Thursday, 31 October 2013

Useful vocabulary for IELTS Academic reading – 'paragraph headings'

When trying to match the paragraph headings with the lettered paragraphs of the passage, it is important to understand the wording in the headings given.

A successful exercise in… = the positive outcome of something
The positive side of… = an advantage
The economic benefit… = how something is profitable
Developments that have led to a new approach… = a new way of doing something
The expanding scope… = the increasing possibilities
Negative effects / some of the disruptive results / negative results… = bad effects
The danger of / the threat to… = risk involved
Alarm caused by… = worrying results
The failure of… = the reason why something didn’t work
Less valuable… = not as important
Disputes about data… = not everyone agrees with the data
The unpredictability of / uncertain reasons… = not sure why something happens
Comparisons… = looking at two or more things
Alternative… = looking for other solutions
The impact/effect of/reaction of… = how something is influenced
Reason for… = purpose for
An example of… / research shows… = gives you a model of something
Causes of… = reason for
Efforts to predict… = trying to foresee
The connection between… = the relationship between two things
The views of… = what someone thinks of something
Lack of data / a lack of information about… = not enough information
Variations in… = changes

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Most of the world's poor live in countries where tourism is a growing industry. The issue is that tourism does not benefit the poorest. How can the income generated by tourism benefit the poor? And how can we ensure that tourism does not destroy traditional cultures and ways of life?

Many countries rely on income from tourism with the benefits being gained by hotels and tour operators. Those on low incomes are less likely to benefit from tourism even though they are likely to leave their traditional way of life in the hope of surviving by selling cheap hand-made products or working in the hotel industry.

Controls and checks should be put into place so that the poor can gain from visitors to a country. The government can ensure that they are not exploited by large profit-making companies but instead receive a minimum wage for their work. What is more, the government can promote fair competition so that those who are self-employed are able to provide their goods and services at competitive prices. Finally, the government can support poor businesses by providing subsidies, favourable loans, cheap rent and other financial benefits.

Unfortunately tourism does not take into account traditional ways of living, for example, people who were traditionally farmers or fishermen turn to tourism as it is more profitable and less labour intensive. An effort should be made to incorporate traditional cultures into tourism so these values and lifestyles are not lost to commercialism and mass production. Tourists could be taken to visit traditional villages and asked to follow certain rules such as refrain from taking photographs. They could also support the local community by purchasing products from them.

In general, tourists are the ones who should show respect when travelling abroad. It is the government's responsibility to protect local life by making sure that people are rewarded for their labour so they don't feel the need to abandon their lifestyle to work in the tourism sector.

Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.147

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

According to a recent study, the more time people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings. Should we worry about the effect this is having on social interaction or should we see the Internet as a way of opening up new communication possibilities worldwide. What are your views?

Current technology allows us to use the internet for endless functions ranging from entertainment, information and research to communication and social networking. For this reason many people are addicted to the internet spending most of their free time surfing the web at the expense of spending time with friends.
The internet allows people to communicate with their loved ones using various on-line applications like Skype for free. In the past it was difficult for people to communicate. They had to use letters or make costly overseas phone calls using a landline phone. All this has changed nowadays, with businesses also being able to benefit from advances in technology with traditional meetings being replaced with efficient and cheap video conferencing.

Face-to-face social interaction needs to be practiced by humans who are social beings. Being on the internet for long periods of time, isolates people and makes them anti-social. Internet addicts live like hermits and do not develop their communication skills. These people will have difficulty making new friends, going out and even feel left out in the workplace. Being social means having self-confidence, good people skills and being good at team activities.

Wi-Fi hot spots mean that we are able to keep-in-touch with our social network of family and friends at all times irrespective of their location. This has bought with it a new host of communication opportunities. In fact, I believe that it has strengthened ties between people as they are able to stay connected and in each other’s lives continuously.

Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.120

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)


Describe a person who has done a lot of work to help people. You should say:
  • Who this person is/was (say something about this person)
  • Where this person lives/lived (in the neighbourhood etc.)
  • What he/she has done to help people (organized charity events, used a hands-on approach, provided emotional support etc.)
  • And explain how you know about this person (met in person, have heard about them, found information on the internet etc.) 


What are some of the ways people can help others in the community?
Emotional support by visiting and talking to them which is what people need the most. Financial support by raising funds through charity events.

Why do you think some people like to help other people? It makes them feel good. It is part of their religious beliefs.

Some people say that people help others in the community more now than they did in the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Communities were smaller and more closely knit in the past so they helped each other more. Today people are busy with their own lives and are too selfish to help others.


What types of services, such as libraries or health centres, are available to the people who live in your area? Mainly libraries, health centres and old age homes.

Which group of people generally need most support in a community? Why?  The elderly who are physically weak and lonely. Teenagers who may face issues like drugs, alcohol, bullying and peer pressure.

Who do you think should pay for the services that are available to the people in a community? Should it be the government or individual people? It is the government's responsibility to use tax payers' money to provide services for the community, as these services should be non-profit and distributed fairly.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS 9, p.103

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

Part 2

Describe a film, theatre or TV performer you admire. You should say:
· What they look like (describe appearance)
· What they do (act in plays, movies, TV shows etc.)
· Where and when you saw them (place and time)
And explain why you admire this person (talented, convincing in getting the message across, hard-working, makes good choices regarding the roles they perform etc.)

Part 3


·         Do you think that acting is a good profession for young people to enter? (If they are talented, passionate about what they do and hard-working they will succeed.)
·         What would be the advantages and disadvantages of being a famous actor or actress?
Advantages: money, fame, glory, recognition, authority, influence, attention.
Disadvantages: rumours, bad publicity, no private life, pressure, addictions and psychological problems.
·         Do you think there is too much interest in the private lives of famous people? (People believe the lives of famous people are more interesting than theirs, are interested in every aspect of their lives so the media meets their demands.)
·         What do you think about well-known TV and movie stars appearing in advertisements? (They increase the sale of products as viewers rush out to buy products they believe are consumed by celebrities.)
·         Are there any ways they could use their fame to do good in the world? (Positive role models for young people, raise funds and awareness using their fame and fortune, are on influential committees.)

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS 9, p.158

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

 Describe your favorite style of dress. You should say:
  • What kind of clothes you like to wear (casual, sporty, trendy, comfortable, formal, dresses, jeans etc.)
  • What fabrics and colors you prefer (cotton, silk, leather, bright/dark colors etc.)
  • What (or who) influences you in your choice of clothes (magazines, fashion TV, friends, celebrities, chose what suits you etc.)
  • And explain whether clothes are important to you or not (clothes are a form of expression and are an indication of the type of person someone is e.g. if you follow fashion or are concerned about your appearance)


Do you think it’s important to wear formal clothes for a job interview? (You should wear a suit, a shirt and tie, to show you are professional and serious about getting the job.)

How much can you judge a person by their appearance, in your opinion? (Appearance is what you notice first on a person. When you get to know them better you are able to judge them in other ways.)

Do you think people should be free to wear whatever they like at work? (Work is done in a professional environment and employers expect employees to be well-dressed. Staff in creative professions such as hairdressers and tattoo artists should be able to dress as they wish.)

What do you think about school uniforms? (Convenient for parents and children. Don’t have to worry about what to wear. Economical. No distinction between rich and poor students.)

Do you think the fashion industry is a bad influence on young people? (Bad influence in terms of body image and people wanting to spend too much on latest trends.)

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS 9, p.158

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)


Describe something you did that was new or exciting. You should say:
  • What you did (extreme sport, travel to exciting destination etc.)
  • Where and when you did this (place and time)
  • Who you shared the activity with (friends, family members, boyfriend/girlfriend etc.)
  • And explain why this activity was new or exciting for you (different experience, hadn’t done it before, challenging etc.)


