Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows how long various age groups spend on the computer, TV and listening to the radio in the U.K.

The oldest age group, 55+ spends 4 hours daily watching television. Those aged 25-54 spend a little over 3 hours on this media whilst the youngest age group watches a little less than 3 hours per day.

Youngsters spend 3 and a half hours on the computer and the next age group slightly less than this. The 45-54 year olds are on the computer 2 and a half hours per day and the 55+ group 1 and a half hours less. Lastly, the 45-54 year olds listen to the radio for 1 and a half hours each day and the 25-44 and 55+ group are tuned in for an hour. The youngsters have the radio on for half an hour only.

Television is the most popular medium preferred by all groups and in particular the 55+ group. Radio is not used frequently. Computers are used less as the age group gets older.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's book p.113

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows how British children felt about reading in 2009.

First, about 45% of the boys like reading only a little bit while 35% of the girls also feel the same about reading. 32% of the girls find reading enjoyable and 5% less is true for boys. Approximately 30% of the girls really enjoy reading whereas about half of this percentage of boys enjoy reading very much. Very few boys and girls aged 8 to 16 do not enjoy reading at all. Less than 15% of the children have this attitude towards reading.

We can see that most of the children (around 40%) are not very keen on reading, but only 10% don’t enjoy reading at all. In terms of enjoying reading quite a lot and very much, the percentages for all children are 28% and 22% respectively. It also seems that girls enjoy reading more than boys as their percentages were greater in the first two categories.

Question take from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.114

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The two pie charts show the proportion of fruit and vegetables produced in the E.U. in 2009.

57 million tons of vegetables were cultivated in 2009, the largest percentage was 46.7% which corresponds to other vegetables. Almost 30% of the produce was tomatoes. Onions and carrots were produced in almost equal proportions whilst only 4.2% of the vegetables were lettuces.

A considerably less amount of fruit was produced, 36 million tons, a third of which were apples and 3.3% less other fruit. Oranges accounted for 17.8% of the fruit produced, while the production of peaches was considerably less (8.2%). Pears and strawberries made up 7.7% and 2.6% of the fruit produced.

In 2009 the E.U. produced more vegetables than fruit. Apples were the most grown fruit while strawberries were not grown very much. In terms of vegetables, almost half the vegetables produced were other vegetables and the least grown were lettuces.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.112

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The expenditure of Aim One Ltd and ZTA Ltd for 2012 are shown in the two pie charts.

To begin with, ZTA spends 30% on the salaries of its employees and 10% less on research and development which is almost equal to the amount spent on equipment. 15% goes to consultancy fees and the remaining 14% on training and managers’ salaries.

A much larger proportion, 40% of Aim One Ltd's expenditure is on employees’ salaries. Half of this amount is given to training and 15% on equipment. Research and development makes up 11% of the expenditure. Finally consultancy fees account for 9% of the expenditure and the smallest amount is given to managers as a salary.

Both technology companies spend the most on worker’s salaries and the least on their managers. While ZTA Ltd values research and development and spends on equipment, Aim One Ltd places importance on training.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.111

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The line graph shows how many men and women are employed in the U.K. as qualified teachers on a full-time basis at public schools from 1987 until 2008.

There were 160.000 women working at nursery and primary schools in 1981/2 and this number increased slightly to 165.000 in 2007/8. 40.000 less female teachers were employed at secondary schools in 1981/2. This figure increased gradually to around 130 thousand in 2007/8.

Full-time qualified men in nursery and primary schools stood at 40.000 in the first time period. This number was relatively stable and ended up at 39 thousand at the end of the given period. Male teachers at secondary schools stood at 160.000 and this amount fell gradually to approximately 90.000.

Nursery and primary state schools in the U.K. had more full-time qualified female teachers than male ones. Even though initially there were more men working as secondary school teachers this amount dropped and by 2007/8 there were approximately 40 million more women qualified and teaching in these schools.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.110

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The line graph shows how many people aged between 15 and 45+ went to the cinema between 1997 and 2009.

60 million youngsters aged 15-24 watched films at the cinema in 1997 and a little above this number in 2009. The lowest attendance for this age group is noted in 2004 (52 million viewers) while the following year attendance was 62 million. 

Around 40 million 25-34 year olds visited the cinema between 1997 and 2000. A peak was reached in 2001 and 2004 of almost 50 million admissions whilst figures between 2005 and 2009 were below 40 million. An upward trend is noted for cinema attendance for those aged between 35 to 44. Figures start at 20 million in 1997 and reach 35 million five years later. For the remaining years admissions fluctuate below 30 million. 

