Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The table provides data on both male and female students obtaining teacher training qualifications in two time periods.

In 2005/6 approximately three times more students obtained a PGCE (24,405) rather than a BEd and other degrees (7,525). There were more than twice the number of females (17,420) with a PGCE than males (6,980) with the proportion of male qualifiers being 28.6%. A smaller number of male students (1,085) obtained a BEd and other degrees which amounted to less than 15%.

In the following academic year, the numbers of total PGCE qualifiers fell by 505 while those of BEd and other degrees went up by 520. The number of females with a PGCE remained almost the same at 17,415 while the males dropped by 1.5% to reach 6,485. There was a 0.1% rise in the proportion of male BEd and other degree qualifications which amounted to 1,125.

Overall, there were more females obtaining teacher training qualifications in both years with the PGCE course being preferred the most by both genders. There was a greater proportion of male qualifiers in 2005/6.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The table displays how many people use rail, the kilometres travelled per head as well as the cargo transported in 2007 in four countries.

Rail was used significantly more in Japan (27% of the population) than in the other three countries which amounts to 1,980km per head. About 6% used rail in the UK while 0.4% less used it in Italy. In Italy, however, passenger kilometres per head were 10km more than in the UK. Very few people travelled by rail in the USA, less than 1% which corresponds to only 80km per head.

In terms of cargo, the USA transported the greatest amount by rail (2,820 billion tonnes). Similar quantities were carried in Italy, the UK and Japan ranging from approximately 22 to 23 billion tonnes.

Concluding, although rail passenger numbers and kilometres travelled per head were high in Japan, the USA carried the most cargo using this method.

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The data given in the table shows how much of the global cell phone market share is held by manufacturers over a two year period; 2005 and 2006.

Nokia had the largest market share (32.5%) in 2005 followed closely by the other brand category at 19.2%. Motorola had a 5% lead over Samsung. The remaining three manufacturers, L.G, Sony Ericsson and BenQ Mobile captured a small percentage of the market share, less than 7%.

Only three manufacturers witnessed an increase in their market share the following year. Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson’s shares rose to 35%, 21.1% and 7.4% respectively. Samsung’s position in the market dropped by about 1% while L.G suffered a small fall of 0.4%. BenQ Mobile’s market share became almost half of what it was in 2005 and Others fell by 3%.

Overall, the mobile market was dominated by Nokia in both years whereas BenQ Mobile had the smallest share. Three companies improved their position in the market whilst the rest did not perform as well as they had done a year earlier.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar graph provides data on worldwide population percentages and shows how wealth is divided according to each area.

Firstly, China has the greatest population (almost 25%), followed by India, other Asia Pacific regions and Europe with approximately 15%. All other regions amount to below 10% of the global population.

Despite its low global population percentage (5%), the USA holds almost 35% of global wealth and Europe approximately 5% less than this. Rich Asia-Pacific has almost a quarter of the global wealth. All other regions possess low levels of wealth, that is, less than 5%. In particular India and Africa have significantly lower percentages, around 1%

To conclude, it is clear to see that there is an unequal distribution of wealth. Countries with large populations such as China do not have the corresponding percentage of global wealth. Similarly, regions with a relatively small population like the USA are richer in terms of global wealth.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In some countries young people have little leisure time and are under a lot of pressure to work hard on their studies. What do you think are the causes of this? What solutions can you suggest?

It seems that people’s priorities have changed and youngsters spend most of their time trying to get good grades instead of focusing on their hobbies. In some countries such as Japan and China, students are under a great deal of pressure to perform well academically.

Firstly, parents have high expectations of their children and so in order to satisfy their parent’s wishes, students study hard at school. Similarly, the school programme has become fuller, with longer teaching hours, more compulsory subjects, more homework and tests than ever before. Students are assessed by tests and coursework and getting favourable marks involves plenty of effort. Finally, competition amongst students is encouraged in the classroom. Places at university are limited and only the best students will be able to get a position.

It is unhealthy for young people to give up their leisure time in order to study. Attitudes towards education need to be changed. The workload of students can be reduced and other ways of evaluating their work could be promoted, for example, presentations and class participation. Likewise if students are given less homework and tests they will have more free time to do what they enjoy most.

To conclude, students who spend too much time studying are likely to regret the fact that they didn’t enjoy their youth as much as they could have. Parents, teachers and schools should re-evaluate the importance of leisure time for children. They should also not push them so hard.


Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

It is becoming more and more difficult to escape the influence of the media on our lives. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a media-rich society.

Due to advances in technology, the media has invaded our lives, whether by print, TV, radio, and more recently the internet. The media has multiple functions such as to provide the public with information, to keep them updated with the latest local and international news as well to keep them entertained.

Global news can be announced as it happens and this is the main benefit of the media. People are well-informed about politics, economics, natural disasters and other issues that may have an effect on their lives. In addition, the average person is able to have their say as well as act like journalists by reporting incidents with their amateur videos and tweets. Society is more transparent as information becomes viral at a high speed and is accessed immediately.
Unfortunately, not everything the media promotes is in the public interest. There is plenty of violence and bad language used by the media. Viewers and listeners become passive, accepting the way that information is given to them, for example, showing scenes such as war footage or starving children continuously desensitises people. Lastly, famous stars are likely to criticise the media for not giving them any privacy and circulating untrue stories about them in order to make a profit.

