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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of training and whether or not it is the responsibility of companies or employees.

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IELTS Essay: Mixed Ability Schools

Some people think that schools should select students according to their academic abilities, while others believe that it is better to have students with different abilities studying together.

Discuss both views and state your own opinion.

Many are of the opinion that schools should determine classes according to academic ability and distinguish stronger from weaker students. In my opinion, though this must be carefully managed, it is a logical proposal.

Those who prefer mixed-ability classes argue the wider societal implications. If all the brightest students are grouped together, this can essentially create a class system within schools that may then persist later in life. The weaker students will become insecure and feel they are being left behind. A student who has been consistently studying in a lower level class will have virtually no chance of joining a class that has been progressing at a faster pace for years. They are stuck within their group and social mobility becomes virtually impossible. This mirrors the class divisions that exist in society and puts less privileged students who tend to be from vulnerable backgrounds at a sizeable and permanent disadvantage.

However, allowing students to learn with equally capable peers will lead to the best overall progress. This applies to both students who excel at academics and those who struggle. If a student, for instance, cannot master new mathematics but is in a class with students who learn quickly, then they will never grasp the concepts. If the other students in the class work similarly slowly, they may not advance as far but at least they will be able to take the requisite time to understand the math. Naturally, this is even more beneficial for more capable students. They will be able to work quickly through units and subjects without feeling bored by the pace of the lessons. Over time, their progress will grow exponentially faster as the strongest students compete and push each other to new heights of achievement.

In conclusion, the distinctions between students must be skillfully arranged but any step that makes learning more individualized is positive. The ideal school system enables students to work at their own speed.

Analysis

1. Many are of the opinion that schools should determine classes according to academic ability and distinguish stronger from weaker students. 2. In my opinion, though this must be carefully managed, it is a logical proposal.

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

1. Those who prefer mixed-ability classes argue the wider societal implications. 2. If all the brightest students are grouped together, this can essentially create a class system within schools that may then persist later in life. 3. The weaker students will become insecure and feel they are being left behind. 4. A student who has been consistently studying in a lower level class will have virtually no chance of joining a class that has been progressing at a faster pace for years. 5. They are stuck within their group and social mobility becomes virtually impossible. 6. This mirrors the class divisions that exist in society and puts less privileged students who tend to be from vulnerable backgrounds at a sizeable and permanent disadvantage.

  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. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Finish development.

1. However, allowing students to learn with equally capable peers will lead to the best overall progress. 2. This applies to both students who excel at academics and those who struggle. 3. If a student, for instance, cannot master new mathematics but is in a class with students who learn quickly, then they will never grasp the concepts. 4. If the other students in the class work similarly slowly, they may not advance as far but at least they will be able to take the requisite time to understand the math. 5. Naturally, this is even more beneficial for more capable students. 6. They will be able to work quickly through units and subjects without feeling bored by the pace of the lessons. 7. Over time, their progress will grow exponentially faster as the strongest students compete and push each other to new heights of achievement.

  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.
  6. State the results as well.
  7. Keep expanding on those results.

1. In conclusion, the distinctions between students must be skillfully arranged but any step that makes learning more individualized is positive. 2. The ideal school system enables students to work at their own speed.

  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 are of the opinion that schools should determine classes according to academic ability and distinguish stronger from weaker students. In my opinion, though this must be carefully managed, it is a logical proposal.

Those who prefer mixed-ability classes argue the wider societal implications. If all the brightest students are grouped together, this can essentially create a class system within schools that may then persist later in life. The weaker students will become insecure and feel they are being left behind. A student who has been consistently studying in a lower level class will have virtually no chance of joining a class that has been progressing at a faster pace for years. They are stuck within their group and social mobility becomes virtually impossible. This mirrors the class divisions that exist in society and puts less privileged students who tend to be from vulnerable backgrounds at a sizeable and permanent disadvantage.

However, allowing students to learn with equally capable peers will lead to the best overall progress. This applies to both students who excel at academics and those who struggle. If a student, for instance, cannot master new mathematics but is in a class with students who learn quickly, then they will never grasp the concepts. If the other students in the class work similarly slowly, they may not advance as far but at least they will be able to take the requisite time to understand the math. Naturally, this is even more beneficial for more capable students. They will be able to work quickly through units and subjects without feeling bored by the pace of the lessons. Over time, their progress will grow exponentially faster as the strongest students compete and push each other to new heights of achievement.

In conclusion, the distinctions between students must be skillfully arranged but any step that makes learning more individualized is positive. The ideal school system enables students to work at their own speed.

