IELTS Essays Real Test: Causes and Solutions – Lack of Exercise

Lack of Exercise 2

Doctors in many countries say that people do not do enough physical exercise. What are the causes of this trend? How can the situation be improved?

THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE WRITING

(1) This essay requires you to write about some causes and some ways (solutions) to deal with those causes. Aim for two causes and two solutions.

(2) The topic does not require you to talk about effects. Writing about the consequences of a lack of exercise will not count towards your mark and will harm it.

(3) Always try to use some synonyms for words you will frequently use. For example, “causes” –> “reasons” “factors”, “problems” –> “issues”, “solutions” –> “steps that can be taken” “measures” “ways to address the issue” etc. Similarly, make sure you paraphrase the topic. For example, “do not do enough physical exercise” could be “do not get sufficient exercise” or “do not exercise enough to be healthy”.

(4) Try to use balanced language when offering solutions. For example, instead of saying something is “a solution”, say it is “a potential solution”; instead of saying something “is a solution”, say it “could be a solution”.

(5) You can have one body paragraph for the cause and one for the solutions, or you can have one paragraph for cause one and solution one, and one paragraph for cause two and solution two. Just make sure you link your paragraphs appropriately.

(6) Use your conclusion to summarize the points that (a) the problem is serious but (b) we can do something to solve it (think positively!)

NOTE – The following topic is taken from a recent IELTS exam. There are two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Each answer contains useful linking vocabulary in italics and synonyms and advanced vocabulary in bold. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.

Lack of Exercise 3

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

Doctors around the world are warning us about the lack of of exercise that many people are getting. Not doing enough exercise is related to our modern lifestyle, although there are some steps that can be taken that could lead to improvements in this situation.

One of the main reasons why people do not get enough exercise is because they do not have enough time. They have to get up early to go to school or work, and by the end of the day they are too tired to go to the gym or do some other kind of exercise. Another factor is that, even if they have time to work out, people have many more choices about what they do in their free time. Nowadays, it is so easy to watch a movie or some entertaining videos online and, after a long tiring day, all someone wants to do is sit back and relax and switch off their brains with something inactive.

A lack of physical activity leads to a range of serious problems, so it is important that this issue is solved. One possible solution is to improve the balance between people’s life and work. People normally live to work and have just enough free time to recover for the next day of work. Creating a four-day work week or reducing the typical 9-5 working day could be a way to deal with this. In addition, people need to take personal responsibility. In other words, they have to accept that regular exercise is a necessary part of good health, and they need to find a few minutes each day to do something physically active.

Overall, not getting exercise is terrible for a person’s mental and physical health. Society and individuals need to change the way they work in order to allow everyone the chance to be active and as healthy as they can be. (315 words)

Lack of Exercise 1

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

Doctors in many countries say that people do not do enough physical exercise. What are the causes of this trend? How can the situation be improved?

Despite frequent warnings from medical professionals around the world about the dire consequences of a lack of physical activity, many people continue to get little to no exercise. The causes of this can be traced to the way modern society operates, but there are potential ways to tackle this issue and improve people’s quality of life.

The majority of most people’s lives is spent working or traveling to and from work. Simply put, this means the majority of people struggle to find time to exercise. Moreover, any free time they do have, they are too exhausted and rundown by work to find the motivation to exercise. Related to this is the fact that people have many other choices and distractions in their downtime. Streaming a movie or scrolling through endless memes is more appealing than going to the gym or even taking a casual stroll.

Because the problem exists at a social level, it requires changes to society. People need to have more free time rather than just existing to work and sleep. Reducing the length of the working week or cutting back on the conventional 9-5 working day are two such possibilities. At the individual level, people need to have more personal respect for themselves and accept that exercise is not a choice but an essential part of achieving the best physical and mental health that they can.

The sedentary society we live in is one of the main causes of escalating rates of mental health problems and costs billions of dollars ever year in healthcare expenses. Nevertheless, by emphasizing the importance of exercise and adapting society to meet human needs rather than vice versa, this looming issue can start to be resolved. (283 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED POSTS USEFUL

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FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU MIGHT HAVE

GOOD LUCK!

 

IELTS Reports: Maps – Stokeford

T1 Maps - Stokeford

The maps show the town of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010. Write a report of at least 150 words, summarizing the main features and making comparison where relevant.

THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE WRITING

(1) Maps are a little different from the other task types. You need to compare the important changes that took place using tenses like simple past and past/present perfect.

(2) However, the structure of your report should be similar to other types. That means (i) Start with an introduction that paraphrases what you are told about the maps (ii) Give an overview of the main features (iii) Report the main features in 1-2 well-organized body paragraphs.

