IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Agriculture (Cambridge IELTS 13)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Agriculture (Cambridge IELTS 13)

This is a cause and solution IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer on the topic of agriculture written by me, Dave, a former British Council IELTS examiner.

Be careful with the structure of these IELTS essays: you should write one paragraph clearly explaining why (the cause) and one clearly explaining a possible solution.

Don’t waste your time talking generally about the topic – get as specific as you can as quickly as you can.

If you want to read my other sample answers, I have written about lots of different topics here!

IELTS Agriculture

IELTS Agriculture…

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

In spite of the advances made in agriculture, many people around the world still go hungry. Why is this the case? What can be done about this problem?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge. Write at least 250 words.

Recent years have witnessed tremendous developments in agricultural science yet every day people all over the world continue to suffer and even die from hunger. In my opinion, this is because innovations rarely impact the developing world and the best solution for it is to direct humanitarian funding towards these advances.

The main cause of more advanced agricultural methods not reaching the people who need it the most is that the developing world has trouble implementing these methods. There are a number of reasons for this ranging from limited financial resources to poor existing infrastructure to political instability, depending on the country in question. One example of this would be in many African nations, where malnourishment has historically been highest. Countries like the Congo have seen revolution after revolution over the last several decades, which has effectively destabilised the entire country. The universities where students would learn about changes in agriculture are frequently shut down or destroyed. The young people who would become agricultural scientists end up drawn into the conflict as soldiers or victims. Long-term economic neglect means that the government has very limited ability to subsidise farming. These problems are present to varying degrees in countries around the world and offer one possible explanation for the continued prevalence of hunger.

The solution that I believe would be most effective is directing humanitarian funds previously focused on food aid towards education and agricultural infrastructure. Food aid is a notoriously poor solution because it only offers an immediate solution and warlords often exploit it to support their continued mistreatment of their people. It hurts more than it helps. However, there would be better long-term effects if international organisations and governments redirected that money into helping build better farms, provide more modern equipment, and sending qualified professions to train people in need. There is a TedTalk by a young man in Kenya who built his own windmill out of old bicycle parts and by reading a book in the local library. It is large enough to power his own house and he was seeking financing for a larger one that would power irrigation channels for the entire village. If more people like him can be found or trained then this will have an impact that lasts for decades and is relatively impervious to the factors preventing agricultural advances from taking root in developing countries.

In conclusion, developing companies face myriad problems that hinder their ability to take advantage of newer agricultural models and we should direct more funding to helping these countries learn more about new farming methods. This is likely to be an important issue in the world as the gap between rich and poor, develop and undeveloped widens while technological progress continues its indifferent march forward.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. Recent years have witnessed tremendous developments in agricultural science yet every day people all over the world continue to suffer and even die from hunger. 2. In my opinion, this is because innovations rarely impact the developing world and the best solution for it is to direct humanitarian funding towards these advances.

1. The first sentence is only to repeat the topic – this sentence is not very important and you should write it very quickly.

2. My second sentence states my opinion – this sentence is super important if you want above band 5 for task achievement but you can also write it quickly.

 

1. The main cause of more advanced agricultural methods not reaching the people who need it the most is that the developing world has trouble implementing these methods. 2. There are a number of reasons for this ranging from limited financial resources to poor existing infrastructure to political instability, depending on the country in question. 3. One example of this would be in many African nations, where malnourishment has historically been highest. 4. Countries like the Congo have seen revolution after revolution over the last several decades, which has effectively destabilised the entire country. 5. The universities where students would learn about changes in agriculture are frequently shut down or destroyed. 6. The young people who would become agricultural scientists end up drawn into the conflict as soldiers or victims. 7. Long-term economic neglect means that the government has very limited ability to subsidise farming. 8. These problems are present to varying degrees in countries around the world and offer one possible explanation for the continued prevalence of hunger.

1. The first sentence is my topic sentence, which tells the reader what the whole paragraph is about. Once you write about your main idea, you can ONLY talk about that main idea for the rest of the paragraph.

2. The second sentence details some of the main reasons. Try to be as specific as possible – avoid being general!

3. My third sentence starts my example of African countries. Don’t feel bad using your own country as an example – it is what you know best!

4. The fourth sentence makes my example more specific. Develop your examples. They should be specific and detailed!

5. My fifth sentence keeps developing the example of the Congo.

6. The sixth sentence keeps developing the example of the Congo. Develop, develop, develop!

7. The seventh sentence keeps developing the example of the Congo.

8. My eighth sentence is more general and related it back to the main idea for the paragraph.

 

1. The solution that I believe would be most effective is directing humanitarian funds previously focused on food aid towards education and agricultural infrastructure. 2. Food aid is a notoriously poor solution because it only offers an immediate solution and warlords often exploit it to support their continued mistreatment of their people. 3. It hurts more than it helps. 4. However, there would be better long-term effects if international organisations and governments redirected that money into helping build better farms, provide more modern equipment, and sending qualified professions to train people in need. 5. There is a TedTalk by a young man in Kenya who built his own windmill out of old bicycle parts and by reading a book in the local library. 6. It is large enough to power his own house and he was seeking financing for a larger one that would power irrigation channels for the entire village. 7. If more people like him can be found or trained then this will have an impact that lasts for decades and is relatively impervious to the factors preventing agricultural advances from taking root in developing countries.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence with my main idea: we should put humanitarian money into training and infrastructure for agriculture.