Why do you think some people like doing new things? Exciting, challenging, for the experience, break away from routine.

What problems can people have when they try new activities for the first time? Might be dangerous, disappointed that it didn’t meet expectations, don’t have enough experience.

Do you think it’s best to do new things on your own or with other people? Why? It’s best to share the excitement and experience with others, as well as discuss it.


What kind of things do children learn to do when they are very young? How important are these things? How to function alone, like eating, drinking, going to the toilet etc. These are basic skills and need to be learnt.

Do you think children and adults learn to do new things in the same way? How is their learning style different? Children can learn easier and through play while adults have the advantage of maturity and experience.

Some people say that it is more important to be able to learn new things now than it was in the past. Do you agree or disagree with that? Why? People have to keep up with new technology and new trends in their field of work otherwise they will be at a disadvantage. It is also important to learn new languages.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS 9, p.55

Friday, 2 August 2013

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)


Describe a leisure activity that you enjoy. You should say:
  • What the activity is (a sport, art, shopping, hobby etc.)
  • Where and when you take part in it (place and time)
  • What it involves (any equipmnet you may need)
  • And explain why you enjoy it so much (helps you to relax, unwind, keep fit, helps deal with stress, pleasurable activity, make new friends etc.)


Why is it a good idea for a child to have a hobby? Need to relax, have interests, do something they enjoy.

Do young people get enough physical exercise these days? Spend too much time indoors with TV and electronic games.

Is watching television a good way of relaxing? You can switch off and not use your brain, so your mind relaxes.

What leisure activities would you recommend as a way of combating stress? A sport like swimming because it keeps you fit, relaxes you and you feel good about yourself.

Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman, p.51

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)


Describe a present you bought which gave someone a lot of pleasure. You should say:
  • What the present was (describe the gift - size, color, price, where you bought it)
  • Who it was for (person e.g. family member, relative, friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, classmate etc.) 
  • Why you chose it (based on person's character, cost, convenience etc.)
  • and explain why the person who received it was so pleased (you thought of them, they like that item etc.)


What kind of presents do children ask for today? Expensive, brands, electronic games, latest trends.

What effect has advertising had on this? Children like to copy their friends and classmates and are influenced more by them than TV advertising.

Is there a case for banning advertising directed at children? Children are naive, vulnerable and don't understand how advertising works so are ideal victims. They can apply pressure on their parents to buy products for them.


Is it better to shop in big supermarkets or in small local shops? Local shops support the community but prices are higher and they don't have the variety available in large supermarkets.

What are the dangers of credit cards? Spend too much without realizing it. High interest rates. Fraud.

How can children be encouraged to develop a responsible attitude towards money and spending? Should do chores around the home in return for money so they can understand how difficult it is to earn money. They will appreciate money and be responsible with spending.

Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.183

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

Describe a journey (e.g. by car, plane, boat) that you remember well. You should say:
  • Where you went (destination)
  • How you travelled (transport mode)
  • Why you went on the journey (holiday, work, to visit a friend etc.)
  • and explain why you remember this journey well (the landscape, how you spent your time e.g. chatting to an interesting stranger, watching a good movie etc.)

Why do people need to travel every day? (to go to work, school, shopping, visit others etc.)
What problems can people have when they are on their daily journey, for example to work or school? (accident, traffic jam, miss a bus/train, pick-pocketed etc.)
Some people say that daily journeys like these will not be so common in the future. Do you agree or disagree? (people are increasingly working from home as everything can be done on-line these days, however children still need to be physically present at school)


What do you  think people can learn from travelling to other countries? (culture, history, geography, knowledge of food and lifestyle, habits, respect others, become open-minded, new experiences)

Can travel make a positive difference to the economy of a country? (many countries and citizens depend on income from tourists. Tourism encourages development and growth of an economy)

Do you think a society can benefit if its members have experience of travelling to other countries? (citizens will be well-informed, knowledgeable, accepting of others, open-minded, tolerant of differences in their own surroundings)

