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…

 

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: Choice (IELTS Cambridge 13)

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

This IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer is from IELTS Cambridge 13 and is around the topic of society, generally.

I wrote it and I’m a former IELTS examiner so you can trust the quality. You can also find vocabulary, grammar, links, and more below!

Stop reading this and start reading all that!

(Or check out some of my other sample answers here.)

Here is another sample answer from Cambridge 13 on the topic of foreign languages.

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

Some people believe that nowadays we have too many choices. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

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

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

 

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

  • My first sentence repeats the question and topic. Don’t stress too much about this sentence!

  • The second sentence states my overall opinion and main reason for it (getting away from the mainstream).

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

  • My first sentence is the topic sentence, which tells the half-asleep, mostly drunk examiner what the paragraph is about (choice makes life more complicated).

  • The second sentence jumps right into the example of different products to choose from. It is good to focus on one specific area of choice because this is such a general topic!

  • The third sentence explains why choice in supermarkets can be bad.

  • The forth sentence clearly states the negative impact.

  • The fifth sentence continues the example by talking about supermarkets.

  • My sixth sentence continues the example into the area of online streaming services.

  • The seventh sentence develops the example further.

  • My eighth sentence generalizes the example and connects it back to my topic sentence.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

  • My first sentence is my topic sentence with the idea that choice allows people to pursue what they actually like.

  • The second sentence introduces the example of the music industry.

  • My third sentence develops this example by comparing it to the past.

  • My fourth sentence says that things are now different.

  • The fifth sentence describes how things are different now.

  • My sixth sentence further explains why this is a positive trend.

  • The seventh sentence summarises the paragraph and ties it back to my overall opinion.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

  • The first sentence restates my overall opinion. Make sure you give a clear opinion!

  • My second sentence gives some more detail to finish off the essay. Put your pencil down now and say a prayer to the IELTS gods!

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

Practice with the words below – can you figure out what they mean just by reading the sentence they are in? Write down what you think each one means before checking your answers!

It is common nowadays to hear people decrying the number of choices people have relative to the past and proclaiming the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it opens up options outside the mainstream.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with hardly any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with little actual impact. This is also the case when it comes to online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying upwards of $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside dominant cultural trends. The best example of this is the changes that have taken place in the music industry over the last 20 years with the advent of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more fractured. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive taken as a whole.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more diverse cultural experience for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

Answers:

decrying: opposing, condemning or saying something is bad

relative to the past: compared to the past

proclaiming: claiming or saying

opens up: makes possible

mainstream: what most people like and is presented by large media companies

hardly: barely, almost not at all

little actual impact: not much of an effect

this is also the case when it comes to: it is also true for

streaming services: services like Netflix where you can watch directly online

upwards of: more than

dominant cultural trends: what is popular in music, film, etc. at the moment

taken place: to happen

advent: the beginning of something

fractured: split apart

replicated: reproduced, repeated

taken as a whole: overall, in general, considered from a larger perspective

diverse cultural experience: lots of different kinds of art, music, film, culture

 

Vocabulary Practice

It is common nowadays to hear people __________________ the number of choices people have __________________ and __________________ the drawbacks of so many easily-available options in a variety of areas of life. While I think that there is some truth in this, increased choice is ultimately a positive trend because it __________________ options outside the __________________.

The main reason why increased choice is considered a negative development is it makes life more complicated. Take for example the number of products people can choose from today. Supermarkets are filled with different brands with __________________ any meaningful differences. This can cause people to waste time and energy making choices with __________________. __________________ online __________________ like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Not only do people have to spend time researching these sites but once they make a choice they are limiting what they will be able to watch in the future. If they decide to subscribe to all of them, suddenly they will be paying __________________ $40 a month for basic viewing content. These are a couple of ways in which choice can take up time and make life more complex.

