IELTS Speaking Part 3 (Real Test): Historical Places

Historic Buildings 3

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) Part 3 questions can be very difficult so spend some time before looking at different types of questions and thinking about your ideas about them

(2) Part 3 questions come in some common types (opinion, pros and cons, reasons, etc.) so just like in essay writing, practise some structures that will help you organise and give a clear answer

NOTE – The following questions each contain two sample answer: a simple one and an advanced one. Practise both and remember to focus on stress, intonation, and rhythm.

Historic Buildings 2

QUESTION ONE – Why do people like to visit historical places?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think people like going to historical places because they can see what life was like in the past. For example, when people go on holiday, they often want to see the old places in a city, like the Tower of London or the Statue of Liberty.”

COMMENT – Remember in Part 3, you have no time to think and the topic might be quite difficult. Therefore, try to keep your ideas simple and clear, and if you can’t explain them, then give an example.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Well, we can’t go to future places, and the present is familiar and maybe uninteresting, so it makes sense that people want a chance to get a small window into what life was like in the past. There’s a big difference between reading about a historic location in a book and then actually experiencing the atmosphere of the place firsthand.

COMMENT – The ideas in this answer are similar to the first one, but it uses more complex grammar and vocabulary as well as having an interactive conversational style. You can also boost your mark by adding topic-specific vocabulary, such as “architecture”.
Historic Buildings 1
QUESTION TWO – Are all historical buildings well maintained and managed?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “No, I don’t think all of them are. The ones that attract a lot of tourists are normally looked after well, but there are many old buildings that are falling down and will probably be replaced by something new in the future.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I think buildings are preserved for their historical significance and their economic value. By that I mean, if a place generates a lot of tourism then there will be more investment in it so that it can continue to be profitable in the future. Other places that were the location of a major event are also looked after because of their cultural importance. However, many other historical places are left to fall into disrepair and are ignored until they have to be demolished.”

COMMENT – This is quite a long answer, so be careful with linking your ideas (e.g. “However…”) and providing explanation (e.g. “By that I mean…”)

Historic Buildings 4

QUESTION THREE– Do you think the government generates funds from tourism

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Um, of course, I think the government makes a lot of money from tourism. Every year, thousands of tourists come and spend money, so the government will make money off this from ticket sales and taxes. I know that tourism is an important part of my country’s economy.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Absolutely. Many countries rely on tourism as a major driver of their economy. Tourists spend large amounts of money on food, shopping, accommodation, and visiting tourist spots. All of this boosts the local economy and allows the government to generate revenue through tax and also ticket sales.”

COMMENT – Remember that even though Part 3 is more formal and academic than the first two parts, you are still speaking one-on-one to another person. This means that clearly expressing your main idea with a single word (e.g. “Absolutely”) or phrase (e.g. “Of course”) can be a good way to start your answer and show you have confidence in your views.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING LINKS USEFUL

BAND 9.0 Speaking: Part 3 – Films

IELTS Speaking Part 3 (Real Test): Making Decisions

BAND 9.0 Speaking: Part 3 – Gifts

 

IELTS Writing Task 1: Processes – Glass Recycling

Glass recycling 1

 

T1 Process - Recycling

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) Use the present passive voice. Something is happening to something e.g. the glass is divided into three types”. Avoid using “will”.

(2) Aim to use a range of connectors (e.g. “next” “after that” “following this” “subsequently”) and try to avoid repetition.

(3) Make sure you include an overview. In a process, it can be difficult to identify the key points, so just mention that there are several stages and mention the first and last (see sample answers for examples)

(4) Often in a process you will find some parts that you don’t know. Don’t worry. Just try to work out what is happening at that stage then use an appropriate verb and copy the thing you don’t know. For example, if I don’t know what “high-pressure” water means, I know from the picture that it is something to do with washing, so I can write, “Next, the glass is washed with high-pressure water”. This is correct even though I might not know what “high-pressure” means.

NOTE – the following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Pay attention to the structure in each and the use of the passive voice and a range of linking phrases.

T1 Process - Recycling

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

The process shows how waste glass bottles are recycled. Write a report of at least 150 words describing the main details.

The process shows the stages in the recycling of glass bottles. The process includes three main stages, beginning with used bottles and ending with new bottles being sold in stores.

To begin with, empty bottles are brought to a collection point. From the collection point the bottles are taken by truck to a factory where the second stage begins.

First, the bottles are washed with high-pressure water. After that, the bottles are divided into green, brown, and clear types and each of these types is broken into small pieces of glass. Next, the glass pieces are put into a furnace where they are heated at between 600 and 800C. Following this, the liquid old glass is combined with some new glass that is also in liquid form. Both types of glass are poured into a mold in the shape of a bottle.

