Saturday, 12 November 2011

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society. Others, however, believe that school is the place to learn this.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Being a good member of society involves having a good character and being able to contribute positively to society. Such skills need to be learnt as they do not come with us when we are born. This can be taught in the home environment by parents or during school hours.

Parents are the first source of contact for children and ideally they should be good role models for their children. Considering that many children start going to school only after having spent several years at home, parents are their initial teachers. At this crucial young age, adults may teach their children manners, social skills, how to respect others and accept difference.

School is another influential environment for children. Teachers continue the work of a parent. As a classroom is a social setting, children get to learn how to be part of society on a larger scale there. Teachers are impartial and well-equipped to offer useful lessons to children whereas some parents may not have adequate training in this area. On the other hand, a school may have a limiting view of how a good society member should act and what principles are important.

As parents have a good idea of what kind of future citizens they would like their children to be and as what children learn at home stays with them for a lifetime, perhaps it would be better if they taught their children how to be good society members. School can play a facilitating role extending and building upon what has been learnt in the home environment.
Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p. 31

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

Nowadays the way many people interact with each other has changed because of technology.
In what ways has technology affected the types of relationships people make?
Has this become a positive or negative development?

We have many technological options available to communicate with each other. We can use mobile phones to make calls, send text messages and send photos of important moments to each other. Computers allow us to communicate by messaging each other through various popular applications such as MSN, Facebook and Skype.

Technology has made the world smaller, allowing us to contact people anywhere in the world for free and at a fast pace. Many people are able to find their partners through social networks and make new friends in this way. A computer has replaced a traditional match maker. Although some people, particularly those who are shy feel confident behind a computer screen, it is not always possible to have deep relationships with virtual people. In a virtual relationship a person can hide their true identity by posting fake photos and lie about all aspects of their life.

There are many negative aspects of communicating through technology. Sending text messages are a cowardly way of getting out of difficult situations such as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. In addition, open ways of communicating are lost to technology. Face-to-face communication with body language and facial expressions are lost as are a genuine sense of connecting.

Therefore, although technology has enabled friends and family to keep in touch over long distances it may not be ideal for new relationships. Virtual relationships lack human contact and interaction which are part of being close.
Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.54

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

Increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve growing traffic and pollution problems.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
What other measures do you think might be effective?

Every metropolis has its own traffic congestion which in turn contributes to pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are on the rise and the world’s politicians have realised that this issue needs to be addressed if the planet is to have a future.

Increasing petrol prices may make drivers think twice about using their private cars. It might encourage people to opt for public transportation instead, prevent them from making unnecessary trips or even carpooling if several people are going in the same direction at the same time. However, I doubt whether petrol producing countries or multinational providers would be satisfied with this arrangement. Governments will also be reluctant to impose these measures as they are likely to be unpopular with consumers and they will feel the pressure from those with economic interests.

Instead, alternative transport methods may be promoted. In many European centres bicycles and walking are the preferred method of moving around. Car designers have also produced hybrid, electric and solar cars which do not depend on guzzling petrol. These could be sold at affordable prices with government subsidies to encourage travellers to purchase them. Alternatively, cities like London impose taxes on car users who drive to the centre during peak times and this somewhat reduces the load.

In conclusion, we all realise the dangers of exhaust fumes from vehicles and the harm it causes to the environment. Although increasing the price of petrol is a method that can reduce car use it might not be enforced due to economic pressure. Other measures such as improved public transport and environmentally friendly means might be a better option.
Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.79

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

In some countries the average weight of people is increasing and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing.
What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them.

Obesity is a current problem especially in developed countries whose populations are increasingly overweight putting a strain on the health system. A lack of fitness also leads to health issues such as heart disease, cancer etc.

Our poor diet and busy lifestyle are the main causes of bad levels of health. There has been a shift from natural, home-cooked food towards fast-food, junk food and take-away options. These choices tend to have high levels of fat, sugar and are often dripped into oil which leads to weight gain. Additionally, a stressful daily routine does not allow time for eating well or exercising. Being fit and exercising improves a person’s level of health.

I believe an individual is responsible for their own lifestyle choices. A simple measure such as walking to work or climbing stairs in a building during office hours instead of using the elevator can add to a person’s physical well-being. Instead of eating out, an individual can make a healthy low fat sandwich to take to work. Not having time to look after our body is the easiest excuse for being lazy.

