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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of international stars and historic figures and why young people are more interested in celebrities from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: International Stars and Historic Figures

Many young people today know more about international pop or movie stars than about famous people in the history of their own country.

Why is this?

What can be done to increase young people’s interest in famous people in the history of their country?

Younger generations today are often more interested in international celebrities rather than figures from their country’s past. In my opinion, this is a natural tendency related to mass media and can be mitigated by improving history lessons in schools.

Younger people today organically gravitate towards individuals they resonate with and see in entertainment. This applies equally to those in the film and music industries. For example, one of the most popular singers for the last decade has been Taylor Swift, an artist who prolifically releases albums, updates her Instagram, and is generally present online and in the entertainment world. Young people listen to her songs and identify with her and then follow her personal life closely in order to enjoy a vicarious, uplifting feeling. This stands in marked contrast to historical figures who no longer contribute or offer any present value.

This tendency to value current stars can be countered with more engaging history classes. History lessons in most contexts focus on dry facts and propaganda. However, there are historians who can enliven historical events such as in Robert Caro’s non-fiction or Hilary Mantel’s historical fiction. If students were introduced to passages from those sources, there is a stronger likelihood that it would instill in them a lifelong passion for the study of history and the figures that have shaped our current world. If such lessons were combined with more relevant current events lessons, then students might be more compelled to understand, respect, and continue researching great historical actors.

In conclusion, though there is a natural inclination to pay more attention to contemporary pop culture figures, an emphasis on quality texts could encourage young people to care more about individuals from the past. This will not cause a seismic shift but could have a marginal impact.

Analysis

1. Younger generations today are often more interested in international celebrities rather than figures from their country’s past. 2. In my opinion, this is a natural tendency related to mass media and can be mitigated by improving history lessons in schools.

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

1. Younger people today organically gravitate towards individuals they resonate with and see in entertainment. 2. This applies equally to those in the film and music industries. 3. For example, one of the most popular singers for the last decade has been Taylor Swift, an artist who prolifically releases albums, updates her Instagram, and is generally present online and in the entertainment world. 4. Young people listen to her songs and identify with her and then follow her personal life closely in order to enjoy a vicarious, uplifting feeling. 5. This stands in marked contrast to historical figures who no longer contribute or offer any present value.

  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. Start a second method.
  5. Keep developing it fully.

1. This tendency to value current stars can be countered with more engaging history classes. 2. History lessons in most contexts focus on dry facts and propaganda. 3. However, there are historians who can enliven historical events such as in Robert Caro’s non-fiction or Hilary Mantel’s historical fiction. 4. If students were introduced to passages from those sources, there is a stronger likelihood that it would instill in them a lifelong passion for the study of history and the figures that have shaped our current world. 5. If such lessons were combined with more relevant current events lessons, then students might be more compelled to understand, respect, and continue researching great historical actors.

  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. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.

1. In conclusion, though there is a natural inclination to pay more attention to contemporary pop culture figures, an emphasis on quality texts could encourage young people to care more about individuals from the past. 2. This will not cause a seismic shift but could have a marginal impact.

  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.

Younger generations today are often more interested in international celebrities rather than figures from their country’s past. In my opinion, this is a natural tendency related to mass media and can be mitigated by improving history lessons in schools.

Younger people today organically gravitate towards individuals they resonate with and see in entertainment. This applies equally to those in the film and music industries. For example, one of the most popular singers for the last decade has been Taylor Swift, an artist who prolifically releases albums, updates her Instagram, and is generally present online and in the entertainment world. Young people listen to her songs and identify with her and then follow her personal life closely in order to enjoy a vicarious, uplifting feeling. This stands in marked contrast to historical figures who no longer contribute or offer any present value.

This tendency to value current stars can be countered with more engaging history classes. History lessons in most contexts focus on dry facts and propaganda. However, there are historians who can enliven historical events such as in Robert Caro’s non-fiction or Hilary Mantel’s historical fiction. If students were introduced to passages from those sources, there is a stronger likelihood that it would instill in them a lifelong passion for the study of history and the figures that have shaped our current world. If such lessons were combined with more relevant current events lessons, then students might be more compelled to understand, respect, and continue researching great historical actors.

In conclusion, though there is a natural inclination to pay more attention to contemporary pop culture figures, an emphasis on quality texts could encourage young people to care more about individuals from the past. This will not cause a seismic shift but could have a marginal impact.

Answers

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

younger generations people who are not old – under the age of 25 or so

interested in care about

international celebrities stars

rather than instead of

figures important people

natural tendency organic desire

related to concerning

mass media entertainment, news, etc.

mitigated lessened

improving made better

organically gravitate towards naturally go in the direction of

resonate with connect with

entertainment movies, music, etc.

equally the same as

last decade last 10 years

artist singer, musician, etc.

prolifically releases albums make a lot of music

updates new posts

generally present online all over the internet

entertainment world people in music, film, etc.

