extended details and/or an example [also remember that 250 words is not a lot to make your points clear, so don’t write about too many different ideas!] (3) Try to only have one idea per paragraph and make the topic sentence simple and clear [although use some advanced/topic-specific vocabulary if you can (4) Always think about the “other side” of the topic e.g. in this example, the topic is “art in school”, so the opposite of this is the normal or ‘core’ subjects that we study [like math, science, literature, etc]. Use this to support one or both sides of your answer (5) Make sure you directly answer the issue. In this example, you must show why learning art in school is OR is not “a waste of time” [also try to use synonyms for “waste of time”!] (6) Use a range of grammatical structures (both simple and complex). Generally, try to keep your main ideas simple and clear and make your details more complex.

Art School

TOPIC – Some people think that children should learn to paint or draw at school. Others believe it is just a waste of time. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

FULL SAMPLE ANSWER

NOTE – Useful vocabulary [synonyms, collocations, and advanced and topic words] are in bold, while useful essay words and phrases [linking and transitions] are in italics . [these can be used for ANY essay, so learn them and use them!] Questions that you must answer for the reader have been inserted in parentheses […]

Aside from the core school subjects, like science, that school students universally study, many also have the opportunity to participate in art classes. However, while this subject can have a positive impact on learners, many believe that this time could be better spent on traditionally important subjects.

One positive benefit of learning to paint or draw is that it is a highly effective way to foster creativity [How?]. Art requires the artist to use his or her imagination to create something [So what?] and being able to be creative is a useful skill that can be applied to problem-solving in many different jobs and other contexts.

In addition to this, due to the fact that a considerable number of students are over-worked and under pressure with their regular studies, art provides them with an opportunity to switch off their brains and relax [why is this important?]. By doing this, they will be on the ball when it comes to focusing on the subjects that are considered to be more important. For instance, my father learned to paint in school and he now uses this skill to unwind after a stressful day at his job.

Nevertheless, opponents of art in school feel that school is simply a place to learn as much knowledge in order to be able to attain a desirable job. Relaxation and enjoyment are not a part of school life and should be left for any recreation time that students have outside of class.

Generally speaking, art should be included in the school curriculum. Despite the fact that it can be seen as a poor utilization of time, the benefits of being able to paint and draw supersede the need to spend the entirety of school concentrating on core subjects.

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Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Gardens

1. What can people do in their garden at home?

SAMPLE – “Gardens are very versatile. By that I mean, you can do many things with them and in them. Some people want a garden full of brightly-coloured flowers that they can sit in, relax, and enjoy the natural beauty. On the other hand, many people start a garden because they want to grow their own vegetables and be more self-sufficient.

TIPS – (1) Link different ideas with appropriate phrases like “On the other hand…” (2) Try to use some topic-specific vocabulary. If you can’t, make sure to use any advanced vocabulary like “versatile” and “self-sufficient” (3) Explain ideas clearly with phrases like “By that I mean…”

Gardens

 2. Why do many people not keep a garden?

SAMPLE – “I think many people avoid keeping a garden [different grammatical structure] because cultivating one can be very time-consuming [How?] Gardeners have to plant seeds, water the plants regularly, remove weeds, and deal with pests that might damage or kill the plants. Also, in crowded cities, many people simply do not have the room for a garden.”

TIPS – (1) This answer uses topic-specific words like “cultivating”, “weeds”, and “pests”. This is great way to show your vocabulary range and boost your score (2) Other advanced vocabulary like “time-consuming is good too (3) Use a range of sentence structures. Each sentence in this answer has a different structure.

Gardens 1

1. Is it beneficial for children to play in a garden?

SAMPLE  – “Definitely! Any opportunity that children have to play outside is a good thing. Nowadays, children generally live sedentary lives without much time for exercise. Playing in a garden can help a child be physically healthier through exercise and also mentally healthier by spending some time in a natural environment rather than staring at a computer screen.”

TIPS – (1) Make your main idea clear. It can be just one word like “Definitely!” Show your feeling through body language too (2) Advanced vocabulary like “sedentary” will boost your score (3) Explain your main ideas to make your answer clearer and say more

Gardens 2

4. Is it necessary to have gardens or parks in our cities?

SAMPLE – “Yes, I think open spaces like parks and gardens are absolutely necessary in urban areas. Without them, cities would just be block after block of buildings with nowhere for people to enjoy the outdoors. Green areas provide a space for relaxation and recreation, while of course more trees is always good for cleaner air.”