(3) Try to use a range of vocabulary. In other task types, you want to use synonyms for words like “increase” “decrease” etc. In a map task, you want to use synonyms for words like “happen” –> “occur” “take place”, “located” –> “situated”, “changes” –> “developments”. You will also gain marks for correctly using specific vocabulary like “demolish” “convert” “residential” etc.

(4) Remember that you must include an overview. This can be after your introduction or as a conclusion. Look at the maps and report what you notice first. Normally, the main changes are large and obvious.

(5) Make sure you link the changes with a range of vocabulary. For example, “another major change was…” “However…” “In the present day…”

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers have useful linking vocabulary included in italics and advanced vocabulary and synonyms in bold. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.

Stokeford

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

T1 Maps - Stokeford

The maps show the town of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010. Write a report of at least 150 words, summarizing the main features and making comparison where relevant.

The maps present the changes that occurred in the town of Stokeford between 1930 and 2010.

Overall, Stokeford increased significantly in size over the period with house replacing areas that used to be farmland.

Stokeford is situated on the east side of the River Stoke. In 1930, there was one main road going through the town from north to south. Along each side of the road were some houses, some shops, a post office, and primary school. By 2010, the post office still remained, but the shops had been replaced by more houses. There were also new roads built to connect the new houses to the main road. Moreover, the primary school had been enlarged and even more houses had been built to the west of the town in an area that was farmland in 1930.

To the southeast of the town, there were some public gardens with a large house, but this was converted into a retirement home sometime over the period. Finally, the farmland that had been to the south of the town was also converted into a new housing area. (178 words)

Stokeford 2

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

T1 Maps - Stokeford

The maps show the town of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010. Write a report of at least 150 words, summarizing the main features and making comparison where relevant.

The maps provide a comparison of the state of the town of Stokeford in 1930 and 2010.

Over the 80-year period depicted in the maps, Stokeford underwent some major changes, with a dramatic increase in residential areas and a corresponding reduction in farmland being the most noticeable.

Stokeford, which lies on the eastern bank of the River Stoke, was surrounded by farmland to the south and northeast in 1930. However, by 2010, this agricultural land had been converted into new housing with new roads providing access. The shops that stood on the single road that used to run through Stokeford from north to south were demolished and replaced by housing sometime between 1930 and 2010, although the original post office still remained. Similarly, while the old primary school still stood where it had in 1930, it had been extended to cater for the rising population.

Another prominent feature of Stokeford in 1930 was a sizeable area of gardens to the south of the town that also contained a large estate house. Nevertheless, eight decades later, this area had been converted into a retirement home with extensions to the original house being made. (184 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED POSTS USEFUL

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Band 9 Reports: Maps – Island Resort

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU MIGHT HAVE

GOOD LUCK!

IELTS Reports: Line Graphs – Radio and Television

T1 Line Graphs - Radio and TV

The graph above shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992. Write a report of at least 150 words, summarizing the key details and making comparisons where relevant.

THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE WRITING

(1) Line graphs require you to report trends. Think about (i) peaks and lows (ii) periods where there are big/fast changes (iii) periods where there are no/very small changes (iv) periods where the line goes up and down rapidly (fluctuations)

(2) You will not have enough time to write about every little change, so focus on the main ones. In other words, don’t go hour-by-hour.

(3) Don’t forget to make comparisons. Which one was more popular/bigger. Did one become more popular than the other? When?

(4) Use a range of vocabulary for reporting trends. For example, “increase” –> “grow” –> “rise” –> etc.

(5) You MUST include an overview. This can be 1-2 sentences that report the main details. This should be obvious and what you notice about the graph after looking at it for a few seconds.

(6) Organize your report into paragraphs. For this type of graph, you can have one body paragraph for “TV” and one for “Radio”, or you can organize the paragraphs based on time (e.g. 12am-12pm –> 12pm -12am). In the samples below, the simple one is written using the first method and the advanced one is written using the second method (which can be harder to do because you have to talk about TV and radio at the same time!)

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers have useful linking vocabulary included in italics and essential/advanced descriptive vocabulary and synonyms in bold. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.

TV Viewers

T1 Line Graphs - Radio and TV

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

The graph shows the average percentage of people in the UK aged over 4 who watched TV or listened to the radio from October to December 1992.

Overall, listening to the radio was more popular in the morning, while watching TV  was more common at night.