Although choice introduces a level of complexity to life, the main benefit is that it opens up options for people outside __________________. The best example of this is the changes that have __________________ in the music industry over the last 20 years with the __________________ of iTunes and streaming services. In the past, the big pop acts dominated the radio and album sales. Now the music scene is much more __________________. This makes it more difficult for some artists but also opens up the possibility that you can find a niche of music that you and some other people love. This has been __________________ in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well. People can find what interests them outside of what major companies are trying to push. That is why increased choice is positive __________________.

In conclusion, the drawbacks of increased choice do not outweigh the advantages gained by allowing people to explore what interests them the most. In the future, this will continue and present challenges but also allow for a more __________________ for rich and poor alike, all over the world.

 

 

Grammar – Present Perfect

This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well.

One of the challenges that students have with using the present perfect in both writing and speaking is that sometimes they are interchangeable. People in the UK tend to overuse the present perfect, while it is used less by speakers in the USA.

Someone from the UK is more likely to say “I haven’t got it” and someone from the USA “I don’t have it” or in the UK “I’ve lost my mind” and the US “I lost my mind.”

Both are correct so don’t stress too much about those small differences. Focus on using it for events in the past that are still relevant or still continuing.

In this sentence: “This has been replicated in other areas like podcasting, painting, and film as well,” I am talking about an event (lots of choice) that has spread to many different industries. It is still happening now and it has present relevance so I use the present perfect.

The form for present perfect is really simple: have/has + past participle.

The more you practice using it in your speaking and writing, the better chance you have of using it on the real test and impressing the examiner!

 

Links

The Paradox of Choice

Too Much Choice?

The Choice

Weapon of Choice

When you watch the videos, try using some of these activities to improve your listening at the same time: Improve your Listening.

 

Comment below – what kind of music do you like? Movies? TV?

I’m really into…

My favourite is… 

Depends on my mood, sometimes I enjoy… 

I hate everything but…

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Foreign Languages (Cambridge 13)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Foreign Languages (Cambridge 13)

This IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer is from a past paper and was published in Cambridge 13.

The topic is foreign languages and it falls in the ‘social problems’ category of IELTS.

Read on for a sample answer from a former IELTS examiner (that’s me, Dave!), analysis, vocabulary practice, notes, links and more!

Here is another sample answer for IELTS Cambridge 13: IELTS Cambridge 13: Choice.

You can read my other sample answers here for Task 2 writing.

Here are my task 1 writing sample answers and here are the most recent questions on IELTS from 2019.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer: Foreign Languages (by Dave)

Living in a country where you have to speak a foreign language can cause serious social problems, as well as practical problems. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

One of the biggest social and practical challenges that people living abroad face is the language barrier. I believe that this can lead to very serious social problems in many countries but technology has made the practical issues less relevant over the last several decades.

The main reason that having to speak a foreign language can cause social problems is through the breakdown in understanding between people of different cultures. The most salient example of this is in the United States where there has been an influx of Hispanic immigrants, especially along the Southern border. These immigrants are typically able to integrate well if they learn English but those that have not learned have provoked social problems and even violent reactions. Many English speaking residents resent the immigrants failure to integrate and this has resulted in discriminatory practices and widespread racism towards Hispanics. This in turn has caused many Hispanics to develop an antipathy towards other residents and segregate themselves in homogeneous neighborhoods.

There are comparatively fewer practical problems caused by not knowing the language of the country where you live because of the development of technology in general and smartphones in particular. Computers have made it much easier to look up directions, find important information and get quick translations. Smartphones have made this even easier. If someone doesn’t know the language of the country where they live, they can still find restaurants to their liking on Facebook and get simple directions through Google Maps. They can even order food online without having to use another language at all. If they need to communicate with someone who does not speak their language they can simply take out their phone and use Google translate to slowly, but effectively, convey a message. The problems that not knowing the language of the country where you live causes are therefore minimal and easily overcome.

