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This is the IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer from March 24th 2018 on the topic of whether or not museums and art galleries should show more items from their own country or other countries.

It’s actually very similar to a question from a few weeks earlier on the test!

I’m going to do something a little bit different with this sample answer. Students are always asking about these ‘to what extent do you agree’ questions.

Can you say you completely disagree? Yes. Can you completely agree? Yes. Can you partly agree or disagree and discuss both sides? Yes, and that is the approach I recommend.

Just make sure that you state your opinion very clearly. I wrote two sample answers for this question.

In the first one, I mostly disagree. In the second one, I mostly agree.

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.

You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel for some IELTS Speaking Sample Answers: HowtodoIELTS YouTube.

 

SAMPLE ANSWER 1: MOSTLY DISAGREE

Museums and art galleries should focus on works that show the history and culture of their own country rather than works of other parts of the world.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many people claim that it is more important for museums to display work from the country where they are located rather than draw from other places around the world. I partly agree that museums are a valuable educational tool to learn about one’s own country but overall museums should aspire to broaden people’s perspective rather than narrow and deepen it.

Proponents of museums mainly showcasing works from their own country often point out that they help people connect with their country’s culture and history. Children all over the United States learn about American history from their textbooks. They learn about the constitution, the founding fathers, and the various wars of liberation America has fought. However, if they go to a museum to see the actual historical documents from the period this will likely have a more memorable impression. Seeing a famous work of art or historical document up close, they may notice notice details that were not in their book and feel a more personal connection to their country.

Although there is a strong argument to be made for museums specialising in this way, I feel it is more important for people to gain a broader view of cultures around the world. Most people cannot afford to travel abroad and even if they do, they are unlikely to experience another culture deeply as a tourist. Museums are a great opportunity for people of all ages to learn about other countries. Someone visiting the British Museum in London will see artifacts from every continent in the world without a plane ticket. Over the years if they keep returning to the museum they will learn more and more.

Museums will inevitable show a mixture of works from their own country as well as other countries. In my opinion, it is more important for people to take in the breadth of culture of the whole world rather than just their country. If children start from a young age learning about the world they are likely to grow up more tolerant.

 

SAMPLE ANSWER 2: MOSTLY AGREE

There is natural debate around the issue of whether or not museums should be showcasing works mainly from their own country or other countries. Although it is important to learn about other cultures through museums, countries have the right and responsibility to preserve and maintain their own cultural history.

Proponents of museums showing a variety of works from many different countries rightly argue that people’s lives are enriched through all these different cultures. For example, Europe is a relatively small area that packs in dozens of distinct national identities. Someone going to a museum in a cosmopolitan city like Berlin is likely to find Italian Renaissance paintings next to modernist Spanish sculpture as well as German works. This allows people to feel they are travelling around the world and taking in a variety of viewpoints. Through this exposure to culture they may come to better understand other nations and have greater insight into what connects and differentiates countries from each other.

Despite the clear benefits of learning about other cultures, countries have the right to house the relics of their own history. Many of the museums displaying works from other countries took them without permission. For example, the British Museum’s collection was mainly sourced during the height of the British Empire. Many nations have disputed the right of the museum to house their country’s artifacts and some have been returned. It is only right that countries keep what was made in their country so that they can educate their own people about their history. Anything that has been taken without explicit permission should be returned, just as a thief is required to return what they have stolen if they are caught.

I think that there is tremendous value in museums displaying works from other countries but it does not override the basic right of nations to look after their own history. One way forward would be to encourage museums to have frequent exchanges and temporary exhibitions.

 

SAMPLE ANSWER 1 ANALYSIS: MOSTLY DISAGREE

Many people claim that it is more important for museums to display work from the country where they are located rather than draw from other places around the world. I partly agree that museums are a valuable educational tool to learn about one’s own country but overall museums should aspire to broaden people’s perspective rather than narrow and deepen it.

  • In the introduction, I begin by rephrasing the question. Then I make my opinion totally clear by saying that I partly agree but overall disagree. I also give my main reasons why.

Proponents of museums mainly showcasing works from their own country often point out that they help people connect with their country’s culture and history. Children all over the United States learn about American history from their textbooks. They learn about the constitution, the founding fathers, and the various wars of liberation America has fought. However, if they go to a museum to see the actual historical documents from the period this will likely have a more memorable impression. Seeing a famous work of art or historical document up close, they may notice notice details that were not in their book and feel a more personal connection to their country.

  • In my first body paragraph, I talk about why I partly agree. The reason is that people can connect better with their country by seeing real items from their history. I give the example of a student in America looking at works of art or historical documents and feeling a personal connection.

Although there is a strong argument to be made for museums specialising in this way, I feel it is more important for people to gain a broader view of cultures around the world. Most people cannot afford to travel abroad and even if they do, they are unlikely to experience another culture deeply as a tourist. Museums are a great opportunity for people of all ages to learn about other countries. Someone visiting the British Museum in London will see artifacts from every continent in the world without a plane ticket. Over the years if they keep returning to the museum they will learn more and more.

  • In my second body paragraph (which has my overall opinion), I say it is more important to learn about other countries. I put this in the context of people who can’t afford to travel or are just tourists and give  the example of a famous museum in London.

Museums will inevitable show a mixture of works from their own country as well as other countries. In my opinion, it is more important for people to take in the breadth of culture of the whole world rather than just their country. If children start from a young age learning about the world they are likely to grow up more tolerant.

