IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Health Problems Individuals/Governments (Real IELTS Exam)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Health Problems Individuals/Governments (Real IELTS Exam)

This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from the real IELTS exam about the topic of health, governments and individuals.

It is really common to get questions that show the conflict between individuals and the government/society/companies.

Keep reading to see how I deal with it and practice some useful grammar and vocabulary.

Here is some review on IELTS Task 2 Writing structures.

These are some other IELTS Task 2 Writing Sample Answers that I wrote!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Health Problems Individuals/Governments (Real IELTS Exam)

Many people believe that every individual is responsible for his/her own healthy lifestyle. Others believe that governments should take care of it. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

There has been much recent policy advocacy related to what the proper role of governments in healthcare should be. Although I believe governments have begun to treat this issue with the seriousness it merits, the responsibility for taking care of one’s health should ultimately rest with individuals as they are more likely to stick with habits that they themselves have cultivated.

Those who favour strong governmental intervention often point out the role of the state in forming healthy eating habits through early intervention at public schools. In the United States, the vast majority of students attend state schools and in recent years the government has been implementing new policies aimed at curbing addiction to unhealthy foods. This means that they have reduced the total intake of saturated fats in school lunches and drastically cut down on sugar not only in prepared lunches but also in the ubiquitous vending machines placed around most schools. In the short term this has led to improved health for students but its true effect will be over the next several decades when these children grow up and are more likely to eschew fast food for the healthier alternatives now opening up to meet the growing demands of an increasingly health-conscious nation.

While there are clear benefits to governmental action, individuals are better at regulating their own behaviour in the long-term. People have always found ways to get around rules in order to satisfy their most basic desires, including those related to food. No matter what steps governments take, people will always crave unhealthy, delicious foods as our brains are hardwired to feel pleasure from saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. For example, even a country like France, which has imposed strict rules over the food that children are served, is still facing an obesity crises. Therefore the only way for people to consistently combat poor health is to develop the discipline on their own. Individuals who make the choice to eat healthier are more likely to stick with this habit having worked out the reasons for themselves, rather than simply following a rule imposed by their schools at the behest of the government.

In conclusion, governments have a large role to play in public health but only individuals can take control of their own lives and make decisions that will truly benefit them in the future. In this case, the best solution is simply no solution. Standing back and allowing people to become more self-reliant will not only have more long-lasting effects but will also empower individuals in various other areas of their life to be more responsible.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. There has been much recent policy advocacy related to what the proper role of governments in healthcare should be. 2. Although I believe governments have begun to treat this issue with the seriousness it merits, the responsibility for taking care of one’s health should ultimately rest with individuals as they are more likely to stick with habits that they themselves have cultivated.

1. My first sentence quickly states the topic for the essay – spend a lot of time understanding the question correctly but don’t waste time writing this sentence – it isn’t that important!

2. Next is my opinion. State your opinion 100% clearly or you risk getting band 5 for task achievement!

1. Those who favour strong governmental intervention often point out the role of the state in forming healthy eating habits through early intervention at public schools. 2. In the United States, the vast majority of students attend state schools and in recent years the government has been implementing new policies aimed at curbing addiction to unhealthy foods. 3. This means that they have reduced the total intake of saturated fats in school lunches and drastically cut down on sugar not only in prepared lunches but also in the ubiquitous vending machines placed around most schools. 4. In the short term this has led to improved health for students but its true effect will be over the next several decades when these children grow up and are more likely to eschew fast food for the healthier alternatives now opening up to meet the growing demands of an increasingly health-conscious nation.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence with my main idea for the whole paragraph (governments had a large impact in schools). Write a short, simple topic sentence to make your writing clear to the examiner!

2. My second sentence starts my example. Don’t waste any time – get right to your example and start to develop it for a really high task achievement score.

3. The third sentence continues to develop my example by talking about the specific effects of healthy foods at school.

4. My fourth sentence concludes the examples by further talking about the impact later in life for students who develop healthy eating habits from a young age due to government intervention.

1. While there are clear benefits to governmental action, individuals are better at regulating their own behaviour in the long-term. 2. People have always found ways to get around rules in order to satisfy their most basic desires, including those related to food. 3. No matter what steps governments take, people will always crave unhealthy, delicious foods as our brains are hardwired to feel pleasure from saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. 4. For example, even a country like France, which has imposed strict rules over the food that children are served, is still facing an obesity crises. 5. Therefore the only way for people to consistently combat poor health is to develop the discipline on their own. 6. Individuals who make the choice to eat healthier are more likely to stick with this habit having worked out the reasons for themselves, rather than simply following a rule imposed by their schools at the behest of the government.

1. My first sentence is the topic sentence for this paragraph – again, keep it short, simple and clear as this will help both your cohesion/coherence and task achievement scores!

2. The second sentence begins to develop my main idea by explaining why unhealthy eating is so common.

3. The third sentence develops my idea by giving a counter-example: even with government intervention people still eat unhealthily.

4. My fourth sentence gives a more specific example to support my argument.

5. The fifth sentence suggests that people need to develop their own habits.

6. The sixth sentence argues that people who develop their own habits are more likely to stick to them because they understand the reasoning behind them well.

