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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from March 15th 2018 on the topic of whether or not students should mainly read literature from their own country or other countries.

It’s a seemingly simple question but as with all questions it’s a real challenge to think of ideas that are relevant and that you can support well.

I bet you can think of some main ideas. For agree: to learn about the traditions of their country, to learn about its history, to inform their identity, to learn their language better, to become more patriotic. Those are all good – but can you support them?

It’s best to choose one idea and support it fully rather than writing a paragraph full of main ideas. That is the fastest and easiest pathway to a band 5 for Task Achievement – by far the most common score on IELTS Writing Task 2.

If you have trouble thinking of ideas, you can read here about some different brainstorming activities like the one above.

Read on for a sample answer from a former examiner, analysis, vocabulary practice and some handwritten notes!

For more, check out our other sample answers here: IELTS Sample Answers.

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Sample Answer

Some people say that school children should be mainly taught about the literature (e.g fiction and poetry) of their own country because it is more important than that of other countries.

To what extent do you agree?

Many think that it is more important to learn about the literature from one’s own country, rather than other countries. I am in complete agreement with this viewpoint because of how literature can contribute to both national understanding and individual identity.

The most fundamental reason that children should be exposed to literature from their own country is to deepen their understanding. For example, young students in America study a common curriculum including authors like Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Harper Lee. The books from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein convey principles of individualism, creativity and entrepreneurship that are key to understanding America’s history and present. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a good example of a book focused on a period of racial segregation, that can help students to better understand recent events around the Black Lives Matter movement. Learning about racism from a classic novel set in America is more likely to likely engage, inform and stimulate a relevant response.

Another reason why students need to learn their national literature well is that it will help to shape their personal identity at an impressionable age. Children will form their identity from a variety of sources, including the literature of other countries. This is a positive development. But the main influence should be from their own country so that they are a true representative of their nationality. A Japanese child growing up abroad could return to Japan and feel like an outsider. One method of countering this is to make sure they have a good grasp of poetry and fiction from Japan. From classical poetry they will be influenced by Japan’s singular minimalist tradition. From the novels, they will learn about the relationships between people and the differing levels of formality expected in Japanese society. This will all contribute to making their identity more Japanese.

In conclusion, children will better understand and have their identity firmly shaped by the literature of their home country. This is becoming increasingly important in a globalized world that threatens to blur the distinctions between nationalities into a single mono-culture.

 

 

Sample Answer Analysis

Many think that it is more important to learn about the literature from one’s own country, rather than other countries. I am in complete agreement with this viewpoint because of how literature can contribute to both national understanding and individual identity.

  • The first sentence simply restates what the general topic is – should kids mainly read literature from their own country.

  • The second sentence is the self-evident opinion that it is more important to learn your country’s literature (I agree).

The most fundamental reason that children should be exposed to literature from their own country is to deepen their understanding. For example, young students in America study a common curriculum including authors like Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Harper Lee. The books from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein convey principles of individualism, creativity and entrepreneurship that are key to understanding America’s history and present. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a good example of a book focused on a period of racial segregation, that can help students to better understand recent events around the Black Lives Matter movement. Learning about racism from a classic novel set in America is more likely to likely engage, inform and stimulate a relevant response.

  • The first sentence is a topic sentence that includes my main idea for the whole paragraph (literature will deepen a child’s understand of their country). 

  • The second sentence jumps right into my example by listing 3 authors common read in America (where I’m from).

  • The third sentence expands on what elements of America they will be able to better understand from 2 of the 3 authors.

  • The fourth sentence expands on what they will be able to better understand from the 3rd author.

  • The fifth sentence develops that idea by saying how important literature is in general to engaging students.

Another reason why students need to learn their national literature well is that it will help to shape their personal identity at an impressionable age. Children will form their identity from a variety of sources, including the literature of other countries. This is a positive development. But the main influence should be from their own country so that they are a true representative of their nationality. A Japanese child growing up abroad could return to Japan and feel like an outsider. One method of countering this is to make sure they have a good grasp of poetry and fiction from Japan. From classical poetry they will be influenced by Japan’s singular minimalist tradition. From the novels, they will learn about the relationships between people and the differing levels of formality expected in Japanese society. This will all contribute to making their identity more Japanese.

  • The first sentence is a topic sentence that includes my main idea for the whole paragraph (literature helps shape personal identity).

  • The second sentence explains that identity comes from a variety of sources including other countries’ literature.

  • The third sentence is short and says this is a positive development.

  • The fourth sentence claims that literature from their own country should be the primary influence.

  • The fifth sentence gives an example of a Japanese child growing up in another country feeling out of place in Japan.

  • The sixth sentence argues that this can be fixed by encouraging the child to read Japanese poetry and fiction.

