IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Talking about Cell Phones/Smartphones/Mobile Phones

IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Talking about Cell Phones/Smartphones/Mobile Phones

Phones (cell phones, smarphones, and mobile phones – they’re all the same thing!) are a really common topic on the IELTS Speaking test.

They could come up as personal questions in part 1 (‘How often do you use your phone?’) or in part 2 as personal or general questions (‘What apps are popular in your country?’) or in part 3 as general questions (‘Do people use their phones too much in your country?’).

In order to help you prepare for a smartphones topic, I have answered some questions, analysed vocabulary and grammar, made some notes and provided links to help you think of more ideas for this topic in case it comes up on the real IELTS!

If you want to read more speaking topics you can check out this one on free time or this one on holidays.

The Examiner (Dave) Answers a Question

The question that I’m answering from my YouTube channel is: How many times a day do you look at your phone?

It’s a simple part 1 question, so I give a simple answer:

Here is the transcript:

Personally, it’s the first thing I check in the morning. I can’t live without it. I use it for everything – calling, texting, email, tinder – basically everything!

This isn’t a long or detailed answer. It could be better if I talked more specfically about what I do with my phone. Check the answers below for more detailed ‘show-off’ answers.

But there is still some good vocabulary.

You can use ‘personally’ as a way of starting questions where you answer about your personal habits.

‘The first thing’ is a good way to start lists or talk about your daily routine.

‘I can’t live without it’ is a common expression that indicates to the examiner natural, band 7+ fluency and vocabulary.

 

Sample Answers

My answer was simple and natural but not enough to impress the examiner.

Even if it is slightly unnatural, you should go out of your way to use complex grammar and vocabulary if possible.

Here are some better examples of ‘show-off’ answers:

How many times a day do you look at your mobile phone?

I’m trying to cut back massively on my phone (over)usage. But I can’t get away from it because it seems to have wrapped itself up in my life. I get notifications from friends all the time that kind of pull me back into it. If I had to make a guess, I probably look at it close to 50 times a day. That’s a conservative estimate though.

What do you usually use your mobile phone for?

I have to admit that phones have so many different uses. I message with friends, I have a Facebook chat group that I run for a weekly football match, I check my email all the time on it, I take tons of photos of things around me and selfies sometimes too, for my work I need to make voice recordings so I have an app for that too, if I need a taxi I use a ride-sharing app called Grab, I’m a big fan of Instagram and follow a lot of artists and comedians on there, I manage my finances through a banking app and I’m sure there are a bunch of things I’m missing out on too!

Have your mobile phone habits changed a lot over the years?

For sure. Mobile phones first came out when I was in university, some kids had them towards the end of high school. My first phone was just a cheap flipphone that could (slowly) send messages, make calls and play the earliest little games like ‘snake.’ Pretty soon after that I got a real smartphone for email and all that other stuff. I think I still wasn’t addicted to my phone then though. It wasn’t until the last 5 or 6 years when I got a new iPhone and started using more apps and as businesses and friends have taken on board an overriding digital lifestyle. Now it is like an extra arm or hand to me!

 

Do people in your country use mobile phones a lot?

I’m from the United States but I’ve been living in Vietnam for practically a decade. I imagine people in all countries, including the U.S. can’t put their phones down but I can only speak firsthand about Vietnam where cell phone use is an epidemic. Walk into any coffee shop and you’ll likely see individuals, friends and groups making more of an effort to check Facebook than talk to each other. It’s not uncommon to see people on their phones when they’re driving a motorbike. A lot of my friends here will sit down on Facebook after work or dinner and just scroll mindlessly for at least an hour. It taps into some desire to put our brains to sleep that phone makers and apps like Instagram have exploited, in my opinion.

Vocabulary Definitions

cut back: reduce or use less of

get away from: escape, leave

wrapped itself up in: deeply involved with

notifications: a signal that you have a message or update

pull me back into: bring back

make a guess: guess

conservative estimate: a guess that is not risky, likely to be true

I have to admit: use this to concede that the opposite argument has some truth to it

Facebook chat group: group for talking to each other on Facebook

run: am in charge of

tons: lots of

voice recordings: audio recordings

ride-sharing app: apps like Grab or Uber for booking rides

big fan of: really like/into something

manage my finances: in charge of your money

bunch of things: lots of stuff

missing out on: not getting to do

For sure: definitely

first came out: original appeared

towards the end of: at the end of

flipphone: old cell phones that flip open

Pretty soon after that: right after

addicted: can’t stop using it

overriding digital lifestyle: using phones and internet a lot

practically: almost all

imagine: believe/think

speak firsthand: talking about something that you actually experienced

epidemic: all over the place/common/ubiquitous

making more of an effort: trying harder

It’s not uncommon: it is common

scroll mindlessly: look through your Facebook/Instagram/news feed on your phone

taps into: gets power form

exploited: take advantage of

 

 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks from my sample answer:

How many times a day do you look at your mobile phone?

I’m trying to _____________ massively on my phone (over)usage. But I can’t _____________ it because it seems to have _____________ my life. I get _____________from friends all the time that kind of _____________ it. If I had to _____________, I probably look at it close to 50 times a day. That’s a _____________ though.

What do you usually use your mobile phone for?

_____________ that phones have so many different uses. I message with friends, I have a _____________ that I _____________ for a weekly football match, I check my email all the time on it, I take ____________ of photos of things around me and selfies sometimes too, for my work I need to make _____________ so I have an app for that too, if I need a taxi I use a _____________ called Grab, I’m a _____________ Instagram and follow a lot of artists and comedians on there, I _____________ through a banking app and I’m sure there are a _____________ I’m _____________!

Have your mobile phone habits changed a lot over the years?

