Thursday, 28 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

At school greater emphasis should be placed on an appreciation of the built as well as the natural environment. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Due to high population growth and the need to build facilities, housing, schools and work areas for people, cities have sprung up everywhere and there are few places of natural beauty. In the name of progress and development, the natural environment has been destroyed.

As most of the world’s population resides in urban areas children should value their surroundings. Architecture is an art form that is seen in buildings and appreciated by people living in an area as well as tourists and visitors. Children should be made aware that architects express their creativity through buildings using innovative materials and designs. As such, they should be proud of their city’s buildings.

Environmentalists have been fighting for young people to appreciate the natural environment and what it has to offer. Humans need green areas as they provide us with oxygen and are a reminder of what is pure and natural in life. Many parks can be found in city centres, for example, Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London. These parks provide a refuge for city dwellers and are an ideal place for youngsters to play.

The built-up environment provides us with shelter, work, and places of entertainment and interest. It is where we spend most of our time so it should be aesthetically pleasing. It is the responsibility of architects to make our surroundings appealing and schools should educate children about this art form. Similarly, man cannot live without nature and its preservation is a key to our survival.

Question taken from Ready for IELTS Course book p. 125

General Training Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of social networking?

Many people today are members of a social network site like facebook, twitter, Hi5, Myspace, Weibo etc. These sites allow users to share personal information, their views, post photos and get together with people who share common interests with them.

Social network sites are extremely popular and a modern way to keep in touch with people who are important in our lives. They have made the world smaller and we are able to communicate with familiar faces on the other side of the globe. Users are also able to inform their friends about what is happening in their lives on a daily basis or chat to them. Similarly, people are notified of events as well as being informed about social and political issues. In fact, these sites are a great way to raise awareness about important issues.

Social networking is not without its drawbacks. Many users conceal their true identity and are able to harm or bully others with their dishonest. Secondly, some people feel depressed when they read that their friends are doing well while their life remains the same. Finally, many people become addicted to networking on the Internet and as a result forget that there is life beyond a computer screen.

In our fast-paced world, social networking has become the norm. It is simple to keep in touch and keep up to date using various applications but we shouldn’t forget traditional ways of interacting and networking. After all, this is part of human nature.

Question taken from Get Ready for IELTS writing, p. 51

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In the modern world there is a movement away from written exams to more practical assessment. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this trend.

The methods of assessing students have changed in recent years. Exams have traditionally been used to determine whether a student has mastered a subject well enough or not. Exams are required to gain entrance into a university or college or to graduate from any type of institution.  Similarly, many government posts require candidates to take written exams.  Practical assessment is becoming more popular especially in the arts and sciences where theory is not so important.

Written exams allow many students to be examined and at the same time they can cover a large amount of material.  It is also easy for examiners to correct written exams. Despite these advantages, this assessment method is not a true indication of a person’s ability. Many students study the previous night and when the exam ends, they forget what they have memorized. There is a lot of stress and pressure associated with exams and students do not often perform well under such conditions.

On the other hand, practical assessment gives students time to do coursework and projects at their own pace. This type of assessment is more indicative of a person’s academic abilities and is currently used for subjects that require creativity or are of a practical nature like music or chemistry where a laboratory is needed. Practical assessment however is time-consuming for students and it requires more time for an examiner to assess. Students also need individual attention from teachers and lecturers on progress, feedback etc. Although practical assessment might be desirable its shortcomings should not be ignored.

Question taken from Ready for IELTS course book p. 99

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Countries should not replace their traditional culture with modern culture. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Societies are continuously evolving and as a result traditional culture is often lost or transformed. It is quite difficult to maintain a culture if the young generation is not willing to continue these traditions because they want to embrace what is new.

Some traditions are relevant to the time period in which they were conceived and for this reason they may not be appropriate today. Some societies for example discriminate against women or have harsh cultural practices that are unacceptable in modern society. It is best for these types of practices to be replaced. Similarly, in a multi-cultural society where people and cultures intermingle there is bound to be a fusion of cultures over time. This is not to say that modern culture is less important than traditional culture, just that it is likely to take a different form.

The older generation is likely to disagree with modern culture as it will seem unfamiliar to them. They are less likely to be able to deal with change.  What is more, traditional culture in the form of song, dance, food, art, cinema, customs etc. has a certain charm and reminds people of their past and heritage.  It is a link to their ancestors, a simpler way of living and doing things so it is important to preserve these traditions.

Some traditions in our culture will remain with us for a lifetime and are expressed through festivals and special occasions but I think in the end modern culture will take over because of the mass movement of people and the emphasis on progress and a modern lifestyle.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS Writing p.24

Friday, 22 February 2013

General Training Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of children using mobile phones?

