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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether or not students should be allowed to choose their courses/classes freely in high school or secondary school from the real IELTS general training exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Choosing Classes

Some people think that students in high or secondary school can choose courses freely, others think that courses such as mathematics must be compulsory.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Many feel that is essential students be able to choose all their own courses in secondary and high school. In my opinion, certain important classes must remain mandatory.

Those who argue for complete autonomy on that part of students believe it will encourage commitment. A well-known example of this would be free democratic schools popular in various affluent communities in the United States. At these institutions, students have no required classes and are free to choose all their activities on a given day. The result is that students become more independent, motivated, and passionate about certain subject areas. They are then able to translate that passion into dedication because of the freedom allowed. However, it should be mentioned that the success of such schools could also be related to the socioeconomic status of many attendees.

Nonetheless, traditional core subjects are foundational for later integration into society. One of the keys to a cohesive society is a shared education. In most nations, students learn a similar curriculum that focuses on history, math, science, and art. Although students will not use most of what they learn for a practice purpose in the future, it will serve as a basis for their later studies, work, and interactions. An individual who grows up without classes in history, for example, may not understand certain cultural references and feel alienated from the culture at large later. The wide range of subjects in most schools prepares students to become well-rounded, functioning members of society capable of interacting and choosing among multiple career paths.

In conclusion, the utopian ideal of unfettered choice for students may be possible in some contexts, but most should learn from a standardized curriculum to become part of society at large. When possible, students should possess a degree of choice within clear limitations.

Analysis

1. Many feel that is essential students be able to choose all their own courses in secondary and high school. 2. In my opinion, certain important classes must remain mandatory.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Those who argue for complete autonomy on that part of students believe it will encourage commitment. 2. A well-known example of this would be free democratic schools popular in various affluent communities in the United States. 3. At these institutions, students have no required classes and are free to choose all their activities on a given day. 4. The result is that students become more independent, motivated, and passionate about certain subject areas. 5. They are then able to translate that passion into dedication because of the freedom allowed. 6. However, it should be mentioned that the success of such schools could also be related to the socioeconomic status of many attendees.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. State the results of your ideas.
  6. You can add a concession at the end.

1. Nonetheless, traditional core subjects are foundational for later integration into society. 2. One of the keys to a cohesive society is a shared education. 3. In most nations, students learn a similar curriculum that focuses on history, math, science, and art. 4. Although students will not use most of what they learn for a practice purpose in the future, it will serve as a basis for their later studies, work, and interactions. 5. An individual who grows up without classes in history, for example, may not understand certain cultural references and feel alienated from the culture at large later. 6. The wide range of subjects in most schools prepares students to become well-rounded, functioning members of society capable of interacting and choosing among multiple career paths.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!
  6. Connect your ideas back to the topic.

1. In conclusion, the utopian ideal of unfettered choice for students may be possible in some contexts, but most should learn from a standardized curriculum to become part of society at large. 2. When possible, students should possess a degree of choice within clear limitations.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Many feel that is essential students be able to choose all their own courses in secondary and high school. In my opinion, certain important classes must remain mandatory.

Those who argue for complete autonomy on that part of students believe it will encourage commitment. A well-known example of this would be free democratic schools popular in various affluent communities in the United States. At these institutions, students have no required classes and are free to choose all their activities on a given day. The result is that students become more independent, motivated, and passionate about certain subject areas. They are then able to translate that passion into dedication because of the freedom allowed. However, it should be mentioned that the success of such schools could also be related to the socioeconomic status of many attendees.

Nonetheless, traditional core subjects are foundational for later integration into society. One of the keys to a cohesive society is a shared education. In most nations, students learn a similar curriculum that focuses on history, math, science, and art. Although students will not use most of what they learn for a practice purpose in the future, it will serve as a basis for their later studies, work, and interactions. An individual who grows up without classes in history, for example, may not understand certain cultural references and feel alienated from the culture at large later. The wide range of subjects in most schools prepares students to become well-rounded, functioning members of society capable of interacting and choosing among multiple career paths.

In conclusion, the utopian ideal of unfettered choice for students may be possible in some contexts, but most should learn from a standardized curriculum to become part of society at large. When possible, students should possess a degree of choice within clear limitations.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

essential crucial

choose opt for

courses classes

secondary high school in the U.S.

high school secondary school in the U.K.

certain some

remain stay the same

mandatory comulsory

argue for point out

complete autonomy total freedom

encourage commitment motivate dedication

well-known example famous instance

free democratic schools schools where you can do what you want

popular common

various affluent communities rich places

institutions schools, organizations, etc.