_____________. Mobile phones _____________ when I was in university, some kids had them _____________ high school. My first phone was just a cheap _____________ that could (slowly) send messages, make calls and play the earliest little games like ‘snake.’ _____________ I got a real smartphone for email and all that other stuff. I think I still wasn’t _____________ to my phone then though. It wasn’t until the last 5 or 6 years when I got a new iPhone and started using more apps and as businesses and friends have taken on board an _____________. Now it is like an extra arm or hand to me!

Do people in your country use mobile phones a lot?

I’m from the United States but I’ve been living in Vietnam for _____________ a decade. I _____________ people in all countries, including the U.S. can’t put their phones down but I can only _____________ about Vietnam where cell phone use is an _____________. Walk into any coffee shop and you’ll likely see individuals, friends and groups _____________ to check Facebook than talk to each other. _____________ to see people on their phones when they’re driving a motorbike. A lot of my friends here will sit down on Facebook after work or dinner and just _____________ for at least an hour. It _____________ some desire to put our brains to sleep that phone makers and apps like Instagram have _____________, in my opinion.

 

Grammar Analysis: Present Perfect Continuous

‘I’ve been living in Vietnam for practically a decade.’

Present perfect continuous is a great opportunity to use some ‘complex’ grammar that is actually very simple in terms of both its meaning and how you use it – easy points on IELTS!

The meaning of present perfect continuous is an action that started in the past and is still continuuing now in the present: ‘I have been living in Vietnam for 10 years (I still live here),’ ‘I’ve been waiting for more than an hour (I’m still waiting),’ ‘I’ve been having terrible nightmares the last two weeks (I’m still having nightmares even though when I say that sentence I am not literally having a nightmare).’

The way to speak/write with it is also very simple: Subject (I) + have/has been + Verb -ing (living) + prepositional/noun/verb phrase (in Vietnam for 10 years).

Simple meaning! Simple to use!

Just make sure that in your speaking you use the contraction ‘I’ve’ or ‘She’s/He’s’ and in your writing the full words ‘I have been’ or ‘She/He has been.’

Use it for a quick and easy boost for your IELTS grammar score!

 

Grammar Practice

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verbs:

Example: Dave _________ ____________ ___________________ (listen) to the same song on repeat for hours.

Answer: Dave has been listening to the same song on repeat for hours.

1. IELTS _________ _________________ _______________ (become) more difficult each passing year.

2. I _______ ____________ ________________ (sit) in this chair for too long.

3. You _____________ _____________ ______________ (read) this post for at least 5 minutes.

Fill in the blanks with more interesting verbs:

Example: IELTS has been making more and more money each passing year.

1. IELTS _________ _________________ _______________ each passing year.

2. I _______ ____________ ________________ for too long.

3. You _____________ _____________ ______________ for at least 5 minutes.

Write sentences about things in your life that you have been doing recently:

Example: I have been watching a lot of boring TV shows on Netflix lately.

 

Grammar Games

This is a simple game that you can use to practice by yourself, in writing or speaking.

When you’ve got a free moment (getting to work/school, in the elevator, at lunch, etc.) write down or say to yourself some sentences.

1. Start with your work (I’ve been working here 5 years. I’ve been sitting in this chair for about 2 hours.)

 

2. Then move on to where you live (I’ve been living here for…)

 

3. Then you relationships with friends/lovers.

 

4. Then write/talk about your hobbies.

 

5. Then about the books/TV shows/music you’ve been listening to/watching.

 

6. Then anything else going on in your life that you haven’t talked about yet.

 

7. Repeat once or twice a day and try to add more detail each time.

Here is another fun game for practicing present perfect continous that you can do with friends, either in person or by messaging:

Hold up 5 fingers and say sentences about yourself. The other people have to guess whether or not they are true.

If they are right, you must put down a finger. When you don’t have any fingers left, you lose.

For example, ‘I’ve been thinking about getting a new job.’

Of course you have to be honest to play this game!

If they are not sure if you are honest they can ask follow-up questions to try to catch you.

 

 

Links

Watch here about How your Phone is Changing You and here about What a Smartphone is Made of.

 

 

Comment below:

How many times a day do you look at your mobile phone?

What do you usually use your mobile phone for?

Have your mobile phone habits changed a lot over the years?

Do people in your country use mobile phones a lot?

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Scientific Research (IELTS Cambridge 12)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Scientific Research (IELTS Cambridge 12)

This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from IELTS Cambridge 12 and it is one of the trickier IELTS questions in my opinion.

Understand the question is simple enough – it is basically asking whether or not research in various fields should be shared or not.

But there are so many tricky parts to that! Are we talking about government secrets? Should you just focus on scientific research? What if you don’t talk about academic and business research.

To be completely honest, I do not think it is a very good IELTS question even though it is from the real test. I think some students might only write about scientific research and some picky examiners will mark them down.

I would not mark down a candidate who mainly focused on scientific research.

If you have read my other sample answers, then you know that my main tip is to write very clear, specific and detailed examples. This question is begging for a more general, safe argument that touches on different types of research.

You should still find a way to write a specific example though. Read below to see how I dealt with this problem so that you can do a good job if you get a question like this on the real IELTS test.

Sharing is caring!

Sharing is caring!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Scientific Research (IELTS Cambridge 12) by Dave

Some people believe that it is good to share as much information as possible in scientific research, business, and the academic world. Others believe that some information is too important or too valuable to be shared freely.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

The question of how much information relevant to various areas of scientific and academic research should be shared is becoming more and more important as the pace of technological innovation quickens and the internet allows for instant collaboration. In my opinion, information is a valuable, potentially dangerous asset and should only be shared freely in particular circumstances.