Finally, there is an increase in interest over the years to watch movies at the cinema for those aged 45+. Initial figures are at 20 million in the first year and they more than double in 2009, reaching 42 million.

We can see that going to the cinema is popular with the 15-24 year olds and that there is a growing interest in this activity amongst the older age group.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.109

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The kinds of TV programs watched by gender in England are shown in the bar chart. The period covered is 2007/2008.

Men watch the news and live sport coverage almost equally, 73% and 72% respectively. Films are also popular with men (68%) while 4% less men watch comedies. A little over a half of the men watch wildlife programs and 44% enjoy history programs. Current affairs or politics feature at 36% whereas viewership for all other types of programs are less than this.

Women enjoy watching the news, films and soaps the most as their viewership percentages are 71%, 64% and 58% respectively. Half the women are into wildlife programs while 4% more enjoy comedies. Less than 30% of the women are interested in current affairs or politics.

An equal percentage watch quiz shows and live sport coverage, and an almost equal proportion (45%) follow food and cookery and contemporary or period dramas.

Both men and women view news the most. Men also enjoy sports whereas women like soaps. Drama has the lowest viewership among the men and the same holds true for current affairs for women.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.95

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The table shows how undeveloped land demand is expected to be used in the future.

The demand for Industrial and Commercial land is at its greatest in 2015 at 702 hectares and will drop until 2030. Demand for residential land is expected to be very high and ranges between 2,000 and 2,400 hectares over the 19 year time period. The demand for land to be used for transport and utilities is at 911 hectares in 2011. Desire for this land will go up in the following four years and is predicted to drop to 916 hectares in 2030. Finally, there is expected to be about an average of 500 hectares interest in land for community service purposes from 2011 to 2030.

Concluding, demand for underdeveloped land will be greatest in 2015 and will be required for residential purposes. The least amount of land is required for community services and industrial and commercial reasons.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.47

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows the percentage of fruit eaten daily by boys and girls aged 11, 13 and 15 per day in EU countries in two different time periods.

In both time periods the consumption of fruit by boys aged 11 reached 35%. 5% less fruit is consumed by 13 year old boys and about 25% by the 15 year olds in both years.

In 2001- 02, 11 year old girls’ daily fruit consumption was just over 40%. Four years later they consumed 2% more. The same trend can be noted in 13 year olds whose daily diet included 35% fruit in the first year. Girls aged 15 ate the same proportion ( about 2% ) in 2001-02 and 2005-06.

To sum up, girls enjoyed eating fruit more than boys. Boys and girls aged 11 ate more fruit than other two age groups. Similarly, children aged 15 ate the least amount of fruit particularly the boys.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.62

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar chart shows what children read in their leisure time in England in the year 2007. This material is read by boys and girls aged 9 - 14 more than once a month.

The majority of girls enjoy reading magazines while between 45 and 60% of them read websites, emails, fiction and blogs or networking websites more than once a month. Less than 30% of them enjoy newspapers, poetry, factual books, manuals and graphic related material.

Over half the boys aged 9 to 14 read magazines and websites. Readership of emails, newspapers and blogs or networking sites are around 45% while fiction and comic/graphic novels are slightly less. All other reading material categories are less than 30%.

We can see that both boys and girls enjoy reading magazines the most and that the last three categories of reading materials presented on the chart are the least popular.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.94

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagram records the changes that occurred in Tumbledown over a twenty year period.

In 1995 there was a school and a park north of the main road.  There was farmland in the south-west and a farmhouse was attached to this land. Tumbledown had a hospital located near its center and a large woodland area near the hospital.

Tumbledown has a new look in 2010. The school and park have been replaced by a series of buildings, namely shops, a hotel and spa and a large science park and museum. The woods have been reduced to accommodate a hi-tech center. Tumbledown has grown in size and the hospital no longer exists. Finally the area used for farming now accommodates a science academy and laboratories.

Tumbledown and the surrounding areas have changed completely from 1995 to 2010. It has expanded and the green areas have been replaced by science and technology buildings, museums, a hotel and shops.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.71

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The process shows the steps followed to make a language application, from the conception stage through to its use whether on a mobile phone or a tablet.
Once an idea for an app has been thought of it is then discussed and approval is sought. The design department is responsible for creating the app once it has been submitted. Before the prototype is tested, it needs to be reviewed, edited and proofread. Any flaws are dealt with in the refining and finalization stage. Once the software has been launched and uploaded it is ready for general use. Consumers are able to download the app on their devices.
Many stages are required to produce an app. Constant testing and revising are needed before the app enters the market place. It is not enough just to have a good idea. A concept needs approval and the input of a design department.
Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p. 34