The media is a massive industry that is worth millions so in all probability it will be around for years to come. Time spent watching programmes could be spent in a better way and people wouldn’t be exposed to so much bad news if it weren’t for the media.


Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Many people say that the only way to guarantee getting a good job is to complete a course of university education. Others claim that it is better to start work after school and gain experience in the world of work.
How far do you agree or disagree with the above view?

Parents value education and encourage their children to attend university maintaining that a good job will be waiting for them when they graduate. On the other hand some people value work experience over education and prefer to enter the working world instead of pursuing further studies.

With many countries facing a financial crisis, university graduates are not always able to find employment. In fact, there is no guarantee that any young person will get a job irrespective of their education or work experience. Many professions require a university education, for example doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers etc. and employers will prefer students who have one. Graduates tend to focus on one particular subject and so their knowledge will be valuable to an employer. Similarly, a university education teaches adults other skills such as encouraging critical thinking, time management and communication skills.

Those who enter the workplace directly have a head start. Although they begin at lower levels, for example as trainees or junior staff, they are able to climb the career ladder with their practical knowledge and relevant work experience. Sometimes workers who chose this option feel that they are at a disadvantage because they don’t have a formal education.

Whether a person choses to join the workforce directly or decides on further studies depends on a person’s preferences, beliefs and financial position. As getting a university education is expensive and time consuming those who don’t enjoy studying often go to work after high school.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Recent figures show an increase in violent crime among youngsters under the age of 18. Some psychologists claim that the basic reason for this is that children these days are not getting the social and emotional learning they need from parents and teachers.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Children are nurtured by parents and teachers at home and at school. As their first source of contact, they are influenced and imitate the behaviour of those who they spend the most time with. Unfortunately, in today’s competitive world, adults do not spend enough quality time with their children.

Children who are left unsupervised for hours on end are not likely to learn about boundaries and what is appropriate social behaviour. With plenty of free time on their hands and no-one to keep them out of trouble, youngsters may engage in criminal activities such as vandalism, hooliganism, shoplifting and petty theft. As no-one guides them in the right direction, the friends they make might easily sway them into a life of crime. Similarly, teachers focus on their job of teaching school subjects rather than trying to keep youngsters trouble free.

There are many reasons why youngsters may opt for a criminal lifestyle and these are not always related to parents and teachers. In some cases, children are bullied at school and their reaction is to get back at society as often happens in high school shootings. Other times a youngster might have been born with criminal tendencies irrespective of the loving environment they grew up in.

Concluding, I believe there is no single reason that draws youngsters into offending. It is unfortunate that crime is on the increase when it comes to the under 18 year olds. Sometimes instead of instructing children in social behaviour and emotional learning, instructors and parents might be the actual cause of youngsters turning to crime.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In today’s competitive world, many families find it necessary for both parents to go out to work. While some say that children in these families benefit from the additional income, others feel they lack support because of their parents’ absence.

Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

In our modern world, it is very rare to find a family where one of the parents is a home keeper even though it was considered the norm for a woman to stay at home to look after the children and maintain the household in the past. Financially speaking, it is difficult for a family to survive on the salary of a single parent.

Times have changed, prices have increased and basic necessities have become difficult to afford. In addition, children of today are materialistic, competitive and demanding. It is important for them to keep up with the latest fashion and own the newest gadgets as these products are an indication of their high social status.

Unfortunately in order to please their children and offer them material wealth, parents often neglect to give their children the appropriate emotional support that is required for their development. Due to their absence, parents do not spend enough quality time with their children so they do not know them very well. What is more, children often grow up resenting their parents for not giving them any attention. If they had a choice, most children would choose spending time with their parents rather than being spoilt.

To sum up, parents feel guilty that they have to spend so much time away from home and compensate for this by over spending on their children. Although they benefit in terms of having everything they desire, a parent’s support is equally, if not more, important.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

To what extent should television participate in children’s education?

When someone thinks of television they usually point out the negative impacts that it might have on a child, for example, the use of violent images and inappropriate language that a child is likely to imitate. It is for this reason that many parents limit their children’s viewing time. Television is sometimes used in schools to educate children and there are many informative programmes that can enlighten a young child.

A teacher may use a television programme during a lesson as this has sound, colour, characters etc. that are likely to grab a child’s attention. Likewise, some students are better able to remember visual information. Similarly, many shows have an educational value, for example, general knowledge quizzes, live competitions between schools on a particular subject and sometimes a tutor may deliver a lesson on TV.

Although many parents limit the time their children watch TV, some channels and programmes, for example science, geography and history may actually enrich a child’s knowledge as well as improve their language skills. In some cases, busy parents are away from home for many hours and a TV set acts as an educational tool for children.

In terms of education, TV should be used as an alternative teaching source if a parent or teacher feels a programme is likely to benefit a child. TV does not only provide mindless entertainment but if it is used appropriately it can help young children make sense of their environment in an engaging way.

