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

Monday, 10 June 2013

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 1)

An Australian friend is coming to visit you, and it will be his/her birthday during the visit. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter.
  • Say how you feel about the visit
  • Suggest what you could do on his/her birthday
  • Try to find out what your friend thinks of your idea
 Dear Samantha,

How are you? I hope the heat in Australia is not unbearable this year! I’m so excited that you are coming to stay with me in Barcelona for a month. I can’t wait to see you and spend time with you. As this is your first time we’ll have so many activities to do.

I know that your birthday is coming up soon and I have a couple of options on how we can celebrate it. We could go out for a fancy meal followed by a drink at a nice bar or we could go to a popular night club. I will be inviting some of my other friends that you met while we were in Melbourne. You remember Xavier, Lara, Emmanuella, Carlos and Juan don’t you?

Please let me know what you think about my idea. I will need to book a table at the restaurant as it gets quite busy. The bar also requires making a reservation but the night club is massive so there is no need to make a booking.

See you soon,

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.184

Friday, 7 June 2013

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 1)

You recently visited a tourist attraction and you were very pleased by the help given to you by the staff. Write a letter to the head of staff at the tourist attraction. In your letter.
  • Give details of the circumstances of your visit
  • Describe the help given to you by the staff
  • Say what you want the head staff to do
Dear Sir/Madam,

I was part of a tour group that visited Topkapi Sarayi Museum in Istanbul on the 17th of May. It was an exceptional visit and everyone in the group had positive comments to make about the wealth of information available at this attraction, the spectacular displays as well as the service provided by the staff members.

The ticket attendants issued out entrance tickets fast considering the long queue of tourists waiting to get in. The security officers were extremely polite as well. Our guide was well-informed, providing us with details of all exhibits on display. She was patient with our disabled group member, even taking the initiative to push the wheelchair around the exhibit halls.

I would appreciate it if you could personally thank the staff members on behalf of our group. We would like to thank them for their warm hospitality and care. We will be recommending your services to all our friends at home.

Yours faithfully
Mark Lewis

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.197

General Training Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Many young people today are too worried about the way they look and this causes problems. Do you agree or disagree? What is the situation in your country?

Young people are under a lot of pressure to fit in and be exactly like everyone else their age. As well as hanging out at the same places and listening to the same music as their peers, they also want to look cool by wearing the latest fashion and have the appropriate body type to pull off fashion trends.

Taking care of your appearance can be costly. In keeping up with changing trends it is necessary to purchase branded products which may cause a financial strain on parents. If a young person doesn’t have what others do, they will feel left out and depressed. There is further tension when a young person has a different style but conforms to a certain style just to be accepted in the group.

The same applies to body image but this may lead to worse results. If a young person believes they are overweight they will begin excessive dieting and exercising that will lead to fatigue, mood swings and in some cases may lead to anorexia or bulimia.

In countries like China, shopping is one of the favorite pastimes of young people. Shopping malls, high streets and boutiques are crowded with young people looking for the latest fashion. Many people also spend their time in gyms working-out, at the hairdressers, beauticians and spas. They strive for perfection and the ideal image, at the expense of character development and core values. The latest craze is having cosmetic surgery in order to make their eyes look larger as this is believed to make a woman beautiful.

It is important to be healthy and take care of your body and maintain high levels of personal hygiene. However, if people are too consumed with what they look like this may be dangerous for them.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.185

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The line graphs show the fines issued as a result of speeding and the number of fatalities caused by driving too fast over a span of eight years, while the table shows what people think about the use of speed cameras.

The number of fines issued for speeding have risen over the eight year period. In the first year of installation the fines stood at 200,000. After year six they increased sharply from 800,000 to 1,600,000. Speeding led to the death of about 3,000 people in year one and this figure fluctuated between 3,000 to 3,500 deaths over the eight years.