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The pie charts show how funds are distributed to a variety of museums over a ten year period in a European country.
In the year 2000, the largest portion of funds (30%) are given to the National Museum. The Museum of the Ancient World and that of the Medieval Art receive an equal percentage. 15% of the funds go to the Technology Museum, 5% less to the National History Museum and the least funds are received by the Transport Museum.
Ten years later, a quarter of the funds are distributed to the National and the Medieval Art Museum. Similarly an equal share of the funds are allocated to the Museum of the Ancient World and the Natural History Museum. The remaining 20% of the funds are shared equally by the Technology and the Transport Museum.
The National Museum receives the greatest funding in 2000 and the Transport Museum is the least financially supported one that year. In 2010 funds are allocated more evenly.
Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p. 21

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people believe that education is the key to tackling hunger worldwide, while others feel that the answer lies in food aid. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

There is an uneven distribution of food in the world today. While the developed world eats well and there are many overweight people, the opposite picture can be seen in underdeveloped countries in Asia and Africa where many people suffer from malnutrition.

Education and hunger are interlinked. If poor countries are taught about good farming practices they will be able to grow their own produce and not depend on richer nations to feed them. Farmers in rural areas can be taught about soil, irrigation methods, crop rotation, fertilizers, pesticides etc. This education will benefit them in the long run. Learning basic literacy skills is also important. Being able to read and write means that people will be able to manage their own lives and will be able to pass on their knowledge to future generations.

On many occasions food shortages cannot be controlled. Natural disasters such as droughts, floods and tsunamis occur and these can destroy crops leaving the population with nothing to eat. In these cases, immediate help is required from the rest of the world in the form of food aid in order to prevent millions dying of starvation. Unfortunately, this is only a short-term solution as it becomes expensive to feed a country for free every day. What is more, countries become dependent on foreign aid and sometimes this help does not actually reach those who need it most.

I believe solid long-term solutions are better than temporary ones. If a country is to stand on its own two feet and feed its citizens then education is needed. However, natural disasters cannot be avoided and in this case immediate food aid is required.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.115

Friday, 6 June 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people think that it is wrong for humans to search for new worlds in space when we have so many problems on our own planet. Others believe such searches help mankind to develop.

The space race began with the USA and Russia competing against each other to send shuttles into space to look for new life forms, research existing planets and to search for other galaxies. Since then, other nations have also become interested in outer space.

Exploring space is extremely expensive and countries willing to do so spend millions on this project. These funds could be used to tackle existing issues on our planet such as hunger, poverty, unemployment, education and pollution. It’s not only about the money, valuable energy and resources are being used up too. The brains behind space exploration could be better used to solve existing problems on earth. It is better to untangle the mess we have created on earth before venturing into space.

On the other hand, humans have always been interested in exploring new destinations. Their curiosity has led explorers to seek out unknown and unfamiliar territories. Finding out about new worlds in space will be beneficial to mankind in terms of gaining knowledge and eliminating doubts and uncertainties they may have. Discoveries might also be useful particularly if natural resources are found or if there is potential for humans to inhabit places other than earth.

To sum up, I believe humans destroy every new territory they discover and are likely to do the same with new worlds in space. Rather than continuing the path of destruction, our focus should be on solving current problems. Too much time and money is being spent on space adventures.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.74

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Advertising campaigns on TV that are targeted at children should be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Children of today spend hours in front of a TV screen and advertisers are well aware of this. They take advantage of breaks in cartoons and programs for children to conveniently place commercials aimed at youngsters. Products that are commonly advertised include toys, food and beverages and the latest gadgets.

Children are too young and naive to understand how TV adverts are used to manipulate them to buy products. They are unable to tell the difference between an ad and a show. They will also be influenced by the products their favourite characters use. TV advertisements indirectly affect parents too because children put pressure on them to buy the products being advertised. Therefore, some people think it is unethical to show ads for children when they are unable to make an informed judgement about the value of an item.

On the other hand, there is a need to understand that children are also consumers with their own needs and preferences. The only way for sellers to notify children of new products is through advertising. Some products might be beneficial for children such as educational toys, healthy food options, play centres etc. We shouldn’t assume all advertisement are bad and should therefore be banned.

Producers spend large amounts of money developing products and advertising them. Without the income received from commercials, children wouldn’t be able to watch their favourite TV programs. If parents disagree with ads aimed at their children then they shouldn’t let them watch television. It is also up to the parents to say “no” to their children instead of letting their children have what they want and then blaming advertisers.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.86

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Cinema attendance in some countries is on the decline. What do you think are the causes of this development and what measures could be taken to solve it?