2. The next sentence says why the current use of food aid is ineffective.

3. My third sentence expands this – don’t be afraid to write the occasional short, simple, accurate sentence!

4. The fourth sentence gives very specific details about what kind of infrastructure and training is needed to solve the problem.

5. My fifth sentence gives a concrete example of a TedTalk I watched. Don’t worry if you can’t remember the name!

6. The sixth sentence continues the example.

7. My seventh sentence relates it back to the main idea and concludes the paragraph.

 

1. In conclusion, developing companies face myriad problems that hinder their ability to take advantage of newer agricultural models and we should direct more funding to helping these countries learn more about new farming methods. 2. This is likely to be an important issue in the world as the gap between rich and poor, develop and undeveloped widens while technological progress continues its indifferent march forward.

1. The first sentence summarises my arguments. This sentence is not very important so write it as fast as you can!

2. My second sentence gives an extra detail – this sentence is important so make sure that you have enough time for it at the end.

 

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.

Recent years have witnessed tremendous developments in agricultural science yet every day people all over the world continue to suffer and even die from hunger. In my opinion, this is because innovations rarely impact the developing world and the best solution for it is to direct humanitarian funding towards these advances.

The main cause of more advanced agricultural methods not reaching the people who need it the most is that the developing world has trouble implementing these methods. There are a number of reasons for this ranging from limited financial resources to poor existing infrastructure to political instability, depending on the country in question. One example of this would be in many African nations, where malnourishment has historically been highest. Countries like the Congo have seen revolution after revolution over the last several decades, which has effectively destabilised the entire country. The universities where students would learn about changes in agriculture are frequently shut down or destroyed. The young people who would become agricultural scientists end up drawn into the conflict as soldiers or victims. Long-term economic neglect means that the government has very limited ability to subsidise farming. These problems are present to varying degrees in countries around the world and offer one possible explanation for the continued prevalence of hunger.

The solution that I believe would be most effective is directing humanitarian funds previously focused on food aid towards education and agricultural infrastructure. Food aid is a notoriously poor solution because it only offers an immediate solution and warlords often exploit it to support their continued mistreatment of their people. It hurts more than it helps. However, there would be better long-term effects if international organisations and governments redirected that money into helping build better farms, provide more modern equipment, and sending qualified professions to train people in need. There is a TedTalk by a young man in Kenya who built his own windmill out of old bicycle parts and by reading a book in the local library. It is large enough to power his own house and he was seeking financing for a larger one that would power irrigation channels for the entire village. If more people like him can be found or trained then this will have an impact that lasts for decades and is relatively impervious to the factors preventing agricultural advances from taking root in developing countries.

In conclusion, developing companies face myriad problems that hinder their ability to take advantage of newer agricultural models and we should direct more funding to helping these countries learn more about new farming methods. This is likely to be an important issue in the world as the gap between rich and poor, develop and undeveloped widens while technological progress continues its indifferent march forward.

 

Answers:

witnessed tremendous developments: saw great changes

innovations: new ideas/inventions

direct humanitarian funding towards: put more charity money into

trouble implementing these methods: difficult time making these changes

ranging from: including

poor existing infrastructure: bad roads, buildings, etc.

political instability: problems with the government related to war, strife, and mismanagement

malnourishment: lack of nutrients for the body

historically been highest: in the past has been the greatest

revolution: when people in a country revolt and try to change the government

destabilised: lack of clear leadership, uncertain times

drawn into the conflict: become part of a war/fighting

neglect: don’t pay attention to

subsidise farming: governments giving money to farmers

present to varying degrees: exists either a little or a lot

one possible explanation: one reason why

continued prevalence: still strong/common

notoriously: famous for being bad

warlords: the revolutionaries who start wars in some African countries

long-term effects: impact over a long period of time

redirected: change the direction

in need: to need something

seeking financing: looking for money

irrigation: providing water for farms

relatively impervious: cannot be touched/impacted to some extent

taking root: begins to have an effect

face myriad problems: have many problems

hinder: hold back or harm

gap between rich and poor: the difference between rich and poor

indifferent: uncaring

 

Vocabulary Practice

Recent years have ___________________ in agricultural science yet every day people all over the world continue to suffer and even die from hunger. In my opinion, this is because ___________________ rarely impact the developing world and the best solution for it is to ___________________ these advances.

