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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of maths from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Maths

To succeed in a business, one needs to know maths.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many people claim that a key ingredient to success in the business world is a firm understanding of math. In my opinion, although there is some truth to this, it is not a crucial factor.

Proponents of the importance of math argue its usefulness in a variety of business contexts. For all business majors, mathematics courses in university are a requirement for graduation. This is because it is essential not only for those running a small business or shop to be able to do good book-keeping but also as a foundational skill for Wall Street brokers, bankers, entrepreneurs, accountants, and marketers. Without a solid understanding of the mathematical principles underlying the decision-making in those fields it is difficult to truly innovate and excel.

Nonetheless, there are more vital elements to business success. The math a business needs to prosper can be handled by dedicated specialists. It is more important for a potential business person to understand the nuances of the market, display leadership qualities, be decisive, and possess generally above-average intelligence. A good example of this would be an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs. He famously only hired quality specialists and prioritised for himself learning how to be an effective leader and motivate his employees well. The key to success is therefore segmenting a business into different areas all under the capable hands of a visionary leader.

In conclusion, mathematical ability can help inform businesses but it is not as essential as other management qualities. The ideal business person has an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and brings together a team of strong complements.

Analysis

1. Many people claim that a key ingredient to success in the business world is a firm understanding of math. 2. In my opinion, although there is some truth to this, it is not a crucial factor.

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

1. Proponents of the importance of math argue its usefulness in a variety of business contexts. 2. For all business majors, mathematics courses in university are a requirement for graduation. 3. This is because it is essential not only for those running a small business or shop to be able to do good book-keeping but also as a foundational skill for Wall Street brokers, bankers, entrepreneurs, accountants, and marketers. 4. Without a solid understanding of the mathematical principles underlying the decision-making in those fields it is difficult to truly innovate and excel.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Continue to develop it as fully as possible.

1. Nonetheless, there are more vital elements to business success. 2. The math a business needs to prosper can be handled by dedicated specialists. 3. It is more important for a potential business person to understand the nuances of the market, display leadership qualities, be decisive, and possess generally above-average intelligence. 4. A good example of this would be an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs. 5. He famously only hired quality specialists and prioritised for himself learning how to be an effective leader and motivate his employees well. 6. The key to success is therefore segmenting a business into different areas all under the capable hands of a visionary leader.

  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. The more specific, the better.
  5. Develop the example.
  6. Conclude the paragraph or finish developing your last idea.

1. In conclusion, mathematical ability can help inform businesses but it is not as essential as other management qualities. 2. The ideal business person has an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and brings together a team of strong complements.

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

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many people claim that a key ingredient to success in the business world is a firm understanding of math. In my opinion, although there is some truth to this, it is not a crucial factor.

Proponents of the importance of math argue its usefulness in a variety of business contexts. For all business majors, mathematics courses in university are a requirement for graduation. This is because it is essential not only for those running a small business or shop to be able to do good book-keeping but also as a foundational skill for Wall Street brokers, bankers, entrepreneurs, accountants, and marketers. Without a solid understanding of the mathematical principles underlying the decision-making in those fields it is difficult to truly innovate and excel.

Nonetheless, there are more vital elements to business success. The math a business needs to prosper can be handled by dedicated specialists. It is more important for a potential business person to understand the nuances of the market, display leadership qualities, be decisive, and possess generally above-average intelligence. A good example of this would be an entrepreneur like Steve Jobs. He famously only hired quality specialists and prioritised for himself learning how to be an effective leader and motivate his employees well. The key to success is therefore segmenting a business into different areas all under the capable hands of a visionary leader.

In conclusion, mathematical ability can help inform businesses but it is not as essential as other management qualities. The ideal business person has an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and brings together a team of strong complements.