In the past cinema was a popular form of entertainment and in many cases it was actually the only way for adults and teenagers to enjoy a good movie. Although cinema continues to be popular in some countries like India which has its own film industry, in other places movie theatres have shut down.

One reason for this decline is the number of alternative options available today for watching films. Devices such as tablets, pcs and mobile phones allow viewers to watch movies at any time and any place, usually for free. People also have the opportunity to see films on a big screen with the use of home-cinema and satellite television which has a range of the latest movies. People spend a lot of time at home in front of a screen and they are able to download films immediately after they have been released. Secondly, there are many more choices available for entertainment today and people may find these options more active, interactive and fun than going to the cinema.

We can learn from this art form so it is important to try and preserve it somehow. A good way to do this is to organise festivals and promote interesting, independent films. The Golden Horse film festival in Taipei, Taiwan for example gives awards to movies made in Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Having sponsors and advertising these events as well as giving awards, publicizes movies and encourages people to watch them at the cinema. Organisations and the industry could subsidize tickets to make them cheaper or offer special tickets so that going to the cinema is affordable. Finally, making quality movies, with an interesting plot and good acting might be helpful.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.101

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

All countries throughout the world are facing health issues related to modern lifestyles. What do you think are the causes of these problems and what measures could be taken to solve them?

There are many overweight and obese people in the world today and this has to do with our unhealthy modern lifestyle. Being unhealthy means people have a higher risk of dying from diseases like cancer, heart attacks, diabetes etc. This puts a strain on family life and on the public health system.
Firstly, people do several things that affect their health negatively. They smoke, drink alcohol, don’t sleep enough, are over-stressed, don’t follow a healthy diet and don’t exercise enough. People work long hours and are under pressure to perform. As a result they don’t have time to cook a healthy meal and opt for fast food which is readily available and cheap. Many jobs are sedentary and involve sitting for long periods. In addition to having a balanced diet, people need to exercise and be fit in order to make their immune system strong enough to resist illness.

Individuals should take an interest in their health because without this it is difficult to enjoy life. Doing some sort of exercise and eating well will be of great benefit. On a national scale the government could invest in stadiums, parks and infrastructure that would encourage people to work out. In terms of food the government could control the quality of food, subsidise fresh fruit and vegetables so that they are affordable, and tax fast food restaurants so that the food they offer is no longer cheap. Another good idea would be to pass a law extending paid leave so that workers have more time to relax.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.120

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

In some parts of the world traditional festivals and celebrations have disappeared or are disappearing. What do you think are the causes of this development and what measures could be taken to solve it?

Traditional festivals and celebrations are usually held in villages and towns where the older generation is responsible for keeping these traditions alive. Today villages are shrinking as the young population moves to urban areas in search for work and a higher standard of living. Many also migrate to other countries leaving the older generation behind.

This modern trend has two effects on traditional events. Firstly, when younger generations migrate they tend to not follow traditional customs as they find them outdated and they may even take part in new celebrations. Secondly, it’s impossible for older generations to pass on traditions if there is nobody left to do so. What is more, social change has come about with the popularity of modern technology. Young people are far more interested in playing computer games and being on social networking sites than taking part in traditional celebrations.

In order to encourage people to become interested in their cultural roots, the government could take some measures and parents could also make a conscious effort to educate their children. The government could invest in rural areas and sponsor local festivals and celebrations. If municipalities have enough funding available to them, they will be able to host more glamorous events and attract greater participation and audiences. Investment could also be made to support cultural centres where children could go and learn about their cultural heritage. Finally,  school children should have the opportunity to take part in local festivals.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.99

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Nowadays the way modern society is developing is being shaped by people's migration to large cities. In what ways is migration to large cities affecting society? Has this become a positive or negative development?

Mega cities have sprung up around the world, particularly in countries like China. People move from rural areas to urban areas in search of a better life. Cities also attract people from towns and villages because they have work opportunities, facilities like schools and hospitals as well as entertainment facilities.

Cities are large, unfriendly and competitive places to live in. As a result citizens become isolated and depressed. This has an impact on family life and people have a problem with social interactions. When people migrate to cities this leads to a loss of values, traditions and a simple lifestyle that existed in the countryside.

Supporting a large city puts a strain on resources. More energy is needed to run businesses, factories, public transport, facilities etc. Public institutions such as schools, universities and hospitals are overcrowded and this means they are understaffed and offer poor services.

Feeding cities is also problematic and this has an impact on the quality of mass produced food. The fast pace of a city and the stress of everyday life makes people physically and mentally ill. For these reasons I believe that migration to urban areas is a negative development.