Questions taken from Cambridge IELTS 9, p.78

Monday, 29 July 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The line graphs show the sources of local and world news in the UK over a ten year period, from 1987 to 1997.
65% of people in the UK initially received their news via television in 1987 and ten years later this percentage increased by 2. In 1989 there was a 5% drop in this source of world news while between 1990 and 1996 the percentage was stable at 70. Between 1987 and 1989, 25% of world news was obtained via newspaper. This dropped by 5% in 1997, with the lowest point being reached in 1994 at 15%. Finally, only around 9% of world news was accessed by radio between this period with the exception of 15% in 1989.
In 1987, 56% of local news was read in the newspaper at first and this fell by 16% ten years later, with an upward trend being observed in 1990 and in 1992 where access reached 50%. Television as a source of local news experienced an upward trend from 19% initially to 37% in 1997. A low point can be seen in 199 at 19%. Lastly, radio was used at a stable rate of about 12% throughout the given time to find out about local news.
Most international news in the UK was first seen on the television and about half the respondents used the newspaper for this. Very few listened to world news on the radio. The percentages were stable over 10 years. Newspapers were favoured over television for local news, but this source lost its popularity and television increased its local news viewership. Radio access remains low.
Question taken from focus on IELTS, Longman p.117

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar graph shows how many boys and girls were successful in their school leaving exams, for the year 1993-94.
Less than 10% of the students passed the Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics), while about 42% of the boys and girls passed Mathematics. 61.5% of the girls did well in English as did 44.4% of the boys. More girls (32.7%) passed French than boys (20.2%). There is a 2.3% difference in favor of the boys in Geography and an 8.6% difference in Craft, Design and Technology. A greater percentage of girls (23.4%) passed history than boys (17.9%).
To conclude English and Mathematics were the subjects passed by the greatest number of students. More girls passed English, French and History, while boys did better in Craft, Design & Technology. Few students passed the Sciences.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.150

Friday, 26 July 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows the number of people employed in the tourism sector in 1989 and 1999.
In 1989 most people had work related to Accommodation (299.2 thousand workers). Slightly less were employed in Catering (283.4 thousand people) and a similar amount in the Sports Industry (284.7 thousand). The Culture Industry accounted for 82.8 thousand workers and the industry with the lowest employment figures was travel with 60.9 thousand workers.
Ten years later, employment figures went up for the Hotel, Food and Travel Industries reaching 306.0, 357.7 and 345.7 thousand respectively. About twice as many workers can be seen in the Travel Industry while the Culture Industry experiences a decline in employment figures ending with 77.4 thousand workers.
More people were employed in tourism related industries in 1999 than they were ten years earlier. While Hotels accounted for the most employees in 1989, the Food Industry employed the most workers in 1999. The Culture Industry shrunk in size.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.182

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagram show how the camera has evolved from its early beginnings in 1839 until a more recent version in 2000.
In 1839 the Daguerrotype camera was invented. This was a wooden structure in the shape of a square with a length of 36cm and a brass lens. The Kodak no. 1 came out about half a century later. It was approximately half the size of the Daguerrotype, in the shape of a square and made of metal.
The 1925 Leica 1 introduced a new design to the camera. It was 2cm shorter than its predecessor but still made of metal. This camera had an external lens and buttons on top to operate it. The 2000 digital camera became sleek, measuring 8cm in length. It was lighter, being made of plastic. In keeping with advances in technology, the added features of this camera include a zoom lens, flash, LCD screen and internet connection to transfer photos onto a computer.
In the past, cameras were bulky and heavy, using wood and metal. Modern cameras are smaller, lighter and have many more features and options for storing and viewing photos.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.166

