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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 4, Task 2)

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that this is not important because life will be easier if there are fewer languages in the world.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

With globalisation comes an almost inevitable joining together of cultures, experiences and languages. One of the consequences of this is that a great many lesser-spoken languages are dying, as they are no longer required in the context of the modern world. This could be either be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on whether a business or a cultural view is taken.

From a business perspective, moving towards a singular international language is not only sensible, but has in fact already begun. International trade and diplomatic relations are just two key areas that are made easier without a language barrier, and English has already positioned itself as the world’s leading language in these areas. The potential for misunderstanding and misrepresentation is dramatically lowered, and this extends to the public in general, with holidays and wider social communication made all the more possible by a singular, shared language.

On the other hand, culture and tradition is rooted within language. To lose one’s national tongue could be seen as losing one’s identity. If this happens, it could cause no small amount of resentment, in particular towards nations which speak the chosen international language as their first. This could actually lead to diplomatic issues rather than solutions, which is precisely what globalisation is seeking to reduce.

In conclusion, while I am entirely in favour or closer diplomatic relations between countries, I strongly believe that it is extremely important that traditional values and cultures are upheld. Seeing as I am convinced that language and culture are inseparable, I disagree with the idea that life would be better with fewer languages in the world.

(269 words)

A few points:

  1. You don’t need to start with “nowadays” or something that means the same thing!
  2. I don’t think you should put your opinion in the introduction, unless you know you won’t finish in time. Be neutral, acknowledging both sides to the argument, in the introduction, and then present your view in the conclusion.
  3. Remember, if you are running out of time, you must write a conclusion. A good thing to do is to make your second body paragraph in to a list of bullet points, like this:

On the other hand, culture and tradition is rooted within language.

  • Lose language = lose identity
  • Resentment towards some nations
  • Lead to diplomatic issues

Now, write the conclusion and spend some time on it!

You will lose fewer marks for doing this than you will for writing complete body paragraphs without a conclusion!

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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 4, Task 1)

Test 4 Task 1

The line graph outlines energy consumption in the USA from 1980 to the present day, with further projections up until 2030. Use is recorded in quadrillion units and is divided in to six categories, almost all of which display a general increase over time.

For the entirety of the period covered, petrol and oil usage is the highest. In 1980, 35 quadrillion units were used, and this dipped a little initially before rising steadily to a projected peak of 50 quadrillion units by 2030. This rate of increase is matched by that of coal, whose usage climbs from around 16 quadrillion units to just over 30 quadrillion units over the same period of time. This means that, by 2030, it is expected to be the second-most used fuel, whereas in 1980 natural gas usage was higher, at 20 quadrillion units. However, usage of this fuel is expected to remain at 25 quadrillion units from 2015 until 2030.

At the other end of the spectrum, nuclear fuel and solar / wind fuel usage is not predicted to change drastically, with increases from 3 to 8 and 3 to 6 quadrillion units respectively. In slight contrast, usage of hydropower, which was also 3 quadrillion units in 1980, dropped very slightly to approximately 2.5 quadrillion units in 2011, and it is not expected that this level of usage will change in the future.

(205 words)

A few points.

  1. In the introduction, explain what the X and Y axes display – time and quadrillion units.
  2. If there are any trends that are the same, make reference to that – coal / petrol and oil increase at a very similar rate.
  3. Similarly, highlight contrasts. Coal and Natural Gas change places between 1980 and 2030.
  4. Decide how to group your information. Here, I’ve decided to group three high and three low together in paragraphs.
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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 3, Task 1)

Test 3 Task 1

The two pie charts from the year 2000 detail historic population age in Yemen in Italy, and there are a further two charts providing a comparative projection for 2050. There are three age groups represented, with both countries displaying a decline in the proportion of younger populations and a converse increase in older populations.

First of all, in 2000, the majority of people in Yemen were aged 0-14, with 50.1%, compared with 46.3% 15-59 year olds and only 3.6% of people aged 60 plus. In Italy, however, child population is much lower, with only 14.3% of people aged between 0 and 14. This leaves the vast majority of people (61.6%) between 15 and 59, and a much higher proportion (24.1%) of people aged over 60.