  • The seventh sentence explains how poetry will impact their identity.

  • The eigth sentence explains how the novels will impact their identity.

  • The ninth sentence concludes the paragraph by saying these will all impact their identity.

In conclusion, children will better understand and have their identity firmly shaped by the literature of their home country. This is becoming increasingly important in a globalized world that threatens to blur the distinctions between nationalities into a single mono-culture.

  • The first sentence restates my opinion that learning their own country’s literature is more important.

    The last sentence adds an extra detail that further explains why it is important to have distinct nationalities in a globalized world.

 

 

Vocabulary Analysis and Practice

I have highlighted some of the high-level vocabulary from the sample answer.

Before looking at the definition let’s do some practice!

Answer the following questions about everything in bold:

1. What does each one mean?

2. Can you think of another way to say the same thing?

Many think that it is more important to learn about the literature from one’s own country, rather than other countries. I am in complete agreement with this viewpoint because of how literature can contribute to both national understanding and individual identity.

The most fundamental reason that children should be exposed to literature from their own country is to deepen their understanding. For example, young students in America study a common curriculum including authors like Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Harper Lee. The books from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein convey principles of individualism, creativity and entrepreneurship that are key to understanding America’s history and present. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a good example of a book focused on a period of racial segregation, that can help students to better understand recent events around the Black Lives Matter movement. Learning about racism from a classic novel set in America is more likely to likely engage, inform and stimulate a relevant response.

Another reason why students need to learn their national literature well is that it will help to shape their personal identity at an impressionable age. Children will form their identity from a variety of sources, including the literature of other countries. This is a positive development. But the main influence should be from their own country so that they are a true representative of their nationality. A Japanese child growing up abroad could return to Japan and feel like an outsider. One method of countering this is to make sure they have a good grasp of poetry and fiction from Japan. From classical poetry they will be influenced by Japan’s singular minimalist tradition. From the novels, they will learn about the relationships between people and the differing levels of formality expected in Japanese society. This will all contribute to making their identity more Japanese.

In conclusion, children will better understand and have their identity firmly shaped by the literature of their home country. This is becoming increasingly important in a globalized world that threatens to blur the distinctions between nationalities into a single mono-culture.

 

Vocabulary Definitions

one’s own country (noun phrase): the country you are from

in complete agreement with (prepositional phrase): agree with

viewpoint (n): opinion

individual identity (n): who you are / your personal knowledge of yourself

most fundamental reason (noun phrase): basic reason why

exposed (v): to see or experience something

deepen their understanding (verb phrase): understand something better or more deeply/clearly

common curriculum (n): materials and content all students study

convey principles (v + n): teach or show basic values/ideas

individualism (n): stressing the individual person over the community

creativity (n): the ability to think of new ideas

entrepreneurship (n): starting or doing something on your own

racial segregation (adj + n): separating people based on their race or skin color

recent events (adj + n): situation usually in the news from not a long time ago

engage (v): to be interested in something

inform (v): to know something well / to tell someone information about something

stimulate (v): to feel energized or deeply interested and cause a reaction

relevant response (adj + n): an answer or response that is related

another reason why (adverbial phrase): an additional reason

national literature (adj + n): literature from a country

impressionable age (adj + n): an age when you are easily influenced

a variety of sources (noun phrase): coming from many different places

positive development (adj + n): a good thing/change

main influence (adj + n): primary impact/effect

true representative (adj + n): an honest representation/sample/symbol of something

growing up abroad (verb phrase): to live in a foreign country

countering (v): to fix/combat or try to change

good grasp (adj + n): good understanding of something

classical poetry (adj + n): old, good poetry

Japan’s singular minimalist tradition (noun phrase): the aesthetic from Japan that is unique to them focusing on minimal/simple design

differing levels of formality (verb phrase): different ways of interacting with people based on age and stature

firmly shaped (adv + v): influenced powerfully

increasingly important (adv + adj): becoming more important

globalized world (adj + n): cultures becoming more similar around the world

threatens to blur the distinctions (verb phrase): may begin to break down the differences between

mono-culture (n): a single culture

 

Example Notes

Here are some notes I made about literature (check out more on our Instagram page)!

 

 

“Can I use a personal example in an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay?”

 

I get this question all the time on the HowtodoIELTS Facebook Group.

The answer is simple: yes, but no.

Technically, yes. As long as it is relevant you should not lose points. In the answer above you could talk about what you learned at school and that would be fine.

But I personally know some examiners who will mark you down for it.

My final advice: it’s a risk – so don’t do it unless if you like taking risks with your IELTS score and your future.

 

 

Now it’s Your Turn! Comment below on our IELTS Sample Answer:

Did you learn about the literature from your country in school? Which country are you from?

 

 


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