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This is an IELTS writing task 1 sample answer essay from the general training exam on whether it is better to live in cities or rural areas.

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IELTS Essay General Training: Cities vs Rural Areas

Some people think that cities are the best places to live. Others prefer to live in rural areas.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

There are fundamentally different reasons that dictate whether one lives in the countryside or an urban area. In my opinion, the health benefits of living in the countryside do not outweigh the range of opportunities available in cities.

The chief advantages of the countryside relate to health. City-dwelling lends itself to a more sedentary lifestyle and the threat of air pollution is ever-growing. In contrast, individuals living in the country are much more likely to walk or ride bikes as part of their daily routine. Over time this equates to healthier living habits and can reduce the risk of obesity and concomitant conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moreover, recent studies have found that worsening air quality in cities and the absorption of microparticles into the lungs is driving up rates of cancer and asthma. The countryside presents an alternative environment where cleaner air can result in both short and long-term health benefits.

Nonetheless, cities offer a wide array of options rural areas lack. This begins with the employment on offer. The vast majority of well-paid jobs are located in cities ranging from doctors to lawyers to managers in companies. Living in the countryside limits one to careers primarily centred around agriculture. Cities also contain a richer variety of educational and cultural opportunities. The best schools are usually found in cities and museums and concerts are rare in the countryside. Take New York City for example, where some of the most famous museums in the world are located next to beautiful concert venues and renowned five star restaurants. This broadens an individual’s horizons and makes cities ideal for both single people and families.

In conclusion, despite the healthier overall lifestyle enjoyed in the countryside, city life allows too many modern conveniences to be ignored. Each individual must decide what they value highest but most should opt for city life.

Analysis

1. There are fundamentally different reasons that dictate whether one lives in the countryside or an urban area. 2. In my opinion, the health benefits of living in the countryside do not outweigh the range of opportunities available in cities.

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

1. The chief advantages of the countryside relate to health. 2. City-dwelling lends itself to a more sedentary lifestyle and the threat of air pollution is ever-growing. 3. In contrast, individuals living in the country are much more likely to walk or ride bikes as part of their daily routine. 4. Over time this equates to healthier living habits and can reduce the risk of obesity and concomitant conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 5. Moreover, recent studies have found that worsening air quality in cities and the absorption of microparticles into the lungs is driving up rates of cancer and asthma. 6. The countryside presents an alternative environment where cleaner air can result in both short and long-term health benefits.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Use specific examples to support your idea.
  4. State the results to develop your idea.
  5. Don’t write about a new idea but you can write about multiple ideas within a topic (healthy).
  6. Conclude with a summary sentence.

1. Nonetheless, cities offer a wide array of options rural areas lack. This begins with the employment on offer. 2. The vast majority of well-paid jobs are located in cities ranging from doctors to lawyers to managers in companies. 3. Living in the countryside limits one to careers primarily centred around agriculture. 4. Cities also contain a richer variety of educational and cultural opportunities. 5. The best schools are usually found in cities and museums and concerts are rare in the countryside. 6. Take New York City for example, where some of the most famous museums in the world are located next to beautiful concert venues and renowned five star restaurants. 7. This broadens an individual’s horizons and makes cities ideal for both single people and families.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Use counter-examples for more support.
  4. Start with more general sentences.
  5. Then get more specific.
  6. Use a specific city as an example.
  7. Conclude with a strong statement relating it back to your opinion.

1. In conclusion, despite the healthier overall lifestyle enjoyed in the countryside, city life allows too many modern conveniences to be ignored. 2. Each individual must decide what they value highest but most should opt for city life.

  1. Summarise your ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/detail. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

There are fundamentally different reasons that dictate whether one lives in the countryside or an urban area. In my opinion, the health benefits of living in the countryside do not outweigh the range of opportunities available in cities.

The chief advantages of the countryside relate to health. City-dwelling lends itself to a more sedentary lifestyle and the threat of air pollution is ever-growing. In contrast, individuals living in the country are much more likely to walk or ride bikes as part of their daily routine. Over time this equates to healthier living habits and can reduce the risk of obesity and concomitant conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Moreover, recent studies have found that worsening air quality in cities and the absorption of microparticles into the lungs is driving up rates of cancer and asthma. The countryside presents an alternative environment where cleaner air can result in both short and long-term health benefits.

Nonetheless, cities offer a wide array of options rural areas lack. This begins with the employment on offer. The vast majority of well-paid jobs are located in cities ranging from doctors to lawyers to managers in companies. Living in the countryside limits one to careers primarily centred around agriculture. Cities also contain a richer variety of educational and cultural opportunities. The best schools are usually found in cities and museums and concerts are rare in the countryside. Take New York City for example, where some of the most famous museums in the world are located next to beautiful concert venues and renowned five star restaurants. This broadens an individual’s horizons and makes cities ideal for both single people and families.

In conclusion, despite the healthier overall lifestyle enjoyed in the countryside, city life allows too many modern conveniences to be ignored. Each individual must decide what they value highest but most should opt for city life.