Most young children today own a mobile phone. The age at which they receive their first phone is getting younger and younger. Parents usually purchase their children a cell phone in order to locate them at all times or notify them when there is a change in their timetable.

Children are able to contact their parents in an emergency and this is the greatest advantage of owning a mobile phone.  By having a cell phone, children are more independent and are able to keep in touch with their school friends as well as get updates when they miss classes.

There are, however, more disadvantages to mobile ownership. Firstly, children often misuse phones as they have no concept of call charges and parents end up paying high bills at the end of each month. Secondly, there is peer pressure to have the latest phone and in case a phone is stolen by others at school it is expensive to replace. Thirdly, children become obsessed with the applications and games on their phones and instead of paying attention in class they are busy playing games or texting their friends. In some cases, phones can be used to store information for tests. Finally, there are health risks to consider. Children should not be exposed to high levels of radiation which is often the case when they don’t use hands-free devices while speaking on the phone for hours.

Mobiles are seldom used by children for their intended purpose, that is, to communicate with their family in emergencies. They are mostly used for other less important reasons.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS Writing p. 51

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Public transport is essential but problematic. Describe some of the problems connected to public transport and suggest some solutions.

If public transport did not exist, the roads would be more congested than they currently are as everyone would be forced to use their private vehicle. Pollution levels would be at a record high and movement would be extremely difficult and frustrating. So, the benefits of public transport cannot be over emphasized but that is not to say that the system is not without flaws.

There are often delays in public transport due to maintenance, bad weather, closing of some routes or excessive traffic which means that travelers are held up. Sometimes, particularly during rush hour it is a struggle to get onto a train or a bus as there are too many people. In third world countries we often hear about accidents on public transport where many passengers are killed. This may be the result of human error or old vehicles that have not undergone maintenance or security checks.

Travelers should be notified in advance if there are likely to be delays on some routes. This can be done through the media or a service that sends text messages to inform passengers. A system should also be put into place to control the number of people boarding a public vehicle. This should not be more than the capacity it can carry. In some countries they sell the same seat to more than one traveler and this means that there is overcrowding. It is also very important to follow health and safety regulations with respect to public transport in order to avoid the loss of life.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS writing p. 83

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people think it is better to give donations to local charitable organizations, while others choose to give to national or international bodies. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

In order to help those in need in our society, non-profit, charitable organizations are formed to raise awareness for a cause and of course to collect funds or material goods. Some of these are for local causes while other aid is destined for abroad.

Some people support that it is best to focus on problems that exist in one’s society (local and national) before seeking to help others. Local and national charities attempt to assist the homeless, disabled, less privileged, abandoned animals etc. in the local community which could lead to a better standard of life for citizens.  Contributors might also believe that there is better control of funds in their own country with checks being made on how collected money is distributed. This is not always the case with international charity organizations resulting in funds not reaching those in need.

On the other hand, some countries particularly in Asia and Africa have far greater problems. They suffer from natural disasters such as droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. There are often wars resulting in famine, refugees, violence etc. These types of issues require immediate attention from international charitable organizations to avoid loss of human life.  Humanitarians do not consider people from other countries as being different but classify everyone as ‘humans’ and therefore subject to support.

In my opinion, it is up to each individual to decide if they first of all would like to contribute to charity and secondly which cause is important for them as well as how they would like to see their contribution spent.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS writing p. 136

General Training Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The Internet has more advantages for young people than old people. Do you agree?

The Internet has made the world smaller by connecting businesses and people and has many useful purposes such as finding information, communication and entertainment. It has benefited people around the globe irrespective of their age.

Youngsters are likely to use the internet more than older people as they were born in an age of technology and it is part of their daily life.  Many applications are useful for youngsters in their private and professional life.  People can post their CV online or search for jobs. Networking sites allow them to promote their skills or advertise their company and they can keep up-to-date with all the latest news.  On a social level, it allows young people to keep in touch with friends and family, keep themselves entertained and shop.

Although older people are not on the Internet as much as younger people, there is information that is aimed at their age group on the net. They might be interested in holidays abroad, pension plans, joining local groups and social networking sites as well as keeping in touch with their family members. Many older people are keeping up with the times and have attended computer classes. As a result they are now familiar with surfing on the Internet and using all applications that youngsters use.

I believe the Internet is for everyone whether they are eight years old or eighty eight. Everyone has something to gain from the web and it is a good idea for the elderly to learn how to use the Internet for their benefit.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS Writing p. 52

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people think that managerial posts in private companies and in government are more suitable for men. Others think that given the opportunity women can be successful managers. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.