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar charts show how far commuters travel per year using different means of transport and how long their journey takes. The data relates to several European countries.
The EU average for traveling by car per person is 10,000 kilometers with Spain and Germany having less than this figure and the United Kingdom having almost the same as the EU average. The kilometers travelled using this mode of transport in Italy, France and Denmark is 11,000, 12,000 and 13,000 per year respectively.
The EU average for public transport and bikes is about 1,200 kilometers per person yearly, with Spain and Germany being at the same level. France and the United Kingdom stand at roughly 1,000 kilometers and Italy at almost double this amount. In Denmark travel by person with these methods is much greater reaching a little more than 3,000 kilometers per year.
Commuting time in France and Denmark is at the same level as the EU average of around 39 minutes per day. Commuters in Germany and the United Kingdom travel for 45 minutes daily using all modes while Italians commute for 21 minutes.
Europeans travel the furthest by car yearly than with other means of transport and Danes travel the furthest, while Germans and the British spend the most time commuting.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.150

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Advances in science and technology and other areas of society in the last 100 years have transformed the way we live as well as postponing the day we die. There is no better time to be alive than now. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
We are able to live a longer, healthier life than in the past when life expectancy was short and life was difficult. This does not however mean that life today is not without its challenges and anxieties.
Our life has been made considerable easier and more convenient at home. We have washing machines, ovens, kettles and vacuum cleaners that are efficient and save time. The same could be said in the workplace where the internet, emails and video conferencing have transformed the work environment. Similarly, medicine has advanced to the point of curing fatal diseases that used to kill thousands in the past.
Even though we are better off today in terms of comfort and ease, people are more stressed than ever before. They work longer hours, there is more competition and people struggle to keep up with the latest trends. As a result, today’s generation is prone to heart disease, cancer and obesity. In the past people lived simpler lives but the types of problems they faced were similar to those faced today.
In my opinion it is up to each individual to enjoy their short time on earth as best as they can irrespective of which time period they are born into. Medicine and technology have lifted some of our concerns but our modern lifestyle has introduced new sets of problems. Technology has alienated humans depriving them of vital social interaction. One has to wonder if all these advances have actually improved our quality of life, or if they have made things worse for us.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.134

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The government spends about £220 million a year supporting museums and galleries in the UK, and a similar amount subsiding the visual and performing arts. This is a huge sum to spend on minority interests and the money would be better spent on more important things. It should be up to the people who enjoy cultural attractions to pay for them. What are your views?
Museums, art galleries, visual and performing arts are an important aspect of our lives.  Art is a form of expression which each individual has an opportunity to be involved in. These art forms promote culture, history, traditions, make people aware of important social issues and are a source of entertainment.
Without government funding and support many young, struggling, talented artists would not be able to exhibit their work. Artists focus their talents on their art work and pay little attention to financial matters, relying on support and promotion from the government. In addition, it is not fair to say that art lovers do not pay for enjoying art. There is an entrance fee to museums and art galleries that host contemporary exhibitions and the government is able to cover costs in this way. Sadly, when there is an economic crisis, the arts are the first to receive a haircut.
Priority is usually given to areas of national and majority interest when the government is deciding its budget. The economy, growth, unemployment, health and education are usually at the top of the spending list. These issues are important and the government should prioritize when it comes to providing basic needs for its citizens. Without work, health and an education, people would have no interest in art.
Although the government does appear to be over-spending on the arts, I do believe there is a necessity to support expression. Art is for all people and not only a minority interest. Individuals do pay admission fees which could help the government balance their expenses.
Question taken from Focus on IELTS, Longman p.69

