Sunday, 18 September 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

It is generally accepted that families are not as close as they used to be.
Give some reasons why this change has happened and suggest how families can be brought closer together.

In today’s world the idea of community and family is different to what it was in the past. Whereas previously family was considered the most important unit in society with families spending plenty of time together, this is not the case today.

Firstly, our value systems have changed, with society emphasizing money and wealth as a symbol of success. As a result, individuals focus on their work at the expense of family life and often move to other countries for this purpose becoming further distanced from them. Thus, modern society encourages selfishness and individual profit.

Secondly, as we cannot choose our family members there are often tensions, arguments and misunderstandings between them. In these cases friends become important and families drift apart. Family members may also become bitter when there is a divorce or a parent remarries which is an event that can be seen frequently today.

Even though some distance between families is ideal especially if they are demanding or overbearing, they may be brought together by spending some time together. This might be during celebrations, festivals or even sharing a meal once a month.

Each culture has its unique vision of family. Asians for example tend to have closer family ties and tend to be loyal to their family compared to Western societies. In the fast paced West, individuals are too busy making money to pay attention to their family and this trend is affecting the traditional family unit. In addition, no attempt is made to get close to the family resulting in everyone minding their own business.

Question taken from Past Papers IELTS 3 p.126

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Some people believe that children should be allowed to stay at home and play until they are 6 or 7 years old. Others believe that it is important for young children to go to school as soon as possible. What do you think are the advantages of attending school from a young age?

In many countries, children are sent to kindergarten from a young age. School follows shortly after that so children become accustomed to a school environment earlier on. Some parents do not want to rush their children off to school but prefer to let them do what children enjoy most, play.

Those who support that children should stay at home until they are a little older perhaps believe that the home environment has much more to teach them than school. Some parents may also think that children can learn through play or that because they will learn everything eventually at school there is no need to pressurize them.

There are many advantages for children if they are sent to school when they are younger. Firstly, they learn how to be part of a group. Activities in the classroom and in the playground are centred on team work. This skill is useful in later life as being social is viewed positively. If children stayed at home until a later stage, they would not benefit from meeting other children their own age and making many new friends. Secondly, in terms of knowledge, children learn how to read and write and a host of other useful information. Perhaps they would only have access to this information through the TV at home.

In my opinion it is better for children to go to school young as they learn how to share, be part of a group, make life-long friends and become literate.

Question taken from IELTS 4 Past Papers p.129

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

In the past, many people had skills such as making their clothes and doing repairs to things in the house. In many countries nowadays, skills like these are disappearing.

Why do you think this change is happening? How far is this situation true in your country?

Our grandparents were much more resourceful than us. They did not live in a society where mass production was the norm so their skills were better than ours. They appreciated the few possessions they owned either making them by hand or repairing any broken items instead of throwing them away.

Today, society has changed dramatically. Almost all our products are made in China or other developing countries like Vietnam. Consumer products are made in factories at a very low cost and therefore are also sold at attractive prices. Why would someone learn how to make their own clothes when they can purchase a cheap T-shirt very easily? In addition, when anything breaks in the house, it is simple to replace it. Advances in technology means that consumers are keen to update their products yearly.

In Cyprus, young people specialize in the field they are interested in and spend their free time having fun. Traditional skills like making chairs are dying out, even in this small society with parents complaining that their children are disinterested in learning any type of useful skill. Many low priced commodities are imported from abroad and young people do not follow in their parent’s footsteps as they do not show an interest in trade and skilled labour.

In fact, having a skill is often looked down upon by Cypriots who spend their working lives in air-conditioned offices doing administrative work. It is very rare to find a young person repairing furniture, electrical items or sewing their own clothes. We live in a society of easy come, easy go.

Question taken from IELTS 4 Past Papers p.115

Monday, 5 September 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Some people believe that children are given too much free time. They feel that this time should be used to do more school work.

How do you think children should spend their free time?

It seems that the pressures of daily life, the fast pace and competition do not apply only to the adult world. Children are also subjected to a lot of pressure to perform well at school. They have more homework than ever before and struggle until late in the evening to complete it or to prepare for tests.

Those who think that children have too much free time, perhaps are referring to the long summer vacations and other holidays they have for religious and national events. On these occasions children are left for days on end with nothing to do. While some parents insist that children revise their school work, read or spend their time in the library to get a head start for the new school year, I do not think this is a good idea. Children need to relax their minds. If they are forced to do more school work they will not be psychologically ready for a whole year of more work and will just end up hating school as well as holidays.

Children need to spend their free time doing activities that they enjoy doing. This varies from child to child. Some might enjoy sports, socializing with their friends or even staying at home watching television or playing computer games. Of course many parents do not believe this is time spent constructively and would prefer their children do nothing else but study whilst children think the exact opposite.

Question taken from IELTS 5 Past Papers p.113

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Nowadays we are producing more and more rubbish.
Why do you think this is happening?

What can governments do to help reduce the amount of rubbish produced?

When walking or driving around any big city one can notice overflowing rubbish bins as well as litter in the streets and household waste in empty lots and fields. It is no surprise that we call our modern societies, consumer societies as a result of our overconsumption which has resulted from overproduction and greed.

Due to the fact that we are addicted to products and keep updating our goods, our rubbish also increases. Products come in attractive large packages that need to be disposed of when they are unwrapped. We even ask for plastic bags from a kiosk if we are only purchasing a packet of chewing gum. Manufacturers do not help the situation with the production of useless items. Consumers do not think about what happens to the rubbish they throw away and how long it will take for it to dissolve.