Finally, in the last stage the bottles are filled with whatever product is required and then they are transported to stores where they can be sold. (167 words)

T1 Process - RecyclingSAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

The process shows how waste glass bottles are recycled. Write a report of at least 150 words describing the main details.

The diagram provides an outline of the steps involved in recycling old glass bottles. The process can be divided into three major stages, beginning with waste bottles and concluding with the sale of products in new glass bottles.

After glass bottles have been used, they are brought to a collection area where they are kept until a truck transports them to a recycling facility.

Once the bottles have arrived at the recycling plant, the first thing that happens to them is they are washed with water under high pressure to remove any dirt and other contaminants. After the bottles are clean, they are sorted into three groups based on the colour of the glass: brown, green, or clear. Next, the glass is broken into small pieces and the pieces are heated in a furnace at 600-800C, which causes the glass to melt. Subsequently, the liquid old glass is combined with new liquid glass and the mixture is poured into bottle-shaped molds.

Finally, the new bottles are filled with some kind of product which is delivered to stores and made available for sale. (182 words)

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have

Glass recycling 2

 

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING LINKS USEFUL

Band 9 Reports: Diagram – Canning Pears

BAND 9.0 Reports: Processes – Hydropower

Band 9 Reports: Processes – Making Tea

 

IELTS Real Test Essay: Opinion – News and Media

News and Media 2

Some people think that news and media are affecting our life in a positive way while others disagree. What is your opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) This is an OPINION essay. Therefore, you should a) state your opinion clearly in the introduction and then restate it in your conclusion b) aim for TWO reasons to support your idea and use these to form your body paragraphs c) aim to include at least ONE example from your own experience.

(2) Aim for your main ideas (your topic sentences) to be as clear as possible. This makes it easier for the reader to follow your explanation.

(3) Try to vary your grammatical structure

(4) Try to think of some synonyms for the keywords in the topic e.g. “positive” –> “beneficial”

(5) Try to include some topic-specific words relating to “news and media” e.g. words like “content” “covered” “bombarded” “celebrity scandals” “controversy” “over-saturation” etc.

(6) You can also include a counter-argument paragraph as you THIRD body paragraph where you introduce a view from the other side and then you show some problems with this view. This is good for the balance of your argument.

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. In this post, the simple one follows the intro/reason 1/reason 2/conclusion structure, while the advanced one follows the intro/reason 1/reason 2/counter-argument/conclusion structure.

News and Media 3

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

Some people think that news and media are affecting our life in a positive way while others disagree. What is your opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

News and media play a large role in everyone’s life. While some people believe that this role is a positive one, others believe that the media affects people in a negative way. It seems that although the news and media can be beneficial, they affect our lives in a mostly negative way.

One main reason for this is that there is too much information nowadays. For example, people can have news apps on their smartphones and watch news 24 hours per day on some TV channels. This means that it can be difficult to know what is true, what is just entertainment, and what is being used to influence the way we think.

Moreover, a lot of content in the media is not really news or important information, but instead it is just for entertainment or to make people watch more. This means that news stories are often some kind of story that is designed to make people scared or just make them not pay attention to actual important things. For example, a lot of news is about the lives of celebrities, while real news, like the War in Yemen where children are being killed by drones, is not covered much in the media.

Overall, I think that the news and media in its current form has negative effects on people. It could be used to provide useful information to people about what is happening in the world, but in reality it is used to keep people entertained and scared so they will keep watching instead of working to change the problems in the world. (264 words)

News and Media 1
SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

Some people think that news and media are affecting our life in a positive way while others disagree. What is your opinion? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

In our advanced technological society, almost everyone has access to some kind of media device where they can access the latest news. However, despite the apparent benefits of this situation, in reality the news and media in general have damaging effects on the way we live.

A major factor driving this issue is over-saturation of media content. Twenty-four hours a day people are bombarded with sensational stories, political controversies, and celebrity scandals. As a result, people simply do not have the time to investigate what is really true or what is relevant to their lives because they ‘have to’ consume more media content.

It is not just the quantity of news available but also the quality that is a major problem. Media companies make most of their profits from advertising, so they want to report stories that will attract viewers. This leads to a situation where you have, for example, a story about a celebrity divorce leading the news instead of war or environmental destruction, which both do affect everyone’s lives either directly or indirectly.

Nevertheless, it is certainly true that it is a positive thing that we live in a world where information can be spread with speed and ease. However, because most news outlets are owned by a few large corporations, it can be difficult to rely on them to accurately report the truth and not just the stories that benefit their bottom line.