The main cause of more advanced agricultural methods not reaching the people who need it the most is that the developing world has ___________________. There are a number of reasons for this ___________________ limited financial resources to ___________________ to ___________________, depending on the country in question. One example of this would be in many African nations, where ___________________ has ___________________. Countries like the Congo have seen ___________________ after revolution over the last several decades, which has effectively ___________________ the entire country. The universities where students would learn about changes in agriculture are frequently shut down or destroyed. The young people who would become agricultural scientists end up ___________________ as soldiers or victims. Long-term economic ___________________ means that the government has very limited ability to ___________________. These problems are ___________________ in countries around the world and offer ___________________ for the ___________________ of hunger.

The solution that I believe would be most effective is directing humanitarian funds previously focused on food aid towards education and agricultural infrastructure. Food aid is a ___________________ poor solution because it only offers an immediate solution and ___________________ often exploit it to support their continued mistreatment of their people. It hurts more than it helps. However, there would be better ___________________ if international organisations and governments ___________________ that money into helping build better farms, provide more modern equipment, and sending qualified professions to train people ___________________. There is a TedTalk by a young man in Kenya who built his own windmill out of old bicycle parts and by reading a book in the local library. It is large enough to power his own house and he was ___________________ for a larger one that would power ___________________ channels for the entire village. If more people like him can be found or trained then this will have an impact that lasts for decades and is ___________________ to the factors preventing agricultural advances from ___________________ in developing countries.

In conclusion, developing companies ___________________ that ___________________ their ability to take advantage of newer agricultural models and we should direct more funding to helping these countries learn more about new farming methods. This is likely to be an important issue in the world as the ___________________, develop and undeveloped widens while technological progress continues its ___________________ march forward.

Links about Agriculture

Take a look! This will help you to review some of the vocabulary you learned from the sample answer above!

The Agricultural Revolution

Amazing Japanese Agriculture 

Developing Agriculture to End Hunger

The Dark Side of Agriculture in Ethiopia 

 

Comment below – what kind of fruits and vegetables are grown in your country?

Where I’m from, it’s mainly…

There’s a bit of everything but mostly… 

We are best known for…

Depends on the season. Right now…

 

The Basic Steps to Follow on IELTS Reading (to Read Faster!)

The Basic Steps to Follow on IELTS Reading (to Read Faster!)

These are the 6 basic steps for IELTS reading that you will be taught about in every course and will help you to read faster!

I’ve been teaching and examining IELTS for years and this is the first lesson I do on reading every time. These are the building blocks.

Once you know these steps then you can start focusing on question types and the ways to actually improve, not just test, your reading skills.

Let’s get started!

 

 

Step 1: READ THE TITLE (5 Seconds)

Don’t spend too much time here thinking about it. Just read it, get an idea of what you will be reading about and get started.

This is a reading from Cambridge IELTS 12 (real past test papers).

For this one the title is ‘The Risks Agriculture Faces in Developing Countries.’

You can imagine that the article will be scientific, that it will talk about specific poor countries, about agricultural methods and why these countries have problems with agriculture sometimes.

IELTS Reading Steps

IELTS Reading Steps

 

 

Step 2: SKIM FOR THE GIST

This is the most important step – in fact it is the most important skill in all of IELTS reading.

To skim means to read quickly for the overall meaning of the passage, not just the specific details.

It is like drawing a rough map of the passage, without all the street names filled in.

You should skim an IELTS reading (2000 – 3000 words) in 2 – 3 minutes. The reason why it has to be so fast is that you want it to stick in your short term memory.

When you read the first question you should still have that rough map in your head – you don’t want it to fade. If it takes longer than 3 minutes then it will start to fade and won’t be as useful.

So how exactly do you skim?

To skim you should read:

1. The topic sentence of each paragraph. Read this slowly. It is the most important sentence.

2. The keywords. Read the rest of the paragraph faster, skipping words and details and focusing on some keywords (nouns and verbs).

You should ignore:

1. Words that you don’t know. There is no time to figure them out now (hopefully it is not too many – if it is too many then you are not ready to be studying IELTS yet.)

2. Small details like names, years, and places – you can easily locate those later!

3. Small grammar words like: is, are, of, the, a, to, etc. If you take those out of the sentence you can still understand it because they have very little meaning – ignore them for now!

It’s important for you to remember that skimming is an IELTS skill ONLY. It does not make you a good reader – just the opposite: it makes you a bad reader. But it is useful for the test so you should improve this skill to be able to do the IELTS reading quickly.

The best way to practice is with practice tests or by reading the news everyday.

Practice skimming this passage by focusing on the topic sentences and keywords (should take you 2 – 3 minutes):

IELTS Reading

IELTS Reading

IELTS Reading

IELTS Reading

 

Step 3: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS

This one is obvious! But the more practice tests you do, the faster you can do this on the real test because you will already be familiar with the different question types.

