Thursday, 23 July 2015

Writing Academic IELTS - Task 1

The procedure needed to produce bricks begins with a digger extracting clay from the ground. This is then placed on a metal grid and the finer particles drop onto a conveyor belt. Sand and water is added to the clay. In terms of the shape of the brick, two options are possible. The bricks are either shaped using a rectangle mould with a hollow centre or cut into blocks using a wire cutter.

The bricks are left to dry in an oven for 1 or 2 days. The dry bricks are then placed in a kiln and two different temperatures are applied, moderate heat (200 – 980 degrees Celsius) followed by high heat (870 – 1,300 degrees Celsius). The heated bricks are then placed in a cooling chamber for 48 – 72 hours. The bricks are then ready to be packed and delivered.

To make bricks, clay, sand and water are needed. The process which requires drying, heating and cooling lasts less than a week.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS Student's book p.56

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 1

The pie charts indicate the proportion of products transported between he eastern and western region of a country with the remaining part of the country. Five modes of transport are used for the movement of products.

Most of the goods are transported from the eastern region by road (60%), 20% by rail and half of this portion by river/canal. The remaining 10% is transported either by air or pipeline in equal proportions.

Products arriving from the western region are distributed differently. Road is the preferred method used to move items from the western regions of the country. This accounts for 35%. Rail use is a quarter and pipeline 5% less. River/canal and air are used equally (10%) for the transportation of products.

In both cases, east and west, road is the most popular mode for the movement of goods, followed by rail. Pipeline is preferred more in the western region.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS Student's book p.37

Monday, 20 July 2015

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 1

The line graph shows the highest temperatures per month on average in Darwin and Sydney while the bar chart reflects the average rainfall per month in the same Australian cities.

To begin with, temperatures in Darwin range between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius throughout the year with the lowest temperatures being in February and July (30 degrees Celsius). Between September and December temperatures were stable at 33 degrees Celsius. In Sydney, in the first two months of the year the temperature is 26 degrees Celsius. This drops to its lowest point (16) in July, then rises steadily back to 26 degrees Celsius in December.

Darwin has the most rainfall in the first 3 months – 430 millimetres in January, 370 in February and 320 in March. From April to October there is less than 100 millimetres of rainfall. Rainfall in November stands at 140 millimetres and rises to 250 in December. Sydney receives much less rainfall, less than 130 millimetres in all months.

Overall, Darwin is hotter than Sydney and July is the month with the lowest temperature. In Darwin it rains much more than in Sydney. January is the wettest month in Darwin and June in Sydney.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS Student's book p.19

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 2

Many people seem to lead very busy lives, and have much less free time than they would like.
What do you think are the causes of this situation? What measures could be taken to improve it?

It is true that in our fast-paced competitive lives people have very little free time to relax, spend time with their loved ones and enjoy their hobbies.

The world has become highly competitive and in an attempt to keep up, people are working harder than ever before. It is no longer enough to merely have a nine-to-five job. Many often have two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Families need to cover greater expenses such as bills, taxes and rising school fees. Parents, especially those who come from a poor background, dream of a better future for their children. As a result, in an attempt to improve their standard of living, people’s free time is limited.

It is important for everyone to have free time in order to rest and spend time doing what they like, otherwise this could lead to illness or burn out. It would be a good idea if workers kept to the working hours provided in the law and if the minimum salary paid to workers was increased. This would ensure that staff does not work overtime as well as get a high enough salary. In addition, managers could be taught that giving their workers time off work will actually increase productivity. Workers will have more energy to work if they rest well. Secondly, people’s attitudes need to change. Too much emphasis is placed on material wealth and getting ahead and not enough on spiritual development and rest.

Having plenty of quality leisure time is a must for everyone. The government could contribute to this by ensuring that laws on working hours are followed and higher salaries are paid.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p. 20

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 2

In some countries, increasing numbers of people live alone.
What do you think are the reasons for this? Do you think it is a positive or negative trend?

The living patterns of the world are changing in some countries. Instead of living with family members, more people are now choosing to live on their own. This trend is more obvious in Western countries where citizens have different priorities and ways of living.

Firstly, living alone is a sign of independence. Some people might want to feel responsible for their lives, have their own space, live their lives how they want to and pay their own bills. As a person gets older they might not wish to live with their parents anymore, particularly if they have already had the experience of living away from home at university. Secondly, it seems that people have become more demanding of others. They are not willing to compromise or accept other people’s flaws easily. Similarly, they might have other priorities such as focusing on their career rather than having a family. Thirdly, living alone might also be a transition period for an individual. They may be going through a divorce, between jobs etc.

Living alone may isolate individuals, making them lonely or depressed. People are social beings and they need support, companionship, love and care. These aspects can be enhanced by living with others. Unfortunately living alone is a characteristic of living in large cities. Studios, bedsits and one-bedroom flats also support this trend. What is more, many cultures support the family unit and live with their extended family or in a large household. So if someone decides they prefer to live alone, they may distance themselves from their family and culture.

All in all, people choose to live alone according to their circumstances and stage of life they are at. Although this may be lonely and isolating for some, others might enjoy the freedom and independence it offers.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p. 38

Thursday, 16 July 2015

IELTS Speaking - Part 2

Questions taken from The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS for Academic & General Training

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Academic IELTS Writing - Task 2

Some people think that there is too much advertising in our daily lives.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Even though we may not notice advertisements because we have become immune to them, adverts are everywhere – on TV, in printed media, on the internet, on billboards, on sportswear.

Sponsors cover a lot of expenses via their expenditure on advertising. This is a way to inform consumers about their products. Unfortunately, there are too many advertisements on all types of media. Marketing departments are discovering new creative ways of bombarding us with their client’s products. Search engines such as google, for example, monitor your activities online so that they can target products to suit your needs. The same happens on Facebook where adverts appear on your newsfeed or when you are watching a video banners appear at the bottom of the screen blocking your view and encouraging you to click on the commercial.