1. In conclusion, governments have a large role to play in public health but only individuals can take control of their own lives and make decisions that will truly benefit them in the future. 2. In this case, the best solution is simply no solution. 3. Standing back and allowing people to become more self-reliant will not only have more long-lasting effects but will also empower individuals in various other areas of their life to be more responsible.

1. The first sentence repeats my opinion. Be sure to have a clear opinion (choose a side) and say it in both your introduction and conclusion for full task achievement and cohesion/coherence marks.

2. My second sentence adds further support for my opinion.

3. The third sentence adds an extra detail that many examiners require for band 7+ and above for task achievement. You only need 2 sentences in your conclusion – maximum 3! 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the words in bold mean? If you’re not sure, don’t use a dictionary – try to figure out the meaning from the whole sentence then check your answers below!

There has been much recent policy advocacy related to what the proper role of governments in healthcare should be. Although I believe governments have begun to treat this issue with the seriousness it merits, the responsibility for taking care of one’s health should ultimately rest with individuals as they are more likely to stick with habits that they themselves have cultivated.

Those who favour strong governmental intervention often point out the role of the state in forming healthy eating habits through early intervention at public schools. In the United States, the vast majority of students attend state schools and in recent years the government has been implementing new policies aimed at curbing addiction to unhealthy foods. This means that they have reduced the total intake of saturated fats in school lunches and drastically cut down on sugar not only in prepared lunches but also in the ubiquitous vending machines placed around most schools. In the short term this has led to improved health for students but its true effect will be over the next several decades when these children grow up and are more likely to eschew fast food for the healthier alternatives now opening up to meet the growing demands of an increasingly health-conscious nation.

While there are clear benefits to governmental action, individuals are better at regulating their own behaviour in the long-term. People have always found ways to get around rules in order to satisfy their most basic desires, including those related to food. No matter what steps governments take, people will always crave unhealthy, delicious foods as our brains are hardwired to feel pleasure from saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. For example, even a country like France, which has imposed strict rules over the food that children are served, is still facing an obesity crises. Therefore the only way for people to consistently combat poor health is to develop the discipline on their own. Individuals who make the choice to eat healthier are more likely to stick with this habit having worked out the reasons for themselves, rather than simply following a rule imposed by their schools at the behest of the government.

In conclusion, governments have a large role to play in public health but only individuals can take control of their own lives and make decisions that will truly benefit them in the future. In this case, the best solution is simply no solution. Standing back and allowing people to become more self-reliant will not only have more long-lasting effects but will also empower individuals in various other areas of their life to be more responsible.

Answers:

policy advocacy: supporting a policy

proper role: what you should be responsible for

the seriousness it merits: how important it really is

ultimately rest: finally must be responsible for

stick with: continue/maintain/keep up

cultivated: grown/made themselves

strong governmental intervention: the government making strong laws/policies

point out: argue/think

early intervention: taking action at an early stage

public schools: state funded schools

vast majority: most

implementing new policies: introducing new laws/rules

curbing: slowing down

total intake: the amount consumed

drastically cut down: decreased a lot

ubiquitous: common/everywhere

short term: not too far in the future

true effect: actual impact

eschew: avoid

healthier alternatives: more healthy options

meet the growing demands: supply the desires of consumers

increasingly health-conscious nation: a country more and more concerned with health

clear benefits: definite advantages

regulating: controlling

long-term: in the distant future

get around rules: avoid mandates

most basic desires: what people desire as humans

no matter what steps governments take: regardless of what governments try to do

crave: desire

hardwired: biologically fixed

imposed strict rules: enact harsh laws

served: given

facing an obesity crises: lots of fat people

consistently combat poor health: often unhealthy

discipline: punish

worked out: figure out

imposed: force

at the behest of the government: at the government’s request

large role: big part in

take control: be in charge

truly benefit: actual positive impact on

standing back: doing nothing

self-reliant: depending on only yourself

long-lasting effects: impact in the future

empower: give power

 