IELTS Reading Steps

Step 4: READ THE QUESTION

IELTS Reading Steps

This is also obvious. Don’t read all the questions – you’re not trying to impress anyone with your memory.

Read the first question and then you can scan for the answer. It will be easier and faster to scan if you did a good job skimming before.

 

 

Step 5: SCAN FOR THE ANSWER

Scan for the answer just means to read quickly to find the answer.

Locate the keyword in the question and look for it in the reading.

Sometimes you will be able to find the keyword. For example, you might see ‘lack of demand’ in the question and then find the same phrase ‘lack of demand’ in the reading like a landmark to find the answer.

But it is more common for the keywords to be paraphrased. For example you see ‘lack of demand’ in the question and then find ‘a relatively undeveloped domestic market’ or ‘few people want to buy.’

The biggest mistake that a lot of students make is they either just look for the keyword or direct synonyms. Both of these are rare. Look for something paraphrased that means the same thing with totally different words.

Underline the keywords but don’t spend time thinking of synonyms. Instead follow your map to the part of the text where you think the answer is and read very carefully and slowly.

For most questions, the answers come in order in the reading so that will help you find the general area where the answer is.

Here are the rest of the questions if you want to do some practice now:

IELTS Reading Steps

Step 6: WRITE ON THE ANSWER SHEET

Would be a shame to forget this step! Make sure that you write on the answer sheet and not on the test – you will not get extra time to transfer your answers from the test to the answer sheet!

 

 

What if I want to do the reading a different way?

This is the best way, in my opinion, for most students to manage their time on the reading test.

But there are some other ways. These are some of the other ideas I have heard from my former students:

‘Read the question first and then skim afterwards. If your vocab and memory are really good then this can be faster.’

‘Spend more time skimming – about 5 minutes. Then you know the text really well and it is much easier to find the answers.’

‘Don’t read it at all – just take a look at the paper of the person next to you…’

Practice and figure out which way works best for you!

 

 

Here are the answers for the reading above which is from Cambridge IELTS 12:

Reading Answers

 

Here is a summary of the steps from our Instagram and Facebook pages:

Reading Steps

Reading Steps

 

 

 

Comment below – what score did you get on IELTS reading?

‘When I took the test, I got…’

‘I haven’t taken the real test yet, but I’m usually around a ____ on practice tests.’

‘I keep getting the same score…’

IELTS Vocabulary for Speaking: Talking about Sleep, Mornings and Evenings!

IELTS Vocabulary for Speaking: Talking about Sleep, Mornings and Evenings!

Wake up and smell the roses!

Sleep is such a common topic across IELTS listening, reading, writing and speaking. It could help improve all parts of your IELTS score if you take some time to learn some new vocabulary related to sleep, mornings and evenings.

Let’s look first at some vocabulary and then try out the practice activities and links underneath!

Here is the tapescript in case you couldn’t understand some of it:

I just got out of bed and this is what my hair usually looks like in the morning – you can call it ‘bed head’ ‘yeah that’s a bed head’ when your hair is messed up – when your pillow is your hairdresser – to sleep in is to sleep late that’s different from a sleepover which is a group of kids who get together ‘so how was the sleepover? we had an adult sleepover’ and a sleepover is different from a night in – a night is when a group of friends usually adults hang out together watching movie – ‘we can have a girls night in’ – if you don’t sleep well you can say I was tossing and turning all night ‘I was tossing and turning – try not to toss and turn’ a person who’s a night owl is someone who likes to stay up late ‘we’re both night owls I think’ you can also call them a night person as opposed to a morning person or an early bird because as you know the early bird gets the worm – enjoy the rest of your day – have a good night’s sleep – comb your hair before you go out unless if you’re a guy in which case it doesn’t really matter!

SLEEP

‘I slept like a log.’

This means that you slept very well, deeply.

 

‘I was tossing and turning all night.’

The opposite – you didn’t sleep well at all.

 

‘He’s a real night owl.’

He likes to stay up late at night.

 

Early bird gets the worm.’

If you get up early then you will get better opportunities than other people.

 

Rise and shine sleepy head!’

Get up, lazy!

 

‘Why don’t you try sleeping on it?’

Think about a problem/decision for another day and then make up your mind.

 

‘I slept like a baby.’

Same as sleeping like a log – sleeping really well.

 

‘Time to hit the hay.’

Time to go to sleep.

 

Have a lie in.’

Sleep late in the morning.

 

‘I slept in like the lazy piece of trash I am.’

Same as having a lie in. ‘Lie in’ is a UK expression and ‘sleep in’ is for Americans. It means to sleep late, usually on the weekend.

 

‘Time to turn in.’

TIme to go to bed.

 

‘He went out like a light.’

Went to sleep right away.

 

Couldn’t sleep a wink all night.’

Unable to sleep at all.

 

‘Get your beauty rest – you need it.’