Generally speaking, the news and media do have the potential to affect our lives in an advantageous way. However, in order for this to happen it is necessary for people to care more about what is happening around them and pay attention to where their news is coming from. (285 words)

Feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have.

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

Writing Task Two (Real Test Question): Agree or Disagree – Old Buildings

Band 9.0 Essays: Opinion – Online Courses

Band 9 Essays: Opinion – Globalization

 

 

 

 

IELTS Speaking Part Three: Sport and Business

Sport Business 2

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) Part Three is often the most difficult part for test takers. It is less conversational and more academic than the previous two parts.

(2) Try to sound a little more formal/intellectual in this part. To do this, organize your answer like a body paragraph in a Task Two essay. In other words, try to begin with a clear main idea (even if it’s just agreement e.g. “Yes, I think that’s right” or “Definitely!”) Then explain your idea or give an example then explain.

(3) Just like in writing, link your ideas (“Not to mention” “On the other hand” “Also” “Another thing to remember is…”) and explain them (“By that I mean” “In other words”

(4) To get a high score, you will need to include some topic-specific vocabulary, so make sure you look at a wide range of questions before the test and see where your vocabulary is lacking.

(5) IMPORTANT!!! Your overall job is to show your speaking ability. In Part Three, there might be some questions you don’t have any ideas for. Still try to say something, even if it is just why you don’t know much about the question.

NOTE – The following questions are from Part Three of a real IELTS test. Each question contains two sample answers. First, a simple one for students who are either not confident speakers or lack vocabulary or both and who want to maximise their speaking score. Second, an advanced version for students who are aiming as high as possible.

Sport Business 1

QUESTION ONE – Are there differences in sports interests at different ages?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) “I’m not sure. I think most people like the same sports when they’re young or when they’re old. Maybe they play more sport when they’re younger. Oh, I guess, older people play sports like golf more than younger people. Maybe older people like to play less active sports because they’re older.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) “Yes, I think that’s right. Younger people often play team sports and are encouraged to participate in some kind of sport for their physical fitness and their social development. For example, most people in my country play football for at least a few seasons when they’re growing up. On the other hand, older people tend to play sports that are more relaxed and easier on the body, like golf.”

Sport Business 3

QUESTION TWO – What is the most popular sport in your country nowadays?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Definitely football. Like I said before, most young people play football when they’re growing up. Also, watching football is a really common thing to do. Most people follow their local teams as well as support teams playing in competitions in Europe.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “A lot of people in my country are obsessed with football, so I’d definitely say that football is the number one sport. People are always playing a game of football where there is some free space or just kick a ball around with some friends. Not to mention, people are big fans of watching football and follow most of the big international leagues, like the EPL.”

Sport Business 4

QUESTION THREE – Is there an influence of business on sports nowadays?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I don’t know exactly, but I think yes. Businesses often pay players to support their brand – I mean like wear their products or promote them. Also, many sports teams are supported by a business and you can see the business name on their shirt when they play. And, of course, sports teams and players can earn millions of dollars, so business must be a big influence in sport.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “At the top-level sport is business. Top sports teams, like Manchester United or an NBA team, have revenue of billions of dollars, so of course business and profit has a big influence on them. Then there’s the players who are like individual businesses. By that I mean, they have multi-million dollar sponsorships and their ‘brand’ is extremely valuable.”

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

IELTS Speaking Real Test (2018): Part 3 – Replacing Things

BAND 9.0 Speaking: Part 3 – Films

Band 9 Speaking: Part 3 – Sense of Humour

 

 

IELTS Real Test Essays: Discuss – History at School

History 3

Nowadays many people believe that children should be taught history in schools, however, others argue that children should learn subjects that are more helpful for modern everyday life. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) This is a DISCUSS essay. This means you need to provide some views for BOTH sides.

(2) Aim for TWO views for each side and try to include at least ONE example somewhere in your essay.

(3) Your introduction should (i) rephrase the topic (ii) tell the reader that both sides will be discussed.

(4) You can give your opinion in the introduction BUT it is often better to give it in the conclusion AFTER you have discussed each side.

(5) You should have a good range of words to discuss each side of the argument e.g. “Opponents” “supporters” “On the other hand” “Nevertheless”

(6) Try to keep your main ideas clear. Even if you can only think of a one-word idea like “culture” then practise writing this in a full sentence with some of the common discuss words e.g. “People who support [common vocabulary] teaching history in school [topic] believe that it is important for culture [your idea].”

(7) Make sure you state YOUR opinion in the conclusion (or re-state it if you did it in the introduction)

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Notice how the structure of both is similar but the second has better vocabulary, complex grammar, and style.