The government can impose certain restrictions on production, for example, all packaging should be biodegradable and kept to a minimum. Dustbins can be weighed during collection time and consumers whose rubbish exceeds a certain number of kilos should be fined heavily. Television campaigns informing consumers of the dangers to the planet because of unnecessary waste could be shown.

Unfortunately we have become wasteful and unappreciative. We are quick to throw something away instead of trying to fix it. It has now become difficult to get rid of household and industrial waste without harming the environment. Consumers, producers and the government should work together to face this irreversible problem.

Question taken from IELTS 5 Past Papers p.127

Friday, 2 September 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Some people think it would be a good idea for schools to teach every young person how to be a good parent.

Do you agree or disagree with this opinion? Describe the skills a person needs to be a good parent.

It is not easy being a parent and this responsibility and joy does not come with a manual. Parents usually learn through experience or following the same techniques their parents used on them. As parenting involves a relationship between an adult and a youngster most people will have different views on how to best treat their children or what makes a good parent.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to teach youngsters how to parent well. This will enable them to be well equipped to handle children when they eventually have their own. Parenting is a challenge and being prepared is helpful. It will also teach children how to respect their parents and what they do for them. Some others however might believe that there is no formula to being a good parent. They may prefer being spontaneous and doing things their way.

To be a good parent, a person needs to be patient and to understand that children will not always act how they wish in order to make their life trouble-free. Good organization and time management skills are needed to fit a child’s activities into a day. It is not always simple planning a routine for children but I think children should feel that they are following a time frame.

To sum up, schools might be able to provide students with useful information on parenting which is one of life’s greatest gifts and challenges. In order to ensure a peaceful balance at home, parents should have some organizational skills that may be acquired through training.

Question taken from IELTS 6 Past Papers p.113

Thursday, 1 September 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Using a computer every day can have more negative than positive effects on young children.
Do you agree or disagree?

Children use computers more than ever before these days. They can be found surfing the internet, playing on-line games and on social network sites. Sometimes, especially when there is no parental control, they can spend too much time daily on computers.

Children need to learn how to operate computers as this is essential in their later life. The earlier they begin and the more they use them, the better they will become at learning everything about how they function. Youngsters are better able to learn new information and this can be done through computers.

However there is the downside of overuse to consider. Children who use the pc daily become anti-social. They become addicted to games and prefer these to going out with their friends and playing outdoors. Being on a computer for too long can affect a child’s health. Staring at a screen has a bad impact on someone’s eyes and children might experience headaches, back pain, sore wrists etc. What is more, some children forget to eat while some eat too much junk food as they are distracted by what they see in front of them.

To sum up, although computers are extremely useful for children and they can learn many things by using them, I do not think they should use them every day. There should be some sort of balance in their lives. Children need to get out for some fresh air and exercise. They should have other interests and spend time with their friends as well.

Question taken from IELTS 6 Past Papers p.126

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Some people feel that entertainers (e.g. film stars, pop musicians or sports stars) are paid too much money.

Do you agree or disagree?

Which other jobs should be highly paid?

While some people think that George Clooney, Lady Gaga and David Beckham are worth the millions of dollars they get paid for entertaining crowds, I strongly believe their income does not reflect the work they do. They pull in the crowds with their star quality and their talent but their salaries are excessive.

If we compare the amount of money that entertainers make and what other professions like teachers, doctors and social workers get, we will see a vast difference. These workers have so much to offer an individual and the community. Doctors save lives and give people hope while social workers ease a person’s emotional suffering. Teachers are underpaid in my opinion and this is unfair considering how hard they work and the knowledge they offer to an individual. Such a contribution cannot be stressed enough.

Even an unassuming job like a garbage collector is important for society and the hygiene of a city. These workers also need to get a higher salary. Their job involves waking up early, hard physical labour and dealing with the dirt and awful smell created by city inhabitants. The city is a much cleaner place to live in because of their hard work.

On the other hand, entertainers have little to offer people. Their contribution lasts a short time only. For example, if you go to a concert, listen to a CD or watch a music video you can escape into another world for a while but what would life be like without people to care about our health and provide us with knowledge? It is worth rewarding these professions more.

Question taken from IELTS 7 Past Papers p.128

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Some people prefer to live in a house, while others feel there are more advantages to living in an apartment.

Are there more advantages than disadvantages of living in a house compared with living in an apartment?

The type of accommodation people choose to live in depends on many factors such as income, family size, what is available in a certain location, what makes them feel comfortable and homely etc. So, often people do not have a personal choice about where to live but must decide based on external factors.

Flats are attractive for single people who place importance on their career and do not spend much time at home. Perhaps they want a location in the city centre where all the facilities are and there is easy access to their workplace. If a young person is just starting out in life then they might not have the funds to purchase a house so paying rent is better for them. Some people also enjoy a communal lifestyle with many friendly neighbours in their block.

On the other hand, people who live in a house might have a larger family and so prefer spacious living quarters. They will find apartments crammed and claustrophobic especially if they have pets and enjoy having a garden. Even though houses are more expensive to buy and maintain, those with a house feel they have some place to call home. In addition, they may invite their guests over for parties without worrying about disturbing their neighbours.

In my opinion, living in an apartment is better than a house. With a housing shortage in many countries, a house is an unnecessary luxury. I do not believe that an individual and their family need such a large space to live in. Flats are practical living spaces for modern life.

Question taken from IELTS 7 Past Papers p.116