Sleep so that you look beautiful and don’t have bags under your eyes.

 

‘I just dozed off for a second, officer!’

Fell asleep for a little bit. Don’t do this while driving!

 

 

MORNINGS

‘I’m asleep in the wee hours of the morning.’

The early hours of the morning.

 

‘I get up at the crack of dawn.’

I get up early – at around 6 am when the sun comes up.

 

‘The sunrise is gorgeous.’

The rising of the sun is beautiful.

 

‘I want to get an early start tomorrow.’

I want to get up early in the morning.

 

‘I got up at an ungodly hour to catch the plane.’

A very early hour like 3 or 4 or 5 in the morning.

 

‘The morning light woke me up.’

The sun at dawn.

 

‘It will take all morning.’

Use up all the hours of the morning.

 

‘I’m not a morning person or a night person – I’m barely a person at all!’

I don’t like to get up early (or stay up late).

 

 

EVENINGS

‘In the middle of the night, I woke up screaming.’

Very late at night.

 

Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite…’

Sleep well.

 

‘The sunset isn’t so gorgeous.’

The falling sun is ugly.

 

‘I’m a night person.’

I like to stay up late at night.

 

‘They are like night and day – total opposites!’

Completely different personalities – opposites.

 

‘I had a one night stand last night – it was ok.’

Sleep with someone for one night – the opposite of a long-term relationship.

 

‘Time to call it a day.’

Time to go to bed.

 

‘I’m gonna have an early night.’

I’m going to go to bed early.

 

‘I’m gonna spend the night in.’

Not going to go out tonight.

 

‘In the dead of night, Santa Claus breaks into your house.’

Very late at night.

 

Night after night, I can’t sleep.’

Every night.

 

‘Let’s go out for a night on the town.’

Go out and party.

 

If you have nothing better to do with your time, I also explained all of this vocabulary in a Live Lesson on my Facebook account. Watch it here:

 

To practice the vocabulary above, comment below and I will correct your answers:

1. Do you go to bed and get up at the same time every day?

2. What do you usually do in the mornings?

 

3. What is the perfect evening for you?

Remember to use the vocabulary above in your answers!

 

 

 

ASAP Science Links

This is one of my favourite YouTube channels for learning about science. They talk really quickly but you can slow the video down or use the visuals to help watch. Here are some ideas for how you can watch them.

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

What If You Stopped Sleeping?

The Scientific Power of Naps

Why Are You Always Tired?

 
IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: History (Cambridge IELTS 13)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: History (Cambridge IELTS 13)

This is another IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from IELTS Cambridge 13 and I am a former British Council examiner – what else do you need to know?

The question for this one is related to education and history – both really common topics on all parts of IELTS.

There is analysis of how to write your IELTS Writing Task 2 and exercises for vocabulary below that – don’t miss out!

(And here are my other sample answers.)

History and IELTS

History and IELTS

 

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

Some people say history is one the most important school subjects. Other people think that, in today’s world, subjects like science and technology are more important than history. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge. Write at least 250 words.

There are many people who have called into question the importance in today’s world of subjects like history, which do not have an immediately discernible impact on most future careers. While I think that history should still be mandatory, more practical subjects related to technology and the arts are more needed in our evolving world.

The main reason that students should study some history in school is that it provides crucial insights into nations around the world that serve as springboards for later political beliefs. In America, students learn about the American Revolution, the constitution and the founding fathers periodically from elementary to high school. They learn about why the war started (so that the colonies could tax and govern themselves) as well as the great figures from history like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Some of the principles students learn include the ideas of American exceptionalism, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the responsibility of citizens to vote in a representative democracy. Later in life, most people will lean liberal or conservative but still hold the same basic convictions about individual liberty and responsibility. By knowing the context in which these ideas emerged students can become adults with well-informed political beliefs and it will be more difficult for unscrupulous politicians to make false assertions about the past.

Although history should still be taught, the practical sciences and arts should be prioritised because these are more likely to have an impact on a person’s future career. Very few students will end up with careers in history, as historians or professors, but a large percentage will work in the arts and especially the sciences. For example, in Vietnam the most popular university majors are engineering, finance, and graphic design. If schools emphasise maths at school then this will better prepare them to make calculations in complex engineering projects or when working at a bank or accountancy firm. Even learning how to draw and use colors in art class is more useful for students because of the high demand for graphic designers on websites and advertisements. Countries that devote more of their educational budget towards these practical subjects will give students a head start on a potential future career and increase their chances of having a higher standard of living.

It is clear that in this case a moderate approach is best. School administrators should not remove history from the timetable but in my opinion they should devote more time and resources to the teaching of subjects related to technology and the arts. This will become ever more important as the tech industry continues to dominate the future job market.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. There are many people who have called into question the importance in today’s world of subjects like history, which do not have an immediately discernible impact on most future careers. 2. While I think that history should still be mandatory, more practical subjects related to technology and the arts are more needed in our evolving world.