It is virtually impossible to avoid advertisements. Flyers are placed in our mail boxes, our online films are interrupted to show ads, junk mail arrives in our email and wherever we turn our glaze we encounter advertisements.

On the other hand, some people might believe that advertisements serve a useful purpose, letting consumers know what products are available on the market, new products and innovations, special offers, discounts etc. These people may benefit from having access to all this information on goods and services.

I, however, feel that we are burdened with advertisements that do not target any specific age or interest group because modern media is able to reach a wide audience.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p. 57

IELTS Academic Writing - Task 2

Physical exercise is important for health, but some people do very little exercise.
What are the effects of doing very little exercise? How can people be encouraged to do more exercise?

We live in a fast-paced, stressful world where people are rushed in every aspect of their lives. As a result, people don’t take time to cook meals or work out. This has a negative outcome on their health.

Exercising is important because it improves our stamina and fitness. It prevents us from getting ill and improves our blood circulation. We have more energy, positive thoughts, look younger and confident as a result of exercising. So when we do very little exercise the reverse results are expected. Our health suffers and we are prone to illnesses and obesity. We don’t have energy to get through the day so we are not productive in our work.

Due to the negative impact of limited exercise on our health, it is a good idea to try and motivate people to work out. The government can create more parks, bike lanes and place outdoor gym equipment in public areas. Factories and businesses in China are taking the initiative and have exercise classes in the morning for all workers to energize them for the rest of the day. These classes are compulsory and beneficial for employees. It is also important to teach children at a young age about the importance of health and exercise. Developing positive habits from a young age means that these will be carried on when they are older.

Although exercising and keeping fit is a personal choice that benefits an individual, not everyone puts time aside to do this. Workers can be encouraged in the workplace to exercise as part of a daily routine or the government can provide the necessary resources to make this easier.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p.76

IELTS General Training - Task 2

With developments in modern technology, it is much better to shop online.
Do you agree or disagree.

Advances in technology have offered consumers the possibility to shop online. Many retailers have introduced this way of shopping in order to be competitive and survive.

There are many benefits to consumers who shop online. For a start, prices are cheaper. You can look for the best deals with the click of a button. There are more choices available for buyers. Perhaps some products are not sold in the purchaser’s country. What is more, you can do your shopping from any device such as a laptop or smart phone around the clock. Online shops never close and deliver directly to your home.

Some people however, prefer traditional ways of shopping. They prefer to try on clothes and shoes to see if they fit them or suit them. It is sometimes difficult to choose the right size without trying items on. A size 12 in Britain might not be the same as a size 12 in China. Sizes also vary between shops in the same country. 

Others might feel safer using a credit card in a shop rather than on the internet. There have been many cases of personal and card details being stolen online. Let us not forget that local shops are harmed by the internet so the economy of a country suffers. Finally, shopping is seen by many as a way to spend their free time. Many people enjoy browsing through shops and combining this activity with other activities such as drinking coffee, watching a movie or having a meal.

Although there are some risks attached to online shopping, I believe this method will become increasingly popular in the future as modern technology has made it easier.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p.91

Sunday, 5 July 2015

IELTS General Training - Task 2

More and more people are travelling by car nowadays.
What are the reasons for the increase in car use and what problems does it cause?
What can be done to discourage people from using their cars?

Traffic is on the rise and being stuck in it is a part of people’s daily routine. Instead of opting for public transport, commuters prefer to use their own cars.

As the standard of living rises, people are able to afford a vehicle and car ownership increases. Owning a car is often seen as a status symbol and shows that a person has wealth. A car also gives a person independence. They don’t need to rely on public transport and are free to go wherever they like and at a time that suits them. They are also able to travel long distances in comfort without having to worry about the inconvenience of public transport.

Travelling by car is not without its problems. The main problem is the amount of pollution it causes to the environment. Cars produce carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere contributing to global warming. As a result of high car ownership, roads and highways are full of vehicles, causing delays, frustration and stress to drivers.

Encouraging motorists to choose public transport or other environmentally friendly means of getting around will benefit the environment greatly. The government could take several measures to ensure that drivers opt for other less damaging means of reaching their destination. They could tax new cars making them expensive to buy or make bills associated with care ownership such as M.O.T, road tax and insurance high. Cars driving into the city centre could be taxed and any public parking areas could be very expensive to use. Alternatively, public transport could be made cheaper, pedestrian streets created and affordable bicycle rental could be provided.

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p.105

IELTS General Training - Task 1

You recently travelled somewhere by train, but had several problems during the journey.
Write a letter to the train company. In your letter

  • explain the reason for your journey
  • describe the problems you had on the journey
  • say what action you would like the train company to take.
Dear Sir or Madam,

I used your company to travel from Shanghai to Hangzhou on the 4th of July in order to visit the beautiful West Lake with my wife. Unfortunately I experienced quite a few problems on the way there and I am writing this letter to bring this matter to your attention.

Although we visited the English speaking counter, your sales assistant sold us a ticket on a slow train. We had requested to use the fast train. As a result we took 3 hours to get there and 3 hours to return. He did not inform us that we were required to carry our passports with us, so when we reached our destination we could not change our train ticket. What is more, the train was overcrowded with factory workers and our seat was occupied. We were forced to stand for a duration of 6 hours.

As we were in Shanghai as tourists we will not be using your services again. However, in order to avoid inconveniencing future foreign passengers, it would be a good idea to train your English speaking staff about train times, types, documents required and the services you offer.

Yours faithfully,

Elliott Daley

Question taken from Richmond Practice Tests for IELTS p.90