Answers

fundamentally different reasons basically differing justifications

dictate decide

urban area city

health benefits good for you

outweigh stronger than

range of opportunities many chances

chief advantages main benefits

relate to regarding

city-dwelling lends itself living in a city makes you more likely to

more sedentary lifestyle less active living

threat of air pollution risk of poor air quality

ever-growing always increasing

in contrast however

part of their daily routine something you do everyday

equates means

healthier living habits doing something healthy everday

reduce the risk less chance of

obesity getting fat

concomitant conditions related problems

cardiovascular disease heart disease

diabetes a disease from eating too much sugar

recent studies have found research has shown

worsening air quality more air pollution

absorption becoming part of

microparticles small bits of stuff

driving up rates of cancer increasing the odds of getting cancer

asthma a breathing condition

presents allows for

alternative environment different place

cleaner air less air pollution

result in so

short and long-term health benefits in the near and distant future

nonetheless regardless

wide array of options many chances

lack don’t have

employment on offer jobs available

vast majority most of

well-paid jobs good employment

ranging from including

limits restricts

primarily centred around agriculture mostly to do with farming

contain a richer variety have a lot more

educational related to education

cultural opportunities museums, theatre, music, etc.

usually found often located

rare not common

are located are situated

concert venues places for music

renowned five star restaurants famous restaurants

broadens expands

individual’s horizons what you know about

ideal perfect

enjoyed in that they have

modern conveniences that people expect these days

ignored not paying attention to

value highest consider most important

opt choose

Pronunciation

ˌfʌndəˈmɛntli ˈdɪfrənt ˈriːznz 
ˈdɪkteɪt 
ˈɜːbən ˈeərɪə
hɛlθ ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
aʊtˈweɪ 
reɪnʤ ɒv ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪtiz 
ʧiːf ədˈvɑːntɪʤɪz 
rɪˈleɪt tuː 
ˈsɪti-ˈdwɛlɪŋ lɛndz ɪtˈsɛlf 
mɔː ˈsɛdntəri ˈlaɪfˌstaɪl 
θrɛt ɒv eə pəˈluːʃən 
ˈɛvə-ˈgrəʊɪŋ
ɪn ˈkɒntrɑːst
pɑːt ɒv ðeə ˈdeɪli ruːˈtiːn
ɪˈkweɪts 
ˈhɛlθɪə ˈlɪvɪŋ ˈhæbɪts 
rɪˈdjuːs ðə rɪsk 
əʊˈbiːsɪti 
kənˈkɒmɪtənt kənˈdɪʃənz 
ˌkɑːdɪəʊˈvæskjʊlə dɪˈziːz 
ˌdaɪəˈbiːtiːz
ˈriːsnt ˈstʌdiz hæv faʊnd 
ˈwɜːsnɪŋ eə ˈkwɒlɪti 
əbˈsɔːpʃ(ə)n 
microparticles 
ˈdraɪvɪŋ ʌp reɪts ɒv ˈkænsə 
ˈæsmə
ˈprɛznts 
ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt 
ˈkliːnər eə 
rɪˈzʌlt ɪn 
ʃɔːt ænd ˈlɒŋtɜːm hɛlθ ˈbɛnɪfɪts
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
waɪd əˈreɪ ɒv ˈɒpʃənz 
læk
ɪmˈplɔɪmənt ɒn ˈɒfə
vɑːst məˈʤɒrɪti 
wɛl-peɪd ʤɒbz 
ˈreɪnʤɪŋ frɒm 
ˈlɪmɪts 
ˈpraɪmərɪli ˈsɛntəd əˈraʊnd ˈægrɪkʌlʧə
kənˈteɪn ə ˈrɪʧə vəˈraɪəti 
ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl 
ˈkʌlʧərəl ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪtiz
ˈjuːʒʊəli faʊnd 
reə 
ɑː ləʊˈkeɪtɪd
ˈkɒnsə(ː)t ˈvɛnjuːz 
rɪˈnaʊnd faɪv stɑː ˈrɛstrɒnts
ˈbrɔːdnz 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlz həˈraɪznz 
aɪˈdɪəl 
ɪnˈʤɔɪd ɪn 
ˈmɒdən kənˈviːniənsɪz 
ɪgˈnɔːd
ˈvæljuː ˈhaɪɪst 
ɒpt 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

There are f______________________________s that d__________e whether one lives in the countryside or an u_____________a. In my opinion, the h______________s of living in the countryside do not o_____________h the r__________________________s available in cities.

The c___________________s of the countryside r____________o health. C_______________________________f to a m____________________e and the t_________________________n is e_______________g. I_______________t, individuals living in the country are much more likely to walk or ride bikes as p___________________________e. Over time this e______________s to h_____________________________s and can r___________________k of o__________y and c_____________________s such as c_______________________e and d____________s. Moreover, r______________________d that w_______________________y in cities and the a________________n of m____________________s into the lungs is d______________________r and a___________a. The countryside p_____________s an a____________________t where c_________________r can r______________n both s________________________s.

N_______________s, cities offer a w____________________s rural areas l_____k. This begins with the e_____________________r. The v_________________y of w_____________________s are located in cities r________________m doctors to lawyers to managers in companies. Living in the countryside l___________s one to careers p_________________________________e. Cities also c________________________y of e_________________l and c______________________s. The best schools are u___________________d in cities and museums and concerts are r_____e in the countryside. Take New York City for example, where some of the most famous museums in the world a_____________d next to beautiful c________________s and r______________________________s. This b_______________s an i__________________________s and makes cities i______l for both single people and families.

In conclusion, despite the healthier overall lifestyle e_______________n the countryside, city life allows too many m___________________s to be i_______________d. Each individual must decide what they v_______________t but most should o_____t for city life.

Listening Practice

Learn more about living in New York City below:

Reading Practice

Read a counterpoint below:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/06/pandemic-cities-moving-remote-work/613069/

Speaking Practice

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

Countryside

  1. Do you like going to the countryside?
  2. What do you like to do there?
  3. Have you ever lived in the countryside?
  4. Would you like to live in the countryside in the future?

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic then check with my sample answer below:

Some people believe that children should grow up in the city while others believe the countryside is a better choice.

Discuss both sides and give your opinion.


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