1. The first sentence simply rephrases the topic – write this sentence as fast as you can because it doesn’t really matter much!

2. My second sentence makes my opinion clear and hints at my main reason.

 

1. The main reason that students should study some history in school is that it provides crucial insights into nations around the world that serve as springboards for later political beliefs. 2. In America, students learn about the American Revolution, the constitution and the founding fathers periodically from elementary to high school. 3. They learn about why the war started (so that the colonies could tax and govern themselves) as well as the great figures from history like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. 4. Some of the principles students learn include the ideas of American exceptionalism, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the responsibility of citizens to vote in a representative democracy. 5. Later in life, most people will lean liberal or conservative but still hold the same basic convictions about individual liberty and responsibility. 6. By knowing the context in which these ideas emerged students can become adults with well-informed political beliefs and it will be more difficult for unscrupulous politicians to make false assertions about the past.

1. The first sentence is a topic sentence, explaining the main idea of paragraph – history is important for later political views.

2. The second sentence develops this with a specific example that I know well from my own country – use your country to write your example because you will be able to better develop it!

3. My third sentence develops my example with more detail.

4. My fourth sentence continues to add more detail to the example.

5. The fifth sentence adds more detail and ties it back to the main idea.

6. My sixth sentence further develops the example and the main idea and summarises the paragraph.

 

 

1. Although history should still be taught, the practical sciences and arts should be prioritised because these are more likely to have an impact on a person’s future career. 2. Very few students will end up with careers in history, as historians or professors, but a large percentage will work in the arts and especially the sciences. 3. For example, in Vietnam the most popular university majors are engineering, finance, and graphic design. 4. If schools emphasise maths at school then this will better prepare them to make calculations in complex engineering projects or when working at a bank or accountancy firm. 5. Even learning how to draw and use colors in art class is more useful for students because of the high demand for graphic designers on websites and advertisements. 6. Countries that devote more of their educational budget towards these practical subjects will give students a head start on a potential future career and increase their chances of having a higher standard of living.

1. The first sentence is another topic sentence with a clear main idea: arts and sciences are more useful for students’ future careers.

2. My second sentence explains my main idea.

3. My third sentence begins an example that will last the rest of the paragraph. Get started on your examples as fast as you can!

4. My fourth sentence continues to focus on that example – don’t run away from your examples!

5. The fifth sentence also develops the same example…

6. My sixth sentence relates it back to the main idea and concludes the paragraph. 

 

1. It is clear that in this case a moderate approach is best. 2. School administrators should not remove history from the timetable but in my opinion they should devote more time and resources to the teaching of subjects related to technology and the arts. 3. This will become ever more important as the tech industry continues to dominate the future job market.

1. The first sentence says that my opinion is going to be moderate – not strong. I am not sitting in the middle but my opinion is reasonable.

2. My second sentence explains what my opinion is – make this very, very clear!

3. My third sentence adds an extra, new detail – make sure you have this sentence or some examiners will not gie you above band 7 for task achievement!

 

 

 

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Don’t just read the words below – do some practice! Write a new sentence with each one even if you don’t know exactly what it means. Then read the definitions and fix your sentence if it is incorrect! Who needs a teacher?

There are many people who have called into question the importance in today’s world of subjects like history, which do not have an immediately discernible impact on most future careers. While I think that history should still be mandatory, more practical subjects related to technology and the arts are more needed in our evolving world.

The main reason that students should study some history in school is that it provides crucial insights into nations around the world that serve as springboards for later political beliefs. In America, students learn about the American Revolution, the constitution and the founding fathers periodically from elementary to high school. They learn about why the war started (so that the colonies could tax and govern themselves) as well as the great figures from history like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Some of the principles students learn include the ideas of American exceptionalism, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the responsibility of citizens to vote in a representative democracy. Later in life, most people will lean liberal or conservative but still hold the same basic convictions about individual liberty and responsibility. By knowing the context in which these ideas emerged students can become adults with well-informed political beliefs and it will be more difficult for unscrupulous politicians to make false assertions about the past.

Although history should still be taught, the practical sciences and arts should be prioritised because these are more likely to have an impact on a person’s future career. Very few students will end up with careers in history, as historians or professors, but a large percentage will work in the arts and especially the sciences. For example, in Vietnam the most popular university majors are engineering, finance, and graphic design. If schools emphasise maths at school then this will better prepare them to make calculations in complex engineering projects or when working at a bank or accountancy firm. Even learning how to draw and use colors in art class is more useful for students because of the high demand for graphic designers on websites and advertisements. Countries that devote more of their educational budget towards these practical subjects will give students a head start on a potential future career and increase their chances of having a higher standard of living.

It is clear that in this case a moderate approach is best. School administrators should not remove history from the timetable but in my opinion they should devote more time and resources to the teaching of subjects related to technology and the arts. This will become ever more important as the tech industry continues to dominate the future job market.