From 1am to 5am, the percentage of radio listeners was very low, at around 2-3 percent. However, there was then a sharp rise in listeners to a peak of 25 percent around 8am. After that, the number of listeners declined steadily to just over 10 percent by 3pm. There was a small increase of a few percent to around 5pm and then the percentage dropped until the end of the day with some small fluctuations.

Around 3 percent of the population were watching TV at 2am and this figure rose slowly to about 7 percent by 8am. There was a fall back to around 3 percent by 11am, but then viewer numbers increased significantly to 15 percent by 1pm. The percentage of viewers was higher than radio listeners for the rest of the day, with TV watchers climbing to 40 percent of the population at 6pm and reaching a peak of just under 45 percent at 9pm. (190 words)

Radio Listeners

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

T1 Line Graphs - Radio and TV

The graph above shows radio and television audiences throughout the day in 1992. Write a report of at least 150 words, summarizing the key details and making comparisons where relevant.

The graph provides an overview of the proportion of radio listeners and TV viewers aged over 4 in a typical day from October to December in the UK in 1992.

Overall, it is apparent that radio was most popular in the morning as people were getting ready to start the day, while TV viewership was highest in the evening.

In the early morning hours prior to 6am, TV and radio both had audiences of less than 5 percent of the population, with TV slightly ahead of radio. However, from 6am to 9am, radio listeners spiked, peaking at one quarter of the UK population. At the same time, TV viewers rose much less significantly, standing at around 7 percent at 8am. TV and radio viewer percentages then declined, with TV returning to its early-morning low, while radio listeners continued to drop so that by 3pm they were at half the level of their morning peak.

In fact, despite an increase of a few percent around 5pm, radio listeners continued to diminish throughout the rest of the day. On the other hand, from its 11am low, the proportion of TV viewers began to climb dramatically, overtaking radio’s popularity by 1pm. After that, TV viewer figures continued to surge. By 6pm, 40 percent of the relevant UK population were watching TV and this figure continued to climb to a peak of approximately 45 percent at 9pm, before a rapid drop-off began as viewership returned to its late-night/early-morning lows. (235 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED POSTS USEFUL

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FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU MIGHT HAVE

GOOD LUCK!

 

IELTS Speaking: Part One – Pets

Pets 3
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHILE SPEAKING

(1) Think of Part One as a casual conversation where you need to say about THREE sentences for each question. Try to speak in a relaxed way and don’t be too formal.

(2) Try to include some topic-specific vocabulary. For example, there questions are about “pets”, so try to use some words, like “breed”, “soft and fluffy” (for a cat’s fur), etc. But remember that your first job is to be clear. DON’T try to use big/advanced words before you can give a clear answer.

(3) Try to make your first sentence short and clear, then follow up with two longer sentences to explain your main idea/point.

NOTE – The following questions are from a recent IELTS exam. Each question has a simple and an advanced answer. Both answer have useful organizing vocabulary in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary in bold. The advanced versions are written at a Band 9 level.

Pets 1

QUESTION ONE – Do people in your country like pets?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Yes, I think most people like pets. In the past, it was less common, but now more and more people have a pet. Normally, they own a dog or a cat. I think pets make a good friend and give people company when they’re lonely.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I think most people like pets, and pet ownership is becoming more common in my country. It used to be that animals were a source of food – even animals normally associated with pets – or they were a source of labour – like a buffalo to plough the fields. Now that people are wealthier, they often like to have a pet for companionship.”

COMMENT – If you don’t know a word like “plough”, then explain what you mean in a more simple way. For example, “a buffalo to work in the fields”.
Pets 4
QUESTION TWO – What animal don’t you like? Why?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I like most animals, but I get scared of some insects and spiders. I don’t like the way they move. Like, if I have to get up in the night and there’s a cockroach running across the floor, I hate it.”

COMMENT – Even using one piece of specific vocabulary (e.g. “cockroach”) can make your answer stand out.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I would describe myself as an animal lover, but I get freaked out by snakes. I think it’s a primal fear that everyone kind of has because they’re emotionless – just evolved to hunt. I also don’t really like slimy things – you know, like snails and slugs – they’re just kind of gross.”

COMMENT – Using informal language (e.g. “freaked out” “gross”) is a good way to show your conversational skills and vocabulary range.
Pets 5
QUESTION THREE – What kind of pet would you like to have? Why?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I’d love to have a cat. Kittens  – especially – are so cute. But my mum is allergic to cats, so I’ll have to wait until I have my own place before I can get one. Cats have fur that is so soft and fluffy.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “If I could have any pet…? I’d love to have a pet tiger – as long as it was friendly and well-trained. I love cats, so having a huge one would be amazing. But I think an animal like that is always a little wild, so one day it would probably remember its natural instincts and eat me.”