Advocates of freely sharing information rightly argue that collaboration leads to faster results. This applies to scientists, who can help each by offering their individual research results, businesses, which can work together as long as they are not competitors on advertising or product development, as well as academics, who need fresh perspectives to push their work to higher plateaus. Take for example the potential for sharing information in the business world. Google has built their successful advertising business by working together with various companies and sharing information. Google collects a variety of statistics related to users including their location and interests. This information is shared with advertisers who can then better target ads for users. It allows the consumer to see more relevant products and services and the companies advertising to target their audience more efficiently.

While there are decided advantages like the one mentioned above, information is still a valuable asset that individuals and companies should safeguard. In a perfect world, we might expect people to openly share everything they know but the social and economic constructions of our actual world make this a naive proposition. One interesting example of this is from a recent news article about Elon Musk where he explained why his rocket company SpaceX does not apply for patents on any new technology. He reasoned that his main competitors are governments, not private companies. If his company discloses its innovations then domestic and foreign governments can take advantage of the shared technology and potentially disrupt his business. This is just one example of how sharing can prove damaging in a capitalist society.

In conclusion, though sharing might be a valid standpoint in a perfect world, it is not feasible under current global conditions. Instead of looking to increase sharing, governments should do more to support innovative companies and researchers. This will have a larger overall impact.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. The question of how much information relevant to various areas of scientific and academic research should be shared is becoming more and more important as the pace of technological innovation quickens and the internet allows for instant collaboration. 2. In my opinion, information is a valuable, potentially dangerous asset and should only be shared freely in particular circumstances.

1. The first sentence says the topic of the essay – don’t waste time on this sentence!

2. My second sentence is my opinion. Say your opinion (clearly!) in the introduction for full marks! 

 

1. Advocates of freely sharing information rightly argue that collaboration leads to better results. 2. This applies to scientists, who can help each by offering their individual research results, businesses, which can work together as long as they are not competitors on advertising or product development, as well as academics, who need fresh perspectives to push their work to higher plateaus. 3. Take for example the potential for sharing information in the business world. 4. Google has built their successful advertising business by working together with various companies and sharing information. 5. Google collects a variety of statistics related to users including their location and interests. 6. This information is shared with advertisers who can then better target ads for users. 7. It allows the consumer to see more relevant products and services and the companies advertising to target their audience more efficiently.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence and clearly gives the main idea for the paragraph. ONLY focus on this main idea! For me is ‘better results.’

2. My second sentence lists the various areas where there are better results. I include this to make sure that I cover all the areas mentioned in the topic, even though I will focus on business for the example.

3. My third sentence begins my specific, detailed example.

4. The fourth sentence continues with the example of Google ads.

5. The fifth sentence continues the example.

6. The sixth sentence extends the result of this example.

7. The seventh sentence concludes my example with more specific details.

 

1. While there are decided advantages like the one mentioned above, information is still a valuable asset that individuals and companies should safeguard. 2. In a perfect world, we might expect people to openly share everything they know but the social and economic constructions of our actual world make this a naive proposition. 3. One interesting example of this is from a recent news article about Elon Musk where he explained why his rocket company SpaceX does not apply for patents on any new technology. 4. He reasoned that his main competitors are governments, not private companies. 5. If his company discloses its innovations then domestic and foreign governments can take advantage of the shared technology and potentially disrupt his business. 6. This is just one example of how sharing can prove damaging in a capitalist society.

1. The first sentence is the topic sentence for my second body paragraph that focus on my overall opinion – that information is too valuable to share freely.

2. My second sentence explains further why I think sharing information is unrealistic in a general sense.

3. The third sentence begins my specific example of something that Elon Musk said.

4. My fourth sentence expands on this example by explaining his reasoning – always a good way to continue an example.

5. The fifth also develops the example further by supporting his reasoning.

6. The sixth sentence summarises the paragraph and makes my point more general.

 

1. In conclusion, though sharing might be a valid standpoint in a perfect world, it is not feasible under current global conditions. 2. Instead of looking to increase sharing, governments should do more to support innovative companies and researchers. 3. This will have a larger overall impact.

1. The first sentence explains my opinion and the justification for it.

2. My second sentence has some extra detail that many examiners require for band 7 and up for task achievement.

3. This final sentence draws a firm conclusion to the essay – it is not totally necessary but helpful if you have time to write it!

Sample Answer Vocabulary

The question of how much information relevant to various areas of scientific and academic research should be shared is becoming more and more important as the pace of technological innovation quickens and the internet allows for instant collaboration. In my opinion, information is a valuable, potentially dangerous asset and should only be shared freely in particular circumstances.

Advocates of freely sharing information rightly argue that collaboration leads to faster results. This applies to scientists, who can help each by offering their individual research results, businesses, which can work together as long as they are not competitors on advertising or product development, as well as academics, who need fresh perspectives to push their work to higher plateaus. Take for example the potential for sharing information in the business world. Google has built their successful advertising business by working together with various companies and sharing information. Google collects a variety of statistics related to users including their location and interests. This information is shared with advertisers who can then better target ads for users. It allows the consumer to see more relevant products and services and the companies advertising to target their audience more efficiently.

While there are decided advantages like the one mentioned above, information is still a valuable asset that individuals and companies should safeguard. In a perfect world, we might expect people to openly share everything they know but the social and economic constructions of our actual world make this a naive proposition. One interesting example of this is from a recent news article about Elon Musk where he explained why his rocket company SpaceX does not apply for patents on any new technology. He reasoned that his main competitors are governments, not private companies. If his company discloses its innovations then domestic and foreign governments can take advantage of the shared technology and potentially disrupt his business. This is just one example of how sharing can prove damaging in a capitalist society.

In conclusion, though sharing might be a valid standpoint in a perfect world, it is not feasible under current global conditions. Instead of looking to increase sharing, governments should do more to support innovative companies and researchers. This will have a larger overall impact.