Perhaps the only positive outcome of migration to central areas is the increased opportunities it offers to young people especially in terms of work and having an interesting social life. Large cities are constantly evolving and rely on large numbers of people to keep them in motion as well as to contribute to the wealth of a country.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.117

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Encouraging the development of creative industries such as the production of video games and computer software is the best way to reduce youth unemployment. To what extent do you agree or disagree? What other measures do you think might be effective? 

Today youngsters have all the latest electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets and electronic games, which they enjoy playing immensely. Due to the high demand for these devices there is a great demand for innovative software and video game design.

I believe many young people would like to be employed in this creative sector. They would see their job as being fun and challenging and would be spending time doing what they enjoy most.
However, this job is not suitable for all youngsters, so other options should also be considered. The government could have workshops and courses for jobs where there is a great demand or for industries that lack skilled labour. What is more, a growth in the construction industry usually opens up positions for those entering the job market.

Students often leave university with very little money so even if they wanted to start their own business and introduce something exciting to the market they would be unable to do so. In this case, it would be a good idea for the government to provide some start-up capital for young entrepreneurs, organise competitions with cash prizes for new business ideas or arrange attractive low interest loans. 

To sum up, although the growth in creative industries will attract some youth, it will only partially reduce unemployment. Much wider governmental schemes that involve funding, education and support are needed in order to ensure a long-term solution to this problem, rather than just the development of a single industry.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS Student's Book p.118

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people think that the increasingly flexible working environment nowadays, such as working at home, has a positive impact on workers' lives. Others, however, feel this development is just a means for organisations such as private companies to exploit workers for profit. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Today there is an increasing trend for workers to not go into work but rather work from home or from other remote areas. The reason being given is that due to advanced technology workers can operate and carry out their work from any working environment. They don’t necessarily need to be at a fixed office location.

Workers might think they are getting a good deal because they don’t have to wake up early, no time is wasted on public transport, there is no pressure to dress for the job and above all they get to work in the comfort of their own surroundings. In fact, they may even be able to fit in personal errands during working hours or take frequent breaks.

In reality, however, employees might actually be working more hours than they would at the office where everything operates in a structured manner. Company owners will have cost savings in terms of electricity, maintenance of equipment, stationary etc as workers will be utilising their own space to produce work. Companies might even pay their staff lower wages using the fact that they work off location as an excuse. Finally, workers may in fact feel isolated and lack social contact when they are outside an office environment.

I believe that workers benefit in terms of feeling relaxed in their own environment and being able to slot in some time for their personal chores. On the other hand, private companies also get to save costs when they support a flexible working environment for their staff members. They also benefit from the increased productivity of workers.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.14

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people think that changing people's attitudes to other countries and cultures is an important factor in reducing world poverty. Others, however, feel that the most important method is trade. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Rich nations have always shown an interest in reducing poverty in less developed countries. Some charity organizations and artists often organize events to raise funds and awareness for the needy such as Live Aid. There are other ways to strengthen a poor country like commerce.

Trading with a third world country benefits all parties. Countries purchasing products are able to do so at a low cost while trading with others means that more people are employed in a poor country and foreign currency is attracted. A country will be able to support itself in this way and won’t rely on the handouts of richer countries. So, having cash flow can lower poverty levels and trade is a positive way to achieve a higher standard of living.

Some people believe that if you change people’s perceptions or way of thinking this will change their actions too. Poor countries are often wealthy in terms of raw materials and manpower. If businesses take a positive approach to utilizing these resources, poverty will be reduced. In addition, people need to stop feeling sorry for poor countries and treating them like they are helpless. If you give aid to a poor nation, this will only help them in the short-run whereas long-term solutions are what is needed to solve this problem.

In my opinion, trade is the most effective way to eliminate global poverty. A self-sufficient country is a strong and economically independent one. On the other hand, altering a person’s attitude does not necessarily mean they will act according to their new perception. In other words, thinking doesn’t always result in action.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.15

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Over the past few decades, with the help of the internet an unimaginable amount of information has become widely available to the general public. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

We can access all types of information on the internet, ranging from academic journals to personal blogs and have even our strangest question answered. Links and pop-up boxes take us to other sites and a lot of information is interconnected.

Having infinite information available means that people will be more knowledgeable without having to research a particular field widely. In the past, for example, it was  necessary to keep large encyclopedias or physically visit libraries and spend hours, days, weeks or even months researching information. With the internet, this information can be filtered and a person can extract the information that they need. This development has allowed previous rare, delicate and important works of art to be available to the public.