Pets 2

QUESTION FOUR – What animals do people in your country have? Why?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “For pets, people have common ones like cats and dogs mostly. They have them as a friend or for protection. Some people have fish or a bird. On farms, there are many types of animals raised for food, like cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens…”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “In farming and agriculture, there are the typical animals like cows and chickens, and even buffaloes are still used to plough the fields. For pets, there are the normal domesticated animals, like cats and dogs. Actually, nowadays more and more people are getting expensive breeds of dog as a status symbol – I mean to show off how wealthy they are.”

COMMENT – You can show your vocabulary range and general speaking skill by explaining what you mean by key phrases (e.g. “status symbol”). Use phrases like “By that I mean” or “In other words” to begin your explanation.
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FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS YOU MIGHT HAVE

GOOD LUCK!

IELTS Task One: Mixed Task – Water Use and Consumption

Global Water 1

T1 Mixed - Water Use

The graph and table above give information about water use worldwide and water consumption in two different countries.

THINS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE WRITING

(1) In a mixed task example (where you have more than one type of chart), try to see if there is any connection/relationship between the two. In this example, one (the graph) is about global water use over a one-hundred-year period, while the other is about water use in two countries in one year, so you do not need to compare between the charts for data, although you can note that agriculture seems to be the biggest user of water.

(2) Organize your body with (i) an introduction (ii) an overview (this part is essential!) (iii) a paragraph for the graph (iv) a paragraph for the table.

(3) When writing the introduction, try to think of some synonyms for the topic words (e.g. “water use worldwide” and “water consumption”) and also synonyms for more general words (e.g. “give information”). If you are not sure of a synonym, then don’t use it. Use easy ones like “global” instead of “worldwide” and “use” instead of “consumption”

(4) Make sure you use comparisons instead of just listing the data. For example, agriculture was always the “biggest user”, by 2000 industrial use was “half of agriculture”, etc.

(5) You do NOT need to use any outside knowledge and you should NOT give your opinion. However, you can point out relationships, like in the table where irrigated land seems to be connected to water use per person.

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers have useful linking vocabulary in italics and advanced vocabulary, synonyms and key points are included in bold. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.

Global Water 2

T1 Mixed - Water Use

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

The graph provides information about global use of water from 1900 to 2000, while the table shows how water was consumed in two specific countries in 2000.

Overall, water use in all sectors increased significantly in all sectors between 1900 and 2000, while Brazil consumed much more water per person than the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Agriculture was the biggest consumer of water throughout the twentieth century. In 1900, about 500km3 of water was used in this sector, and by 2000 this level had grown dramatically to around 3000km3. Domestic and industrial water use was quite low in 1900, but both climbed significantly over the next 100 years. In 2000, industrial water use was at 1300km3, while domestic use was at approximately 400km3.

As for the two countries shown in the table, there are some major differences. Brazil’s population in 2000 was 176 million, which was about 35 times higher than the DRC’s population of 5.2 million. Moreover, while the DRC only had 100km2 of agricultural land, Brazil’s figure was more than 250 times higher than this (26,500km2). The difference in water use per person was also great, with a total of 359m3 per person in Brazil and just 8m3 in the DRC. (188 words)

Global Water 3

T1 Mixed - Water Use

The graph and table above give information about water use worldwide and water consumption in two different countries.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

The graph presents an overview of global water usage in the twentieth century, while the table provides a comparison of water use in 2000 in two specific countries: Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

From the graph, it is evident that the total amount of water used around the world increased enormously between 1900 and 2000. Further to this, the graph and the table also show that agriculture is the main factor behind water consumption.

Agriculture was the largest water user throughout the hundred years covered in the graph, and its use grew six-fold over that time from 500km3 to 3000km3. Water use in the industrial and domestic sectors was relatively low in 1900, but then climbed substantially over the next century. By 2000, industrial water use stood at about half that of agriculture, while domestic use had risen to the level agriculture had been at in 1900.

In 2000, the respective populations of Brazil and the DRC were 176 million and 5.2 million. However, water consumption per capita in Brazil was 359m3 compared to only 8m3 in the DRC. This huge difference can be explained by the fact that Brazil (26,500km2) had more than 250 times the amount of irrigated land than the DRC (100km2). (198 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED POSTS USEFUL

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IELTS Essays: Advantages and Disadvantages – Working from Home

Working from Home 2

In the past, most people used to travel to their place of work. With increased use of computers, the internet and smartphones, more and more people are starting to work from home. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE WRITING

(1) This is an advantages and disadvantages essay. You must write about BOTH! Try to think of two good things and two bad things.