 

Answers:

called into question: up for debate, not everyone agrees on it

immediately discernible impact: clear effect that you can see

mandatory: you have to do it

evolving world: changing, modern world

provides crucial insights: gives important conclusions/lessons

springboards: originates in

periodically: regularly

govern: control or be in charge of

great figures: important people

American exceptionalism: the idea that America is different and special and can do whatever it wants

representative democracy: government where you elect people to vote for you, like senators and congressmen

lean liberal or conservative: have left-wing or right-wing (conservative) views

basic convictions: fundamental beliefs

well-informed political beliefs: educated opinions about politics

unscrupulous politicians: politicians who will lie, cheat, steal, etc to get what they want

false assertions: lies

prioritised: make more important

especially: particularly

better prepare: good preparation

high demand: lots of people want it

devote: dedicate or give

head start: begin with an advantage

moderate approach: not an extreme way of doing something, safer

timetable: schedule

job market: employment in a variety of industries

 

 

Vocabulary Practice

There are many people who have ____________________ the importance in today’s world of subjects like history, which do not have an __________________ on most future careers. While I think that history should still be __________________, more practical subjects related to technology and the arts are more needed in our __________________.

The main reason that students should study some history in school is that it __________________ into nations around the world that serve as __________________ for later political beliefs. In America, students learn about the American Revolution, the constitution and the founding fathers __________________ from elementary to high school. They learn about why the war started (so that the colonies could tax and __________________ themselves) as well as the __________________ from history like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. Some of the principles students learn include the ideas of __________________, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the responsibility of citizens to vote in a __________________. Later in life, most people will __________________ but still hold the same __________________ about individual liberty and responsibility. By knowing the context in which these ideas emerged students can become adults with __________________ and it will be more difficult for __________________ to make __________________ about the past.

Although history should still be taught, the practical sciences and arts should be __________________because these are more likely to have an impact on a person’s future career. Very few students will end up with careers in history, as historians or professors, but a large percentage will work in the arts and __________________ the sciences. For example, in Vietnam the most popular university majors are engineering, finance, and graphic design. If schools emphasise maths at school then this will __________________ them to make calculations in complex engineering projects or when working at a bank or accountancy firm. Even learning how to draw and use colors in art class is more useful for students because of the __________________ for graphic designers on websites and advertisements. Countries that __________________more of their educational budget towards these practical subjects will give students a __________________ on a potential future career and increase their chances of having a higher standard of living.

It is clear that in this case a __________________ is best. School administrators should not remove history from the __________________ but in my opinion they should devote more time and resources to the teaching of subjects related to technology and the arts. This will become ever more important as the tech industry continues to dominate the future __________________.

 

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – History (Band 8)

Here is an example of a IELTS Speaking Part 2 on the topic of an important figure from history, done by Nguyen!

You can read the full post with analysis of her band score here.

 

 

Here is the full transcript with a couple of corrections:

Ok so a person from history I’m going to talk about today is Leonardo DaVinci. Leonardo DaVinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath whose areas of interest included invention architecture, sculpting, science and there are so many more that I can’t remember them all right now. But in general he was a multi-talented man. Um … and he’s also considered one of the greatest painters of all time. And many historians and scholars regard Leonardo DaVinci as a universal genius or a Renaissance man. And among his works the Mona Lisa is the most famous and duplicated portrait with ‘The Last Supper’ being the most reproduced religious painting of all time. And I think one – there was a historian – that I can’t remember the name – once said that “Leonardo DaVinci went beyond his time” – that he could – he could think of inventions that were so advanced that most of his work and designsweren’t feasible during his lifetime, and most of his designs weren’t recognised or realised until 100 years later. And during his time, which was like 500 years ago, he was able to conceptualise the flying machine, armored fighting vehicle and even concentrated solar power. The reason why I admire him is because I think that he – I agree with all other historians and scholars that he was one of the greatest paintersof all time and somehow I think his personality and – his personality was quite mysterious and remote in a way that it has made me more curious to learn more about him.

 

 

 

Links from TedEd

I really love the TedEd videos because they are really high-quality and the visuals help second language learners. Read more about how to practice while watching here.

The history of the world according to cats

A brie(f) history of cheese

History vs. Christopher Columbus

A glimpse of teenage life in ancient Rome

 

 

Comment below – who is the most important person in the history of your country?

I’d have to say that’s…

Most people would agree that…

Not everyone shares my view, but I think…

There’s no history in my country – we only have the present and the future!

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance

This is a real question from the IELTS Writing Task 2 test in December 2018.

I’m a former IELTS examiner and I’ve taken some time to write a sample answer and provide some vocabulary and other exercises related to it – enjoy!

Take a look at my other sample answer here.

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance (by Dave)

Many people try to balance work and other parts of their life. However, this is very difficult to do. What are the problems associated with this? What is the best way to achieve a better balance?