identify connect with

follow her personal life closely pay attention to her life

in order to so that

vicarious living through others

uplifting enjoyable

This stands in marked contrast to this is very different from

no longer contribute not add to any more

offer any present value means something now

tendency likelihood

countered with fought with

engaging paying attention to

in most contexts in many situations

dry facts boring information

propaganda self-serving and biased information about a country

historians people who study history

enliven historical events bring history to life

non-fiction true, reality

historical fiction books based in history but not 100% true

introduced first shown

passages texts

stronger likelihood better chance

instill engender

lifelong passion care about your whole life

shaped cultivated

current world right now

combined with put together with

relevant current events lessons classes about news now

compelled encouraged

continue researching great historical actors keep looking up people from the past

natural inclination organic desire

pay more attention to care more about

contemporary pop culture figures stars famous now

emphasis focus on

quality texts good books

encourage reinforce

seismic shift big change

marginal impact small effect

Pronunciation

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

ˈjʌŋə ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz 
ˈɪntrɪstɪd ɪn 
ˌɪntə(ː)ˈnæʃənl sɪˈlɛbrɪtiz 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
ˈfɪgəz 
ˈnæʧrəl ˈtɛndənsi 
rɪˈleɪtɪd tuː 
mæs ˈmiːdiə 
ˈmɪtɪgeɪtɪd 
ɪmˈpruːvɪŋ 
ɔːˈgænɪk(ə)li ˈgrævɪteɪt təˈwɔːdz 
ˈrɛzəˌneɪt wɪð 
ˌɛntəˈteɪnmənt
ˈiːkwəli 
lɑːst ˈdɛkeɪd 
ˈɑːtɪst 
prəʊˈlɪfɪk(ə)li rɪˈliːsɪz ˈælbəmz
ʌpˈdeɪts 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈprɛznt ˈɒnˌlaɪn 
ˌɛntəˈteɪnmənt wɜːld
aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪ 
ˈfɒləʊ hɜː ˈpɜːsnl laɪf ˈkləʊsli 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
vaɪˈkeərɪəs
ʌpˈlɪftɪŋ 
ðɪs stændz ɪn mɑːkt ˈkɒntrɑːst tuː 
nəʊ ˈlɒŋgə kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
ˈɒfər ˈɛni ˈprɛznt ˈvæljuː
ˈtɛndənsi 
ˈkaʊntəd wɪð 
ɪnˈgeɪʤɪŋ 
ɪn məʊst ˈkɒntɛksts 
draɪ fækts 
ˌprɒpəˈgændə
hɪsˈtɔːrɪənz 
ɪnˈlaɪvn hɪsˈtɒrɪkəl ɪˈvɛnts 
nɒn-ˈfɪkʃən 
hɪsˈtɒrɪkəl ˈfɪkʃən
ˌɪntrəˈdjuːst 
ˈpæsɪʤɪz 
ˈstrɒŋgə ˈlaɪklɪhʊd 
ɪnˈstɪl 
ˈlaɪflɒŋ ˈpæʃən 
ʃeɪpt 
ˈkʌrənt wɜːld
kəmˈbaɪnd wɪð 
ˈrɛlɪvənt ˈkʌrənt ɪˈvɛnts ˈlɛsnz
kəmˈpɛld 
kənˈtɪnju(ː) rɪˈsɜːʧɪŋ greɪt hɪsˈtɒrɪkəl ˈæktəz
ˈnæʧrəl ˌɪnklɪˈneɪʃən 
peɪ mɔːr əˈtɛnʃ(ə)n tuː 
kənˈtɛmpərəri pɒp ˈkʌlʧə ˈfɪgəz
ˈɛmfəsɪs 
ˈkwɒlɪti tɛksts 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
ˈsaɪzmɪk ʃɪft 
ˈmɑːʤɪnəl ˈɪmpækt

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:

Y____________________s today are often more i_________________n i______________________s r______________n f___________s from their country’s past. In my opinion, this is a n_________________y r____________o m_____________a and can be m____________d by i________________g history lessons in schools.

Younger people today o__________________________s individuals they r_________________h and see in e_________________t. This applies e________y to those in the film and music industries. For example, one of the most popular singers for the l_____________e has been Taylor Swift, an a_______t who p__________________________s, u____________s her Instagram, and is g_________________________e and in the e______________________d. Young people listen to her songs and i___________y with her and then f______________________________y i_______________o enjoy a v___________s, u____________g feeling. T_______________________________________o historical figures who n___________________e or o______________________e.

This t___________y to value current stars can be c___________________h more e____________g history classes. History lessons i___________________s focus on d__________s and p_____________a. However, there are h_______________s who can e________________________s such as in Robert Caro’s n_____________n or Hilary Mantel’s h_________________n. If students were i_____________d to p__________s from those sources, there is a s__________________d that it would i_______l in them a l___________________n for the study of history and the figures that have s_________d our c_____________d. If such lessons were c______________h more r_____________________________s, then students might be more c____________d to understand, respect, and c_____________________________________s.

In conclusion, though there is a n__________________n to p________________________o c____________________________s, an e____________s on q_____________s could e_________e young people to care more about individuals from the past. This will not cause a s_____________t but could have a m_________________t.

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.brandwatch.com/blog/top-most-instagram-followers/

Speaking Practice

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

Famous People

  1. Have you ever met a celebrity?
  2. What kinds of celebrities are you interested in?
  3. Are there any celebrities you would want to interview?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some people think that famous people can help international aid organizations to draw attention to important problems. Others believe that the celebrities can make the problems seem less important.

Discuss both views and give your opinion.


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