(2) Use a simple four-paragraph structure with one body paragraph for the advantages and one for the disadvantages.

(3) In the conclusion, you should give your opinion/state whether you think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa.

(4) Try to use synonyms for the topic words you will write about. For example, “travel to work” could be “commuting”, “work from home” could be “work remotely” or “not work in an office”. Even “more and more people” can be “a greater number of people”

(5) Always try to use synonyms for the task words. For example, use “benefits” instead of “advantages” and “drawback” instead of “disadvantage”.

(6) Make sure you link your ideas with a variety of suitable vocabulary. Remember that 25% of your mark is for how clear and well-organized your writing is!

NOTE – The following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both answers have useful linking vocabulary in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary in bold. The advanced answer is written at a Band 9 level.

Working from Home

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

In the past, most people used to travel to their place of work. With increased use of computers, the internet and smartphones, more and more people are starting to work from home. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

Instead of traveling to work, a greater number of people are working from home, using their computer or some other device connected to the internet. Although this has some major benefits, there are also some drawbacks, and both will be considered below.

One of the main advantages is that people do not have to spend a large amount of time each day going to work and then back home. For many people, this can take an hour or more each way and is a major cause of stress. By not sitting in a car in traffic, they can not only save time, but avoid stress, and this should make them be able to work more effectively. Moreover, working from home can mean that people have more control over their lives. In other words, people in an office often have to make it look like they are working when really they are just wasting time. At home, they have an amount of work they have to do and a deadline, and it is up to them to decide when and how they complete it.

Nevertheless, working from home can be lonely. Not having co-workers to chat with and help you out if you have a problem that cannot be fixed online is a serious disadvantage. Furthermore, even if you can contact someone via email, it is often better to solve problems face-to-face, while working in an office can create a team atmosphere that is better for productivity and the success of the company.

Overall, it seems that working from home can make a worker’s life easier and give them more control. However, there are some things that are better done with other people around. (283 words)

Working from Home 3

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

In the past, most people used to travel to their place of work. With increased use of computers, the internet and smartphones, more and more people are starting to work from home. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

The advent of the internet has enabled people to work remotely from home rather than commuting daily to work. Like most new technologies, this has some obvious benefits, but also some less obvious downsides, and both of these must be assessed.

On the positive side, the ability to work from home gives a person more freedom. For one thing, they do not have to endure the daily commute, sitting in heavy traffic for hours each day as their stress levels rise just to sit in an office all day. Moreover, working from hone allows a person to manage their own time. For example, some people like to work slowly and steadily, while some people like to work in short bursts. However, in an office environment, people are usually under pressure to make it seem like they are working even if they are not.

On the other hand, it is often said that modern society leads to feelings of isolation and working from home might exacerbate this. Having no one around to chat with might actually make people more stressed and have worse effects on their mental health than working in an office. Not to mention, the internet has created a world of distractions that may be hard to resist if someone is sitting in their living room rather than in a cubicle. Furthermore, everyone who has ever tried to organize a conference call knows that face-to-face interactions are normally more time-efficient and productive than trying to communicate remotely.

Overall, it seems that working from home is a mixed bag. The freedom of not having to come to a certain place to work each day is appealing, but human’s are social creatures and having everyone in their homes all day is probably not the best solution either. (294 words)

YOU MAY FIND SOME OF THE FOLLOWING RELATED POSTS USEFUL

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FEEL FREE TO LEAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE

GOOD LUCK!

 

IELTS Task One Writing: Bar Charts – Electricity Consumption

Electricity 2
T1 Bar Charts - Electicity Consumption
The bar chart above shows the top ten countries for the production and consumption of electricity in 2014. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE WRITING

(1) Read the instructions! Your job is NOT to list the numbers. You MUST give comparisons where relevant. This means you should think about which are the highest and lowest. Which figures are similar? Which figures are very different? Can you group the data in some way?

(2) Make sure you have an overview that gives the main details about the chart (without data). This is normally the things you notice immediately. For example, China and the USA are much bigger than the rest, Germany is the only one that consumes more than it produces, etc.

(3) Try to use a range of vocabulary when reporting data, but be careful when using synonyms for the topic words (i.e. “consumption” “production” “electricity” etc.) Words like “power” for “electricity” and “generate” for “produce” are good synonyms. If you are not sure about synonyms, change the grammar (e.g. “consumption” –> “consumed”). If you are not sure about a good synonym, do NOT use it. Your first goal is to be clear!