More than half the respondents in the survey thought that speed cameras did not lessen road accidents while 32% believed they were effective. Money was thought to be the motivation behind the camera installations (71%) whereas 26% of the respondents said it was to improve road safety. A little over a half (56%) of the respondents believed there was an excess of speed cameras. 19% thought there were not enough cameras and 2% less were of the opinion that there were just enough speed cameras.

Although speed camera fines are on the rise, road accident fatalities fluctuate at the same level. The majority of people that were asked, answered that the reason for installing cameras was to raise revenue, thought there were too many cameras and don’t think they reduced accidents.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.108

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Schools should prepare pupils for their future lives and for the world of employment. Learning about history is not necessary and more emphasis should be placed on other school subjects. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Getting a job has become highly competitive and students should be able to use the skills that they learn at school and university in their workplace. In recent years the school curriculum has changed to include subjects that will be useful later on in life such as Typing, Computers, Marketing, Bookkeeping, Foreign Languages etc.

First of all, we need to think about the main aim of schools. In other words, is their aim to provide general education to students or to provide specialist knowledge. The world of employment is constantly changing and some subjects have become more important than others. For example it has become very important for employees to be fluent in more than one language. It is for this reason that schools wish to produce employable adults rather than focusing on subjects that are viewed as looking at the past such as history.

History however should not be neglected as a school subject as it serves its own purpose. It is a useful subject in that it informs students about the past, their roots, reminds them of mistakes that shouldn’t be repeated, their heritage, civilizations, relationships with other countries etc. Let’s not forget that this subject is important to students who wish to become History teachers or to study related subjects like Law and Archeology.

I believe History should be a core school subject up until a certain level and then it should be optional, giving the opportunity to those wanting to follow the subject more closely a chance to do so. Priority should be given to current subjects so that students can be better prepared for their future.

Question taken from IELTS for Academic Purposes Student's Book p.97

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar graphs show the benefits and drawbacks of living in London as part of a three year survey. The line graph shows the respondents' thoughts on litter, air quality and noise in the city.

Over 40% of those asked over the three-year period liked London for the range of shops it offered. Job opportunities and living in a multi-cultural society featured at about 35% in the three years. Museums and art galleries gained popularity, increasing from 30% to 35%. Night life and transportation ranged between 20% and 25% as the best features of living in this city.

Traffic congestion and high costs of living made London less attractive as indicated by the high percentages (between 50% and 60%) in the three years. Even though 57% saw crime as a negative feature in year 1, the percentage dropped to around 40% in the following years. High housing costs stood at 35% during this time span, as did transport in year 1. 10% less respondents viewed transport negatively in year 2 and 3.

Litter was seen as a major problem in London by 70% of people answering “yes” in the survey in year 1 and 3 with slightly more in year 2. Air quality had a slight decrease from 65% to 62% as did noise from 59% to 58%.

While the variety of shops made London a good city to live in, the cost of living and traffic were viewed as bad characteristics of the city. Similarly, litter was also believed to be a major problem.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.148

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar graphs provide information on how many children were spoken to in a French regional language and then carried on this tradition when they in turn became parents.

600,000 children were often spoken to in Alsatian and Occitan while about a half of this number habitually heard Breton. 100,000 adults were frequently spoken to in Creole and slightly less in Corsican. Occitan was occasionally spoken to over 1 million adults in their childhood, while only 400,000 were spoken to in Breton. The numbers that communicated occasionally using Creole and Corsican ranged between 100,000 and 120,000. Lastly those whose parents occasionally spoke Alsatian to them stood at 230,000.

Keeping with the trend of passing on a French regional language to their children, 400,000 adults spoke Alsatian to their children and 250,000 communicated in Occitan. The remaining three regional languages were not spoken as much. Less than 100,000 adults used them to speak to their children.

Although, Alsatian and Occitan were habitually used by French adults to speak to their children and Occitan was spoken occasionally to a greater extent than Alsatian, those who heard Alsatian in their childhood were more likely to speak it to their own children.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.44