History 2

Nowadays many people believe that children should be taught history in schools, however, others argue that children should learn subjects that are more helpful for modern everyday life. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

History is one of the most common subjects taught at school, although some argue that it is not useful in regular modern life. This essay will look at both sides of the argument and give an opinion about the usefulness of learning history in school.

Supporters of teaching history in school claim that knowing about the past is necessary for living now. Knowledge of the past can prevent us from making the same mistakes as before. It can show us what work and what does not. For example, by learning about wars fought in the past, students can see the horrors of war and be less likely to be attracted by the idea of it. Moreover, learning about history can help people understand their culture. They can learn the origins of some of their customs and traditions and this might help them to understand their history or make them want to improve it.

On the other hand, people who oppose history as a subject in school might say that it is just taking up time from more useful subjects. In the future, students will not need to know on what date a certain battle happened, but they will need to know mathematics, science, and other modern skills. In fact, many schools are adding new subjects, like information technology, so it seems that some old subjects like history will have to make room.

Overall, although history is not a ‘modern’ subject, it should still be taught in schools. What students learn should change with the times, but history is always there and we need to learn from it in order to make a better world and not repeat the mistakes of the past. (282 words)

History 1

Nowadays many people believe that children should be taught history in schools, however, others argue that children should learn subjects that are more helpful for modern everyday life. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

As the world moves forward at an ever-increasing pace, it is easy to forget about the past. In fact, some people believe that history should no longer be taught in schools as it has little use in modern society. This essay will look at the relevance of history in the school curriculum and whether it should be replaced by other subjects that might be said to be more useful.

Those in favour of replacing history with other subjects claim that the knowledge learned in a history class will not help students in the real world. In a modern working environment, knowing the names of the kings in an ancient dynasty or recalling the date of a famous battle is simply not useful in a office situation where information is readily available online. Accordingly, opponents of history believe it should be replaced by more suitable subjects, such as information technology or economics.

Nevertheless, there are reasons why history has traditionally been a ‘core’ subject. In the first place, learning history helps us to learn the mistakes of the past and work to prevent them from happening again. Furthermore, history gives context for a culture’s customs and traditions and can either give people a stronger connection to where they come from or help them to question some of their beliefs.

Generally speaking, history is much more than just memorising people and dates. It is relevant on an individual and societal level. As the saying goes, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” (253 words)

Feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have

History 4

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

Band 9 Essays: Discuss Both Sides – Art at School

BAND 9.0 Essays – Discuss: Sharing of Knowledge

Band 9 Essays: Discuss – Video Games

 

IELTS Writing Reports: Tables – Working Hours

T1 Tables - Working Hours

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) Spend some time looking at the table and work out the important data and how to compare it. Normally, it’s best to organize your answer based on biggest vs. smallest, or similarities vs. differences.

(2) Try to use a range of ways to describe data. Look at the samples below for examples. 

(3) You MUST include an overview, so try to find one or two overall things that stand out.

(4) Think of a clear way to organize your body. The samples below are each organized in a different way.

(5) Learn a range of synonyms that you can use for any topic. For example, in your introduction you can always change “shows” to another verb or you can change “give information” to “provide data”.

(6) For a table with a lot of data, don’t try to include all of it. Focus on things that help to support your overview.

NOTE – The following samples are both written at an advanced level (it is often difficult to write a simple table report as there is a lot of data to include)

 

T1 Tables - Working Hours

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE

The tables provide data about male and female rates of full-time and part-time working in three European countries in 2002 and compares them to the European average.

Overall it can be seen that men worked longer hours in both full and part-time in Greece and the UK, while the Netherlands had some differences.

Greek men and women worked the longest full-time hours, with figures of 42.5 hours for men and 39.9 for women. On the other hand, UK male full-time workers only worked 37.5 hours and females only 37, which were the lowest figures in full-time work. Men and women from the Netherlands both worked equally long hours (38.0), while the European average was 40.4 for men and 39.2 for women.

For part-time work, Greece was again at the top at 30 hours for men and 29.3 for women. UK women once more worked the least number of hours at 28, although UK men (29) worked more hours than men from the Netherlands (28.3). In fact, Dutch women worked 29.2 hours in part-time work, which was the only category where men were higher than women. Finally, the European average was noticeably higher than any of the individual countries, recording percentages of 34 for women and 32 for men. (192 words)

Working Hours

 

T1 Tables - Working Hours

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO

The tables summarise data for full and part-time working hours in three European countries organised according to gender, while also providing a comparison to the European average. 