Pronunciation

ˈpɒlɪsi ˈædvəkəsi 

ˈprɒpə rəʊl 

ðə ˈsɪərɪəsnɪs ɪt ˈmɛrɪts 

ˈʌltɪmɪtli rɛst 

stɪk wɪð 

ˈkʌltɪveɪtɪd 

strɒŋ ˌgʌvənˈmɛntl ˌɪntə(ː)ˈvɛnʃən 

pɔɪnt aʊt 

ˈɜːli ˌɪntə(ː)ˈvɛnʃən 

ˈpʌblɪk skuːlz 

vɑːst məˈʤɒrɪti 

ˈɪmplɪmɛntɪŋ njuː ˈpɒlɪsiz 

ˈkɜːbɪŋ 

ˈtəʊtl ˈɪnteɪk 

ˈdræstɪk(ə)li kʌt daʊn 

ju(ː)ˈbɪkwɪtəs 

ʃɔːt tɜːm 

truː ɪˈfɛkt 

ɪsˈʧuː 

ˈhɛlθɪəɔːlˈtɜːnətɪvz 

miːt ðə ˈgrəʊɪŋ dɪˈmɑːndz 

ɪnˈkriːsɪŋli hɛlθˈkɒnʃəs ˈneɪʃən 

klɪə ˈbɛnɪfɪts 

ˈrɛgjʊleɪtɪŋ 

ˈlɒŋtɜːm 

gɛt əˈraʊnd ruːlz 

məʊst ˈbeɪsɪk dɪˈzaɪəz 

nəʊ ˈmætə wɒt stɛps ˈgʌvnmənts teɪk 

kreɪv 

hɑːdˈwaɪəd 

ɪmˈpəʊzd strɪkt ruːlz 

sɜːvd 

ˈfeɪsɪŋ ən əʊˈbiːsɪti ˈkraɪsiːz 

kənˈsɪstəntli ˈkɒmbæt pʊə hɛlθ 

ˈdɪsɪplɪn 

wɜːkt aʊt 

ɪmˈpəʊzd 

æt ðə bɪˈhɛst ɒv ðə ˈgʌvnmənt 

lɑːʤ rəʊl 

teɪk kənˈtrəʊl 

ˈtruːli ˈbɛnɪfɪt 

ˈstændɪŋ bæk 

sɛlfrɪˈlaɪənt 

lɒŋˈlɑːstɪŋ ɪˈfɛkts 

ɪmˈpaʊə 
 

 

 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

There has been much recent ___________________ related to what the ___________________ of governments in healthcare should be. Although I believe governments have begun to treat this issue with ___________________, the responsibility for taking care of one’s health should ___________________ with individuals as they are more likely to ___________________ habits that they themselves have ___________________.

Those who favour ___________________ often ___________________ the role of the state in forming healthy eating habits through ___________________ at ___________________. In the United States, the ___________________ of students attend state schools and in recent years the government has been ___________________ aimed at ___________________ addiction to unhealthy foods. This means that they have reduced the ___________________ of saturated fats in school lunches and ___________________ on sugar not only in prepared lunches but also in the ___________________ vending machines placed around most schools. In the ___________________ this has led to improved health for students but its ___________________ will be over the next several decades when these children grow up and are more likely to ___________________ fast food for the ___________________ now opening up to ___________________ of an ___________________.

While there are ___________________ to governmental action, individuals are better at ___________________ their own behaviour in the ___________________. People have always found ways to ___________________ in order to satisfy their ___________________, including those related to food. ___________________, people will always ___________________ unhealthy, delicious foods as our brains are ___________________ to feel pleasure from saturated fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. For example, even a country like France, which has ___________________ over the food that children are ___________________, is still ___________________. Therefore the only way for people to ___________________ is to develop the discipline on their own. Individuals who make the choice to eat healthier are more likely to stick with this habit having ___________________ the reasons for themselves, rather than simply following a rule ___________________ by their schools ___________________.

In conclusion, governments have a ___________________ to play in public health but only individuals can ___________________ of their own lives and make decisions that will ___________________ them in the future. In this case, the best solution is simply no solution. ___________________ and allowing people to become more ___________________ will not only have more ___________________ but will also ___________________ individuals in various other areas of their life to be more responsible.

Links from YouTube and Articles

Which Diets Actually Work?

How the Food you Eat Affects your Brain

Myths You Learned in Health Class

Comment below – What are your most unhealthy habits?

I can’t resist …

My weak spot is …

I’m an absolute addict when it comes to …

I’ve got a real sweet tooth and I’m especially keen on …

If you want more helpful resources check out my private Facebook group, my YouTube channel and my Instagram – keep up to date with your English and your IELTS (and up to date with me)!

IELTS Writing Task 1: Map of a City Hospital (IELTS Cambridge 13)

IELTS Writing Task 1: Map of a City Hospital (IELTS Cambridge 13)

This is an IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Answer from IELTS Cambridge 13 about the map of a city hospital.

This map presents some challenges because there aren’t a ton of changes and the overview is a little bit tricky.

Read on to see how I dealt with those challenges…

Here are some other IELTS Task 1 Writing Sample Answers that I wrote!

Including this map of a public park from IELTS Cambridge 14.

IELTS Writing Task 1: Map of a City Hospital (IELTS Cambridge 13)

The two maps below show road access to a city hospital in 2007 and in 2010.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The two presented maps describe the changes that took place at a city hospital from 2007 to 2010. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the largest changes involved transportation, including additional public parking, the construction of a nearby bus station and new roundabouts.

The majority of the hospital underwent very little change. The roads (Ring, City, and Hospital road) all remained largely the same, though two small lanes were built off of hospital road to link up with the new bus station and roundabouts on either end of Hospital road (where it bisects with Ring and City road) were added. The city hospital building itself was unaltered.

The changes were mainly around the hospital and the largest of these was related to parking. In 2007, there was a small parking lot along Hospital road for both staff and the public. By 2010 they had decided to separate the public and staff parking by adding an exclusively public parking area running along the east side of the city hospital. The final major change is another new roundabout now located to the southeast of the hospital in place of the previous bus stop.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. The two presented maps describe the changes that took place at a city hospital from 2007 to 2010. 2. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the largest changes involved transportation, including additional public parking, the construction of a nearby bus station and new roundabouts.

1. My first sentence rephrases what the map is showing – write this sentence as fast as possible because it has very little impact on your score!

2. This is my overview. For a map, try to group and describe the biggest changes. Be careful not to add any opinion – for example, don’t say that the hospital is more convenient or more interesting. Just group and describe it, no opinion!