The government can help to a small extent by promoting health and fitness. It could for example provide more parks, bicycle lanes and free gyms. To encourage its citizens to eat fresh, local produce, it could limit imports of foreign food and heavily tax fast food restaurants.

To conclude, an overweight population is a present day phenomenon that should worry individuals as well as the government. To ensure good health people should take care of their diet and exercise more and the government could lend a hand in this respect.
Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.102

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

The pie chart below shows the main reasons why agricultural land becomes less productive. The table shows how these causes affected three regions of the world during the 1990s.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The pie chart provides the main causes of global land degradation while the table gives a regional breakdown of this degradation during the 1990s.

The three main reasons why land used for agriculture is becoming less productive are over-grazing by livestock, deforestation and over-cultivation of crops. The percentages for these categories are almost on an equal footing with over-grazing at 35%, deforestation at 5% less and over-cultivation accounts for 28%. Other reasons are considerably lower at 7%.

Europe has the highest deforestation figure of 9.8% followed by Oceania with 1.7% and North America with 0.2%. Similarly, Europe has the greatest percentage in the over-cultivation category (7.7%) whilst in North America land degradation due to over-cultivation lies at 3.3%. No agricultural land is degraded by this method in Oceania. Finally, 11.3% of Oceania’s agricultural land is affected by over-grazing, about half of this amount in Europe (5.5%) and a considerably small amount in North America (1.5%).

To sum up, the main cause of worldwide land degradation is over-grazing. In terms of the greatest region where land degradation is most prominent, Europe comes first with 23%, followed by Oceania and lastly North America (13%).

Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.30

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

The pie charts provide a breakdown in annual spending over a 20 year period in a UK school.

In 1981 almost a half (40%) of the total school spending was on teachers’ salaries followed by other workers’ salaries (28%). 30% of spending went on resources and furniture and equipment in equal parts. The smallest amount spent was on insurance at 2%.

Ten years later there was a 10% increase in teachers’ salaries and a 6% drop in other workers’ salaries. A 10% fall in spending can be noted in furniture and equipment while 5% was added to resources. Finally insurance spending rose by 1%.

In 2001 teachers’ salaries were reduced by 5% to 45% and other workers’ salaries were cut further to 15%. Spending on resources also fell to 9%. Insurance and furniture and equipment had a considerable increase from 1991 reaching 8% and 23% respectively.

Over the 20 year period, teachers’ salaries make up a substantial part of total school spending and insurance was a category with increasing importance. Spending on resources went down as did other workers’ salaries whilst furniture and equipment accounted for a small rise in spending.

Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.53

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

The graph below shows the quantities of goods transported in the UK between 1974 and 2002 by four different modes of transport.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The line graph shows how many tonnes of goods are transported over a 28 year period in the UK via road, water, rail and pipeline.

To begin with, in 1974 about 70 million tonnes are transported by road and this amount increased to almost 100 million over the next 28 years. Transportation by water stood at almost 40 million in 1974 and rose by approximately 22 million in 2002. Between 1982 and 1994 the amount was stable at 60 million.

On the other hand, although rail transportation was used to move 40 million tonnes of products in 1974, the same as water, this dropped to below 40 million between 1978 to 1998. In 2002 this means of transport was used at the same level as 1974. Finally, the use of pipeline was minimal in 1974, about 10 million and this figure more than doubled in 2002.

To sum up, road was used more than any other transport means throughout the period under review and pipeline the least. Road, water and pipeline noted increases while essentially rail use ended up the same as its initial usage.
Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.101

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

The diagrams below show the stages and equipment used in the cement-making process, and how cement is used to produce concrete for building purposes.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The first diagram shows how cement is produced whereas the second demonstrates how this cement is utilized to produce concrete for the construction industry.

Initially limestone and clay are passed through a crusher to produce powder. Once this powder has been through a mixer it goes to a rotating heater where heat is applied. The produce is placed on a conveyer belt and with the aid of a grinder, cement is produced. Finally, the cement is packed into bags.

In order to make cement, a mixture of four components is used in different proportions; cement (15%), water (10%), sand (25%) and gravel which makes up half of the ingredients. This mixture is put into a rotating concrete mixture and then applied to a building surface.

In conclusion, limestone and clay produce cement in a process that involves crushing, rotating and applying heat. When three more elements are added to the cement and stirred on site, concrete is produced for building purposes.

Question taken from IELTS 8 past papers p.78