NOTE – the following contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Both sample answer have useful linking vocabulary included in italics and synonyms and advanced vocabulary are included in bold. The advanced answer is written at a Band 9 level.
Electricity 3
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

T1 Bar Charts - Electicity Consumption

The bar chart above shows the top ten countries for the production and consumption of electricity in 2014. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

ANSWER – “The bar chart gives information about the amount of electricity produced and consumed by the world’s top ten energy users in 2014.

Overall, it is clear to see that China and the USA produced and consumed significantly more electricity than any other country. Interestingly, Germany was the only country in the Top 10 that consumed more electricity than it produced.

In 2014, China was the world leader in electricity production and consumption, with over 5000 billion kWh for each. The USA was in second place, producing and consuming about one-fifth less than China. In third place was Russia, although its power production and consumption was only around 1000 billion kWh.

The lowest producer in the Top 10 was South Korea with 485.1 billion kWh, which was about half of fourth-place country Japan. The seventh and eight-placed countries – France and Brazil – both produced and consumed similar amounts of electricity at around 550 billion kWh for production and 450 billion kWh for consumption. Finally, in ninth-place, Germany produced only 526.6 billion kWh of power, but it consumed 582.5 billion kWh, which was actually the fifth highest. (174 words)

Electricity 1

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

T1 Bar Charts - Electicity Consumption

The bar chart above shows the top ten countries for the production and consumption of electricity in 2014. Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

ANSWER – “The bar chart provides an analysis of electricity generation and usage levels by the Top 10 global energy users in 2014.

A broad assessment of the data reveals that China and the USA were by far the greatest users and producers of electricity, while the bottom half of the Top 10 had similar electricity production and consumption needs.

China was the world’s leading energy generator and consumer in 2014, producing around 5500 billion kWh and consuming almost the same amount. In second place, the USA produced and consumed about 20 percent less electricity than China. The remainder of the Top 5 – Russia, India, and Japan – generated and used up about four to five times less power than China or the USA.

In seventh and eighth place, France and Brazil both produced and consumed similar amounts of electricity, with production figures of approximately 550 billion kWh and consumption of around 450 billion kWh. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that ninth-placed Germany was the only country whose energy consumption was higher than its production. In fact, its consumption figures were the fifth-highest. Finally, rounding out the Top 10 was South Korea with electricity generation and usage numbers a little under 500 billion kWh. (191 words)

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IELTS Speaking Real Test: Part One – Photography

Photography 1
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN SPEAKING

(1) Aim for THREE sentences in Part One. This gives you time to (i) state your main idea (ii) add some details/explanation (iii) show some topic-related vocabulary

(2) Your main idea in Part One can just be a natural (short) response to a question you might be asked in a normal conversation (e.g. “I think so” “Not really” “Definitely” etc.) Just make sure you explain your first statement with a couple more sentences of information.

(3) Pretend that Part One is a first date in a cafe or catching up with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. Don’t be too formal. Don’t speak for too long.

NOTE – The following questions are adapted from a recent IELTS exam. Each question contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Extra comments and tips are featured after some answers. Useful linking vocabulary is included in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary is included in bold. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.

Photography 2
QUESTION ONE – Do you like taking pictures?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Not really. If I’m out and I see something interesting I might take a photo with my phone so I can show my friends, but I don’t own an actual camera – I mean – one that’s separate from my phone.”

COMMENT – Aim to speak in a casual but clear way. For example, if you want to clarify what you mean by “actual camera”, then just say it in a simple way.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I went through a phase where I was obsessed with photography. I got my parents to buy me a nice camera with a high-end lens, and I would go out every chance I got to try and take the perfect picture. Now I don’t have much time and I normally just snap some pictures with my phone.”

COMMENT – Using advanced/topic-specific vocabulary is great. Just make sure your speaking flows and the vocabulary is used to make your ideas clear rather than using the ideas to show off your vocabulary but being difficult to understand or sounding like a robot!

Photography 5

QUESTION TWO – What do you do with the pictures you take?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “If it’s a good one, I might post it on social media – like on Instagram or Facebook. But – often – they just stay on my phone and I forget about them. It’s so easy to take a picture nowadays.”

COMMENT – Always try to explain general terms (e.g. “social media”) with specific examples. This will make your answers longer and clearer.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Well, the vast majority I delete. I don’t like the way I look in photos – I’m really not photogenic – normally I’m squinting or only one eye is open. My friends sometimes take group selfies and post them online, but I only do that every now and again.”