 

1. The majority of the hospital underwent very little change. 2. The roads (Ring, City, and Hospital Road) all remained largely the same, though two small lanes were built off of hospital road to link up with the new bus station and roundabouts on either end of Hospital road (where it bisects with Ring and City road) were added. 3. The city hospital building itself was unaltered.

1. The first sentence describes what didn’t change much.

2. My second sentence details how the roads around the hospital didn’t change, though lanes and roundabouts were added.

3. The final sentence of this paragraph states that the hospital itself was unchanged.

 

1. The changes were mainly around the hospital and the largest of these was related to parking. 2. In 2007, there was a small parking lot along Hospital road for both staff and the public. 3. By 2010 they had decided to separate the public and staff parking by adding an exclusively public parking area running along the east side of the city hospital. 4. The final major change is another new roundabout now located to the southeast of the hospital in place of the previous bus stop.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence that gives my writing some structure. In this paragraph I will look at the areas related to parking.

2. The second sentence describes the parking situation in the past.

3. My third sentence describes how the parking situation has changed.

4. The final sentence talks about the only other areas I didn’t mention related to the roundabouts. Be sure to talk about every area on the map or it will hurt your task achievement score a lot!

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Figure out what the words in bold mean by reading the sentences around them. Write down the meaning and then check your answers below.

The two presented maps describe the changes that took place at a city hospital from 2007 to 2010. Looking from an overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the largest changes involved transportation, including additional public parking, the construction of a nearby bus station and new roundabouts.

The majority of the hospital underwent very little change. The roads (Ring, City, and Hospital road) all remained largely the same, though two small lanes were built off of Hospital road to link up with the new bus station and roundabouts on either end of hospital road (where it bisects with Ring and City road) were added. The city hospital building itself was unaltered.

The changes were mainly around the hospital and the largest of these was related to parking. In 2007, there was a small parking lot along Hospital road for both staff and the public. By 2010 they had decided to separate the public and staff parking by adding an exclusively public parking area running along the east side of the city hospital. The final major change is another new roundabout now located to the southeast of the hospital in place of the previous bus stop.

Answers:

readily apparent: very clear

additional: more

roundabouts: rotaries/circular intersections that help ease traffic congestion

underwent: changed

largely the same: mostly unchanged

lanes: where cars and motorbikes drive on streets

built off of: added on to

link up with: join together

on either end of: on both sides of

bisects: cuts through/across

unaltered: unchanged

parking lot: where cars can park

the public: people who do not work at the hospital

separate: distinct from

exclusively public: only for the public

running along: next to

final major change: last big change

located to the: is

in place of: instead of/replacing

 

Pronunciation:

əˈdɪʃənl 

ˈraʊndəbaʊts

ˌʌndəˈwɛnt 

ˈlɑːʤli ðə seɪm 

leɪnz 

bɪlt ɒf ɒv 

lɪŋk ʌp wɪð 

ɒn ˈaɪðəɛnd ɒv 

baɪˈsɛkts 

ʌnˈɔːltəd 

ˈpɑːkɪŋ lɒt 

ðə ˈpʌblɪk 

ˈsɛprɪt 

ɪksˈkluːsɪvli ˈpʌblɪk 

ˈrʌnɪŋ əˈlɒŋ 

ˈfaɪnl ˈmeɪʤə ʧeɪnʤ 

ləʊˈkeɪtɪd tuː ðiː 

ɪn pleɪs ɒv

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

The two presented maps describe the changes that took place at a city hospital from 2007 to 2010. Looking from an overall perspective, it is ____________________ that the largest changes involved transportation, including ____________________ public parking, the construction of a nearby bus station and new ____________________.

The majority of the hospital ____________________ very little change. The roads (Ring, City, and Hospital road) all remained ____________________, though two small ____________________ were ____________________ hospital road to ____________________ the new bus station and roundabouts ____________________ Hospital road (where it ____________________ with Ring and City road) were added. The city hospital building itself was ____________________.

The changes were mainly around the hospital and the largest of these was related to parking. In 2007, there was a small ____________________ along Hospital road for both staff and ____________________. By 2010 they had decided to ____________________the public and staff parking by adding an ____________________ parking area ____________________ the east side of the city hospital. The ____________________ is another new roundabout now ____________________ southeast of the hospital ____________________ the previous bus stop.

Learn More about Hospitals and Medicine:

A Day in the Life of an Egyptian Doctor

How the Food you Eat Affects your Brain

Which Diets Actually Work

Exercise vs Diet

 

Comment your sample answer for the map and I will give you some feedback in the comments!

 

If you want more helpful resources check out my private Facebook group, my YouTube channel and my Instagram – keep up to date with your English and your IELTS (and up to date with me)!

Your Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 14 – Sample Answers and More!

Your Complete Guide to IELTS Cambridge 14 – Sample Answers and More!

The newest IELTS Cambridge 14 book of real past tests recently just came out and I’m sure you’re hungry for some sample answers and analysis!

You can order the book online here.

Please don’t download it illegally online – that is no different from walking into a store, taking the book, and walking out without paying. Well, the only difference is that no one sees you doing it, which makes it worse to steal online…

Anyway, here are the sample answers for all of the writings – both task 1 and task 2:

 

IELTS Cambridge 14 Writing Task 2

 

IELTS Cambridge 14 Writing Task 1

Here are some more task 1 and task 2 sample answers from other past tests.