Answers:

relevant: important and related to what is being discussed

technological innovation quickens: faster inventions and developments in science

instant collaboration: can work together quickly and easily

asset: something useful or valuable

particular circumstances: an individual context, specific situation

advocates: proponents or supporters

rightly argue: correctly believe/think

product development: making your products better

fresh perspectives: new ideas/views

push their work to higher plateaus: get better

target ads: place ads with the right people

more relevant products: products that are important and related to you

decided advantages: clear advantages

safeguard: keep safe

in a perfect world: in an ideal world, the best case/scenario

naive proposition: innocent idea, lacking understanding of the real world

patents: government license saying that you invented something and own it

reasoned: to think about the reasons/justifications for something

discloses: reveals

take advantage: exploit, use for yourself

disrupt: interrupt or cause a problem

prove damaging: have a negative impact

capitalist society: economy based on capital, companies, etc. opposite of socialism/communism

valid standpoint: understandable/defensible view

not feasible: impossible, very unlikely

global conditions: the way the world is now

larger overall impact: bigger effect overall

 

Vocabulary Practice

The question of how much information ______________ to various areas of scientific and academic research should be shared is becoming more and more important as the__________________________ and the internet allows for

______________________. In my opinion, information is a valuable, potentially dangerous ________________ and should only be shared freely in _______________.

___________________ of freely sharing information ___________________ that collaboration leads to faster results. This applies to scientists, who can help each by offering their individual research results, businesses, which can work together as long as they are not competitors on advertising or ____________________, as well as academics, who need ____________________ to ____________________. Take for example the potential for sharing information in the business world. Google has built their successful advertising business by working together with various companies and sharing information. Google collects a variety of statistics related to users including their location and interests. This information is shared with advertisers who can then better ____________________ for users. It allows the consumer to see ____________________ and services and the companies advertising to target their audience more efficiently.

While there are ____________________ like the one mentioned above, information is still a valuable asset that individuals and companies should ________________________________________, we might expect people to openly share everything they know but the social and economic constructions of our actual world make this a ____________________. One interesting example of this is from a recent news article about Elon Musk where he explained why his rocket company SpaceX does not apply for ____________ on any new technology. He ____________________ that his main competitors are governments, not private companies. If his company ____________________ its innovations then domestic and foreign governments can ____________________ of the shared technology and potentially ____________________ his business. This is just one example of how sharing can ____________________ in a ____________________.

In conclusion, though sharing might be a ____________________ in a perfect world, it is ____________________ under current ____________________. Instead of looking to increase sharing, governments should do more to support innovative companies and researchers. This will have a____________________.

 

Links from YouTube

Here are some links to videos to get more ideas and review some of the vocabulary used in my sample answer.

If you need ideas about reading the news and improving your English you can read about it here.

How Collaboration Leads to Great Ideas

Collaboration: The Key to Scientific Success

How Open Science Protects Us 

Elon Musk on Sharing Patents

 

 

 

Comment below – Should companies/academics/researchers share information more or less freely?

I’m gonna have to say that…

I’ll only say that…

This may not be exactly true, but in most cases…

In my country, …

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!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Transportation

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Transportation

This is an actual question from a past test and I’m a former examiner who wrote this IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer.

Transportation is such a common topic – you are likely to hear about it in the listening or read about it in the reading test.

It may also come up on the speaking! Make sure you take a close look at the sample answer as well as all the vocabulary exercises below as they may be able to help all parts of your IELTS score!

Click here for my other sample answers.

If you need some help thinking of ideas you can try my tips on brainstorming here.

IELTS transportation

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 13: Transportation (by Dave)

Some people think that governments should invest mainly in making public transportation faster while other think there are more important priorities (cost, the environment). Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare. 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. 2. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

1. My first sentence restates what the IELTS essay topic is – keep it simple and fast!

2. The second sentence gives a clear opinion – don’t sit in the middle – be 100% clear in your opinion from the very beginning.

 

1. Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. 2. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. 3. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. 4. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. 5. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

1. My first sentence is my topic sentence with the main idea for the paragraph: the relative importance of the environment and cost.

2. My second sentence begins a specific detailed example about the cost of transport in Vietnam.

3. The third sentence further develops this example by explaining the effect on students.

4. The fourth sentence explains why the environment and cost will always be in conflict.

5. My fifth sentence concludes the paragraph by distinguishing between rich and poor countries.

 

1. Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. 2. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. 3. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. 4. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. 5. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. 6. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

1. My first sentence is another topic sentence that has the main idea for this paragraph: the speed of transport is important.

2. The second sentence immediately begins the example for this – start your examples as quickly as possible. Don’t waste any time!

3. The third sentence continues the example by detailing the impact of this.

4. My fourth sentence further explores the impact of faster transportation.

5. The fifth also continues to explore the impact. Be as specific as possible!

6. My sixth sentence concludes the paragraph by mentioning the impact on the whole country of Japan.

 

1. In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. 2. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

1. My first sentence restates the opinion that I already said in the introduction and the main reason why.

2. The second sentence gives an extra detail that a lot of examiners will require for band 7+ for task achievement.

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

While many are of the opinion that the most important factor in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of key considerations, speed is by far the most important.

Two of the most commonly addressed areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the residents who need them the most, typically students and low-wage earners, to afford them. In an ideal world the government would have cheap buses that produce little exhaust, but cost and environmental concerns will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to better balance these competing policy influences.