Question taken from Target Band 7 p. 55

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Dieting can change a person’s life for the better or ruin one’s health completely. What is your opinion?

Nowadays there is great pressure to lose weight. Society, the media and the health industry all view slim people positively. This results in thousands of books, medication and TV programs that promise ‘miracle’ diets that can help you lose weight fast and effectively.

If a person is overweight, dieting can alter their life to a great extent. They will lose the excess kilos, increase their confidence and improve their general health. As long as a person has consulted a professional nutritionist who has suggested a particular diet for their body and problem and the excess weight has been lost gradually then this is likely to be a success story.

Unfortunately many people spend their lives following a yo-yo dieting pattern. They go to extremes and deprive their bodies of valuable vitamins and nutrients in search of a quick solution to their current problem, for example to fit into a wedding dress before a certain date. This kind of dieting may be harmful for your body in the long run and will actually result in a person gaining more weight in the end. This is because what was actually lost was not body fat. Excessive dieting exhausts and weakens the body and can therefore impact a person negatively.

To conclude, a person who maintains a healthy, balanced lifestyle continuously is likely to be energetic, confident, strong and less likely to get ill. Being obsessed with dieting however can lead to illnesses like anorexia and bulimia which are difficult to overcome.

Question taken from Target Band 7 p.62

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The best way to reduce the number of traffic accidents is to raise the age limit for younger drivers and to lower the age limit for the aged ones. Do you agree?

Accidents are a daily phenomenon and occur for multiple reasons such as drinking and driving, speed, sleeping at the wheel, driving through red lights, talking or texting on the mobile phone, not observing the rules of the road and general carelessness. Although the age of the driver responsible for an accident varies, younger, inexperienced drivers and elderly ones pose a threat to themselves and others on the road.

Elderly drivers suffer from health problems such as heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and poor vision. These factors lead to slow driving and poor reflexes. A driver needs to be alert when driving and drivers who are not sharp enough should not be allowed to drive.

Extremely young drivers do not have the maturity to drive a vehicle. They are at a stage in their lives when they want to show off to their peers by driving recklessly and speeding. Unfortunately they are not always in control of a vehicle or their surroundings. In addition, youngsters are unaware of the effects of alcohol on their body and how this can affect their behaviour. Tragically many young drivers lose their lives every year due to road accidents.

Naturally, there are other causes leading to accidents such as faulty cars, bad roads and inappropriate road signs. However, countries that allow youngsters to obtain a licence at 16 should re-consider the age limit. Increasing the upper limit should also be taken into account as a person’s failing health is dangerous to other road drivers.

Question taken from Target Band 7 p.64

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Due to the change in women’s roles in modern society, men are now the ones suffering from sexual discrimination. Do you agree?

With the assistance of certain laws, for example employment laws, sexual discrimination, the right to vote and following years of struggle, women have gained more privileges than they once had in a male dominated society. Women can be found in all types of professions, have become better educated and have access to services they were restricted to in the past.

We should not forget that in many countries, especially in developing nations, women do not have the same rights as men. Even though equality between the genders is mainly seen in developed countries, we still see women being underrepresented in politics, top managerial positions and in other areas. Some countries, for example China, value men over women and even go so far as to terminate a pregnancy if they know a child will be a girl.

Just because women have earned social, political and economic equality, this does not necessarily mean that men are being discriminated against. Women are merely gaining what has been entitled to them for centuries. In fact, a woman’s life in modern society is becoming more complicated and demanding. They have to fulfil many roles and duties such as being a competitive career woman, a loving wife and mother and maintaining a household whereas a man’s identity is usually restricted to work only.

To sum up, women are more involved in the public sphere than ever before and have earned greater respect and authority following years of discrimination. Despite gaining these rights, unfortunately patriarchal societies still exist where the ultimate power rests in the hands of men.

Question taken from Target Band 7 p. 55

Monday, 3 December 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Home schooling belongs to the past and is unacceptable in modern society. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Home schooling is still practised in some remote areas, often when children are unable to attend school because of their location, for example in some parts of Australia or when children have a busy professional schedule such as famous child actors. Sometimes home schooling is merely a preference chosen by parents.

Traditional methods of schooling are the norm as parents feel that schools provide the appropriate environment for a child to learn. They do not only engage in classroom activities but children also become sociable by interacting with others their own age. Good communication skills and team work are skills that can be used later on in life.

There are some benefits attached to home schooling. A child learns better and faster when they have individual attention and will most likely be academically brighter than other children. They might also feel safer in their home environment and will be able to have much more time for other commitments.

It is however unlikely that a single tutor will have all the knowledge required to teach all subjects equally well and a child might not receive the appropriate instruction in each subject. In addition, a child might become spoilt in this way and have unsociable behaviour. They will be unable to draw a clear line between home and school as the environment is the same. Similarly, they might have difficulties relating to their parents as teachers in cases where they are taught by them.

Even though home schooling is not an outdated practice and some communities practice this method of teaching, I believe a child will receive a well-balanced, rounded education and make more friends in a traditional classroom setting.

Question taken from Target Band 7, p.57