Looking ahead to 2050, the Yemeni population is predicted to alter significantly in age, with 15-59 year olds expected to be in the majority, at 57.3%, compared with 37% 0-14 year olds and 5.7% over 60. In Italy, however, the percentage of both 15-59 year olds and 0-14 year olds will have fallen by 2050, with projected figures of 46.2% and 11.5% respectively. This then means that proportion of over 60s will have increased dramatically, almost doubling to 42.3%, which represents by far the largest predicted change.

(179 words)

In this model answer, I have chosen to divide my paragraphs in to 2000 / 2050. However, you could also choose to divide them in to Italy / Yemen. If you do this, then you can use language to describe change over time in each paragraph (increase / decrease). I have also chosen to clearly represent every figure as a percentage, but you could use roughly / approximately etc. and talk about double / half.

 

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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 2, Task 2)

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teachign sports to younger children).

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

It is natural that school curricula will alter and develop over time. At present, the idea that there should be some kind of community-based programme integrated in to school time has been suggested. This could bring about a number of clear advantages, but not without a few potential issues.

Working for one’s local community is without doubt a valuable use of time. If this were part of high school programmes, children and teenagers would learn the value of mutual care and of contributing to the area in which they were born and grew up. It would be grounding for those of higher privilege, and would add diversity to overly-academic schedules, which have come in for criticism in recent times for not being practical enough.

However, there are those who will argue that school time should be spent on more traditional subjects. It is true that mathematics and language skills are integral to a child’s ability to progress in life beyond school, and that a balance of scientific and artistic subjects has always served to enable success in the world of work. It could be said that interference in this balance is unnecessary, and that community-based work should be allocated outside of school time under parental guidance.

In conclusion, I am inclined neither to agree nor disagree to any particular extent. This is principally because, while I appreciate the need for high school children to contribute to society outside of their schools, I am not sure if this should be prioritised above or alongside academic pursuits.

(265 words)

The conclusion – the question says “to what extent do you agree or disagree” – sometimes you will find that you just aren’t sure! As long as you can explain this, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to be in the middle (see the first sentence, but with an explanation).

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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 2, Task 1)

Test 2 Task 1

The bar graph displays figures related to the amount of telephone calls that were made in the UK between 1995 and 2002. These figures have been divided in to three separate categories, with an overall pattern of increase over time in two of the three categories.

With regards to calls made from mobiles, the figure in 1995 was the lowest of all the categories, with under 5 billion minutes. However, this figure proceeded to increase steadily at first, reaching 9 billion minutes by 1998, and then more sharply to a final total of roughly 45 billion minutes in 2002. While national and international – fixed line calls displayed a similar upward trend, the increase was far more slight, with 37 billion  minutes in 1995 and just over 60 billion minutes in 2002.

In contrast, local – fixed line calls did not increase year on year. Despite posting the highest figures in every year, the number increased from 1995’s total of approximately 72 billion minutes to a peak of 90 billion minutes in 1999, but it had fallen back to about 72 billion minutes again by the end of the period.

(170 words)

5 useful phrases.

  1. An overall pattern of increase – remember to find a general observation in the introduction for task 1. In this task, almost all the figures increase.
  2. With regards to – this is another way to say “looking at”
  3. Roughly – remember, we can use words to show that we can’t see the exact number: roughly / approximately / about / around are all good. “Almost” and “nearly” mean “just under” and “just over” means “more than”.
  4. A similar upward trend – this means “also increases”
  5. It had + v3 ……by – this is good grammatical range. If you talk about an increase or a decrease, you can mention the final year in the range and use past perfect + by + end date.
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Cambridge IELTS 9 Model Answer (Test 3, Task 2)

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programmes (for example working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teaching sports to younger children).

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It has long been a priority of educational authorities to widen and improve the overall experience of pupils. To that end, a recent suggestion has been made that children should be involved in community service tasks such as charity work or neighbourhood improvement as a mandatory part of their schooling. While this could be seen as a waste of school time, there are clear benefits which can not be ignored.

It could be argued that children today do not spend enough time learning, and that compulsory extra-curricular activities would only further decrease study time. Although community work is important, homework and self-study time would have a more direct benefit on the education and exam results of a child, in turn providing the opportunity for academic advancement to university. Alternatively, this time could be spent on physical exercise and team sports as a way of combatting the increase in free time activities which promote laziness, such as computer-based gaming or chatting. Moreover, neighbourhood tasks should be being undertaken by council employees, rather than being forced upon the younger members of a community. These issues could therefore form a valid argument against the incorporation of such activities in to school curricula.