With regard to the highest hours worked, Greek workers led in both categories. In contrast, workers in the UK worked the least amount of hours, except for part-time men

Greek men worked 42.5 hours full-time and 30 hours part-time, while the figures for women were 39.9 and 29.3 respectively. Interestingly, male and female full-time workers from the Netherlands worked the same amount of hours at 38 each, while Dutch female part-time workers (29.2) worked only fractionally less than Greek women.

As for the lowest work rates, male full-time workers in the UK worked for 37.5 hours per week on average, while the figure for women was slightly lower at 37. The lowest figure was for UK women who worked 28 hours in part-time work, although UK men worked 29 hours which was higher than the equivalent figure for Dutch men (only 28.3).

Finally, it should be noted that the European average for full-time work was consistent with the figures from the three specific countries (40.4 for men and 39.2 for women), but the part-time figures were significantly higher (at 32 for men and 34 for women). (198 words)

Working Hours 2

IELTS Task Two Sample Essay (Real Test): Causes and Solutions – Soft Skills

Interpersonal communication Skills in Workplace

Some businesses observe that new employees who just graduated from a college or university seem to lack interpersonal skills needed for communication with their colleagues. What could be the reason for this? What solutions can help address this problem?

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) Aim for TWO reasons and ONE solution for each. If you can think of ONE solution that applies to both reasons/causes then make sure you explain how your solution will deal with each cause.

(2) Aim for an introduction of TWO sentences. One sentence to paraphrase the topic (e.g. change the “graduated” to a noun “graduates” or change “interpersonal skills” to “soft skills”. A second sentence to tell the reader you plan i.e. discuss two possible reasons then offer some solutions to them (remember that this sentence can be similar for ANY topic)

(3) Your body can consist of TWO paragraphs. Body 1 can contain Reason 1 and Solution 1 and Body 2 can contain Reason 2 and Solution 2.

(4) Remember that you are not expected to be an expert, so try to think of some simple main ideas then develop them with suitable topic-specific vocabulary.

(5) Your conclusion should basically restate that the situation does have some causes and maybe they can be solved by taking some certain steps.

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Notice how the overall essay structure is very similar in each but the advanced one has higher level vocabulary and grammar.

Soft Skills 1

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

Some businesses observe that new employees who just graduated from a college or university seem to lack interpersonal skills needed for communication with their colleagues. What could be the reason for this? What solutions can help address this problem?

When new employees are hired by a company after they have graduated from university, they often show a lack of soft skills which are necessary for them to work with their co-workers. This essay will look at some possible causes of this and then offer some solutions to deal with it.

One of the main reasons for this lack of interpersonal skills is that young people focus more on their studies than soft skills. They often have to take extra classes and spend all their free time doing homework because they are under a lot of pressure to get good marks. This means that never have the opportunity to develop people skills even though they have an excellent academic record. To deal with this, university degrees could have a soft skills requirement, like public speaking, where students are required to show they not only have the necessary knowledge but they can interact with their workmates.

Another possible cause is that graduates have spent all of their free time online, so they simply have learned interpersonal skills in the real world. If a person spends all their time on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, or playing online games, they might be uncomfortable dealing with someone face-to-face. Therefore, young people should be encouraged to join a club or sports team while they are studying in order for them to build necessary interpersonal skills like cooperation and teamwork.

Overall, a lack of interpersonal skills for new employees may be caused by a focus on studying or a lack of direct interpersonal experience in their lives. As a result, it is important that young people are given the opportunity or are forced to develop their soft skills. (284 words)

Soft Skills 3

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

Some businesses observe that new employees who just graduated from a college or university seem to lack interpersonal skills needed for communication with their colleagues. What could be the reason for this? What solutions can help address this problem?

Recent college graduates often struggle to adapt to the workplace, not because they lack the necessary academic skills, but because they have an inability to connect with their colleagues on an interpersonal level. The following discussion will identify some potential factors leading to this situation and then offer some options to address them.

A major factor in the deficiency of interpersonal skills is priorities. Students are often entirely focussed on their academic record and do not put any emphasis on developing their people skills. A measure that could be introduced to deal with this is to add a ‘soft skills’ requirement to university degrees. In other words, students would not only have to pass their academic exams but would also need to demonstrate that they possessed other skills, such as public speaking or conflict resolution.

Difficulties in interpersonal communication can also be attributed to the shape of modern life. In other words, people have fewer opportunities to develop interpersonal skills because they spend such a vast amount of time interacting in virtual environments, such as social media or online gaming. Once again, this could be dealt with by introducing a ‘social’ requirement to university qualifications which would require something like membership in a club or sports team in order to fulfill it.

