IELTS Band 9.0 Essays: Problems and Solutions – Urbanization

TOPIC – Nowadays, more and more people are moving from the countryside to cities, which are becoming overcrowded. What are the reasons for this movement to cities and what can be done to reduce it?

Urbanization

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  1. ALWAYS read the topic clearly and work out exactly what you have to write about. This example requires you to outline the REASONS why people move from the countryside to cities and some SOLUTIONS to this.
  2. In an essay of 250 words, aim for TWO reasons and TWO solutions.
  3. Try to use a range of synonyms for repeated words e.g. “reasons” and “solutions” as well as synonyms for the ‘topic’ words, such as “countryside”, “cities”, etc.
  4. Learn some words and phrases that can be used in ANY essay which requires you to talk about reasons and offer solutions. See below for examples.

 

Urbanization 1

STEP-BY-STEP WRITING GUIDE

NOTE – Advanced and useful vocabulary is included in bold.

STEP ONE – INTRODUCTION

EXAMPLE – [Topic] As an increasing number of people migrate from rural areas to urban ones, problems, such as overcrowding, begin to arise. [Type] This essay will look at the factors underlying this phenomenon and then offer some potential solutions to it.

TIPS – (i) Your introduction only needs to be TWO sentences. Use the first sentence to inform the reader of the topic and the second one to inform them of the essay type i.e. opinion, discuss, problem and solutions, etc. (ii) Try to use some synonyms for the keywords when you paraphrase the topic. In the example above, “more and more” has been changed to “an increasing number” and synonyms for “countryside” and “cities” have been used. (iii) Similarly, use synonyms for the key essay words e.g. “factors” instead of “reasons” (iv) Remember that your solutions might not work in reality, so calling them “potential” solutions is a good way to show some balance AND your vocabulary.

STEP TWO – BODY ONE: REASONS

EXAMPLE – The principal reason driving people to move to cities is that they provide much greater job opportunities [Why?] Rural areas are often economically depressed with high unemployment levels, [Result?] so people are often forced to look for work in the city in order to be able to support their families. The availability of better services is also another major contributing factor. [Like what?] Access to quality healthcare and education is often lacking in the countryside, whereas cities offer modern medical facilities and educational institutions, which are both essential for a good quality of life.

TIPS – (i) Try to include some advanced adjectives before your common essay words e.g. “principal” before “reason” and “contributing” with “factor” (ii) Also, try to include some advanced ‘topic’ words e.g “educational institutions” and “economically depressed” (iii) You can split these two ideas into TWO paragraphs if you want. Just remember to link them in a clear way.

Urbanization 2

STEP THREE – BODY TWO: SOLUTIONS

EXAMPLE – “Nevertheless, there are some steps that can be taken to address this issue. The most obvious is to try to improve living conditions in rural areas [How?] This could be done by increasing government investment and encouraging private investment in rural areas. If rural residents can find suitable work in their vicinity, they will not feel compelled to pack up their lives and move to the city. Similarly, health and educational services need to be boosted in the countryside [Result?] This would not only improve living standards but also give people in these areas a better chance to succeed in life.

TIPS – (i) Try to make sure your solutions deal with the reasons you identified in the previous paragraph. (ii) Your ideas/solutions do not need to be amazing, they just need to be clearly explained/make sense (iii) Make sure your explanation is always trying to answer the reader’s questions (iv) You can use the first sentence in this paragraph to link ANY reason–>solution paragraphs

STEP FOUR – CONCLUSION

EXAMPLE – Overall, it seems factors that cause people to move to cities are related to a desire to make a better life for oneself and one’s family. Therefore, the best approach to dealing with any problems that come about from urbanization is to develop rural areas.

TIPS – (i) In your conclusion you just need to mention that there is a problem BUT it can be solved (ii) Try to finish on a positive/optimistic note if you can!

Urbanization 3

FULL SAMPLE ANSWER

As an increasing number of people migrate from rural areas to urban ones, problems, such as overcrowding, begin to arise. This essay will look at the factors underlying this phenomenon and then offer some potential solutions to it.