 

 

Tips for Using IELTS Cambridge 14

I’ve got some important tips for how to use these Cambridge books. Too many students don’t know the best ways to practice with the Cambridge books.

A lot of students waste a lot of time doing too many practice tests. They believe that this is a good way to prepare for the test and improve their English.

(Actually most of them are preparing for the test but shouldn’t be studying IELTS at all.)

Practice tests are an awful way to improve your English and only an average way to prepare for the test.

They are not good for improving your English because they are just focused on testing your skills. Of course your English may improve over time but that is not their aim.

Contrast these books with books for learning English that focus on grammar and vocabulary and guide you through with exercises. The process of improving your English is completely different from testing your English – so don’t waste time and money confusing the two!

The biggest mistake that that most students make is they only do these practice tests and don’t find better ways to improve their English.

What are better ways? These ways involve finding something interesting (a movie, music, book, etc.) and keeping your motiviation high with quality content.

You might also decide to take a course in English or hire a tutor. This will improve your English – practice tests will not!

But there are some ways in which these books are good for preparation. First, you can become more familiar with the format of the test and the different questions types.

That makes them decent preparation for the test question types.

Secondly, they are also good tests. Duh.

That means that you can measure your progress with them. If you are planning on taking IELTS in the next month or two you should probably do a weekly test to measure your progress.

If you have several months to a year (or more) then you should do a practice test once a month to measure your progress.

This is the proper way to use practice tests – don’t rely on them to improve your English.

Many students lazily believe that doing test after test will improve their score – they are searching for an overly simple solution when the real solution is staring them right in the face: improve your English and your IELTS score will follow you like your shadow!

Simple Steps for Using IELTS Cambridge 14 to Test your English

1. Start with the listening test. Do the listening test fully but don’t check your answers! Read the tapescript carefully after you finish and underline the distractors and paraphrases. This way you learn about how IELTS listening works.

2. Do the reading test. When you check your answers, figure out the reason why you got each one wrong. Because of a paraphrase? Because of vocabulary? Grammar? This way you can improve your weaknesses.

3. Do the writing tests. Time yourself and be strict. Read my samples answers for task 1 and task 2 writing.

4. Practice doing the speaking test yourself or with a partner. If you have a friend who can help, try to do a mock speaking test that feels like the real test. Read here about what will really happen in your IELTS speaking test.

 

 

Simple Steps for Using IELTS Cambridge 14 to Improve your English

1. Start with a listening test but don’t do the full test. Just listen to part 1. Listen to it at least 3 times. Repeat this for every part of the test. Read here about how this will improve your listening. Again, check your answers with the tapescript and try to figure out why you got each answer wrong. Usually it will be because of vocabulary – so learn more vocab!

2. Do the reading test. Don’t worry so much about the timing. Review the basic reading steps here and afterwards check why you got each answer wrong.

3. Do both writing tests but don’t worry about the timing. After you finish you can compare with my sample answers and do the practice activities for task 1 and task 2. The next day, do the same sample answer again but try to improve your ideas, vocabulary, and grammar. Keep doing this until you are happy with your writing.

4. Do the practice speaking test by yourself or with a friend/teacher. Don’t move on to a new test. Keep learning new vocabulary related to the same topics and od the test over and over again. If you get bored, try varying or writing slightly new questions related to the questions. Don’t try to give exactly the same answer each time. Vary it a little bit so that your speaking doesn’t become too robotic.

 

If you have any questions about the book, you can comment them below and I will reply as soon as possible!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Music Bringing People Together (IELTS Cambridge 14)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Music Bringing People Together (IELTS Cambridge 14)

This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from Cambridge 14 (a book of real past tests) about the topic of music and how that can bring together people of different generations.

Some questions are really boring and a tough slog to write about but not this one! I think this topic is actually interesting and lends itself to some fun examples.

Keep reading to see exactly how I (a former IELTS examiner) handled it as well as vocabulary activities, pronunciation and more!

If you need some review on structures your can read about IELTS Task 2 Writing structure here.

Here are some other IELTS Task 2 Writing Sample Answers that I wrote!

 

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Music Bringing People Together (IELTS Cambridge 14)

Some people say that music is a good way of bringing people of different cultures and ages together.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Music has always been a key distinguisher of culture but many believe that it can also bridge cultural gaps and differences in age. Though I think some people overstate the impact of music leveling the differences between generations, I strongly believe that it brings people of different cultures together by expressing universal sentiments.

The main reason that I believe music is not a particularly good unifier in terms of generational disparity is that people tend to enjoy the music from their formative years and disdain whatever is currently relevant. Though there are of course exceptions, most people would recognise the mostly accurate stereotype of an old person complaining about the music that youths listen to nowadays. For example, in America some of the most popular artists today include Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. These artists differ greatly from past musicians. Kanye is a brash rapper with controversial opinions whose music constantly shifts and redefines genre. Taylor Swift and Rihanna write sugary pop songs that become ubiquitous in cafes and on the radio. Older people prefer what they used to listen to, whether that be intricate melodies and insightful writing of The Beatles or the raw sincerity of old school rap. The differences between the generations are reflected and augmented rather than mediated due to the different personalities and styles of modern music.