Although these are worthwhile considerations, speed of transport should be the main rationale as it has a trickle down effect on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can enhance the quality of life of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to recuperate for the next day. Over years and decades this has hastened Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are crucial for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a greater effect on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will reap the rewards for decades and be able to reinvest that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

Answers:

important factor: a key element

key considerations: important to think about

by far: clearly, far and away

commonly addressed: often considered or dealt with

residents who need them the most: people who require something

low-wage earners: people who do not make much money

in an ideal world: in a perfect world, ideally

exhaust: fumes coming out of cars

environmental concerns: possible problems related to the environment

better balance: make something more equal

policy influences: to control or alter laws

worthwhile considerations: good reasons to think about

rationale: reason for doing something

trickle down effect: impact will reach many people

enhance the quality of life: make life better

recuperate: get better

hastened: make faster

crucial: important, key

greater effect: bigger impact

reap the rewards: get rewards, receive what you deserve )if it’s good)

reinvest: put money back into something

Vocabulary Practice

While many are of the opinion that the most ____________________ in public transport is speed, others value areas such as cost and the environment. In my opinion, although there are a number of ____________________, speed is ____________________ the most important.

Two of the most ____________________ areas of public transport are cost and the environment. In Vietnam, the quality of the public transport buses is very low and they produce a lot of air pollution. However, they are very cheap and this allows the ____________________, typically students and ____________________, to afford them. ____________________ the government would have cheap buses that produce little ____________________, but cost and ____________________ will always be in conflict. In developing countries, it makes sense to emphasise the expense of tickets while developed countries have the wealth and responsibility to try to ____________________ these competing ____________________.

Although these are ____________________, speed of transport should be the main ____________________ as it has a ____________________ on the economy and quality of life of a country. For example, Japan has a famously fast and efficient system of railways both inside cities and connecting provinces within the country. If someone has a family, faster transport allows them to spend more time with their family both before and after work. This can ____________________ of working class people. It also means that they will get to work faster, get more work done during the day and have more time to ____________________ for the next day. Over years and decades this has ____________________ Japan’s development into one of the world’s leading economies.

In my opinion, cost and the environment are ____________________ for ordinary people and the future of our planet but speed has a ____________________ on people in both the short and long-term. Governments that focus on faster public transport will ____________________ for decades and be able to ____________________ that money in areas like the environment, education, and healthcare.

Links from YouTube

Check out some links to videos that can help you to review the vocabulary above and learn new words and ideas that can help you on the test:

How the World’s First Metro was Built

An Animated History of Transportation

The Future of Transportation

Comment below – What do you think is the most important factor for public transport? Cost, environment, speed or something else?

I’d venture to say that…

I’m not alone in thinking that…

Some people might disagree with me, but I’d still say…

All wheeled transport should be banned – what’s wrong with walking around?

If you want more helpful resources check out my private Facebook group, my YouTube channel and my Instagram – make your whole life about me!

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Traffic and Road Safety (Real Test)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Traffic and Road Safety (Real Test)

I wrote this IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer based on a real question from the test. I’m not sure exactly why but it seems that traffic and road safety questions come up all the time on IELTS!

This question asks to what extent you agree or disagree so you have 3 choices: you can agree, you can disagree or you can agree and disagree.

No matter what you must say your opinion at the end – you cannot sit in the middle or you will get a band 5 for task achievement!

My other sample answers are here if you are interested – featuring real past tests and the Cambridge IELTS series as well.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 13: Traffic and Road Safety (by Dave)

Some people believe that the best way to increase the road safety is to increase the minimum legal age for driving cars. To what extent do you agree or disagree.

Many are of the opinion that raising the age at which people can get driving licenses is the best way to make roads safer. Although this will help prevent some accidents due to inexperience, I strongly feel that it is more important to focus on safer roads through improved urban planning.

The main justification that proponents of raising the age at which people can drive will often cite is the number of accidents attributed to inexperience. In the USA, most teenagers get their driving permit around age 16. There are a couple of factors that can lead a 16 year-old to cause more accidents than someone in their 20s. The first is that they simply do no have as much road experience. They have only dealt with a limited number of experiences and are more likely to make poor decisions at pivotal moments. The other reason is that many American teenagers begin drinking alcohol around this age even though the legal age is 21. Teenagers are notoriously irresponsible and they have not developed strategies for handling alcohol when driving. All people, when drunk, are dangerous but it is especially dangerous if they are inexperienced in terms of both alcohol and driving.

Even though these are valid points, I do no think they outweigh the number of accidents that poor urban planning and infrastructure cause. There will always be other causes that include young drivers, driving while under the influence and road rage but the only factor that plays a hand in nearly all accidents relates to how the roads have been planned. Take the city of New Orleans for example. The urban planners in New Orleans constructed the city with almost entirely one-way streets. This may make it inconvenient at times but it has also resulted in one of the lowest accident rates in the USA. It has also allowed for the construction of parallel streetcars that have also greatly reduced the number of accidents. Cities around the world have replicated this approach by increasing the number of one-way streets and working streetcars into the city plan and seen reciprocal declines in vehicular accidents.

I believe that urban planning, despite not being a well-publicized cause, is the main source of most accidents around the world and raising the legal driving age would have little real impact. The more cities that begin to focus their attention on the causes, rather than the symptoms, of accidents the safer our roads will be for ourselves and future generations.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. Many are of the opinion that raising the age at which people can get driving licenses is the best way to make roads safer. 2. Although this will help prevent some accidents due to inexperience, I strongly feel that it is more important to focus on safer roads through improved urban planning.

1. The first sentence simply rephrases the topic – keep this sentence short and simple.

2. My second sentence has my opinion and my main reasons – include this or you will get a band 5 for task achievement!

1. The main justification that proponents of raising the age at which people can drive will often cite is the number of accidents attributed to inexperience. 2. In the USA, most teenagers get their driving permit around age 16. 3. There are a couple of factors that can lead a 16 year-old to cause more accidents than someone in their 20s. 4. The first is that they simply do no have as much road experience. 5. They have only dealt with a limited number of experiences and are more likely to make poor decisions at pivotal moments. 6. The other reason is that many American teenagers begin drinking alcohol around this age even though the legal age is 21. 7. Teenagers are notoriously irresponsible and they have not developed strategies for handling alcohol when driving. 8. All people, when drunk, are dangerous but it is especially dangerous if they are inexperienced in terms of both alcohol and driving.