The principal reason driving people to move to cities is that they provide much greater job opportunities. Rural areas are often economically depressed with high unemployment levels, so people are often forced to look for work in the city in order to be able to support their families. The availability of better services is also another major contributing factor. Access to quality healthcare and education is often lacking in the countryside, whereas cities offer modern medical facilities and educational institutions, which are both essential for a good quality of life.

Nevertheless, there are some steps that can be taken to address this issue. The most obvious is to try to improve living conditions in rural areas. This could be done by increasing government investment and encouraging private investment in rural areas. If rural residents can find suitable work in their vicinity, they will not feel compelled to pack up their lives and move to the city. Similarly, health and educational services need to be boosted in the countryside. This would not only improve living standards but also give people in these areas a better chance to succeed in life.

Overall, it seems factors that cause people to move to cities are related to a desire to make a better life for oneself and one’s family. Therefore, the best approach to dealing with any problems that come about from urbanization is to develop rural areas.

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IELTS Speaking Part 1: Answering Yes/No Questions

Yes No

THINGS TO REMEMBER

  1. A Yes/No question or a “closed” question is one that can be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. E.g. “Do you like hip hop?” “Can you swim? In other words, the question can be answered with a single word.
  2. HOWEVER, in the speaking test, you must how your speaking ability by…speaking. In Part 1, you should aim to say around 3 sentences. If your answer to a question like “Do you have any pets” is “No…” then you will NOT get a good mark even thought your answer is technically correct!
  3. Yes/No questions normally come in the form of – “Can you…” “Do you…” “Is it…” “Are you…” “Were you…” “Is there…” “Are there…”

 

YesNo2

EXAMPLES AND TIPS

Below are some sample answer from a range of topics. Useful and advanced vocabulary is included in bold.

QUESTION 1 – Can you drive?

SAMPLE – “I can’t drive a car but I drive a motorbike every day. In the future, I’d like to own a car, so then I’ll have to learn how to drive, but for now I have to save enough money to be able to afford a car.”

TIPS – The key is to ALWAYS add some details or explanation to your answer. If you say “Yes” then mention if it was difficult to learn to drive, or if you like it, or how often you do it. If you answer “No”, then say why, talk about future plans to drive, etc.

QUESTION 2 – Do you like reading?

SAMPLE – Well, that depends. I love reading for pleasure. I’m a big fan of science fiction and fantasy novels. But, I also have to read a lot of text books and journal articles for my studies and that can be quite boring not to mention tiring.

TIPS – (i) Instead of answering “Yes” or “No”, you can stay ‘in the middle’ by beginning with something like “It depends…” (ii) Try to include some vocabulary is relevant to the topic. In the example above, words like “fantasy novels” and “journal articles” are used. REMEMBER to make sure you can pronounce advanced vocabulary clearly.

 

Yes No 1

 

QUESTION 3 – Were you a good student in high school?

SAMPLE – “I think I was good and bad. By that I mean, I got good grades and passed all my tests, although I was quite lazy and didn’t study that much. I definitely wasn’t a diligent student. I guess I just had a good memory and was able to learn things quickly.”

TIPS – (i) This is another answer where the speaker stays “in the middle” so that they can talk about both the good and bad sides (ii) REMEMBER that in Part 1, you’re speaking informally about yourself, so don’t overuse academic/formal vocabulary. One or two relevant words, such as “diligent” used above, are useful though.

QUESTION 4 – Have you been abroad before?

SAMPLE – No. When I go overseas to study, it’ll be my first time. I’ve always dreamed of going abroad, so I’m really excited, although also a little nervous. Actually, I haven’t even been on a plane before, so there’ll be lots of new experiences.

TIPS – using a wide range of tenses and grammatical structures is an important part of your score. This answer has a mix of tenses (simple past, present simple, perfect) which helps to show your speaking ability and to express yourself clearly.

Yes No 2

 

QUESTION 5 – Is it hot in your country?

SAMPLE – “Yes, it can get really hot, especially of course in the summer. As you probably know, my country is a tropical one, so it’s not only hot but really humid. I’ve lived here my whole life, so I guess I’m kind of used to it, but I definitely prefer cooler weather.”