Although music does little to alleviate generational barriers, it does help cultures relate through universal, human perspectives. What I mean by this is that even though people may not understand another culture they can still understand the messages of the music. One great example of this is the music of Bob Marley. Bob Marley is from a small Carribbean country called Jamaica, a country whose culture has become influential around the world. This is because he expressed universal feelings of love, empathy, and positivity against the backdrop of a nation experiencing political and economic upheaval. His resilience against this pulses through his infectious music and has translated across cultural divides. An Asian person, who might not have any firsthand experience with different races or cultures, can still identify with Bob Marley and enjoy his music. This connection based entirely on music brings together people of disparate cultures through an emotional and intellectual bonding on common issues.

In conclusion, although music may actually do more to divide the young and old it definitely uses its universality to bring together different cultures. It is especially important at a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever that we find common ground to build cross-cultural relationships upon.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. Music has always been a key distinguisher of culture but many believe that it can also bridge cultural gaps and differences in age. 2. Though I think some people overstate the impact of music leveling the differences between generations, I strongly believe that it brings people of different cultures together by expressing universal sentiments.

1. The first sentence says the topic for the essay. Keep it simple for this one – it’s not a very important sentence.

2. Then write your opinion – make it 100% clearn – don’t sit in the middle unless if you want to risk band 5 for task achievement! (Note: I kind of sat in the middle but I did it very carefully – read on to see how…)

 

1. The main reason that I believe music is not a particularly good unifier in terms of generational disparity is that people tend to enjoy the music from their formative years and disdain whatever is currently relevant. 2. Though there are of course exceptions, most people would recognise the mostly accurate stereotype of an old person complaining about the music that youths listen to nowadays. 3. For example, in America some of the most popular artists today include Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. 4. These artists differ greatly from past musicians. 5. Kanye is a brash rapper with controversial opinions whose music constantly shifts and redefines genre. 6. Taylor Swift and Rihanna write sugary pop songs that become ubiquitous in cafes and on the radio. 7. Older people prefer what they used to listen to, whether that be intricate melodies and insightful writing of The Beatles or the raw sincerity of old school rap. 8. The differences between the generations are reflected and augmented rather than mediated due to the different personalities and styles of modern music.

1. My first sentence is a topic sentence for the paragraph with my relevant main idea: music doesn’t really bring people together.

2. The second sentence explains my main idea and references a common example.

3. My third sentence begins a more specific example of artists today.

4. The fourth sentence continues to the example by contrasting them to past artists.

5. The fifth sentence focuses on Kanye to show the differences between generations.

6. My sixth sentence focuses on Rihanna and Taylor Swift. In hindsight this essay might be getting too long…

7. The seventh sentence contrasts it with the specific examples of older musicians.

8. Finally I conclude by relating it to my main idea. This paragraph is a bit too long – try to stick to about 5 sentences.

1. Although music does little to alleviate generational barriers, it does help cultures relate through universal, human perspectives. 2. What I mean by this is that even though people may not understand another culture they can still understand the messages of the music. 3. One great example of this is the music of Bob Marley. Bob Marley is from a small Carribbean country called Jamaica, a country whose culture has become influential around the world. 4. This is because he expressed universal feelings of love, empathy, and positivity against the backdrop of a nation experiencing political and economic upheaval. 5. His resilience against this pulses through his infectious music and has translated across cultural divides. 6. An Asian person, who might not have any firsthand experience with different races or cultures, can still identify with Bob Marley and enjoy his music. 7. This connection based entirely on music brings together people of disparate cultures through an emotional and intellectual bonding on common issues.

1. My first sentence is another topic sentence that states a main idea for the other viewpoint: people can relate to different cultures through music.

2. The second sentence clarifies my main idea. You don’t always need to do this – sometimes you can just start on your example (and not end up with a seven sentence paragraph). 

3. The third sentence begins another specific, detailed example (about Bob Marley this time).

4. My fourth sentence describes how he has managed to bridge cultural divides.

5. The fifth sentence further develops the example.

6. The sixth sentence describes specifically how he could connect with someone from another culture.

7. My sixth sentence concludes the paragraph by summarising the impact across cultures of his music.

1. In conclusion, although music may actually do more to divide the young and old it definitely uses its universality to bring together different cultures. 2. It is especially important at a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever that we find common ground to build cross-cultural relationships upon.

1. The first sentence restates my opinion. Even though I agree with half and disagree with the other half this is not sitting in the middle. I have clear opinions about how music impacts generations and cultures. Sitting in the middle would just be saying that it is good for some reasons and not good for other ones without a clear chosen side – that would be band 5!

2. My second sentence adds an extra detail that a lot of examiners require for band 7 and above.

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the words in bold mean? If you’re not sure, don’t use a dictionary – try to figure out the meaning from the whole sentence then check your answers below!

Music has always been a key distinguisher of culture but many believe that it can also bridge cultural gaps and differences in age. Though I think some people overstate the impact of music leveling the differences between generations, I strongly believe that it brings people of different cultures together by expressing universal sentiments.

