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

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

Wake up and smell the roses!

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

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

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

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

SLEEP

‘I slept like a log.’

This means that you slept very well, deeply.

 

‘I was tossing and turning all night.’

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

 

‘He’s a real night owl.’

He likes to stay up late at night.

 

Early bird gets the worm.’

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

 

Rise and shine sleepy head!’

Get up, lazy!

 

‘Why don’t you try sleeping on it?’

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

 

‘I slept like a baby.’

Same as sleeping like a log – sleeping really well.

 

‘Time to hit the hay.’

Time to go to sleep.

 

Have a lie in.’

Sleep late in the morning.

 

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

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

 

‘Time to turn in.’

TIme to go to bed.

 

‘He went out like a light.’

Went to sleep right away.

 

Couldn’t sleep a wink all night.’

Unable to sleep at all.

 

‘Get your beauty rest – you need it.’

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

 

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

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

 

 

MORNINGS

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

The early hours of the morning.

 

‘I get up at the crack of dawn.’

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

 

‘The sunrise is gorgeous.’

The rising of the sun is beautiful.

 

‘I want to get an early start tomorrow.’

I want to get up early in the morning.

 

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

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

 

‘The morning light woke me up.’

The sun at dawn.

 

‘It will take all morning.’

Use up all the hours of the morning.

 

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

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

 

 

EVENINGS

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

Very late at night.

 

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

Sleep well.

 

‘The sunset isn’t so gorgeous.’

The falling sun is ugly.

 

‘I’m a night person.’

I like to stay up late at night.

 

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

Completely different personalities – opposites.

 

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

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

 

‘Time to call it a day.’

Time to go to bed.

 

‘I’m gonna have an early night.’

I’m going to go to bed early.

 

‘I’m gonna spend the night in.’

Not going to go out tonight.

 

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

Very late at night.

 

Night after night, I can’t sleep.’

Every night.

 

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

Go out and party.

 

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

 

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

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

2. What do you usually do in the mornings?

 

3. What is the perfect evening for you?

Remember to use the vocabulary above in your answers!

 

 

 

ASAP Science Links

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

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

What If You Stopped Sleeping?

The Scientific Power of Naps

Why Are You Always Tired?

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

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

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

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

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

(And here are my other sample answers.)

History and IELTS

History and IELTS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

2. My second sentence explains my main idea.

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

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

5. The fifth sentence also develops the same example…

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

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

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

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

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

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

 

Answers:

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

immediately discernible impact: clear effect that you can see

mandatory: you have to do it

evolving world: changing, modern world

provides crucial insights: gives important conclusions/lessons

springboards: originates in

periodically: regularly

govern: control or be in charge of

great figures: important people

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

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

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

basic convictions: fundamental beliefs

well-informed political beliefs: educated opinions about politics

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

false assertions: lies

prioritised: make more important

especially: particularly

better prepare: good preparation

high demand: lots of people want it

devote: dedicate or give

head start: begin with an advantage

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

timetable: schedule

job market: employment in a variety of industries

 

 

Vocabulary Practice

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

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

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

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

 

IELTS Speaking Part 2 – History (Band 8)

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

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

 

 

Here is the full transcript with a couple of corrections:

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

 

 

 

Links from TedEd

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

The history of the world according to cats

A brie(f) history of cheese

History vs. Christopher Columbus

A glimpse of teenage life in ancient Rome

 

 

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

I’d have to say that’s…

Most people would agree that…

Not everyone shares my view, but I think…

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

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Work-Life Balance

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

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

Take a look at my other sample answer here.

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

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

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

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

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

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

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

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

  3. The third sentence develops this further.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sample Answer Vocabulary

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

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

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

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

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

Answers:

increasingly concerned: more and more worried

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

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

primary issues: main problems

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

pushed out of: must leave or are fired

willing to work for less: will work for less money

catch up: get up to date, not be behind

end result: final outcome

eats away: makes smaller, cuts away from, decreases

combat: fight against 

ideal world: perfect world

alleviate the burden: make the situation better or easier

pragmatic: doing something realistically and reasonably

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

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

small sacrifice: takes very little away from you

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

especially apparent: very obvious

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

maximise efficiency: make more efficient

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

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

Vocabulary Practice

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

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

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

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

.

Links

School of Life: Work-Life Balance

How to Maintain Work-Life Balance

Life at Google

Kim Kaupe

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

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

Not especially…

I guess you could say so…

At moment I do, but in the past…

I work all day, every day so…

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.)

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: Populations, Young People (Cambridge 12)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer: Populations, Young People (Cambridge 12)

This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer based on a question from the IELTS Cambridge 12 book of previous practice tests.

That means this a real question from IELTS and I am a real former examiner – what more could you want!

Well you might want some more sample answers that I wrote.