People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

1. People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. 2. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

  1. The first sentence contains the topic for this essay – don’t spend too long writing this sentence!

  2. My second sentence contains my overall opinion as well as both my main ideas (you don’t have to include your main ideas here if you don’t know them yet).

1. The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. 2. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. 3. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. 4. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. 5. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. 6. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. 7. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

  1. The first sentence is a topic sentence telling the reader what the whole paragraph is about: overwork and mental health.

  2. My second sentence explains why overwork is a problem now.

  3. The third sentence develops this further.

  4. The fourth sentence shows what the end result of this is.

  5. The fifth sentence introduces the area of mental health, another effect of overworking.

  6. My sixth sentence gives an example of the conditions people who work too much can suffer from.

  7. My seventh sentence concludes the paragraph by saying that these problems are on the rise.

1. The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. 2. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. 3. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. 4. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. 5. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

  1. The first sentence is another topic sentence that says my main solution: working more efficiently.

  2. My second sentence claims that this solution is reasonable.

  3. The third sentence gives the example of how someone can use a smartphone to get more work done.

  4. My fourth sentence continues to explain what people can do to be more efficient.

  5. The fifth sentence details how people must change their habits to save time for their personal lives.

1. In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. 2. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

  1. My first sentence repeats my opinion about the problem and the best solution.

  2. The second sentence adds an extra detail that some examiners require for bands 7+ for task achievement!

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Do some practice with the vocabulary – can you work out what they mean without a dictionary? Read and then check your answers!

People today are increasingly concerned with individual happiness and work-life balance. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes mental health issues and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The primary issues associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get pushed out of their jobs by younger graduates willing to work for less and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to catch up. The end result is more work, which eats away at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to combat being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ideal world, there would be ways to alleviate the burden that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more pragmatic solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use productivity applications when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to scroll through Facebook or read the news but that is a small sacrifice to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a loved one.

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are especially apparent because of the current economic climate and the best solution is to find ways to maximise efficiency. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more worthwhile passions and not feel as though their life is passing them by.

Answers:

increasingly concerned: more and more worried

work-life balance: an equal amount of time working and having free time

mental health issues: problems such as stress, depression, etc.

primary issues: main problems

global financial crisis of 2008: in 2008 when the stock market in American and around the world crashed and caused a recession

pushed out of: must leave or are fired

willing to work for less: will work for less money

catch up: get up to date, not be behind

end result: final outcome

eats away: makes smaller, cuts away from, decreases

combat: fight against 

ideal world: perfect world

alleviate the burden: make the situation better or easier

pragmatic: doing something realistically and reasonably

productivity applications: apps on your phone or tablet such as a to do list to save you time

scroll: use your thumb to look through a page on the internet

small sacrifice: takes very little away from you

loved one: someone that you care about such as your spouse or a family member

especially apparent: very obvious

current economic climate: the way the economy is at the moment

maximise efficiency: make more efficient

worthwhile passions: good things to spend your time doing that you care about a lot

life is passing them by: they are too busy to enjoy life or do what they want

Vocabulary Practice

People today are _________________ with individual happiness and ________________. The main problem for most people is that work takes up too much time and causes ________________ and the best way to achieve this balance is to work more efficiently.

The ________________ associated with work-life balance are the amount of time people must spend working and how this impacts their mental health. Since the ________________, the job market around the world has become increasingly competitive. This means that old workers may get ________________ their jobs by younger graduates ________________ and that new graduates have to put in enormous extra hours to ________________. The ________________ is more work, which ________________ at a person’s private life. Once your free time becomes restricted there are a variety of related mental health problems that can appear. For example, someone who is overworked can suffer from excessive stress, some forms of depression, and obesity because of the lack of time available to exercise. That is why there has been a sharp rise in the last decade in these problems.

The best way for people to ________________ being overworked and get more time for their personal life is to work more efficiently. In an ________________, there would be ways to ________________ that put less stress on individuals but making the most of your time is a more ________________ solution. For example, smartphones allow people to get a lot of work done in what were previously wasted hours in the past. You can send emails, make phone calls, and use ________________ when waiting for the bus, train, or standing in line. People will have to make the choice not to ________________ through Facebook or read the news but that is a ________________ to have some extra time at the end of the day to do their hobbies or spend time with a ________________

In conclusion, the problems associated with poor work-life balance are ________________ because of the ________________ and the best solution is to find ways to ________________. If more people changed their daily habits related to social media and using the internet, then they might be able to find more ________________ and not feel as though their ________________

.

Links

School of Life: Work-Life Balance

How to Maintain Work-Life Balance

Life at Google

Kim Kaupe

Here are some activity ideas for when you watch the videos above: Subtitles or not?.

Comment below – Do you have a good work-life balance?

Not especially…

I guess you could say so…

At moment I do, but in the past…

I work all day, every day so…