1. My first sentence is a topic sentence which contains the topic (road safety) and my main idea for the paragraph (accidents due to inexperience) – short and simple please!

2. My second sentence begins a specific example – always be specific with your examples!

3. The third sentence develops the example – always develop your specific examples as much as possible!

4. The fourth sentence continues to develop the same example.

5. My fifth sentence also continues to develop the example.

6. The sixth sentence further develops the same example – focus on one example and develop it fully!

7. My seventh sentence develops the example further and links it back to why this is dangerous.

8. The eighth sentence concludes the paragraph emphasising why young people are more likely to get into accidents.

1. Even though these are valid points, I do no think they outweigh the number of accidents that poor urban planning and infrastructure cause. 2. There will always be other causes that include young drivers, driving while under the influence and road rage but the only factor that plays a hand in nearly all accidents relates to how the roads have been planned. 3. Take the city of New Orleans for example. 4. The urban planners in New Orleans constructed the city with almost entirely one-way streets. 5. This may make it inconvenient at times but it has also resulted in one of the lowest accident rates in the USA. 6. It has also allowed for the construction of parallel streetcars that have also greatly reduced the number of accidents. 7. Cities around the world have replicated this approach by increasing the number of one-way streets and working streetcars into the city plan and seen reciprocal declines in vehicular accidents.

1. My first sentence is another simple topic sentence containing both the topic and the main idea for the whole paragraph – poor urban planning causes more accidents.

2. My next sentence explains my main idea – you only need this sentence if you feel that your main idea needs some more explanation.

3. The third sentence begins my specific example for this paragraph. It is fine to write short, accurate sentences – not every sentence has to be long and complex!

4. My fourth sentence develops this example.

5. My fifth sentence continues to develop this example.

6. The sixth sentence is still developing the example by drawing some conclusions!

7. My seventh sentence make this more general and concludes the whole paragraph.

1. I believe that urban planning, despite not being a well-publicized cause, is the main source of most accidents around the world and raising the legal driving age would have little real impact. 2. The more cities that begin to focus their attention on the causes, rather than the symptoms, of accidents the safer our roads will be for ourselves and future generations.

1. My first sentence summarises the whole essay – don’t worry much about this sentence – write it quickly because it has no impact on your task achievement score.

2. The second sentence adds an extra detail that many examiners require for band 7+ for task achievement.

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

How many of the words in bold below do you know? You might understand them a bit, not 100%. To practice try to write a dictionary definition of each one and then check your answers below.

Many are of the opinion that raising the age at which people can get driving licenses is the best way to make roads safer. Although this will help prevent some accidents due to inexperience, I strongly feel that it is more important to focus on safer roads through improved urban planning.

The main justification that proponents of raising the age at which people can drive will often cite is the number of accidents attributed to inexperience. In the USA, most teenagers get their driving permit around age 16. There are a couple of factors that can lead a 16 year-old to cause more accidents than someone in their 20s. The first is that they simply do no have as much road experience. They have only dealt with a limited number of experiences and are more likely to make poor decisions at pivotal moments. The other reason is that many American teenagers begin drinking alcohol around this age even though the legal age is 21. Teenagers are notoriously irresponsible and they have not developed strategies for handling alcohol when driving. All people, when drunk, are dangerous but it is especially dangerous if they are inexperienced in terms of both alcohol and driving.

Even though these are valid points, I do no think they outweigh the number of accidents that poor urban planning and infrastructure cause. There will always be other causes that include young drivers, driving while under the influence and road rage but the only factor that plays a hand in nearly all accidents relates to how the roads have been planned. Take the city of New Orleans for example. The urban planners in New Orleans constructed the city with almost entirely one-way streets. This may make it inconvenient at times but it has also resulted in one of the lowest accident rates in the USA. It has also allowed for the construction of parallel streetcars that have also greatly reduced the number of accidents. Cities around the world have replicated this approach by increasing the number of one-way streets and working streetcars into the city plan and seen reciprocal declines in vehicular accidents.

I believe that urban planning, despite not being a well-publicized cause, is the main source of most accidents around the world and raising the legal driving age would have little real impact. The more cities that begin to focus their attention on the causes, rather than the symptoms, of accidents the safer our roads will be for ourselves and future generations.

 

Answers:

are of the opinion: think/believe/feel

urban planning: designing cities

justification: reason for doing something

cite: reference or quote

pivotal moments: key moments/events

legal age: the age at which you are allowed legally to do something

notoriously: famous for being bad

handling alcohol: being able to drink alcohol (beer, wine) responsibly

valid points: good arguments

driving while under the influence: driving drunk or while using a drug

road rage: getting very angry while driving

plays a hand: is part of, has a role in, is partly responsible for

urban planners: the people who design cities

one-way streets: streets where you can only drive in one direction

at times: sometimes

resulted in: the end product is, the end result

parallel: running alongside, opposite of perpendicular

replicated: repeated/reproduced/duplicated

reciprocal: something done in return or as a result

well-publicized cause: a story or issue that gets a lot of attention in the media

little real impact: not much effect

symptoms: a sign or results of a problem, usually used when talking about illness (sneezing is a symptom of a cold)

 

Vocabulary Practice

Many __________________________ that raising the age at which people can get driving licenses is the best way to make roads safer. Although this will help prevent some accidents due to inexperience, I strongly feel that it is more important to focus on safer roads through improved __________________________.