To conclude, being a successful employee is not just about having the relevant expertise, but it is also about being to interact with one’s colleagues. Therefore, young people should be given opportunities to develop these skills while they are gaining their academic ones. (255 words)

Feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

BAND 9.0 Problem and Solutions Essay – Obesity in Children

Band 9 Essays: Problem and Solutions Pt.1 – Traffic Congestion

IELTS Band 9.0 Essays: Problems and Solutions – Urbanization

 

 

 

 

Writing Task Two (Real Test Question): Agree or Disagree – Old Buildings

Old Buildings 2

Restoration of old buildings in main cities involves enormous government expenditure. It would be more beneficial to spend this money to build new houses and roads. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

(1) This is an “agree of disagree” or opinion essay. Therefore, you should clearly state your opinion in the introduction then restate it in the conclusion.

(2) Aim for 2-3 body paragraphs. One of the best structures for this type of essay is to have THREE body paragraphs. The first two body paragraphs can each contain a supporting idea for your view, while the third can contain a counterargument (a view for the side you don’t agree with) and then you can also challenge this view. Doing this will help to make your argument more balanced.

(3) This is a difficult topic so try to keep your ideas simple. Notice how in the “simple” sample answer the two main idea are “a link to the past” and “beautiful”. Try to explain these ideas clearly and include an example for at least one of them and you will be fine.

(4) Don’t spend too much time on writing introductions or conclusions. They can both be two sentences. Notice how the introduction in the simple essay just rephrases the topic (“restoration” –> “restoring” “main cities” –> “major cities”) and then gives a clear opinion with some balance (“While…I think…”)

Old Buildings 1

SAMPLE ESSAY ONE (Simple)

Restoration of old buildings in main cities involves enormous government expenditure. It would be more beneficial to spend this money to build new houses and roads. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

Restoring old buildings in major cities costs the government a huge amount of money that could possibly be spent on other things, like new houses and roads. While I think it is important to develop a city, it is also important to look after historic buildings too.

Old buildings should be restored because they are a link to the past. If we are always knocking down old buildings to build new ones then we will lose some important history and architectural styles. Moreover, these old buildings can be a tourist attraction which can generate more income rather than just being an extra cost with no benefit.

Another reason is that old buildings are often more beautiful than new ones. Of course it depends on your opinion, but many older buildings have more style, while newer ones are often more practical but quite ugly. For example, many buildings in some European countries were destroyed in World War Two and replaced by square, concrete structures that are depressing to look at.

On the other hand, it is certainly true that as cities grow they need new buildings and new roads. However, we should always try to make our cities nice places for people to live rather than just developing as fast and as cheaply as possible.

Overall, I think money should be spent to maintain old buildings. Even though it can be expensive, they can still add some economic value through tourism and also improve the quality of life of a city’s residents. (251 words)

Old Buildings 3

SAMPLE ESSAY TWO (Advanced)

Restoration of old buildings in main cities involves enormous government expenditure. It would be more beneficial to spend this money to build new houses and roads. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience.

The preservation of historic buildings in major cities places a significant burden on government budgets. However, despite this substantial drain on state funds, it is highly important that these old structures are maintained for future generations.

Old buildings give a city character. In other words, they tell the story of a city’s history and how it has changed over time. Cities like Prague, for instance, are massively popular tourist destinations because people can see magnificent buildings from centuries ago rather than be surrounded entirely by modern structures that are functional but have no soul.

A related idea is that old buildings can be a source of revenue rather than a great expense. As mentioned above, tourists flock to Prague to experience the atmosphere created by being surrounding by centuries of history, while very few people travel to some other cities in Europe that were rebuilt at the end of World War Two and feature drab square concrete buildings.

Nevertheless, a government’s finances are limited and the construction of new buildings and transport infrastructure is essential. Therefore, perhaps only buildings with substantial historic or architectural value should be preserved and just being old does not necessarily make something important.

Generally speaking, paying for the upkeep of old buildings should be a priority for governments due to their cultural and potential economic value. Cities are places where people live and life is better when we are surrounded by impressive monuments from the past that can inspire us for the future. (248 words)

COMMENT – The structure for this “advanced” version is very similar to the structure in the “simple” version. The main difference is simply in higher-level vocabulary and grammar. It is always a good idea to practise writing with a clear structure so that your argument is clear to the reader. After that, you can worry about adding more complex vocabulary, etc.