On the other hand, we are experiencing an overload of information that our brains are unable to process. We are under a lot of pressure to keep up with the latest news and updates. Much of the information available has no value. In some cases, news might be of a sensitive nature and should not be disclosed to the general public as it might threaten public safety.

All in all, the availability of large volumes of information shows people’s desire to express themselves on the internet and the need for greater transparency. The internet has changed the way people access information as well as the quantity and quality of what is available. I believe we can all  benefit from this as long as we don’t get carried away with absorbing too much information.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.38

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Entertainment or leisure activities should be subsidized by the government. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

People need to relax from their hectic daily lives and to do this they usually have hobbies. On many occasions leisure activities are expensive, for example buying sports equipment, as are entertainment activities such as going to a concert. Currently these expenses are paid by the individual.

If an individual benefits from an activity, it may be a good idea for the government to subsidise this. This will also benefit artists taking part in these events. Visiting an art exhibition, going to concert, watching a performance or play etc. makes people think about important issues, relaxes the audience, and contributes positively towards their spiritual development.

On the other hand, the government has more important issues to tackle such a poverty and unemployment so some might think that partially funding entertainment and free-time activities is wasteful. What people decide to do outside their work is their personal choice and each individual should fund their own entertainment options. What is more, individuals are not likely to appreciate something that is provided for free or cheaply priced. If they know they are going to pay for an entrance ticket, people will go somewhere because they really want to.

I think the government should only sponsor events that are useful for the public, for example a film promoting environmental awareness. Other leisure activities are a matter of personal choice and each individual should pay the full-cost of this themselves and let the government allocate its budget to more pressing matters.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's book p.51

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people think the latest technology for home entertainment such as sophisticated TVs, high-speed internet connections and tablets are having a negative impact on people's lives, especially young people. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Young people are addicted to modern technology. The modern home is equipped with fast internet connection that supports digital television, tablets and other gadgets. As a result children and teenagers spend most of their time indoors preoccupied with this type of entertainment.

Being glued to a screen for long periods bring about health problems such as bad eye sight, a sore  back and hands. Youngsters do not get enough exercise and fresh air which is unhealthy for them. Their social skills are also affected as they do not interact with others and they do not form groups so their understanding of team spirit is limited. Finally their imagination suffers because they play repetitive games and watch programmes that do not contribute towards their education but merely wastes their time.

Having the latest technology at home means that youngsters are up-to-date with the most recent trends and are familiar with technology which will help them later on in their lives when they enter the job market. They may also be able to improve their language skills as they learn new words effortlessly, interact with others around the globe, think and react fast and gain some knowledge from programmes such as National Geographic.

Generally speaking, however, I believe that home entertainment has little to offer to young people other than entertainment. The negative impact in terms of health and anti-social behaviour is great. Home entertainment is creating a nation of youngsters that are overweight, unimaginative,  lack confidence and like to spend time alone.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's Book p.51

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

Some people think that the main influence on young people's diet is advertising rather than family and friends. To what extent do you agree or disagree ?

Today young people’s diet consists of plenty of unhealthy junk food. This may be due to their parent’s busy lifestyle. Being at work all day means that parents have hardly any free time to cook a healthy meal for their family. Young people also spend a lot of time watching television and surfing the internet which gives fast food restaurants the opportunity to promote their food.

A person’s environment has an impact on their diet. If a young person eats all their meals at home and one of their parents cooks for them on a daily basis then they are likely to have a balanced diet. Parents that take responsibility for their children’s nutrition will therefore have a greater influence on their eating patterns. Friends also play an important role in a person’s choice of food because youngsters spend most of their free time with their friends and they are subject to peer pressure too.

Advertising for food is conveniently placed  on billboards, slotted during breaks of popular TV shows and pop ups while surfing frequently visited sites. These colorful ads have catchy tunes, are easy to remember, display delicious-looking food and promise free gifts or special offers. All these factors make dining at these outlets very attractive. It seems that marketing departments have found a successful way to lure young people and influence their preferences.

To sum up, I believe that what a young person eats depends on who they spend the most time with and their family’s philosophy towards food. If children spend many hours in front of the TV or a computer they will get to see more advertisements for ready meals and they will be the ones trying to convince their parents to take them out for some fast food.

Question taken from Direct to IELTS, Student's book p.59

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The pie charts show five waste disposal methods used for dangerous products in three countries.