Answers

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

Many are of the opinion that lots of people think

determine decide

according to academic ability depending on how good you are at study

distinguish separate

carefully managed skillfully controlled

logical proposal rational idea

mixed-ability classes students with different ability in the same classroom

argue claim

wider societal implications ramifications for all of society

brightest smartest

grouped put together

essentially basically

class system differences in levels in society

persist later in life continue as they get older

insecure no confident

left behind trailing

consistently all the time

lower level class weaker students

virtually no chance almost no possibility

joining becoming part of

progressing gettin better

faster pace faster speed

stuck within their group together in the same class

social mobility rising in society

virtually impossible almost can’t be

mirrors replicates

class divisions differences in standing in society

exist be present

puts less privileged students makes poorer kids in a certain position

vulnerable backgrounds poorer situations

sizeable large

permanent disadvantage persistent loss

allowing enabling

equally capable peers students who are just as good

best overall progress best general growth

applies to concerns

excel do really well at

struggle have difficulty

master new do well at novel

grasp the concepts understand the ideas

similarly slowly also not fast

advance as far go to the same level

at least at minimum

requisite needed

Naturally of course

beneficial helps

capable students strong learners

without feeling bored not a tedious lesson

Over time later on

progress growth

exponentially faster always getting quicker

compete do better than

push each other compete with one another

new heights of achievement rise to new levels

distinctions differences

skillfully arranged carefully ordered

step stage

individualized made individual, according to each person’s abilities

ideal school system enables perfect school would encourage

Pronunciation

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

ˈmɛni ɑːr ɒv ði əˈpɪnjən ðæt 
dɪˈtɜːmɪn 
əˈkɔːdɪŋ tuː ˌækəˈdɛmɪk əˈbɪlɪti 
dɪsˈtɪŋgwɪʃ 
ˈkeəfli ˈmænɪʤd
ˈlɒʤɪkəl prəˈpəʊzəl
mɪkst-əˈbɪlɪti ˈklɑːsɪz 
ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈwaɪdə səˈsaɪətl ˌɪmplɪˈkeɪʃənz
ˈbraɪtɪst 
gruːpt 
ɪˈsɛnʃəli 
klɑːs ˈsɪstɪm 
pəˈsɪst ˈleɪtər ɪn laɪf
ˌɪnsɪˈkjʊə 
lɛft bɪˈhaɪnd
kənˈsɪstəntli 
ˈləʊə ˈlɛvl klɑːs 
ˈvɜːtjʊəli nəʊ ʧɑːns 
ˈʤɔɪnɪŋ 
prəʊˈgrɛsɪŋ 
ˈfɑːstə peɪs 
stʌk wɪˈðɪn ðeə gruːp 
ˈsəʊʃəl məʊˈbɪlɪti 
ˈvɜːtjʊəli ɪmˈpɒsəbl 
ˈmɪrəz 
klɑːs dɪˈvɪʒənz 
ɪgˈzɪst 
pʊts lɛs ˈprɪvɪlɪʤd ˈstjuːdənts 
ˈvʌlnərəbl ˈbækgraʊndz 
ˈsaɪzəbl 
ˈpɜːmənənt ˌdɪsədˈvɑːntɪʤ
əˈlaʊɪŋ 
ˈiːkwəli ˈkeɪpəbl pɪəz 
bɛst ˈəʊvərɔːl ˈprəʊgrəs 
əˈplaɪz tuː 
ɪkˈsɛl 
ˈstrʌgl 
ˈmɑːstə njuː 
grɑːsp ðə ˈkɒnsɛpts
ˈsɪmɪləli ˈsləʊli
ədˈvɑːns æz fɑː 
æt liːst 
ˈrɛkwɪzɪt 
ˈnæʧrəli
ˌbɛnɪˈfɪʃəl 
ˈkeɪpəbl ˈstjuːdənts
wɪˈðaʊt ˈfiːlɪŋ bɔːd 
ˈəʊvə taɪm
ˈprəʊgrəs 
ˌɛkspəˈnɛnʃ(ə)li ˈfɑːstə 
kəmˈpiːt 
pʊʃ iːʧ ˈʌðə 
njuː haɪts ɒv əˈʧiːvmənt
dɪsˈtɪŋkʃənz 
ˈskɪlf(ə)li əˈreɪnʤd 
stɛp 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəlaɪzd 
aɪˈdɪəl skuːl ˈsɪstɪm ɪˈneɪblz 

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:

M____________________________t schools should d_____________e classes a___________________________y and d______________h stronger from weaker students. In my opinion, though this must be c_____________________d, it is a l____________________l.

Those who prefer m___________________________e the w____________________________s. If all the b______________t students are g__________d together, this can e______________y create a c_______________m within schools that may then p________________e. The weaker students will become i__________e and feel they are being l___________d. A student who has been c___________y studying in a l__________________s will have v____________________e of j________g a class that has been p_____________g at a f_____________e for years. They are s______________________p and s___________________y becomes v_____________________e. This m_________s the c_______________s that e________t in society and p______________________________s who tend to be from v______________________________s at a s_______________e and p____________________________e.

However, a___________g students to learn with e_________________s will lead to the b_____________________s. This a_____________o both students who e_____l at academics and those who s______________e. If a student, for instance, cannot m___________w mathematics but is in a class with students who learn quickly, then they will never g__________________s. If the other students in the class work s______________y, they may not a______________r but a__________t they will be able to take the r____________e time to understand the math. N_________y, this is even more b___________l for more c___________________s. They will be able to work quickly through units and subjects w________________d by the pace of the lessons. O______________e, their p________s will grow e______________________r as the strongest students c___________e and p________________r to n__________________________t.

In conclusion, the d____________s between students must be s__________________d but any s_____p that makes learning more i_______________d is positive. The i_________________________s students to work at their own speed.

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:

Speaking Practice

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

School

  1. Did you like your school when you were a child?
  2. What did you learn about?
  3. Did you have a favorite teacher?
  4. Are there many rules in schools in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some feel that schools should be mixed with both girls and boys attending while others feel the genders ought to be separated.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.


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