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Travel – Vietnam

We would like to thank our Vietnamese students who visit this blog daily for their on-going support. Our Facebook page contains photos I took while visiting Vietnam showing all the major attractions. For those who have not had the opportunity to travel to this wonderful country, you might like to read a little more about it.
Hanoi, meaning ‘within a river bed’ is the capital of Vietnam and it is a charming, historic city. The Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword) and the Sunbeam Bridge lie at the centre of the city. The park around the lake is used by locals for exercising and relaxing. The Old Quarter can be found north of the lake and consists of 36 bustling narrow streets each selling a particular item e.g. there is a street that sells only shoes. The houses in this area are called tube houses as the front where the shop is located is narrow but the sides are long. Other buildings are influenced by French architecture (balconies, columns, shutters etc.) and can be seen south of the lake in the French Quarter. The neo-Gothic Saint Joseph’s Cathedral with its stained-glass windows lies to the west of the lake. To view Ho Chi Minh’s body, visitors have to stand in line to enter the Mausoleum leaving their possessions at the office. In front of the Mausoleum is Ba Dinh Square where Ho read out the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence in 1945. Close by is the One Pillar Pagoda built in 1049 in the shape of a lotus and it stands in the centre of a water-lily pond. The Ho Chi Minh Museum, housed in a large and modern building, traces Ho’s life from his early days until his victory over south Vietnam and his death. Finally, the Temple of Literature is a large temple complex where Confucian classics were taught and food was distributed to the poor. Passing the difficult doctoral exams (which took 35 days) meant that a student became a Mandarin and has his name recorded on a stone block.  In the evening there are water puppet theatre performances that tell the origins of the Vietnamese people.
There are many agencies in Hanoi selling tours to Halong Bay (meaning ‘descending dragon’), which is 110 km east of Hanoi and is about a 4-hour drive. The bay consists of many islands, caves and beaches. Tourists can visit Hang Hanh cave which is 2 km long and consists of stalagmites and stalactites in various shapes.
Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam is located in the south. This is an energetic city with traffic, modern shops, bars and restaurants. It is also a commercial and industrial centre. Lam Son Square can be found at the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Around the square visitors can see the Rex hotel, French-era Opera House, City Hall and a statue of Bac Ho with a child. The red-brick Notre Dame Cathedral can be found in Paris Square and the General Post Office with old wall maps is across the road. Ben Thanh Market is a large, covered market near a chaotic roundabout. It continues as a night market outside. You can find clothes, souvenirs, food, household goods etc. Reunification Hall has been preserved as it was found in 1975 and is still in use today. It consists of various meeting rooms with furniture and in the basement there are operations rooms, military maps, radios etc. The courtyard of the War Remnants Museum consists of tanks, planes, helicopters and planes while the inside covers the Vietnam War from the Vietnamese perspective and the after-effects of Agent Orange. Chinatown is in District 5, southwest of the city centre. The inhabitants are mainly Vietnamese of Chinese origin. This area is busy with traders selling their wares and has many temples and assembly halls. A boat trip down the Saigon River allows visitors to see how the city has developed from a wilderness of forest and swamps into an urban sprawl.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are 40km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels, which were built in 1948 by the Viet Minh, were later expanded by the Viet Cong to include hospitals, schools, kitchens and sleeping quarters. The Ho Chi Minh Trail consisting of an underground network of over 200km is a symbol of the will power and architectural creativity of the Vietnamese and shows how the Viet Cong were able to defeat the USA with their sophisticated weapons. Ecological warfare was used in the district as chemicals were sprayed in search for the tunnels and then the area was heavily bombed.
There are plenty of markets and food stalls that sell fresh and delicious Vietnamese food, many of which cater to vegetarians as well. Some of the ingredients that can be found in Vietnamese food are mushrooms, chilies, coriander, lemongrass, star anise, tamarind, Vietnamese mint, tapioca pearls, rice vinegar, fish sauce, dried shrimp paste, palm sugar, rice paper, glutinous rice and noodles.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programs (for example working for a charity, improving the neighbourhood or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent to you agree or disagree?

Very few teenagers are involved in voluntary work. Their school schedule is composed of assignments, homework, tests and exams. The little free time they do have available is spent on their hobbies and having a good time.

Unpaid community service has plenty to offer a high school student and the community as a whole. Voluntary work teaches a youngster how to be responsible, care for others that are less fortunate that them and respect others who are in a difficult position. It helps in building a person’s character and team skills. In addition, younger children are able to relate to teenagers better than adults as the age gap is smaller. The local community would benefit from the contribution provided by teenagers.