To begin with, Korea employs three methods. Most dangerous waste material is re-cycled (69%). The remaining 31% is either buried or burnt. In Sweden, burial is the favored way of dangerous waste material disposal with more than half the waste being disposed in this way. A quarter is recycled and 20% ends up incinerated. Finally, like Sweden, the United Kingdom chooses to place dangerous waste underground (82%). Equal proportions are dumped at sea or chemically treated. Only 2% is burnt.

Korea is the only country that disposes of dangerous matter responsibly by recycling it. The United Kingdom does not use this method at all and is the only country that dumps waste in the sea and uses chemical treatment. Lastly Sweden and the UK predominantly prefer to get rid of hazardous material by burying waste underground.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The bar charts show which areas contain the world’s oil reserves as well as the proportion of yearly oil use globally by region.

The Middle East has the greatest percentage of total world oil resources by far. This amounts to more than a half of global supply (56.52%). All the other countries listed have less than 15% of the world’s reserves with Canada having 14.84%. Eastern Europe and Africa have almost the same percentage, whilst Australia and New Zealand have less than 1% of this resource.

Asia (26.21%) and the United States (25.48%) consume most of the world’s oil every year, closely followed by Western Europe (19.24%). All other areas mentioned consume very little oil, less than 7% with Australia and New Zealand only using 1.31%.

The charts show that even though the Middle East has the greatest supply of oil, it is Asia, the USA and Western Europe that consume the largest amount of oil. Australia and New Zealand do not have much oil and they have the lowest consumption as well.

Question taken from official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The two maps show the anticipated changes in a school over a 20 year time span to accommodate an increase in student numbers by 400.

Initially, in 2004 the school consisted of a single car park near the main entrance to the school and two school buildings separated by a path. Following the path east would lead a student to the sports field. The remaining area was made up of greenery.

2024 sees the sports field being moved south in order for an additional school building to be erected. Building 1 and 2 are to be connected and the path no longer leads to the main entrance but rather becomes shorter. A road will be built from the main entrance, behind building 2 and lead to Car Park 2. This construction means that the wooded area will be reduced somewhat.

In an effort to expand the school due to more students, an additional car park and building are expected to be built as well as an adjoining road. This expansion will reduce the size of the woods to the south and north east of the buildings.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Sunday, 26 January 2014

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people think that wild animals should not be kept in zoos. Others believe there are good reasons for having zoos. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Many big cities have zoos which are an added attraction for visitors. Zoos generate income for a country and provide jobs to zoo keepers and other staff members. Zoos are also beneficial to animals. Animals that are under threat of extinction in the wild such as pandas, tigers and black rhinos can survive and be well looked after by zoo keepers. If they had been left in their natural habitat these animals may have been killed by poachers or died out because of human activities. Zoos provide an opportunity to visitors to view animals that they wouldn’t have been able to see and to learn some useful facts about them.

On the other hand, some people don’t support keeping wild animals in zoos as they believe this is cruel. They think that these animals should be free in their natural environment and not locked up in confined areas. Animals in zoos are kept in cages in unnatural conditions where they forget how to hunt, are subjected to noisy visitors, lack exercise, are fed at regular intervals and have humans taking photos of them at close proximity during the day. This is bound to cause stress to the animals.

Rather than having zoos, it would be better to have large safari parks where animals can live freely in the wild and at the same time be protected as well as offering visitors an opportunity to see them. Zoos limit wild animals and it is selfish for humans to keep them in cages just to make money and to entertain children.

Question taken from official IELTS Practice Materials 2

General Training Writing – Model Answer (Task 1)

You have heard about plans to build new apartments in a public park near your home. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. In your letter.
  • Explain how you learnt about these plans
  • Say what you think of the park
  • Give your opinion on the plans
Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently heard that private contractors intend to erect a new block of apartments in Amber public park which is located directly opposite my house. This information came to my knowledge as my husband is an architect and he was approached to undertake this task.

I have been living near Amber park for 50 years and I have fond memories of it. Both my children and grandchildren have spent endless hours in the park. This beautiful park is a great place to spend the weekend with your family. You can enjoy a peaceful picnic by the lake with the ducks.

As you can imagine I was devastated to hear about these construction plans. The local residents enjoy the greenery the park provides as well as the exercising opportunities. It would be a shame to destroy this natural environment in order to add to the concrete jungle.

I hope you publish this letter so we can prevent the plans being carried out.

Yours faithfully,

Diana Nyad

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Even though doctors all over the world agree that fast food is bad for people's health more and more people are eating it. Why are more people eating fast food? What can be done about this problem?

Fast food is easily available. It can be found at every street corner and its availability and convenience makes it attractive to consumers. Fast food is cheap and is ready instantly so those on a budget and those in a hurry will choose this food. Due to our competitive, busy and fast-paced lifestyle people who work long hours don’t have time to shop healthy ingredients and spend time preparing a well -balanced meal. Instead it has become extremely easy to drop into a fast-food outlet for a ready meal.