The main reason that I believe music is not a particularly good unifier in terms of generational disparity is that people tend to enjoy the music from their formative years and disdain whatever is currently relevant. Though there are of course exceptions, most people would recognise the mostly accurate stereotype of an old person complaining about the music that youths listen to nowadays. For example, in America some of the most popular artists today include Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. These artists differ greatly from past musicians. Kanye is a brash rapper with controversial opinions whose music constantly shifts and redefines genre. Taylor Swift and Rihanna write sugary pop songs that become ubiquitous in cafes and on the radio. Older people prefer what they used to listen to, whether that be intricate melodies and insightful writing of The Beatles or the raw sincerity of old school rap. The differences between the generations are reflected and augmented rather than mediated due to the different personalities and styles of modern music.

Although music does little to alleviate generational barriers, it does help cultures relate through universal, human perspectives. What I mean by this is that even though people may not understand another culture they can still understand the messages of the music. One great example of this is the music of Bob Marley. Bob Marley is from a small Carribbean country called Jamaica, a country whose culture has become influential around the world. This is because he expressed universal feelings of love, empathy, and positivity against the backdrop of a nation experiencing political and economic upheaval. His resilience against this pulses through his infectious music and has translated across cultural divides. An Asian person, who might not have any firsthand experience with different races or cultures, can still identify with Bob Marley and enjoy his music. This connection based entirely on music brings together people of disparate cultures through an emotional and intellectual bonding on common issues.

In conclusion, although music may actually do more to divide the young and old it definitely uses its universality to bring together different cultures. It is especially important at a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever that we find common ground to build cross-cultural relationships upon.

Answers:

key distinguisher: main way to separate/define

bridge cultural gaps: bring together different countries/cultures

overstate: make something sound more important than it really is

leveling the differences: getting rid of what is different – making more similar

universal sentiments: ideas that people all over the world feel/believe in

unifier: brings together

generational disparity: differences between generations/ages

formative years: impressionable ages

disdain: look down on

currently relevant: important now

stereotype: a common belief often incorrect about a group of people

differ greatly: not at all the same

brash: overconfident

controversial opinions: views that many people would disagree with

constantly shifts: always changes

redefines genre: innovates the type of music/film

sugary pop songs: pop music that sounds good to the ear

ubiquitous: common

intricate melodies: complicated musical rhythm

insightful writing: meaningful lyrics

raw sincerity: very honest

old school rap: hip-hop from the 90s

augmented: made better/stronger

mediated: filtered through

alleviate generational barriers: improve differences between age groups

universal, human perspectives: beliefs common to all humanity

empathy: the ability to understand other people’s feelings

against the backdrop: in the context of

political and economic upheaval: lots of changes related to the government and economy

resilience: able to bounce back, strong

pulses: moves through

infectious music: music that you can’t get out of your head

translated across cultural divides: can be understood by different cultures

firsthand experience: what you see yourself (not reported by someone else)

disparate cultures: different cultures

emotional and intellectual bonding: connecting in terms of feeling and thinking

universality: applies to the whole world

common ground: related/relevant to everyone

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Music has always been a __________________ of culture but many believe that it can also __________________ and differences in age. Though I think some people __________________ the impact of music __________________ between generations, I strongly believe that it brings people of different cultures together by expressing __________________.

The main reason that I believe music is not a particularly good __________________ in terms of __________________ is that people tend to enjoy the music from their __________________ and __________________ whatever is __________________. Though there are of course exceptions, most people would recognise the mostly accurate __________________ of an old person complaining about the music that youths listen to nowadays. For example, in America some of the most popular artists today include Kanye West, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. These artists __________________ from past musicians. Kanye is a __________________ rapper with __________________ whose music __________________ and __________________. Taylor Swift and Rihanna write __________________ that become __________________ in cafes and on the radio. Older people prefer what they used to listen to, whether that be __________________ and __________________ of The Beatles or the __________________ of __________________. The differences between the generations are reflected and __________________ rather than __________________ due to the different personalities and styles of modern music.

Although music does little to __________________, it does help cultures relate through __________________. What I mean by this is that even though people may not understand another culture they can still understand the messages of the music. One great example of this is the music of Bob Marley. Bob Marley is from a small Carribbean country called Jamaica, a country whose culture has become influential around the world. This is because he expressed universal feelings of love, __________________, and positivity __________________ of a nation experiencing __________________. His __________________ against this __________________ through his __________________ and has __________________. An Asian person, who might not have any __________________ with different races or cultures, can still identify with Bob Marley and enjoy his music. This connection based entirely on music brings together people of __________________ through an __________________ on common issues.

In conclusion, although music may actually do more to divide the young and old it definitely uses its __________________ to bring together different cultures. It is especially important at a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever that we find __________________ to build cross-cultural relationships upon.

Links from YouTube and Articles

Bob Marley Documentary

Kanye, Rihanna and Paul McCartney!

The Secrets of Mozart’s Magic Flute

No Woman, No Cry

Comment below – What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I’m really keen on…

My favourite at the moment is…

I’ve been getting into…

The new album from ____ is …

 

If you want more helpful resources check out my private Facebook group, my YouTube channel and my Instagram – keep up to date with your English and your IELTS (and up to date with me)!

Your Complete Guide to Prepare for IELTS (and Get a High Band Score!)

Your Complete Guide to Prepare for IELTS (and Get a High Band Score!)

My name is Dave and I’m a former IELTS examiner and below you can read a complete guide to prepare for IELTS and get a high score – above band 7!

I took some of the questions that I get on my Facebook, my Instagram and on YouTube everyday and put them together along with the best links to get you started and help you along your IELTS journey.