TIPS – (i) If you say something that is common knowledge that the examiner will already know (e.g. that it’s “hot” in summer or that the country is a tropical one), then show this by using phrases, such as “of course…” and “”as you probably know…”

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IELTS BAND 9.0 Writing Task 1 Reports: Maps – Seatown 1998 vs. Now

Task 1 MAPS Seatown

THINGS TO REMEMBER –
  • Maps are the least common Task 1 type, so candidates often feel uncomfortable writing a report on them as they are less familiar with them. HOWEVER, maps are probably the easiest type because the STRUCTURE is (nearly) always the same
  • STRUCTURE – (i) An introduction informing the reader that there are two maps of the same place at different times (ii) An overview that tells the reader some general differences between the two maps (iii) a body that contains a comparison of the changes (iv) a brief conclusion
  • Writing a report about maps requires you to say WHAT something is and WHERE it is. Practice your vocabulary for locations e.g. “the…is to the north of the…” “In the south of the city, there is a…” “The…is surrounded by some…”.
  • Like always, be careful with tense. Map reports will normally require a mix of simple past and perfect tenses. Always be careful to note whether the two maps are showing two times in the PAST or one time in the past and one NOW (or maybe even a FUTURE projection)

Task 1 MAPS Seatown

 

STEP-BY-STEP HOW-TO DO

NOTES – advanced and useful vocabulary is included in bold

STEP 1 – Introduction – what do the two maps show.

EXAMPLE – “The maps provide a comparison of the town of Seatown and the changes it has witnessed from 1995 to the present day.

TIPS – The maps show 1995 vs. Now, so be careful with TENSE. Here, present-perfect is used.

STEP 2 – Overview – what are the main changes? REMEMBER that this can be very general.

EXAMPLE – “Since 1995, Seatown has changed dramatically and the town is now almost unrecognizable from how it used to be.”

TIPS – The maps always show changes (in order for there to be something for you to write about!), so this part is often very similar.

Task 1 MAPS Seatown

 

STEP 3 – Body – report the changes with appropriate linking.

EXAMPLE – “One major change to note is that the forest park and farmland, which were in the town’s east and northeast, have been cleared in order to make way for a golf course and some tennis courts. Another significant difference is that the fishing port that used to be on the town’s south coast has been demolished and not replaced. Related to this, just above the old fishing port, the shops and fishing market that used to be there are now rows of restaurant and apartments. Moreover, the hotel to the east of this has had a car park added on its eastern side. Finally, the residential area in the west and northwest has been expanded, while an extra road has been constructed to provide access.

TIPS – (i) Try to report the changes in a clear way. In this example, the changes are described in way that flows i.e. a big change (forest park/farmland), another big change (the fishing port), the shops and fish market next to the port, the hotel next to this, and finally the housing area. You can write about things in ANY order, but try to be clear. (ii) Try to learn a wide range of words relating to towns and development, such as “demolish”, “residential area”, etc.

STEP 4 – Conclusion – one sentence that provides a summary of the main changes.

EXAMPLE – “After analysing the two maps, it is clear that Seatown has been transformed from a small fishing village into a tourist or entertainment destination.”

TIPS – the main changes are normally large and clear. Just make sure you don’t repeat you overview from Step 2!

Task 1 MAPS Seatown

 

FULL SAMPLE ANSWER

The maps provide a comparison of the town of Seatown and the changes it has witnessed from 1995 to the present day.

Since 1995, Seatown has changed dramatically and the town is now almost unrecognizable from how it used to be.

One major change to note is that the forest park and farmland, which were in the town’s east and northeast, have been cleared in order to make way for a golf course and some tennis courts. another significant difference is that the fishing port that used to be on the town’s south coast has been demolished and not replaced. Related to this, just above the old fishing port, the shops and fishing market that used to be there are now rows of restaurant and apartments. Moreover, the hotel to the east of this has had a car park added on its eastern side. Finally, the residential area in the west and northwest has been expanded, while an extra road has been constructed to provide access.

After analysing the two maps, it is clear that Seatown has been transformed from a small fishing village into a tourist or entertainment destination. (190 words)

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