Feel free to leave any questions or comment you might have

YOU MIGHT FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

Band 9 Essays: Agree or Disagree – Extreme Sports

IELTS Writing Task 2 (Real Test): Agree or Disagree – Animal Exploitation

Band 9 Essays: Opinion – Road Safety

Speaking Part One: Real Test Questions: Time

Wasting time concept: alarm clocks in the trash bin

THINGS TO REMEMBER –

(1) In Part One, you need to speak about some common topics from your everyday life e.g. work and free time or food and friends. There are many possible topics you might be asked about and your answer should be around three sentences. Imagine you’re catching up with an old friend or you’re on a date and giving a little information about yourself (but not too much!)

(2) Focus on giving a clear main answer e.g. “I do a lot of things in my free time”, “At the moment, I’m working as a…”, “My favourite food is definitely…”, “I’d rather have a few close friends than a big group of friends”.

(3) Try to add a few relevant details e.g. “On the weekend, I play football with my friends. I also like to read and watch TV and I’ve just started to learn how to play the guitar”, “I’ve been doing this job for two years and so far it’s quite interesting and also challenging”, “I don’t eat it that often because it’s not that healthy, but if I could choose one food to eat, it would be that”, “I think if you have only a few really good friends, you can know each other better and relax around them more.”

(4) You have no time to think about your answer, so practise with a wide range of questions and always focus on giving information that will help to make your main idea clearer to the examiner.

NOTE – Each of the following questions contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one.

Time 1

QUESTION ONE – Do you wear a watch?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “No, I don’t wear one. I own one – I got it for my birthday – but I don’t wear it very often. I just use my phone to tell the time because it’s more convenient.”

COMMENT – Remember that even if you’ve answered the question (“No, I don’t wear one”), you must say a little more to show your speaking ability.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Normally, I don’t wear a watch. I think they can be can be a good fashion accessory but watches are a little outdated. Almost everyone can check the time on their phone and a watch it just another thing to worry about.”

Time 2

QUESTION TWO – How would you feel if someone kept you waiting?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “It’s a little bit rude. I think if you know you’re going to be late you should let the person know so they don’t waste their time. I think it’s important to be on time.”

COMMENT – This is a simple but well-organised answer. The first sentence contains the main idea. The second gives some explanation. The third is like a brief conclusion.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I think it’s important to be punctual, so I would be a bit annoyed if someone kept me waiting. With text-messaging or email, it’s easy nowadays to let someone know if you’re going to be a little late, so there’s really no excuse to not at least inform someone that you’re going to be delayed.”

COMMENTS – This answer is a little longer (but not too long). It used more advanced language, such as “punctual” and uses a range of synonyms e.g. “be a little late” “be delayed”

Time 3

QUESTION THREE – Why is being on time important to you?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – It’s important because it shows that you care about the other person. If you arrive late without telling them it shows that maybe you think your time is more important than theirs.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Um, I think your word – what you say you’re going to do – is one of the most important things in life, so – I guess – turning up somewhere when you say you will shows that you’re a reliable person and you take other people’s time into consideration rather than just thinking about your plans and problems.”

Feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have

YOU MIGHT FIND SOME OF THE RELATED LINKS USEFUL

IELTS Speaking Part 1: Answering Yes/No Questions

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Gardens

Band 9 Speaking: Part 1 – Bags

IELTS Writing Task One: Line Graph – Female Members of Parliament

Line Graph - Parliament Women

THINGS TO REMEMBER
  1. Your answer MUST include (a) an introduction (b) an overview (c) a well-organised body that helps to make the key details clear (and supports your overview!)
  2. You do NOT need to have a new paragraph for each line. Try to group similar information together. For example, you can put the lines that go up overall together and the lines that go down overall together. If all lines go up (like in this example) you can group them by biggest or smallest (in terms of overall size or overall change)
  3. Try to use a range of synonyms to describe the changes. In this example, all the lines increase, so you will need lots of synonyms for “increase”, like “rise” “climb” “grow” “go up” etc.
  4. Try to compare between the lines. For example, do any of the lines start or finish at a similar level?

NOTE – The following contains TWO sample answers: a basic one and an advanced one. Notice how the structure of each one is quite similar but the grammar and vocabulary in the second one is more advanced.

Line Graph - Parliament Women

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

The graph shows the percentage of female members of Parliament in European countries between 2000 and 2012.

“The graph indicates the changes in the percentage of Parliament members who were women in some countries in  Europe over the years from 2000 to 2012.”

COMMENT – Try to paraphrase at least 3 things from the title you are given. You can always change “shows” to another verb and then rearrange the rest of the sentence if you can’t think of any synonyms e.g. change “female members of Parliament” to “Parliament members who were women”

“Overall, the amount of women in each Parliament increased by different amounts over the period shown in the graph”

COMMENT – Remember that this sentence is your overview. You must include this part. Normally, your overview is the thing you notice immediately when you look at the graph.