I’m also proud to announce that if you need online lessons I now offer that! Click here to find out more about my online courses in IELTS!

 

Prepare for IELTS!

Prepare for IELTS!

‘How should I start studying for IELTS?’

This is a really key area and so many students make mistakes here and end up wasting money and time!

First you need to know what your current level is by reading about that here.

Next, you need to have a realistic idea of how long it will take to get the score that you need.

Finally, you can make a clear IELTS study plan.

Follow those links and you will have the right mindset for the job ahead. If you are not ready for IELTS, you will end up wasting a lot of time and money.

 

‘I have problems with listening – can you help me?’

There are two main issues that you might have: test strategy and improving your listening.

Here is a basic guide to IELTS listening to get you started on the test strategy.

If you need some more test strategy you can take a look here: labelling maps and multiple choice questions.

If you need to improve your actual listening skills, read about that here: the 3 keys to improving your listening skills.

One thing that is really important is that all the listening practice in the world won’t help if you don’t improve your grammar and especially vocabulary.

You need to work on your listening skills but you really need to improve your vocabulary. Once you do that, listening will become much easier!

 

‘My reading is weak – how can I improve my reading?’

Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary and if you are serious about IELTS then you should be reading for at least a few hours everyday.

Here are basic steps for reading on IELTS.

Here is the difference between studying IELTS reading and actually improving your reading ability in English.

Click here for some ideas about how to read the news every day.

Remember that reading will have the greatest trickle down effect on your other scores because it will really boost your vocabulary.

It is only one step – you need to listen a lot and practice using new vocabulary in both speaking and writing – but it is the important first step!

If you aren’t reading a lot, you are missing a great opportunity to learn new words that will surely be useful on the test in some way!

 

‘I really need to work on my writing. Can you help me?’

Yes, I offer a writing corrections service as well as full online courses.

If you just want to learn more about IELTS writing, then you can learn the basics here.

And the structure here.

And see all the sample answers that I wrote myself here: Task 2 Writing and Task 1 Writing.

Task 1 writing is particularly difficult becuase there are so many different question types: charts with time, with no time, maps, processes – enough to make your head spin!

Make sure you practice with each one at least once and refer to my sample answers above!

 

‘I don’t have anyone to practice speaking with. What can I do to speak English more naturally?’

There are a number of ways to do this. You can find a friend or teacher to practice with. You can sign up for my online courses.

I often recommend that students combine self-study with a tutor. Study at home and then hire a foreigner to do speaking practice with a few times a week.

If none of those options work for you, you can also read some activity ideas about studying without a partner here.

Whatever you do – just make sure that you do it!

 

I want to prepare for the IELTS speaking topics. What is the best way to do that?

A lot of websites will present ‘forecasts’ of the questions on IELTS. That is absolute nonsense – it makes no sense that the test would allow that, no one would trust IELTS!

But they do use the same speaking questions for about a year before changing booklets and new questions. That means there are 30 possible part 1 speaking topics and a ton of possible part 2 and 3.

It’s a good idea to use those as a source of preparation while you are improving for IELTS.

But don’t think that you can just memorise answers and deliver them on the test – it won’t work and you will just annoy the examiner!

Here are some of my IELTS speaking model answers: phones, friends, school, mornings, history, the Avengers, and a full IELTS speaking test with me!

 

‘My speaking is good but my pronunciation is terrible and it never improves. What can I do about my pronunciation?’

This is one of the most common problems that I hear about. In Vietnam, where I live and work, the most common score for pronunciation is band 5. If you get 6s for fluency, vocabulary, and grammar then you will get an overall 5.5 if your pron is only 5!

I know many students who study for years and years and improve their other skills but their pronunciation seems to be glued in place.

I have developed a method that has been very effective over the last 10 years for thousands of students. You can read all about my method here.

‘It’s so hard for me to think of ideas on IELTS. How can I think of ideas?’

This has to become a consistent habit just like any other skill that you study for IELTS.

You can start here with some simple activities that you can do throughout the day to improve your brainstorming ability.

 

‘I need to improve my vocabulary. How can I do that?’

This is a very complex question but the simplest and most effective way to improve vocabulary is by reading more.

The more you read, the better your vocabulary will be – it is the same in your native language: the best readers have the best vocabulary.

Read here for some ideas about reading the news and here for some ideas about subtitles when watching shows.

Reading might get boring so you should also improve your vocabulary by watching videos on YouTube or Netflix.

You can read here to make sure that you aren’t learning the wrong words in your preparation for IELTS.

 

‘My grammar is so bad! Help me to make my grammar better!’

Grammar is such a big topic that you need to start with small steps and move on slowly from there.

Don’t try to master all of English grammar in a day – it will take years and be a gradual process with advances and defeats.

Here is a guide to using grammar in IELTS speaking part 2.

This will help you make sure that you are accurately using simple grammar.

Here are the top grammar websites that I recommend for self-study.

Finally, you should get some practice using modals for opinions and suggestions because that is sure to come up on IELTS.

 

‘Where can I find out basic information about IELTS?’

IELTS changes all the time so you can consult the official website or check out my various FAQs about IELTS.

If you have any questions that are not answered please comment them on any post and I will answer you right away!

 

Comment below any other questions that you have for me!