However, the importance of children learning social values through experiencing and contributing to community spirit should not be ignored. Charity work would teach them to support one another in later life, and any activity related to improvement would teach them the importance of contribution to one’s own local area, thereby simultaneously discouraging anti-social or criminal behaviour. Furthermore, becoming involved in mentoring younger children would arguably promote a stronger sense of team spirit than merely engaging in competitive sport with age-group segregation. Therefore, it would be an excellent idea to consider some kind of monitored social activity to encourage personal growth in teenage pupils.

In conclusion, while it is understandable that the idea of community service may cause concern due to a perceived lack of educating, I strongly believe that these activities would teach children at high school level to be more rounded as individuals, as well as better able to positively contribute to society in later life.

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Cambridge IELTS 8 Writing Model Answer (Test 1, Task 2)

The question is here: Test 1 Task 2

In the life of a child, constant learning is not only a must but a natural way of life. This is often split in to learning at school and learning at home. Clearly, both parents and teachers have a role to play in the education of a child, but with the issue of educating a child in how to become a balanced member of society, there has been some debate as to whether teachers or parents should be taking the most responsibility.

Firstly, at school, children are effectively members of a community including peers and teachers. In order to succeed in primary and secondary education, they need to be aware of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. As teachers act as mentors and overseers in this environment, it is appropriate that they should be the ones to ensure that their students appreciate and adhere to the expectations of society, both inside and outside school. The experience of being at school ought to enable them to interact as part of a team, while being respectful and appreciative of others, and these skills are transferable to the outside world. Therefore, teachers should be acknowledged as playing a vital role in this area of development.

However, education does not begin and end in schools. Parents should always be the first point of contact and trust for children, and this means that they are responsible for planting the initial seeds of accepted behaviour, as well as providing real-world perspective, which often can not be accurately represented in schools due to the necessity for certain rules applying only within the walls of educational institutions. Evidently then, the role of a parent is absolutely key from a very early age.

In summary, children require guidance in all walks of life, whether it be at school or at home, and it is the responsibility both of parents and educators to provide this and to liaise with each other in order to ensure the best possible introduction to society and accepted behaviour for the children in their care.

Word Count: 339

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Cambridge IELTS 8 Writing Model Answer (Test 1 Task 1)

You can find the question below:

Test 1 Task 1

The pie chart and table illustrate the main reasons for farmland degradation worldwide and in three continental regions respectively. Overall, there are three main reasons for this decrease in productivity, with Europe being the most seriously affected.

First of all, from a global perspective, over-grazing is the biggest cause of deterioration, with 35%, which is slightly higher than deforestation and over-cultivation at 30% and 28% respectively. The final 7% is attributed to “other” reasons.

The three principal reasons for agricultural decline are then split by region in the table, and it is notable that Europe’s percentages for deforestation and over-cultivation are significantly higher than either Oceania or North America, with 9.8% compared with 1.7% and 0.2% respectively for deforestation, and 7.7% compared with 0% and 3.3% respectively for over-cultivation. However,  11.3% of Oceania’s land degradation is attributed to over-grazing, whereas Europe’s percentage is roughly half this at 5.5%, and North America’s is at 1.5%. This means that the total land degradation percentages stand at 5% for North America, 13% for Oceania and a much higher 23% for Europe.

(164 words)

Let’s have a look at the phrases in bold.

1) Overall: This is an important part of Task 1. Remember to include a sentence in your introduction (or as a conclusion), which makes a “general” observation. You don’t need to include any numbers or percentages.

2) with 35%: If you are struggling to fit your numbers in to the same sentences as your comparisons, sometimes using “,with…” can be quite useful. Writing a new sentence that just includes one statistic would mean a short sentence that would break up the flow of your writing.

3) respectively: A great word for task 1. You use it to show the order of your numbers if they are separate from the things they refer to. For example: John and Jane are 12 and 10 respectively. This means that the first number matches the first name and the second number matches the second name, so John is 12 and Jane is 10. You usually finish a sentence with “respectively”.