  • In my conclusion, I summarise my arguments and restate my overall opinion and the reason for it. I also include one extra sentence to say why I think broadening one’s perspective is important.

SAMPLE ANSWER 2 ANALYSIS: MOSTLY AGREE

There is natural debate around the issue of whether or not museums should be showcasing works mainly from their own country or other countries. Although it is important to learn about other cultures through museums, countries have the right and responsibility to preserve and maintain their own cultural history.

  • In the introduction, I begin by rephrasing the question. Then I make my opinion totally clear by saying that I mostly agree and the reason why I mostly agree.

Proponents of museums showing a variety of works from many different countries rightly argue that people’s lives are enriched through all these different cultures. For example, Europe is a relatively small area that packs in dozens of distinct national identities. Someone going to a museum in a cosmopolitan city like Berlin is likely to find Italian Renaissance paintings next to modernist Spanish sculpture as well as German works. This allows people to feel they are travelling around the world and taking in a variety of viewpoints. Through this exposure to culture they may come to better understand other nations and have greater insight into what connects and differentiates countries from each other.

  • In my first body paragraph, I talk about the other side – why it is a good idea to have works from different countries in a museum. I give the example of a museum in Europe and the effect that might have on a person.

Despite the clear benefits of learning about other cultures, countries have the right to house the relics of their own history. Many of the museums displaying works from other countries took them without permission. For example, the British Museum’s collection was mainly sourced during the height of the British Empire. Many nations have disputed the right of the museum to house their country’s artifacts and some have been returned. It is only right that countries keep what was made in their country so that they can educate their own people about their history. Anything that has been taken without explicit permission should be returned, just as a thief is required to return what they have stolen if they are caught.

  • In my second body paragraph (which has my opinion), I talk about why museums should mainly focus on their country. I give the example of the British Museum and the works it has taken from other countries. My argument is that countries should be able to keep their own artifacts to show to their own citizens.

I think that there is tremendous value in museums displaying works from other countries but it does not override the basic right of nations to look after their own history. One way forward would be to encourage museums to have frequent exchanges and temporary exhibitions.

  • In my conclusion, I summarise my arguments and restate my overall opinion and the reason for it. I also include one extra sentence to say how I think this could be implemented in the future.

 

VOCABULARY PRACTICE AND ANALYSIS

I have highlighted 5 of the best vocabulary expressions from the sample answer. This is the type of natural, specific vocabulary that will get you a Band 7+.

Before looking at the definitions I recommend you take out a notebook and try to write down the definitions or a new sentence with the vocabulary. Then check using the definitions below!

Sample Answer 1

Although there is a strong argument to be made for museums specialising in this way, I feel it is more important for people to gain a broader view of cultures around the world. Most people cannot afford to travel abroad and even if they do, they are unlikely to experience another culture deeply as a tourist. Museums are a great opportunity for people of all ages to learn about other countries. Someone visiting the British Museum in London will see artifacts from every continent in the world without a plane ticket. Over the years if they keep returning to the museum they will learn more and more.

Sample Answer 2

Despite the clear benefits of learning about other cultures, countries have the right to house the relics of their own history. Many of the museums displaying works from other countries took them without permission. For example, the British Museum’s collection was mainly sourced during the height of the British Empire. Many nations have disputed the right of the museum to house their country’s artifacts and some have been returned. It is only right that countries keep what was made in their country so that they can educate their own people about their history. Anything that has been taken without explicit permission should be returned, just as a thief is required to return what they have stolen if they are caught.

VOCABULARY DEFINITIONS

specialising (verb): to do one thing very well or be an expert at it

gain a broader view (verb phrase): to understand a greater variety / lots of different things

experience another culture deeply (verb phrase): to get to know another culture very well

a great opportunity (adj + noun): a good chance to do or learn something

over the years (prepositional phrase): for a long period of time

clear benefits (adj. + noun): obvious advantages

without permission (adverb + noun): not allowed to

sourced (verb): comes from / taken from

disputed (adj/verb): in disagreement / argue with / counter / disagree

explicit permission (adj. + noun): clear written or spoken approval or agreement

 

GRAMMAR ANALYSIS: ‘RATHER THAN’

Rather than is what is known as a ‘coordinating conjunction.’ This means that you can use it exactly like you use ‘and,’ ‘or,’ ‘but.’

It means something is more important or preferable to do. It is always a comparison. For example: ‘Rather than checking your Facebook, you should be learning about IELTS.’

So you can have a verb phrase after it (checking your Facebook) or any other kind of main clause (I like cats, rather than dogs. Rather than some superhero movie, we should try watching something different.)

It can be used in writing because it is formal but it is also informal enough for speaking. That makes it really useful! You can find more useful grammar on our HowtodoIELTS Facebook Group.

It is really common in headlines for articles. Here are some recent examples from the news:

 

 

EXAMPLE NOTES

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

IELTS grammar notes!

There are two mistakes I *deliberately* put in Example 2 – can you spot them and comment below?

 

CHECK OUT GOOGLE MUSEUMS! 

We’re done with the boring stuff. Let’s take a look at an amazing website put together by Google that has works of art and analysis from museums all over the world! Here it is: https://artsandculture.google.com/explore

 

 

COMMENT BELOW

What is the name of the most famous museum in your country? Use these phrases to help write your comments:

In my country, the most famous museum is…

A lot of people where I’m from like going to …

Tourists especially enjoy the …

I don’t know if it is the most popular, but the one I like the most is …

 


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