Answers

key ingredient essential part

business world where business people work

firm understanding of math know math well

crucial factor important element

proponents supporters

usefulness practicality

variety of business contexts many different jobs

majors studying

requirement must do

graduation finishing school

running a small business having your own business

book-keeping keeping track of your earnings/spending

foundational skill needed

Wall Street brokers people who trade stocks

bankers people who work in banks

entrepreneurs people starting their own business

accountants people working with finances

marketers people working in advertising

solid understanding good grasp

mathematical principles underlying the math that underpins/supports

decision-making making decisions

fields jobs, areas

truly innovate think of new ideas

excel do better than others

nonetheless regardless

vital elements key parts

prosper do rewally well

handled by dedicated specialists dealt with by people who know it well

potential business person will get into business someday

nuances complexity

display leadership qualities are good leaders

decisive can make decisions

possess generally above-average intelligence are smart

entrepreneur person who starts a business

famously well-known

hired quality specialists employed experts

prioritised placed value on

effective leader good boss

motivate his employees well encourage those who work for him

key to success ingredient to doing well

segmenting a business dividing up a company

under the capable hands of under good leadership

visionary leader boss who can see the future

inform contribute to

not as essential as not as important as

management qualities leadership qualities

ideal perfect

strengths and weaknesses what you’re good and bad at

brings together combines

strong complements those who can support you

Pronunciation

kiː ɪnˈgriːdiənt 
ˈbɪznɪs wɜːld 
fɜːm ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ ɒv mæθ
ˈkruːʃəl ˈfæktə
prəˈpəʊnənts 
ˈjuːsfʊlnəs 
vəˈraɪəti ɒv ˈbɪznɪs ˈkɒntɛksts
ˈmeɪʤəz
rɪˈkwaɪəmənt 
ˌgrædjʊˈeɪʃən
ˈrʌnɪŋ ə smɔːl ˈbɪznɪs 
ˈbʊkˌkiːpɪŋ 
faʊnˈdeɪʃən(ə)l skɪl 
wɔːl striːt ˈbrəʊkəz
ˈbæŋkəz
ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜːz
əˈkaʊntənts
ˈmɑːkɪtəz
ˈsɒlɪd ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ 
ˌmæθɪˈmætɪkəl ˈprɪnsəplz ˌʌndəˈlaɪɪŋ 
dɪˈsɪʒən-ˈmeɪkɪŋ 
fiːldz 
ˈtruːli ˈɪnəʊveɪt 
ɪkˈsɛl
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ˈvaɪtl ˈɛlɪmənts 
ˈprɒspə 
ˈhændld baɪ ˈdɛdɪkeɪtɪd ˈspɛʃəlɪsts
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ˈbɪznɪs ˈpɜːsn 
nju(ː)ˈɑːnsɪz
dɪsˈpleɪ ˈliːdəʃɪp ˈkwɒlɪtiz
dɪˈsaɪsɪv
pəˈzɛs ˈʤɛnərəli əˈbʌv-ˈævərɪʤ ɪnˈtɛlɪʤəns
ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜː 
ˈfeɪməsli 
ˈhaɪəd ˈkwɒlɪti ˈspɛʃəlɪsts 
praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪzd 
ɪˈfɛktɪv ˈliːdə 
ˈməʊtɪveɪt hɪz ˌɛmplɔɪˈiːz wɛl
kiː tuː səkˈsɛs 
sɛgˈmɛntɪŋ ə ˈbɪznɪs 
ˈʌndə ðə ˈkeɪpəbl hændz ɒv 
ˈvɪʒnəri ˈliːdə
ɪnˈfɔːm 
nɒt æz ɪˈsɛnʃəl æz 
ˈmænɪʤmənt ˈkwɒlɪtiz
aɪˈdɪəl 
strɛŋθs ænd ˈwiːknɪsɪz 
brɪŋz təˈgɛðə 
strɒŋ ˈkɒmplɪmənts

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many people claim that a k___________________t to success in the b___________________d is a f_________________________________h. In my opinion, although there is some truth to this, it is not a c___________________r.

P_____________________________s of the importance of math argue its u______________s in a v_____________________________s. For all business m__________s, mathematics courses in university are a r__________________t for g_____________________n. This is because it is essential not only for those r_________________________s or shop to be able to do good b__________________g but also as a f__________________________l for W______________________s, b_________s, e________________s, a_______________s, and m___________s. Without a s______________________g of the m_________________________________g the d____________________g in those f__________s it is difficult to t___________________e and e_____l.

N________________s, there are more v______________s to business success. The math a business needs to p___________r can be h___________________________s. It is more important for a p______________________n to understand the n____________s of the market, d________________________s, be d___________e, and p___________________________________________e. A good example of this would be an e____________r like Steve Jobs. He f____________y only h__________________________s and p_______________d for himself learning how to be an e_______________r and m______________________l. The k________________s is therefore s_____________________s into different areas all u_______________________________f a v________________r.

In conclusion, mathematical ability can help i__________m businesses but it is n________________________s other m_________________________s. The i______l business person has an understanding of their s________________________________s and b________________r a team of s________________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video 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/2013/10/the-myth-of-im-bad-at-math/280914/

Speaking Practice

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

Numbers

  1. Do you have a favourite number?
  2. Will you use numbers at work in the future?
  3. Were you good at math when you were younger?
  4. Do you think numbers are important?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Some think that climate change reforms will negatively affect business. Others feel they are an opportunity for businesses.

Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.


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