Voluntary work implies that people have a personal choice whether to help their community or not. Making this a compulsory part of the school program might make teenagers resentful and not perform their duties as well as they would if they opted to do the unpaid service themselves. Let us not forget how difficult it is to be a teenager and the type of pressure they face daily.

Taking everything into consideration, although the benefits of unpaid community service are limitless, rebellious teenagers are not likely to support programs that are forced upon them. I think it is better if teenagers are given a choice of participating in these types of activities. That will make them more enthusiastic and they will give their time and energy freely for a good cause.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, p.54

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

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?

Each child has different abilities with respect to a foreign language. Some might be able to pick it up at junior school while others are ready to learn at high school. Whatever the case, it has become crucial in today’s world to be able to communicate in another language.

A young child’s brain is like a sponge and it can absorb new information easily but at the same time children can forget just as easily. Due to this ability of a young brain to learn fast and without difficulty many parents prefer that their children engage in a foreign language at a young age. Similarly, learning young often means becoming fluent by the time children reach secondary school.

On the other hand, a child at primary school might not be ready to learn a new language considering they have not even mastered their own. This will cause confusion and difficulty particularly if a child is still learning how to read and write in their own language. At secondary school a child is able to appreciate the value of a foreign language more and will be able to understand complex vocabulary and grammar structures that someone at primary school won’t.  High school students can also engage in the language more by watching movies or through social networking sites.

The only drawback of starting to learn a new language at high school is that perhaps a teenager’s school program is already overloaded and they don’t have the time to dedicate to a foreign language. Generally, I believe that primary school students are not ready for this challenge.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, p.31

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

Energy consumption in the United States is shown on the line graph, beginning in 1980 and showing projections for 2030.

In 1980, 35 quadrillion units of Petrol and Oil were consumed with this figure projected to increase by 10 quadrillion in 2030. The consumption of Natural Gas in 1980 was 20 quadrillion. Its use fluctuated until 2010. Between 2015 and 2030 it is expected to be constant at 23 quadrillion units.
Although the use of Coal in 1980 was 16 quadrillion units, this surpassed Natural Gas usage and is projected to reach 30 quadrillion units by the end of the given time period. The consumption of the remaining three types of fuels (Nuclear, Solar/Wind and Hydropower) follow a similar trend, starting at 4 quadrillion units. Although Hydropower consumption drops slightly and Nuclear power rises slightly, Solar/Wind power remains relatively constant.
To conclude, Petrol and Oil is consumed the most and Hydropower the least. There is expected to be a rise in consumption of Petrol, Oil, Coal, Nuclear and Natural Gas fuels while a fall is expected in Hydropower. Solar/Wind energy consumption is predicted to stay the same.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, p.101

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 1)

On a recent holiday you lost a valuable item. Fortunately you have travel insurance to cover the cost of anything lost. Write a letter to the manager of your insurance company. In your letter.
  • Describe the item you lost.
  • Explain how you lost it.
  • Tell the insurance company what you would like to do.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have an insurance policy with your company (policy number HUG22) and I would like to submit a claim for a diamond ring that I recently lost.

The diamond is set on a silver band. The date of my wedding is inscribed inside, that is, 19th June 2000. The single diamond, originating from South Africa is worth €5000. I have a photograph of the actual ring and I am enclosing a copy for your reference.

When I was in my hotel room in Hanoi I removed my ring so that I could wash my hands. Unfortunately it fell down the drain and the hotel staff were unable to retrieve it.

I understand that my policy covers the cost of my ring, and although the sentimental value cannot be regained, I would appreciate it if you could examine my case and let me know the amount that will be covered by your company.

Thanking you in advance.

Yours sincerely,
Virginia Mathews

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, p.130

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 1)

You are working for a company. You need to take time off work and want to ask your manager about this. Write a letter to your manager. In your letter
  • Explain why you want to take time off work.
  • Give details of the amount of time you need.
  • Suggest how your work could be covered while you are away. 
Dear Mrs. Cowell,

As you are aware I am registered on a Charted Accounting course while at the same time I am working for your company to gain experience. I would like to request some time off work in order to study for the demanding ACCA exams.