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 12: Young People (by Dave)

At the present time, the population of some countries includes a relatively large number of young adults, compared with the number of older people.

Do the advantage of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?

The average age of the population for many nations around the world has been in decline in recent decades creating a situation where young people have become the world’s largest demographic, particularly in developing nations. Although there are decided drawbacks to this phenomenon related to expertise in the workforce, it is still a positive development because it will lead to booming economies in the coming years.

The most frequently cited drawback to having a predominately young population is the lack of skilled workers in many important industries. A great example of this can be seen in Vietnam, which has one of the youngest populations in the world. Vietnam currently has very few leaders in important areas like engineering and technology. When it came time for Ho Chi Minh city to build a subway system, there were not enough skilled engineers to accomplish the feat. They had to hire a huge number of specialists from Japan and Thailand to ensure the quality of the project. The potential engineers for this project are still in school in Vietnam or studying abroad and it may be another decade before they are ready to design and execute large, complex infrastructure. It is not uncommon for developing countries with young populations to require outside assistance for national projects to the detriment of their own workers.

Despite this drawback, the advantage of a young population is that it brings many future benefits to a country and is a key indicator of future economic prosperity. Japan famously has one of the oldest populations in the world and this has led them into a deep economic recession over the last 20 years as it becomes increasingly apparent that the nation will have to assume responsibilities related to healthcare and a dwindling workforce. Contrast this with the so-called ‘Tiger Economies’ of Southeast Asia that include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. These countries have some of the youngest populations in the world, which, coupled with a growing middle class and better education, means that they will enjoy upward economic growth for decades to come. The middle class will expand because well-educated graduates will be able to get good jobs and this middle class will become a consumer class that feeds the economy. Overall, this is why having a young population is desirable for any nation.

In conclusion, I fully believe that a younger population indicates a country is going to be successful in the future. The key element for all young populations is education and governments should focus on this in order to fully exploit the benefits of their demographics.

 

 

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer Analysis

The average age of the population for many nations around the world has been in decline in recent decades creating a situation where young people have become the world’s largest demographic, particularly in developing nations. Although there are decided drawbacks to this phenomenon related to expertise in the workforce, it is still a positive development because it will lead to booming economies in the coming years.

  • My first sentence simply rephrases the question and topic. Write this sentence quickly as it is not that important.

  • My second sentence gives my opinion and includes the main reason why (economic benefits).

The most frequently cited drawback to having a predominately young population is the lack of skilled workers in many important industries. A great example of this can be seen in Vietnam, which has one of the youngest populations in the world. Vietnam currently has very few leaders in important areas like engineering and technology. When it came time for Ho Chi Minh city to build a subway system, there were not enough skilled engineers to accomplish the feat. They had to hire a huge number of specialists from Japan and Thailand to ensure the quality of the project. The potential engineers for this project are still in school in Vietnam or studying abroad and it may be another decade before they are ready to design and execute large, complex infrastructure. It is not uncommon for developing countries with young populations to require outside assistance for national projects to the detriment of their own workers.

  • My first sentence is a topic sentence that explains the main idea for the paragraph (lack of skilled workers in younger populations).

  • My second sentence uses the example of Vietnam (where I live!).

  • My third sentence expands on the example.

  • My fourth sentence continues the examples.

  • My fifth sentence also continues the example.

  • My sixth sentence makes the example more general by talking about other developing countries.

Despite this drawback, the advantage of a young population is that it brings many future benefits to a country and is a key indicator of future economic prosperity. Japan famously has one of the oldest populations in the world and this has led them into a deep economic recession over the last 20 years as it becomes increasingly apparent that the nation will have to assume responsibilities related to healthcare and a dwindling workforce. Contrast this with the so-called ‘Tiger Economies’ of Southeast Asia that include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. These countries have some of the youngest populations in the world, which, coupled with a growing middle class and better education, means that they will enjoy upward economic growth for decades to come. The middle class will expand because well-educated graduates will be able to get good jobs and this middle class will become a consumer class that feeds the economy. Overall, this is why having a young population is desirable for any nation.

  • My first sentence is a topic sentence saying that having a younger population is good for the economy.

  • My second sentence gives the examples of Japan.

  • My third sentence continues the examples by contrasting with countries in Southeast Asia.

  • My fourth sentence continues the example.

  • My fifth sentence gives more detail in the example.

  • My sixth sentence is general and explains why every country should want a young population.

In conclusion, I fully believe that a younger population indicates a country is going to be successful in the future. The key element for all young populations is education and governments should focus on this in order to full exploit the benefits of their demographics.

  • My first sentence repeats my opinion. Do this or get IELTS band 5 for task achievement!

  • My second sentence adds an extra detail that is not summary because some IELTS examiners require this for band 7+.

 

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the phrases highlighted below mean in your own words? Is there a translation in your language?