In the past, women were not given the opportunity to progress in the work sphere. It is for this reason that there is a great gender gap when it comes to top positions.  Looking at the high ranks of companies and the government, one can see an overwhelming majority of men occupying these posts.

Traditionally women have been restricted to the home and duties involving taking care of the family. Often they were thought incapable of being able to run large co-operations because of the demands of the household. As women are the ones who have children and are responsible for bringing them up, this could have an effect on the amount of time they allocate to work and perhaps they are not thought of as being totally committed to their job as men are.

This trend is slowly changing and women have become presidents, hold ministerial posts and head companies. Laws have been put in place that don’t allow gender discrimination in the workplace so this ensures that women can progress up the career ladder. I believe women are capable of becoming great managers as they are able to multitask. They can juggle their private and public life well and organize a chaotic household so these skills are transferred into the work area. As managers, women are dynamic and capable of getting the job done.

In my opinion, women are more versatile than men who are usually defined by their work and their role as bread winners. That is why they have not been comfortable with intelligent, capable and successful women in managerial positions.

Question taken from Ready for IELTS coursebook p.161

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people think that health care is a basic human necessity that should not be provided by the private companies, but should be provided by the state.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of health care being provided by the private sector.

Everyone needs to receive medical attention at some point in their lives, whether this is for a routine check-up, an emergency or an operation. Some countries provide medical services for free, for example, the UK has the NHS while in other countries like the USA it is necessary to pay health insurance in order to receive treatment.

Many people prefer going to private clinics even if free state hospitals are available. A private doctor is likely to pay more attention to a patient and they have all the latest equipment. They also function without all the paper work involved in the public sphere. Due to the fact that a private hospital operates as a business, their aim is to be as efficient as possible and patients are treated as paying customers.  On the other hand, public services are under staffed, extremely busy and doctors work in an environment where many mistakes can be made.

Despite the high quality services provided by the private sector, we must not forget that most people cannot afford to pay these high fees and should not have to as health affects us all. The private sector should not be allowed to take advantage of a person's pain to make a profit. It is for this reason that the American health system has come under attack.

In most cases, people have a choice between public and private care as these two options are both provided. Those with money and those who value professionalism, efficiency and quality will turn to the private sphere whilst low income groups opt for free treatment.

Question taken from Ready for IELTS course book p.139

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Children watch too much television nowadays and this is bad for their education and development. How far do you agree with this statement?

With the wide availability of TV sets and channels catering to the needs of youngsters, children are watching more TV than ever before. Although children enjoy watching TV and parents are happy to let them do so because they are too tired to play with them, others wonder whether TV has any benefits for children or if television is merely mindless entertainment.

To begin with, some of the programs shown on television have no educational value for children. Their value is in entertainment only and these shows distract children from their homework. What is more, some programs are not suitable for young viewers. Some parents do not follow the parental guide provided and as a result children end up watching programs aimed at teenagers that might contain violent images or inappropriate language. Watching television makes a child addicted to the TV set and limits their interaction with others. Their physical and mental development is also affected as being glued to a screen doesn’t encourage movement, interaction, communication, creativity, play etc.

However, if television is used appropriately it can be a useful tool for teaching and learning. Children can learn easier through song and images than traditional methods as they do not feel that they are learning. In addition, languages can be leant by watching films and music video clips.

To conclude, I think we should not be in a hurry to dismiss television as a way to educate children. Informative programs and simplified topics with the use of cartoons and recognisable characters can teach children plenty of useful knowledge that will stay with them.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS p.23

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

All museums and art galleries should be free because they are an important part of a countries culture. How far do you agree with this statement?

Countries keep their history, heritage, culture and art in museums and art galleries for people to view. In some cases entrance to these buildings is free of charge and on other occasions visitors are expected to pay a fee.

Some museums are free such as the Taj Mahal in India and this allows millions of visitors to enjoy a rich cultural experience. These resources belong to a country’s past and should be appreciated by all. Displaying them for free is one way of doing this. Similarly, art galleries that house valuable paintings should allow people to sample what was important to artists and society hundreds of years ago. These paintings are a window into the lifestyle of our ancestors.

However, we should not forget that a museum and an art gallery have expenses that they need to cover. Employees have to be paid, buildings renovated, and ancient works of art require expensive maintenance and restoration. If an entrance fee is not charged then visitors would not have the opportunity to enjoy these works of art in the first place. Also, visitors will appreciate a nation’s national treasures more if they have to pay to view them and this brings valuable income into a country.

I support the idea of paying an entrance fee to gain access to these buildings but this should not be too expensive so that everyone has an opportunity to experience a country’s culture. A small fee will enable a museum to cover its expenses and provide important exhibits to visitors.

Question taken from Get ready for IELTS Writing p. 23