4) However: You need to find comparisons to make. Here, most of the percentages are in a similar order – Europe is higher than the other regions, but there is one figure where this isn’t true. Find that number and use a “but” linker to make a comparison.

 

 

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Cambridge IELTS 9 Writing Model Answer (Test 1 Task 1)

Have a look at the attached document. Remember, it’s important to cover the main changes in enough detail, so in this kind of essay the paragraph describing “after” will be a lot longer than the paragraph describing “before”. Don’t worry – that’s not a problem!

Simon

IELTS 9 Writing 1 Model

 

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Cambridge IELTS 9 Writing Model Answer (Test 1, Task 2)

Key:

Background statement – introduction
Thesis statement – introduction

Topic sentence – body
Supporting statements – body
Concluding statement – body

Summarising statement – conclusion
Judgement statement (opinion) – conclusion

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

In a world where the concept of physical distance has been greatly reduced due to technological advances and globalisation, it has become increasingly beneficial to be proficient in a second language, especially in the workplace. As a result, there has been some discussion regarding the optimum age for exposure to a second language in schools with many suggesting that earlier is better, a view which, in my opinion, should be supported by education authorities.

Firstly, the idea that children should be introduced to a second language at an early age is supported by the principle of learning speed being inversely proportional to age. There is no doubt that capacity for learning is extremely high at primary education level. Younger children are able to hone pronunciation skills more quickly and in conjunction with their own natural improvement in their first language. Furthermore, fear of failure does not usually manifest itself in 7-11 year-old children, meaning that productive skills can be practised more freely in a low-pressure environment inspired by trial and error, which is proven as an effective language learning method and lends support to second language teaching at primary level. 

On the other hand, there are aspects of language learning that are difficult to study closely at a young age. While grammar is largely acquired naturally in one’s first language, an understanding of a second language is typically more heavily reliant on a mixture of theory and practice, which can be more difficult to encourage in younger pupils with a lower concentration span and less-developed critical thinking skills. In addition, it could be argued that the main focus in primary schools should be on arithmetic and first language proficiency, with the introduction of a second language proceeding the development of these traditional key skills. Accepting other subjects as priorities would naturally delay second language learning, with high school being a natural introduction point for such subjects. 

While it is clear that mathematical skills as well as first language literacy are vital, the importance of speaking a second language surely means that there is more pressure on children to speak two languages at a younger age. As a result, it is my strong feeling that primary school curricula must include an emphasis on encouraging second language exposure as early as possible. 

 

 

 

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IELTS Writing – Organising your essay (Part II – Introduction)

For part two, when you first see the question how do you feel? Nervous? Confused? Panicked? Timing is a problem, but if you have a clear picture of what your essay will look like, this could help you relax a bit. This page is going to give a few tips on how to do that.

OK, let’s look at an example:

Many newspapers and magazines feature stories about the private lives of famous people. We know what they eat, where they buy their clothes and who they love. We also often see pictures of them in private situations.

Is it appropriate for a magazine or newspaper to give this kind of private information about people?

Step 1 is obviously reading the question, checking understanding and finding the question. I get a lot of students who give up before they start because they read the question and there is a word they don’t understand. Don’t panic! Try and look at the word in the sentence and if you still can’t understand it, just delete the word. It’s only confusing you and if you can’t see it, then it won’t any more.

For example: Maybe you don’t know the words feature and appropriate above. So, let’s delete them and see what we have:

Many newspapers and magazines ______ stories about the private lives of famous people. We know

what they eat, where they buy their clothes and who they love. We also often see pictures of them in private situations.

Is it __________ for a magazine or newspaper to give this kind of private information about people?

Less confusing? This is the question for you to answer. Don’t worry about the words we have deleted.

Now let’s split the question in to two parts: background and question.

Background: 

Many newspapers and magazines ______ stories about the private lives of famous people. We know what they eat, where they buy their clothes and who they love. We also often see pictures of them in private situations.

Question:

Is it __________ for a magazine or newspaper to give this kind of private information about people?

So, for our introduction, we need to think about two things:

1) Writing a sentence or two about the background. This is very much like in part I, where you are copying the idea from the title, but using your own words.

2) Preparing the examiner for what we are going to write about. In this sentence, you should think about what your main ideas are, but not write any argument.