In conclusion, I only partly agree with the statement in question. Not knowing a language when living abroad can cause social unrest but pragmatic concerns have been mitigated by recent technology. In the future, it will become even less important to know the language of the country where you live although there is great potential for increased social unrest and heightened tensions in many parts of the world.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

One of the biggest social and practical challenges that people living abroad face is the language barrier. I believe that this can lead to very serious social problems in many countries but technology has made the practical issues less relevant over the last several decades.

  • My first sentence simply paraphrases the question and topic. Write this sentence fast as it isn’t that important.

  • My second sentence states my opinion and includes the main reason why (technology).

The main reason that having to speak a foreign language can cause social problems is through the breakdown in understanding between people of different cultures. The most salient example of this is in the United States where there has been an influx of Hispanic immigrants, especially along the Southern border. These immigrants are typically able to integrate well if they learn English but those that have not learned have provoked social problems and even violent reactions. Many English speaking residents resent the immigrants failure to integrate and this has resulted in discriminatory practices and widespread racism towards Hispanics. This in turn has caused many Hispanics to develop an antipathy towards other residents and segregate themselves in homogeneous neighborhoods.

  • My first sentence is a topic sentence that states why not knowing the language of the country where you live can be a problem.

  • My second sentence gives an example in the United States.

  • My third sentence further explains this example.

  • My fourth sentence states the results of this (in the United States).

  • My fifth sentence further describes the results and continues to develop the same example. Pick one great example and develop it with 3 – 4 sentences.

There are comparatively fewer practical problems caused by not knowing the language of the country where you live because of the development of technology in general and smartphones in particular. Computers have made it much easier to look up directions, find important information and get quick translations. Smartphones have made this even easier. If someone doesn’t know the language of the country where they live, they can still find restaurants to their liking on Facebook and get simple directions through Google Maps. They can even order food online without having to use another language at all. If they need to communicate with someone who does not speak their language they can simply take out their phone and use Google translate to slowly, but effectively, convey a message. The problems that not knowing the language of the country where you live causes are therefore minimal and easily overcome.

  • My first sentence is a topic sentence that states why not knowing the language of the country where you live isn’t much of a problem anymore because of technology.

  • My second sentence explains how computers have made it easier to get translations.

  • My third sentence extends this to smartphones.

  • My fourth sentence gives two specific examples of Facebook and Google Maps helping people.

  • My fifth sentence gives another example – ordering food online.

  • My sixth sentence gives another example of using Google translate to have a conversation.

  • My seventh sentence concludes that technology has made it easier to communicate with people who speak another language.

In conclusion, I only partly agree with the statement in question. Not knowing a language when living abroad can cause social unrest but pragmatic concerns have been mitigated by recent technology. In the future, it will become even less important to know the language of the country where you live although there is great potential for increased social unrest and heightened tensions in many parts of the world.

  • My first sentence summarizes my position and makes it completely clear. It can never be too clear!

  • My second sentence summarizes my argument that technology has done enough to overcome this problem.

  • My third sentence extends my opinion by talking about how in the future this will be even less of a problem. I add the caveat that I may be wrong about certain parts of the world.

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the phrases highlighted below mean in your own words?

One of the biggest social and practical challenges that people living abroad face is the language barrier. I believe that this can lead to very serious social problems in many countries but technology has made the practical issues less relevant over the last several decades.

The main reason that having to speak a foreign language can cause social problems is through the breakdown in understanding between people of different cultures. The most salient example of this is in the United States where there has been an influx of Hispanic immigrants, especially along the Southern border. These immigrants are typically able to integrate well if they learn English but those that have not learned have provoked social problems and even violent reactions. Many English speaking residents resent the immigrants failure to integrate and this has resulted in discriminatory practices and widespread racism towards Hispanics. This in turn has caused many Hispanics to develop an antipathy towards other residents and segregate themselves in homogeneous neighborhoods.