“In 2000, Germany had the highest percentage of women in its Parliament with a third of the total and this figure had grown slightly to about 37% by 2012. Italy was in second place with around 27% of female Parliament members, although by 2012 Italy had the largest percentage at around 39%. France’s percentage also increased steadily from a quarter in 2000 to almost a third by 2012.”

COMMENT – This answer will have two body paragraphs. The first includes the three biggest, while the second will include the two smallest. This makes it easy for the reader to follow and also makes it easier for you to organise your answer and make relevant comparisons.

“As for Belgium, about one-sixth of its Parliament members were women in 2000 and this climbed to almost a quarter by 2008. However, after that it fell a little to about 23% by 2012. Finally, the UK had by far the lowest percentage of women in its Parliament in 2000 at only around 3 percent. Nevertheless, over the next twelve years this figure grew significantly and by 2012 it was at the same level as Belgium.”

COMMENTS – (i) a good answer is one that the reader can re-draw/imagine based on your description (ii) You don’t need to include data that you’ve already mentioned. For example, the report states that Belgium’s level was 23% in 2012 so you can just write that the UK’s level was “the same” in 2012 rather than repeating the exact percentage.

Line Graph - Parliament Women

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

The graph shows the percentage of female members of Parliament in European countries between 2000 and 2012.

“The graph provides an outline of the proportion of female Parliamentarians in a selection of European nations over the period from 2000 to 2012.”

COMMENT – “proportion” is a good synonym for “percentage”. Be careful not to use “number” as this is not always the same thing.

“Broadly speaking, it is evident that the number of female MPs increased over the duration, although there were major differences in the size of the changes.”

“The most dramatic increase occurred in the UK where the percentage of women in Parliament went from being by far the lowest (3%) to approximately 23% in 2012. Belgium also had a figure of 23% in 2012 although their growth was a lot more subdued, beginning the period at around 16% and even falling by a few percentage points between 2008 and 2012.”

“The country with the highest level of female representation in 2000 was Germany at around one-third, and this figure grew slightly to around 37% by 2012. However, in 2012 Italy was now the country with the greatest proportion of women in Parliament at around 39% after climbing substantially from around 27% in 2000. Finally, France also experience steady growth, rising from a quarter in 2000 to just under a third by the conclusion of the period.”

COMMENTS – an easy way to boost your score is to use different ways to report the data. For example, “25%” can be “a quarter”, around “33%” can be “one-third” and so on.

Parliament Women

FULL SAMPLE ANSWER (Simple)

The graph indicates the changes in the percentage of Parliament members who were women in some countries in  Europe over the years from 2000 to 2012.

Overall, the amount of women in each Parliament increased by different amounts over the period shown in the graph.

In 2000, Germany had the highest percentage of women in its Parliament with a third of the total and this figure had grown slightly to about 37% by 2012. Italy was in second place with around 27% of female Parliament members, although by 2012 Italy had the largest percentage at around 39%. France’s percentage also increased steadily from a quarter in 2000 to almost a third by 2012.

As for Belgium, about one-sixth of its Parliament members were women in 2000 and this climbed to almost a quarter by 2008. However, after that it fell a little to about 23% by 2012. Finally, the UK had by far the lowest percentage of women in its Parliament in 2000 at only around 3 percent. Nevertheless, over the next twelve years this figure grew significantly and by 2012 it was at the same level as Belgium. (183 words)

FULL SAMPLE ANSWER (Advanced)

The graph provides an outline of the proportion of female Parliamentarians in a selection of European nations over the period from 2000 to 2012.”
“Broadly speaking, it is evident that the number of female MPs increased over the duration, although there were major differences in the size of the changes.”
“The most dramatic increase occurred in the UK where the percentage of women in Parliament went from being by far the lowest (3%) to approximately 23% in 2012. Belgium also had a figure of 23% in 2012 although their growth was a lot more subdued, beginning the period at around 16% and even falling by a few percentage points between 2008 and 2012.”
“The country with the highest level of female representation in 2000 was Germany at around one-third, and this figure grew slightly to around 37% by 2012. However, in 2012 Italy was now the country with the greatest proportion of women in Parliament at around 39% after climbing substantially from around 27% in 2000. Finally, France also experience steady growth, rising from a quarter in 2000 to just under a third by the conclusion of the period. (189 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED LINKS USEFUL

Band 9 Reports: Line Graph Basics

IELTS Task 1 Writing: Mixed Task – Bar Chart and Line Graph

BAND 9.0 Reports: Bar Charts – Mobile Phones vs. Landlines