I will be taking two exams, one on Monday the 17th of June and the other on Wednesday the 19th of June. I will require a week before the exam to prepare and I will return back to work on Thursday morning after my final exam.

Currently I have five pending company accounts to work on. My colleague Fiona Thomson is working with me on these accounts and she is aware of all issues relating to these clients. I would like to re-assure you that Fiona is capable of covering for me while I am absent.

Thank you for your understanding and consideration during this difficult exam period.

Yours faithfully,
Jo Sharp

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, P.117

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart, which covers an eight year period, records how long people talked for in the UK on their mobile phones or used a fixed line, whether local, national or international.

Calls made locally using a landline phone ranged between 70 billion and 90 billion minutes between 1995 and 2002 with higher usage being noted in 1998 and the following year at 90 billion minutes. National and international calls using a fixed line had a gradual increase from 35 billion minutes in 1995 to 60 billion minutes eight years later. Similarly, mobile calls went up gradually. They began at around 5 billion minutes in the first three years and by 2002 reached 45 billion minutes of talking time.

Throughout the eight year period British people used their local fixed line the most and their mobiles the least. In addition, speaking nationally and internationally via a fixed line as well as a mobile increased in popularity while using a fixed line for local calls returned back to its 1995 figure of 70 billion minutes.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9 P.53

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people say that the best way to improve public health is by increasing the number of sports facilities. Others, however, say that this would have little effect on public health and that other measures are required. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

There are growing numbers of people who are overweight or obese. As well as following a healthy diet, exercising is a good way to stay fit. As governments spend a large proportion of their budget on public health they need to propose some effective measures to combat this problem.

Providing sports facilities to citizens is a good idea. Working out is the best way to lose weight and gain strength and muscles. Many neighborhoods do not have sports facilities or the ones that are provided charge high membership fees. Having free, modern sports facilities will encourage people to take an interest in their health.

Having facilities for working out does not necessary mean that people will take advantage of what is offered to them. Exercising is a personal choice and if someone does not have the will power or does not enjoy an activity they are not likely  to get involved. People need to be educated and informed about the dangers of leading an unhealthy lifestyle, just as they need to be encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle. This can be done by targeting children and teaching them good health ethics that they are likely to continue in their adult lives. After all, prevention is always better than cure.

I believe that the availability of modern, attractive sports facilities will motivate people to exercise more which will in turn improve their health. In addition, it is necessary to have preventative measures at an early age so that exercising and health becomes a habit in order to avoid drastic measures and large public spending on sports facilities.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Tests, IELTS 9, p.77

Friday, 21 June 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Every year several languages die out. Some people think that it 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?

Minority languages, particularly those spoken by indigenous people are becoming extinct and are being replaced by dominant ones such as English and Mandarin. Communication between nations has already become easier by the standardization of languages and by the fact that English is used as a global language.

A language is important for a community. It is what differentiates a people, shows their cultural roots, history and heritage. If their language dies out, the community that is held together by a common language will also disappear. It is a pity for a language that has deep roots and a long tradition to be erased in order to make life simpler for the majority who in many cases have imposed their language on others.

In a move towards globalization, there is an effort to unite the world through a single medium of communication. This certainly does make life more manageable. It removes barriers, translators, reduces cultural misunderstanding and gets things done faster. All business transactions would be speeded up and travelers would experience fewer problems when travelling abroad.

However, I feel that it is much better to have a multitude of languages. Every culture should have its own identity which is expressed through their language. It is exciting and challenging for people to learn a new language and the world would be a very monotonous and boring place to live in if we deprived people of their unique language. It is sad that languages are becoming extinct and governments need to try and preserve them in every way possible.

Question taken from Cambridge Practice Test, IELTS 9, p.102