Let us not forget that fast food is high in sugar, fat, salt, calories and this makes it tasty. You get an instant buzz from eating it and want to continue eating it even though you are aware of the health risks.

It is up to each individual to be responsible for their own diet and health. They should try as much as possible to make positive life choices and improve their well-being. The government can impose higher taxes on fast food outlets to protect people’s health and discourage them by making this type of food expensive. At the same time they should subsidize fresh vegetables and fruit in order to lower the price and make these products attractive to consumers and affordable.

Award winning chefs like Jamie Oliver have also helped greatly in promoting simple, fast, cheap and healthy cooking option for ordinary people who don’t have much time to prepare a meal for their family. Ultimately, if people stopped consuming fast food these eateries would not exist anymore.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people think that strict punishments for driving offences are the key to reducing traffic accidents. Others, however, believe that other measures would be more effective in improving road safety. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion. 

Traffic accidents are caused by speeding, drinking and driving, not following road rules, not focusing on driving etc and often result in the loss of lives. Punishments vary from country to country and include imprisonment, taking away a person’s license for some time, a fine, removing points from a driving license etc.

If a likely accident is in someone’s control such as speeding or drinking and driving, knowledge of a severe punishment will make a driver think twice before committing a driving offence. Many innocent people die in traffic accidents because of irresponsible drivers and strict punishments will hold drivers responsible for their actions. Nobody wants to pay an expensive fine or spend time in prison, so fear of punishment might be effective.

Many road accidents happen by chance and so are called “accidents”. For this reason it would be a good idea to look at other options to improve road safety. Safety campaigns could be promoted in the media to inform the public on how they can avoid accidents. Secondly, authorities should make it more difficult for people to get their driving license in the first place so that when they do start driving, drivers are confident, know the road rules well and are less likely to take risks on the road.

Unfortunately I believe people learn the hard way and the fear of knowing a high price will be paid for irresponsible behavior will make drivers think twice when they put the key into the ignition. Road safety affects us all and tough measures need to be in place.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

It is important to ensure children with a wide range of abilities and from a variety of social backgrounds mix with each other at school. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Multiculturalism, mixed ability classes and students from varied socio-economic backgrounds are a modern day reality at schools currently. This provides a challenge for teachers who try to bring together all these different elements and students who try to fit into this environment.

Schools are a miniature model of the adult world. Mingling with students with mixed abilities and backgrounds will prepare children for the world of work. This will teach them that everyone is different and unique with their own individual strengths and weaknesses. Children will learn to be more accepting of others and will benefit from what they learn from each other. Those from a disadvantaged background or children with learning difficulties will be able to benefit from the knowledge they gain from their classmates. This will improve their confidence and self-respect.

This ideal way of co-existing at schools might be problematic in reality. Children are known to be cruel and are likely to tease or bully others who are less fortunate than them. What is more, children may form groups and hang out with friends that have a similar background as them since they will feel more comfortable this way. If students socialize only with others in the same situation as them, this defeats the point of including variety in schools.

Children will choose their friends for their character and common interests. However, it would be a good idea to encourage children to mix with others as it makes them more open-minded, respectful and knowledgeable.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In many countries insufficient respect is shown to older people. What do you think may be the reason for this? What problems might this cause in society?

Adults and the elderly are thought to have life experiences, wisdom and knowledge and it is for this reason that they deserve the respect of the younger generation. This is not always the case today where we can witness scenes of disrespect towards older people in the form of rudeness.

Firstly, the family unit has changed. Both parents work and nobody has time to teach children moral values such as respect, politeness, gratitude and kindness. Often children are brought up by caregivers who are not members of their family. If parents do not hold these caregivers in high esteem, children are likely to follow their parent’s example. Secondly, consumerism, competitiveness and selfishness are what younger people value, while relationships with the elderly take a back seat. It is rare to see a youngster giving up their seat on public transport to allow a pensioner to sit or to help them carry their bags.

This disrespectful attitude will produce an alienated society and marginalise the elderly. Being rude will affect all areas of life and personal relationships. At the workplace, workers will not behave professionally and might be rude to their employers. Similarly, in classrooms students will misbehave and have problems with discipline. Lastly, older people may feel upset and disadvantaged as they do not receive the respect that comes with old age, maturity and experience.

In many Asian countries great respect is given to the elderly, which means they have strong family ties and relationships based on good values. This benefits all members of society and leads to healthy morals.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials 2