The main __________________________ that proponents of raising the age at which people can drive will often __________________________ is the number of accidents attributed to inexperience. In the USA, most teenagers get their driving permit around age 16. There are a couple of factors that can lead a 16 year-old to cause more accidents than someone in their 20s. The first is that they simply do no have as much road experience. They have only dealt with a limited number of experiences and are more likely to make poor decisions at __________________________. The other reason is that many American teenagers begin drinking alcohol around this age even though the __________________________ is 21. Teenagers are __________________________ irresponsible and they have not developed strategies for __________________________ when driving. All people, when drunk, are dangerous but it is especially dangerous if they are inexperienced in terms of both alcohol and driving.

Even though these are __________________________, I do no think they outweigh the number of accidents that poor urban planning and infrastructure cause. There will always be other causes that include young drivers, __________________________ and __________________________ but the only factor that __________________________ in nearly all accidents relates to how the roads have been planned. Take the city of New Orleans for example. The __________________________ in New Orleans constructed the city with almost entirely __________________________. This may make it inconvenient __________________________ but it has also __________________________ one of the lowest accident rates in the USA. It has also allowed for the construction of __________________________ streetcars that have also greatly reduced the number of accidents. Cities around the world have __________________________ this approach by increasing the number of one-way streets and working streetcars into the city plan and seen __________________________ declines in vehicular accidents.

I believe that urban planning, despite not being a __________________________, is the main source of most accidents around the world and raising the legal driving age would have __________________________. The more cities that begin to focus their attention on the causes, rather than the __________________________, of accidents the safer our roads will be for ourselves and future generations.

Links about Traffic and Road Safety

Here are some ideas for how you can practice when watching these videos.

The Simple Solution to Traffic

What a driverless world could look like

Why Don’t Ants Get Stuck In Traffic?

Worlds Best Creative Road Safety TV Ads Commercials

Comment below – when did you first drive a car or motorbike?

I was about…

In my country, people are only allowed to get a license when… 

It was a bit late for me…

Still can’t, I just use Uber…

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Newspapers and Media (Real Test)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Newspapers and Media (Real Test)

This is a discuss both sides IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer about the topic of newspapers and media from the real test. I’m a real former British Council IELTS examiner so you can fully trust the answer below to be accurate and the exercises to help you boost your score.

The structure of these essays is simple: one paragraph agreeing and one paragraph disagreeing. If you need some more help, you can read about all the IELTS essay structures here.

My other sample answers from the real tests and IELTS Cambridge books are here.

Let’s go!

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 13: Newspapers and the Media (by Dave)

Some people think that newspapers are the best way to learn news. However, others believe that they can learn news better through other media. Discuss both views and give your opinion

Newspapers have been considered the most reliable news source for more than a century but in recent decades newer forms of media have supplanted their influence. Some feel that these new sources of news are better but in my opinion, newspapers are by far better because of the amount of time and research that writers put into their articles.

The main reason that many people prefer newer media outlets is that they deliver news more quickly across a variety of convenient platforms. The most notable example of this is online news. The vast majority of people get their news from Facebook and other social media websites which aggregate articles from various online publishers, including the online version of print newspapers in some cases. The problem here is that websites are solely concerned with increasing traffic and getting news up as fast as possible. It is a common occurrence for a website to publish news quickly in order to beat others to the scoop before it has been properly verified or even thoughtfully analysed. The result is hordes of people clicking on links to amuse themselves for a minute without casting a critical eye over the veracity of the news. These articles are then shared online or by word of mouth and false information spreads rapidly.

Despite the conveniences of online media, the news that is printed in newspapers has been better researched and verified in most cases. Newspapers frequently devote entire departments to long-term investigative journalism. A standout example of this would be the Boston Globe’s years long investigation into sexual abuse by the Catholic church. They carefully interviewed victims and put together a convincing case which led to long-lasting reforms and convictions of some individuals. They also published stories on the topic for over a year which allowed for detailed and thoughtful analysis of the problem, suggestions for solutions, and articles on wider societal implications. This type of reporting is anathema to the fervent pace of online media.

In conclusion, even though newspapers are a dying industry I think they are more informative and trustworthy than the largely online institutions that are replacing them. This trend is irreversible and will have consequences for the future of democracies around the world as people become less informed.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. Newspapers have been considered the most reliable news source for more than a century but in recent decades newer forms of media have supplanted their influence. 2. Some feel that these new sources of news are better but in my opinion, newspapers are by far better because of the amount of time and research that writers put into their articles.

1. In your first sentence just restate the topic quickly – this sentence is not that important so write it as fast as you can!

2. The second sentence makes my opinion 100% clear – the clearer the better!

1. The main reason that many people prefer newer media outlets is that they deliver news more quickly across a variety of convenient platforms. 2. The most notable example of this is online news. 3. The vast majority of people get their news from Facebook and other social media websites which aggregate articles from various online publishers, including the online version of print newspapers in some cases. 4. The problem here is that websites are solely concerned with increasing traffic and getting news up as fast as possible. 5. It is a common occurrence for a website to publish news quickly in order to beat others to the scoop before it has been properly verified or even thoughtfully analysed. 6. The result is hordes of people clicking on links to amuse themselves for a minute without casting a critical eye over the veracity of the news. 7. These articles are then shared online or by word of mouth and false information spreads rapidly.

1. My first sentence is a topic sentence that has the main idea for the whole paragraph (they are faster and more convenient).

2. The second sentence begins my example by focusing on online news.

3. The third sentence makes my example more specific by focusing on sites like Facebook.

4. My fourth sentence continues with the example by describing why this is a problem.

5. My fifth sentence further develops why this is a problem.

6. The sixth sentence continues with the impact of this problem.

7. The seventh sentence continues more with the impact so that I have a fully developed example.

1. Despite the conveniences of online media, the news that is printed in newspapers has been better researched and verified in most cases. 2. Newspapers frequently devote entire departments to long-term investigative journalism. 3. A standout example of this would be the Boston Globe’s years long investigation into sexual abuse by the Catholic church. 4. They carefully interviewed victims and put together a convincing case which led to long-lasting reforms and convictions of some individuals. 5. They also published stories on the topic for over a year which allowed for detailed and thoughtful analysis of the problem, suggestions for solutions, and articles on wider societal implications. 6. This type of reporting is anathema to the fervent pace of online media.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence focused on why newspapers are better (better researched, more reliable news).