The average age of the population for many nations around the world has been in decline in recent decades creating a situation where young people have become the world’s largest demographic, particularly in developing nations. Although there are decided drawbacks to this phenomenon related to expertise in the workforce, it is still a positive development because it will lead to booming economies in the coming years.

The most frequently cited drawback to having a predominately young population is the lack of skilled workers in many important industries. A great example of this can be seen in Vietnam, which has one of the youngest populations in the world. Vietnam currently has very few leaders in important areas like engineering and technology. When it came time for Ho Chi Minh city to build a subway system, there were not enough skilled engineers to accomplish the feat. They had to hire a huge number of specialists from Japan and Thailand to ensure the quality of the project. The potential engineers for this project are still in school in Vietnam or studying abroad and it may be another decade before they are ready to design and execute large, complex infrastructure. It is not uncommon for developing countries with young populations to require outside assistance for national projects to the detriment of their own workers.

Despite this drawback, the advantage of a young population is that it brings many future benefits to a country and is a key indicator of future economic prosperity. Japan famously has one of the oldest populations in the world and this has led them into a deep economic recession over the last 20 years as it becomes increasingly apparent that the nation will have to assume responsibilities related to healthcare and a dwindling workforce. Contrast this with the so-called ‘Tiger Economies’ of Southeast Asia that include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. These countries have some of the youngest populations in the world, which, coupled with a growing middle class and better education, means that they will enjoy upward economic growth for decades to come. The middle class will expand because well-educated graduates will be able to get good jobs and this middle class will become a consumer class that feeds the economy. Overall, this is why having a young population is desirable for any nation.

In conclusion, I fully believe that a younger population indicates a country is going to be successful in the future. The key element for all young populations is education and governments should focus on this in order to fully exploit the benefits of their demographics.

 

Answers:

in decline: getting worse

demographic: the type of people living in a place (men, women, young, old, race, etc.)

decided drawbacks: clear disadvantages

expertise: knowledge or skill in an area

workforce: the working people in a country

booming economies: economies that are doing very well

predominately: mostly

came time for: when something is needed/desired

accomplish the feat: do/finish something

specialists: people with expertise

ensure: make sure

execute: do

not uncommon: common

outside assistance: help from other people

to the detriment of: to the disadvantage of

future benefits: will get something back later

key indicator: a signal that gives information/makes something clear

economic prosperity: the economy doing well

recession: the economy of a country shrinking slightly

increasingly apparent: more and more clear

assume responsibilities: take responsibility

dwindling workforce: number of workers getting smaller

contrast this with: compare this to

coupled with: combined with

desirable: wanted

fully exploit: take full/complete advantage of

 

Vocabulary Practice

The average age of the population for many nations around the world has been ____________________ in recent decades creating a situation where young people have become the world’s largest ____________________, particularly in developing nations. Although there are__________________ to this phenomenon related to __________________ in the __________________, it is still a positive development because it will lead to __________________ in the coming years.

The most frequently cited drawback to having a __________________ young population is the lack of skilled workers in many important industries. A great example of this can be seen in Vietnam, which has one of the youngest populations in the world. Vietnam currently has very few leaders in important areas like engineering and technology. When it __________________ Ho Chi Minh city to build a subway system, there were not enough skilled engineers to __________________ . They had to hire a huge number of __________________ from Japan and Thailand to __________________ the quality of the project. The potential engineers for this project are still in school in Vietnam or studying abroad and it may be another decade before they are ready to design and __________________ large, complex infrastructure. It is __________________ for developing countries with young populations to require __________________ for national projects __________________ their own workers.

Despite this drawback, the advantage of a young population is that it brings many __________________ to a country and is a __________________ of future __________________. Japan famously has one of the oldest populations in the world and this has led them into a deep economic __________________ over the last 20 years as it becomes __________________ that the nation will have to __________________ related to healthcare and a __________________. __________________ the so-called ‘Tiger Economies’ of Southeast Asia that include Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore. These countries have some of the youngest populations in the world, which, __________________ a growing middle class and better education, means that they will enjoy upward economic growth for decades to come. The middle class will expand because well-educated graduates will be able to get good jobs and this middle class will become a consumer class that feeds the economy. Overall, this is why having a young population is __________________ for any nation.

In conclusion, I fully believe that a younger population indicates a country is going to be successful in the future. The key element for all young populations is education and governments should focus on this in order to __________________ the benefits of their demographics.

 

Links

How an Ageing Population Will Change the World

Ageing Population Animation

How is Japan Dealing with its Rapidly Ageing Population

What the Rising Youth Population Means for the World

Here are some activities you can use to improve your listening while watching the videos: Improve your Listening.

 

Comment below – does your country have an old or young population?

Well, where I’m living…

It’s kind of of a mix actually in …

Honestly, it’s a giant problem in …

Truth be told, we don’t really have to deal with this problem much in ….

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