no required classes not mandatory courses

on a given day on some random day

result lead to

independent self-reliant

motivated encouraged

passionate caring a lot about

certain subject areas some classes

translate turn into

dedication commitment

it should be mentioned that we should include the fact that

related concerning

socioeconomic status how wealthy people are

attendees students

nonetheless regardless

traditional core subjects core classes

foundational basis

integration into society become part of the country

keys important aspects

cohesive society well-integrated world

shared education the same learning

similar curriculum same classes

focuses on is about

practice purpose real reason

serve as a basis be the foundation for

interactions communications

cultural references people mentioning well known facts

alienated feel apart from

culture at large later society all around afterwards

wide range lots of different

well-rounded comprehensive

functioning members of society important parts of society

capable of able to

choosing among multiple career paths making a choice about your job

utopian ideal perfect future hope

unfettered choice unlimited options

contexts situations

standardized curriculum normal classes and subjects

at large on the whole

when possible if it can be done

possess have

clear limitations definite boundaries

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ʧuːz 
ˈkɔːsɪz 
ˈsɛkəndəri 
haɪ skuːl
ˈsɜːtn 
rɪˈmeɪn 
ˈmændətəri
ˈɑːgjuː fɔː 
kəmˈpliːt ɔːˈtɒnəmi 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ kəˈmɪtmənt
wɛl-nəʊn ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
friː ˌdɛməˈkrætɪk skuːlz 
ˈpɒpjʊlə 
ˈveərɪəs ˈæflʊənt kəˈmjuːnɪtiz
ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃənz
nəʊ rɪˈkwaɪəd ˈklɑːsɪz 
ɒn ə ˈgɪvn deɪ
rɪˈzʌlt 
ˌɪndɪˈpɛndənt
ˈməʊtɪveɪtɪd
ˈpæʃənɪt 
ˈsɜːtn ˈsʌbʤɪkt ˈeərɪəz
trænsˈleɪt 
ˌdɛdɪˈkeɪʃən 
ɪt ʃʊd biː ˈmɛnʃənd ðæt 
rɪˈleɪtɪd 
ˌsəʊsɪəʊˌɛkəˈnɒmɪk ˈsteɪtəs 
əˈtɛndiːz
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
trəˈdɪʃənl kɔː ˈsʌbʤɪkts 
faʊnˈdeɪʃən(ə)l 
ˌɪntɪˈgreɪʃən ˈɪntuː səˈsaɪəti
kiːz 
kəʊˈhiːsɪv səˈsaɪəti 
ʃeəd ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən
ˈsɪmɪlə kəˈrɪkjʊləm 
ˈfəʊkəsɪz ɒn 
ˈpræktɪs ˈpɜːpəs 
sɜːv æz ə ˈbeɪsɪs 
ˌɪntərˈækʃənz
ˈkʌlʧərəl ˈrɛfrənsɪz 
ˈeɪliəneɪtɪd 
ˈkʌlʧər æt lɑːʤ ˈleɪtə
waɪd reɪnʤ 
wɛl-ˈraʊndɪd
ˈfʌŋkʃənɪŋ ˈmɛmbəz ɒv səˈsaɪəti 
ˈkeɪpəbl ɒv 
ˈʧuːzɪŋ əˈmʌŋ ˈmʌltɪpl kəˈrɪə pɑːðz
juːˈtəʊpjən aɪˈdɪəl 
ʌnˈfɛtəd ʧɔɪs 
ˈkɒntɛksts
ˈstændədaɪzd kəˈrɪkjʊləm 
æt lɑːʤ
wɛn ˈpɒsəbl
pəˈzɛs 
klɪə ˌlɪmɪˈteɪʃənz

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many feel that is e___________l students be able to c________e all their own c_________s in s_____________y and h___________l. In my opinion, c_______n important classes must r________n m_______________y.

Those who a_____________________________y on that part of students believe it will e___________________t. A w_____________________e of this would be f______________________________s p__________r in v______________________________s in the United States. At these i______________s, students have n___________________s and are free to choose all their activities o_________________y. The r_______t is that students become more i________________t, m__________d, and p__________e about c_____________________s. They are then able to t___________e that passion into d___________n because of the freedom allowed. However, i___________________________t the success of such schools could also be r________d to the s_____________________s of many a__________s.

N_____________s, t____________________________s are f______________l for later i__________________________y. One of the k_____s to a c_____________y is a s____________________n. In most nations, students learn a s_____________________m that f___________n history, math, science, and art. Although students will not use most of what they learn for a p______________________e in the future, it will s______________s for their later studies, work, and i______________s. An individual who grows up without classes in history, for example, may not understand certain c________________s and feel a_____________d from the c________________________r. The w____________e of subjects in most schools prepares students to become w________________d, f_________________________________________f interacting and c_____________________________________________s.

In conclusion, the u_________________l of u_________________e for students may be possible in some c____________s, but most should learn from a s____________________________m to become part of society a________e. W__________________e, students should p________s a degree of choice within c___________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/10/what-happens-when-students-control-their-own-education/381828/

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Study

  1. What is your major?
  2. Do you like it?
  3. Why did you choose that major?
  4. Which major would you want to change it to?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Many students find it difficult to focus or pay attention at school nowadays.

What are the reasons for this?

What can be done to solve this problem?


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