2. My next sentence develops this idea by making it more specifically about newspaper departments and investigative journalism. Being specific is great fro your task achievement score and will help bring out really good vocabulary.

3. The third sentence gives a very specific example of a news story from a real newspaper.

4. The fourth sentence continues with this example.

5. My fifth sentence also continues with this example.

6. The sixth sentence concludes the paragraph by comparing it to online news.

1. In conclusion, even though newspapers are a dying industry I think they are more informative and trustworthy than the largely online institutions that are replacing them. 2. This trend is irreversible and will have consequences for the future of democracies around the world as people become less informed.

1. My first sentence concludes the essay by summarising my main ideas and opinion.

2. The second sentence adds in an extra detail. Be sure to include one extra detail at the end for full task achievement points!

Sample Answer Vocabulary

How many of the words in bold below do you know? You might understand them a bit, not 100%. To practice try to write a dictionary definition of each one and then check your answers below.

Newspapers have been considered the most reliable news source for more than a century but in recent decades newer forms of media have supplanted their influence. Some feel that these new sources of news are better but in my opinion, newspapers are by far better because of the amount of time and research that writers put into their articles.

The main reason that many people prefer newer media outlets is that they deliver news more quickly across a variety of convenient platforms. The most notable example of this is online news. The vast majority of people get their news from Facebook and other social media websites which aggregate articles from various online publishers, including the online version of print newspapers in some cases. The problem here is that websites are solely concerned with increasing traffic and getting news up as fast as possible. It is a common occurrence for a website to publish news quickly in order to beat others to the scoop before it has been properly verified or even thoughtfully analysed. The result is hordes of people clicking on links to amuse themselves for a minute without casting a critical eye over the veracity of the news. These articles are then shared online or by word of mouth and false information spreads rapidly.

Despite the conveniences of online media, the news that is printed in newspapers has been better researched and verified in most cases. Newspapers frequently devote entire departments to long-term investigative journalism. A standout example of this would be the Boston Globe’s years long investigation into sexual abuse by the Catholic church. They carefully interviewed victims and put together a convincing case which led to long-lasting reforms and convictions of some individuals. They also published stories on the topic for over a year which allowed for detailed and thoughtful analysis of the problem, suggestions for solutions, and articles on wider societal implications. This type of reporting is anathema to the fervent pace of online media.

In conclusion, even though newspapers are a dying industry I think they are more informative and trustworthy than the largely online institutions that are replacing them. This trend is irreversible and will have consequences for the future of democracies around the world as people become less informed.

Answers:

reliable: can be trusted, unchanging and consistent

supplanted: take over or take the place of

by far better: much better

deliver news: give or show the news

platforms: the places where you can read the news such as on Facebook, Instagram, on Google, etc.

most notable example: the best example of

vast majority: by far the most

aggregate: choose/collect

solely concerned: only interested in

getting news up: posting news online

common occurrence: happens a lot

scoop: exclusive news published before anyone else publishes it

properly verified: checked to make sure it is 100% true

hordes: lots of people

casting a critical eye: looking critically at something

veracity: truth

word of mouth: what people say about something; a movie might have good or bad word of mouth

devote: commit fully to

long-term investigative journalism: when a newspaper researches a story for a long time

convincing case: compelling argument

long-lasting reforms: changes that are permanent or last for a long time

wider societal implications: impacts all of society

anathema: hateful to/repugnant

fervent pace: very fast

largely: mostly

irreversible: cannot be changed or reversed or put back to the way it was before

Vocabulary Practice

Newspapers have been considered the most _________________ news source for more than a century but in recent decades newer forms of media have _________________ their influence. Some feel that these new sources of news are better but in my opinion, newspapers are _________________ because of the amount of time and research that writers put into their articles.

The main reason that many people prefer newer media outlets is that they _________________ more quickly across a variety of convenient _________________. The _________________ of this is online news. The _________________ of people get their news from Facebook and other social media websites which _________________ articles from various online publishers, including the online version of print newspapers in some cases. The problem here is that websites are _________________ with increasing traffic and _________________ as fast as possible. It is a _________________ for a website to publish news quickly in order to beat others to the _________________ before it has been _________________ or even thoughtfully analysed. The result is _________________ of people clicking on links to amuse themselves for a minute without _________________ over the _________________ of the news. These articles are then shared online or by _________________ and false information spreads rapidly.

Despite the conveniences of online media, the news that is printed in newspapers has been better researched and verified in most cases. Newspapers frequently _________________ entire departments to _________________. A standout example of this would be the Boston Globe’s years long investigation into sexual abuse by the Catholic church. They carefully interviewed victims and put together a _________________ which led to _________________ and convictions of some individuals. They also published stories on the topic for over a year which allowed for detailed and thoughtful analysis of the problem, suggestions for solutions, and articles on _________________. This type of reporting is _________________ to the _________________ of online media.

In conclusion, even though newspapers are a dying industry I think they are more informative and trustworthy than the _________________ online institutions that are replacing them. This trend is _________________ and will have consequences for the future of democracies around the world as people become less informed.

Links about News and the Media

Watch these videos to review some of the ideas and vocabulary from the sample answer above. This will help you to improve for all parts of IELTS, not just the writing.

How to Choose your News

The New York Times YouTube Channel

The Atlantic YouTube Channel

Wired YouTube Channel

BBC News YouTube Channel 

 

Comment below – how often do you read the news?

I’m not really into the news so just…

I’m really keen on reading the news so maybe…

In my country, the news…

I’m not interested in reading the news because…