For this, 40 words is enough and you definitely don’t want to write more than 65. Here’s an example:

Sentence 1) – Background:

Over the past two decades, interest in celebrity life has increased to the point where every aspect of their lives is examined, documented and published in the media.

Sentence 2) – What am I going to write about?

Clearly, this raises questions about whether it is right to deny a person the right to privacy. Not only that, but it would appear that these stories that are being printed are not useful in any way.

Now the examiner knows that I am going to write about two things:

1) Is it right to deny the person a right to privacy?

2) These stories are not useful in any way.

These will be the titles of my two body paragraphs, and it is really important that you write about the subjects from the second part of your introduction – not something else!

Now you try with this question:

Some people feel that certain workers like nurses, doctors and teachers are undervalued and should be paid more, especially when other people like film actors or company bosses are paid huge sums of money that are out of proportion to the importance of the work that they do.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the above statement?

The second part of this lesson looks at an example introduction and how to organise the main body. You can find it here: http://wp.me/p2RmnE-4P

Enjoy!

Simon

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Writing – Using the Passive

A lot of exam classes and coursebooks focus on the form of the passive and I’m sure that most people know how to “make” a passive sentence. BUT… do you know why you are doing it?

I’m going to start with two sentences that might surprise you:

1) The Passive is not “formal”.

2) The Passive is not “grammar”.

I will explain.

Form

Just to check… the way to “make” a passive sentence is: Object + “be” + Verb 3 (+Subject)

So… “Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings” becomes “The Lord of the Rings was written by Tolkien” and “Someone is robbing me” becomes “I am being robbed” – ‘by someone’ is not necessary.

Why Passive?

OK, I said before that I don’t think passive is grammar. Yes, it has a form, but so does vocabulary. (“Interested + in” for example). So, why do we really use it? Well, here are a couple of examples.

1) Groups of people

The police have arrested three men for burglary.

Scientists say that we are now using more of our brains than before.

  • Only the police can arrest people, so we don’t need the subject.
  • Which scientists? You don’t know, so does it matter that they are scientists?

I would write: “Three men have been arrested for burglary” and “It is said that we are now using more of ours brains than before”.

Is this formal? Well, the news often presents stories including information from groups of people – scientists, students, doctors, teachers… so this may make us associate the passive with formality.

2) Flow of Information

Look at the short paragraph below:

The Internet

Tim Berners-Lee wrote his internet proposal in 1989. Mike Sendall accepted the revision in 1990 and CERN put it online in 1991. The first page that CERN published was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html and it provided an explanation of how the world-wide web worked.

First of all, the text above has no “mistakes”, but it could be improved.

In written text, we try to put new information at the end of a sentence. Look at sentence 1:

“Tim Berners-Lee wrote his internet proposal in 1989.”

The title of the paragraph is “The Internet” so this is not new information. The new information is “Tim Berners-Lee” and “1989”. So, let’s write:

“The proposal for the internet was written by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989.” Now the new information is at the end. We can do the same for the second sentence, which is in two parts:

“Mike Sendall accepted the revision in 1990” – Mike Sendall is new information.

“CERN put it online in 1991” – CERN is new information. SO…..

Revisions were accepted by Mike Sendall in 1990 and it was put online by CERN in 1991.

Now let’s look at the next part:

“The first page that CERN published was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html and it provided an explanation of how the world-wide web worked.”

In the first part of the sentence, the new information is the website link. In the second part, the new information is what the website does. So, do we need to write “and an explanation was provided of how the world-wide web worked”? No!

So, after our changes we have:

The proposal for the internet was written by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Revisions were accepted by Mike Sendall in 1990 and it was put online by CERN in 1991. The first page that CERN published was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html and it provided an explanation of how the world-wide web worked.

This paragraph shows better style, and this is something that examiners look at when marking IELTS and Cambridge Exam papers. One extra thing we could do is avoid repeating “CERN” by using the passive again:

“The first page that was published was……”

Conclusion

Next time you write a paragraph, try checking what you have written and finding the new information. Is it at the end of the sentence or sentence part? If it isn’t, can you change the sentence? Would using passive help or have you used passive in a place that doesn’t need it, meaning that the new information is at the start?

Simon