There are comparatively fewer practical problems caused by not knowing the language of the country where you live because of the development of technology in general and smartphones in particular. Computers have made it much easier to look up directions, find important information and get quick translations. Smartphones have made this even easier. If someone doesn’t know the language of the country where they live, they can still find restaurants to their liking on Facebook and get simple directions through Google Maps. They can even order food online without having to use another language at all. If they need to communicate with someone who does not speak their language they can simply take out their phone and use Google translate to slowly, but effectively, convey a message. The problems that not knowing the language of the country where you live causes are therefore minimal and easily overcome.

In conclusion, I only partly agree with the statement in question. Not knowing a language when living abroad can cause social unrest but pragmatic concerns have been mitigated by recent technology. In the future, it will become even less important to know the language of the country where you live although there is great potential for increased social unrest and heightened tensions in many parts of the world.

 

Answers:

that people living abroad: people who live outside the country where they were born

language barrier: the challenge of talking to people who don’t speak your language

less relevant: not as important or related

breakdown in understanding: inability to understand

the most salient example: the best example, the one that stands out the most

influx: big rush of something

Hispanic: relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Latin America

to integrate well: to become part of a group, community, or nation

provoked social problems: causes social problems

resent : feel angry towards

failure to integrate: inability to join a group, community, or nation

discriminatory practices: doing things to keep certain genders or races out/away

widespread racism: lots of people disliking an ethnic group or race

this in turn: this causes

antipathy: hatred

segregate: to separate or stay apart

homogeneous neighborhoods: communities with only 1 ethnic group

comparatively fewer: less of something compared to something else

in particular: this one area emphasized or standing out

look up directions: find the way to get somewhere

at all: in any way or completely

take out: to remove something from a pocket or somewhere else

convey a message: communicate something

minimal: negligible or little impact

easily overcome: not hard to get over

I only partly agree: agree to some extent but not 100%

pragmatic concerns: practical issues/questions

mitigated: make less severe or serious

great potential: a very good chance or possibility

social unrest: social problems

heightened tensions: stressful relationships between people or groups of people

 

Vocabulary Practice

One of the biggest social and practical challenges ____________________ face is the ____________________. I believe that this can lead to very serious social problems in many countries but technology has made the practical issues ____________________ over the last several decades.

The main reason that having to speak a foreign language can cause social problems is through the ____________________ between people of different cultures. ____________________ of this is in the United States where there has been an ____________________ of ____________________ immigrants, especially along the Southern border. These immigrants are typically able ____________________ if they learn English but those that have not learned have ____________________ and even violent reactions. Many English speaking residents ____________________ the immigrants ____________________ and this has resulted in ____________________ and ____________________ towards Hispanics. ____________________ has caused many Hispanics to develop an ____________________ towards other residents and ____________________ themselves in ____________________.

There are ____________________ practical problems caused by not knowing the language of the country where you live because of the development of technology in general and smartphones ____________________. Computers have made it much easier to ____________________, find important information and get quick translations. Smartphones have made this even easier. If someone doesn’t know the language of the country where they live, they can still find restaurants to their liking on Facebook and get simple directions through Google Maps. They can even order food online without having to use another language ____________________. If they need to communicate with someone who does not speak their language they can simply ____________________ their phone and use Google translate to slowly, but effectively, ____________________. The problems that not knowing the language of the country where you live causes are therefore ____________________ and ____________________.

In conclusion, ____________________ with the statement in question. Not knowing a language when living abroad can cause social unrest but ____________________ have been ____________________ by recent technology. In the future, it will become even less important to know the language of the country where you live although there is ____________________ for increased ____________________ and ____________________ in many parts of the world.

Links

Overcoming the Language Barrier Tips

 

Comment below – are there a lot of people who live in your country who can’t speak the national language?

Well, where I live…

It’s a bit of a mix actually in …

Honestly, it’s a huge problem in …

Frankly, we don’t really have to deal with this issue much in ….