COMMENT – When you use advanced vocabulary (e.g. “photogenic”), try to show you are confident with the meaning of that word by explaining it in more detail (e.g. “squinting” “both eyes closed” etc.)

Photography 3

QUESTION THREE – Do you like to take photos with your phone or a proper camera?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Well, the only camera I have is on my phone and I’ve never used an actual camera. My phone camera is really convenient –  I can just pull it out of my pocket and take a picture wherever I am. A big camera seems kind of awkward to carry around everywhere.”

COMMENT – Talk about yourself. If you’ve never owned a camera, say that and why. You can get a good mark with simple vocabulary if you are clear and give details for your main ideas.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Phone cameras are so good now – the resolution is as good as top-of-the-line standalone digital cameras used to be – so I think it’s hard to tell the difference. For me, my phone camera is always right there, which makes it much more appealing than lugging around a bulky camera.”

Photography 4
QUESTION FOUR – Do you have any plans to learn photography

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Not at the moment. I think photography – like any art – needs a lot of time to get good, and I’m not really interested enough to spend that much time on it. I just use some of the filters on my phone and it looks good to me!”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I don’t think so. My phone seems to do a good job of making sure the picture is in focus. Then, there’s all the filters you can apply to make the photo how you want it to look. I think you have to devote a lot of time to becoming good at something like photography and I don’t have the passion or the patience.”

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IELTS Essays Real Test: Opinion – Old vs. Younger Population

Ageing Populations 1
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE WRITING

(1) This might be a difficult topic for some people (especially if this is not an issue in your country). Always try to keep your main ideas simple and clear. In the simple version below, the main ideas are just that old people have “life experience” [positive] and too may old people can cause “social problems”. Try to explain what you mean by your main ideas and give a specific example if you can.

(2) This essay type requires you to give your opinion, but you should try to mention both positive and negative sides in order to get a high Task Response score.

(3) You can give you opinion in the introduction or you can save it for the conclusion. If you save it until the conclusion, you should mention in the introduction that you are going to look at both sides before making a decision.

(4) A four-paragraph structure is fine for this type of essay with 1-2 ideas for each side.

NOTE – The following essay topic is taken from a recent IELTS example. There are two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Each answer has useful linking vocabulary in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary in bold. There are extra comments and tips included in some answers. The advanced version is written at a Band 9 level.
Ageing Populations 3
SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple)

It is expected in the near future that there will be a higher proportion of old people compared to the younger population in some countries. Is it a positive or negative development? Give your opinion and examples.

It has been predicted that some countries will soon have a greater percentage of older people than younger. While this situation can have some positive effects, they are outweighed by the negative ones.

COMMENT – Always to paraphrase the topic (write it in your own words) as best you can, and never copy it. In the example above, the tense is changed to present perfect (“It has been predicted”) and other keywords, like “higher proportion” have been changed (“greater percentage”). This is a relatively easy way to improve your vocabulary score and you should do it every time!

In the past, older people were valued for their life experience and wisdom. There was a lack of ways for people to find information, so younger people relied on older people to explain things and solve problems. For example, there was no Wikipedia or internet at all, so any question would be asked to someone who had been around the longest. This is still true today as older people have generally seen more things and have hopefully learned from their mistakes, which should make them wiser.

However, an ageing population can also cause major social problems. Older people require extra care and this is provided by younger people. If the population of older people gets too high compared to the younger age group, then there will be no one look after them when they are so old that they cannot take care of themselves. This is a serious issue in countries like Japan where young people move to the cities to look for work and the countryside is full of old people who are left to look after themselves.

COMMENT – Try to include specific examples if you can. You should have at least one per essay.

Overall, when people are young they require care from older people and when they are older they require care from younger people. If the proportion of one age group gets too high or low it can affect the balance of society and cause suffering for many people. (256 words)

Ageing Populations 2

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced)

It is expected in the near future that there will be a higher proportion of old people compared to the younger population in some countries. Is it a positive or negative development? Give your opinion and examples.

Many countries are currently undergoing a significant change in their demographics where the percentage of older people is now exceeding that of younger people. This phenomenon has the potential to lead to disastrous results, but the outcomes are not all bad.

On the positive side, a higher proportion of elderly citizens generally indicates a declining birthrate. Because of the harm caused by high populations, such as environmental degradation and resource depletion, having more older people might be a sign that the population is falling. For example, Japan has a low birthrate and minimal immigration to support its population and, as a result, it now has a disproportionate number of people in the oldest age groups with an population that is decreasing overall.