TIPS – (1) Use synonyms if you can. In this example, “open spaces” and “green areas” are used instead of “parks and gardens” (2) Interact with the examiner. Use phrases like “of course” if something is obvious AND make eye contact!
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Band 9 Essays: Advantages & Disadvantages – Open Spaces

Some people believe that modern designs for schools and offices with more open spaces are necessary. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such spaces? Give your opinion.

GENERAL POINTS –

  1. You must address all parts of the question. In this example, this means writing about both sides (advantages and disadvantages) and using schools and offices as examples.
  2. Link paragraphs with appropriate transition vocabulary, such as “On the other hand”, “In addition” etc.
  3. Try to give each paragraph ONE clear main idea.
  4. Don’t forget to give YOUR opinion. You can give it in the introduction and restate in the conclusion OR just give it in the conclusion after discussing both sides.

open-space

Some people believe that modern designs for schools and offices with more open spaces are necessary. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such spaces? Give your opinion.

1. INTRODUCTION

2-3 sentences. Paraphrase the topic. Mention you will discuss the advantages AND disadvantages. Give your opinion [optional]

EXAMPLE – “It is considered by many that contemporary designs for educational and work spaces should focus on making these areas more open and spacious. While there are a range of advantages to creating more open spaces, they also have some drawbacks that must be noted.

TIP – The second sentence can be adapted to use for ANY advantages/disadvantages topic.

2. BODY

Try to mention TWO points for each side. You can use 2-4 paragraphs to do this. Normally, it’s easier to have ONE idea per paragraph. Keep a clear structure: (1) Main idea (linking?) (2) Explain (3) Example OR more explanation

EXAMPLE – “One of the biggest benefits of open spaces is that it creates a more natural environment (How?) Humans are social creatures, so being able to communicate directly with each other makes people happier than being in a small cubicle (include some topic vocabulary like “cubicle”). (More details – school) In a school situation, open spaces provide children with a place to build their social skills. In my country, students just sit in rows and learn information by heart (relevant idiom), which just makes them bored and does not help their social development (“social development” synonym for “build social skills“)

Moreover, working out in the open can make it easier to share ideas and learn new things. (how?) In an open work or study area it is easier to ask questions and get feedback on what you are doing than it is if you are stuck behind a desk in a closed off space.

TIP – If you can only think of one idea for one side, it’s okay. Try to provide as much explanation as you can. Try to think of a specific example.

“In contrast (linking), open spaces can cause some problems (synonym for “disadvantages”). A major one is excessive noise (good vocabulary). (How?) When a large number of people are sharing an office or classroom, the noise generated can make it difficult to concentrate. (Specific example for “difficult to concentrate”). If a student is trying to read a book or an employee is trying to make a business call, they will not be able to do it effectively (Try to give specific examples and ones that cover both parts of the question – work and school)

TIP – This essay is already over 200 words without a conclusion so no more ideas are needed for the body. The ideas mentioned are well-developed and supported with details and examples.

3. CONCLUSION

Restate the advantages and disadvantages. Use some synonyms for your main ideas. Clearly state YOUR opinion.

“Overall, more open spaces are advantageous for work and school because they create a positive environment. However, if these spaces are not controlled they can become too noisy and unsuitable for productive output (“output” for “study and work”)

open-space-1

FULL ANSWER

It is considered by many that contemporary designs for educational and work spaces should focus on making these areas more open and spacious. While there are a range of advantages to creating more open spaces, they also have some drawbacks that must be noted.

One of the biggest benefits of open spaces is that it creates a more natural environment. Humans are social creatures, so being able to communicate directly with each other makes people happier than being in a small cubicle. In a school situation, open spaces provide children with a place to build their social skills. In my country, students just sit in rows and learn information by heart, which just makes them bored and does not help their social development.

Moreover, working out in the open can make it easier to share ideas and learn new things. In an open work or study area it is easier to ask questions and get feedback on what you are doing than it is if you are stuck behind a desk in a closed off space.

In contrast, open spaces can cause some problems. A major one is excessive noise. When a large number of people are sharing an office or classroom, the noise generated can make it difficult to concentrate. If a student is trying to read a book or an employee is trying to make a business call, they will not be able to do it effectively.

Overall, more open spaces are advantageous for work and school because they create a positive environment. However, if these spaces are not controlled they can become too noisy and unsuitable for productive output. (272 words)

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