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