However, an ageing population brings a range of harmful effects. As people live longer they generally work longer, which can reduce the amount of employment opportunities for younger people and lead to social disharmony as a huge number of young people are out of work. Moreover, the social contract in most societies is that the older people are taken care of by younger people when they become too old to look after themselves. However, it is obvious that if young people are greatly outnumbered by older people, then this system will break down with unpleasant results. Some countries are already trying to address these issues by developing robot helpers that can assist older people with their daily tasks instead of the job being performed by the younger generation.

Overall, a balance of age groups is desirable. There are alarming examples, such as one-child policies, that show what can happen when one particular group becomes too dominant and it is an issue that requires urgent attention. (276 words)

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IELTS Speaking Real Test: Part 3 – Complaints

Complaints 5
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN SPEAKING

(1) In Part 3, you should organize your answer like a Task 2 essay body paragraph. Aim for a clear main idea with some explanation and an example (if you can think of one).

(2) However, speaking is less formal than writing. Try to speak in a natural way and add ideas as they come to you. Just make sure you clearly link your ideas with suitable vocabulary (e.g. “By that I mean” “On the other hand” “Another thing is” “It’s kind of like”

(3) Part 3 topics can be difficult and you might not know what the “right” thing to say is. Focus on giving an answer that is clear and well-organized. If you don’t know anything about the question, then explain why. The speaking test is a speaking test – not a test of general knowledge.

(4) If you don’t understand a question, you can ask the examiner to repeat it or clarify a part. However, the examiner cannot help you with ideas.

NOTE – The following questions are from a recent IELTS test. Each question contains two sample answers: a simple one and an advanced one. Useful linking vocabulary is included in italics and advanced/topic-specific vocabulary is included in bold. Extra comments and tips are featured after some answers. The advanced answers are at a Band 9 level.

Complaints 1

QUESTION ONE – What do people usually complain about in your country?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – They normally complain about the weather. In the summer, it’s really hot and humid and it makes everyone feel tired, so people normally talk about how hot it was that day and how they wish it was cooler. People also complain about the government a lot, although I don’t really know much about politics.”

COMMENT – Notice how each point (“weather” and “government”) is clearly stated and then followed by a little bit of explanation. This is all you have to do!

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Where I live, the weather is often grey and depressing and people are always grumbling about it. It’s understandable because a lack of sunshine puts most people in a bad mood – when the sun comes out everyone instantly cheers up. Then, of course, there’s politics, but I think that’s a common source of complaint in most countries.”

Complaints 2

QUESTION TWO – Do younger people complain more than older people?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think most people complain about the same amount – they just complain about different things. Young people are often unhappy about how much homework they have or not being allowed to go out with their friends, while older people like to complain about young people and how the world is different now from when they grew up.”

COMMENTS – Speaking in long fluent sentences will help you overall score. Make sure you use a mix of long and short sentences. Short ones are best for main ideas and longer ones for explanation.

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “Not really. I think it’s more that they get upset by different things. I think young people can get frustrated with their workload at school or not being allowed to socialize when they want to. For older people, they often get mad that things are changing at a rapid pace and they don’t like some of those changes. They complain about not being able to use new technology or get offended by new trends.

Complaints 4

QUESTION THREE – Do some people complain more than others?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “I think so. Some people complain about every little thing and it is almost impossible to make them happy. Their food is always not quite right, the weather is too hot or too cold. They can never be happy because they always focus on the negative things rather than the good.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “For sure. I think everyone knows someone who is never satisfied and always finds fault with something. I think these people are just naturally pessimistic – they always see the negative things and can’t see or ignore the positive. It’s a shame because it makes them unpleasant to be around, which makes people avoid them, and that gives them even more to complain about!”

COMMENT – In the two answers above the question is answered first with just a few words (“I think so” and “For sure”). This is good because it is a natural way of speaking.

Complaints 3

QUESTION FOUR – Is it possible for a child to learn how to complain?

SAMPLE ANSWER ONE (Simple) – “Um, I guess they can. Children learn many things from their parents, so if their parents are always complaining then maybe they will complain more too. Sometimes, you have to make a complaint and there is a polite way to do it, and I think children can be taught this.”

SAMPLE ANSWER TWO (Advanced) – “I guess it depends if you mean learn how to make a complaint when you need to or be conditioned to be someone who complains all the time. When we encounter a problem in our life, like maybe we ordered a vegetarian meal but there’s meat in it – we have to be able to make a complaint in an appropriate and constructive way in order to resolve it. On the other hand, if someone grows up surrounded by people constantly complaining, then maybe they will learn that habit too.”

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