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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic ofuniversity education and whether or not governments should make it free for students of all financial backgrounds.

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IELTS Essay: University Education

Some people believe that everyone has a right to have access to university education and that governments should make it free for all students no matter what financial background they have.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many today would argue that higher education is a basic right that should extend to all, regardless of socioeconomic background. In my opinion, I largely disagree since there is more value in improving the relationships between social classes.

Supporters of this policy point out that every taxpayer is entitled to equal treatment. Those who are wealthy typically receive little financial support from the government unless if they have earned a prestigious scholarship. However, such families pay taxes at far higher rates than the average citizen. They have contributed greatly to the federal budget and it is only just that they should receive an equal allocation of their share of government disbursement for university. Without financial aid, these individuals may feel they are being unfairly treated simply because they are more successful.

Although I recognize the legitimate merits to the argument above, I would generally side with those who believe a system that takes into account financial differences is more sustainable. If average families are not allocated the majority of funding for higher education, then they may not be able to attend these schools at all. This risk does not exist for the more affluent. Over time, this could have dire ramifications on society. The general populace might feel that upward social mobility is nearly impossible and become demotivated. They may also begin to resent the government and higher classes, creating the conditions for social unrest.

In conclusion, despite calls for fairness under the law, certain distinctions should be made for the betterment of society on the whole. Government policy should be aimed at equality of opportunity rather than a reductive understanding of equality.

Analysis

1. Many today would argue that higher education is a basic right that should extend to all, regardless of socioeconomic background. 2. In my opinion, I largely disagree since there is more value in improving the relationships between social classes.

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

1. Supporters of this policy point out that every taxpayer is entitled to equal treatment. 2. Those who are wealthy typically receive little financial support from the government unless if they have earned a prestigious scholarship. 3. However, such families pay taxes at far higher rates than the average citizen. 4. They have contributed greatly to the federal budget and it is only just that they should receive an equal allocation of their share of government disbursement for university. 5. Without financial aid, these individuals may feel they are being unfairly treated simply because they are more successful.

  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.

1. Although I recognize the legitimate merits to the argument above, I would generally side with those who believe a system that takes into account financial differences is more sustainable. 2. If average families are not allocated the majority of funding for higher education, then they may not be able to attend these schools at all. 3. This risk does not exist for the more affluent. 4. Over time, this could have dire ramifications on society. 5. The general populace might feel that upward social mobility is nearly impossible and become demotivated. 6. They may also begin to resent the government and higher classes, creating the conditions for social unrest.

  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.

1. In conclusion, despite calls for fairness under the law, certain distinctions should be made for the betterment of society on the whole. 2. Government policy should be aimed at equality of opportunity rather than a reductive understanding of equality.

  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 today would argue that higher education is a basic right that should extend to all, regardless of socioeconomic background. In my opinion, I largely disagree since there is more value in improving the relationships between social classes.

Supporters of this policy point out that every taxpayer is entitled to equal treatment. Those who are wealthy typically receive little financial support from the government unless if they have earned a prestigious scholarship. However, such families pay taxes at far higher rates than the average citizen. They have contributed greatly to the federal budget and it is only just that they should receive an equal allocation of their share of government disbursement for university. Without financial aid, these individuals may feel they are being unfairly treated simply because they are more successful.

Although I recognize the legitimate merits to the argument above, I would generally side with those who believe a system that takes into account financial differences is more sustainable. If average families are not allocated the majority of funding for higher education, then they may not be able to attend these schools at all. This risk does not exist for the more affluent. Over time, this could have dire ramifications on society. The general populace might feel that upward social mobility is nearly impossible and become demotivated. They may also begin to resent the government and higher classes, creating the conditions for social unrest.

In conclusion, despite calls for fairness under the law, certain distinctions should be made for the betterment of society on the whole. Government policy should be aimed at equality of opportunity rather than a reductive understanding of equality.

Answers

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

argue claim

higher education university

basic right fundamental ability

extend also include

regardless of nonetheless

socioeconomic background where you come from and how rich or poor you are

largely disagree since mostly not in agreement because

value importance

improving getting better

relationships between social classes interpersonal bonds in society

supporters people who think this is true

policy reform

point out argue

taxpayer citizen

entitled to are allowed to

equal treatment fair handling

wealthy rich

typically receive usually get

financial support money given

unless in the case that

earned made

prestigious scholarship money to go to school

taxes money paid to the government

far higher rates much bigger figures

average citizen normal person

contributed greatly added a lot to

federal budget money for the government to spend

just fair (justice)

equal allocation the same for all

share amount for each person/group

disbursement sending out of money

without financial aid no support

unfairly treated not given the same consideration

recognize understand

legitimate merits real benefits

argument ideas

generally side with overall agree with

system how things are run, organized

takes into account considers

financial differences class differences

sustainable can continue in the future

allocated given to each area

majority most of

funding money

higher education university

attend go to

risk the threat of

affluent rich

dire ramifications bad effects 

general populace people

upward social mobility rising in society

nearly impossible can’t happen

demotivated discouraged

resent be angry about

higher classes richer people

conditions circumstances

social unrest people unhappy

despite calls regardless of people asking for

fairness everything equal and according to the rules

certain distinctions some differences

betterment making better

on the whole overall

government policy what the government decides to do

aimed focused on

equality of opportunity same chances at success 

rather than instead of

reductive too simplistic

Pronunciation

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

ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈhaɪər ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən 
ˈbeɪsɪk raɪt 
ɪksˈtɛnd 
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs ɒv 
ˌsəʊsɪəʊˌɛkəˈnɒmɪk ˈbækgraʊnd
ˈlɑːʤli ˌdɪsəˈgriː sɪns 
ˈvæljuː 
ɪmˈpruːvɪŋ 
rɪˈleɪʃənʃɪps bɪˈtwiːn ˈsəʊʃəl ˈklɑːsɪz.
səˈpɔːtəz 
ˈpɒlɪsi 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈtæksˌpeɪə 
ɪnˈtaɪtld tuː 
ˈiːkwəl ˈtriːtmənt
ˈwɛlθi 
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li rɪˈsiːv 
faɪˈnænʃəl səˈpɔːt 
ənˈlɛs 
ɜːnd 
prɛˈstɪʤəs ˈskɒləʃɪp
ˈtæksɪz 
fɑː ˈhaɪə reɪts 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈsɪtɪzn
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)tɪd ˈgreɪtli 
ˈfɛdərəl ˈbʌʤɪt 
ʤʌst 
ˈiːkwəl ˌæləʊˈkeɪʃ(ə)n 
ʃeə 
dɪsˈbɜːsmənt 
wɪˈðaʊt faɪˈnænʃəl eɪd
ʌnˈfeəli ˈtriːtɪd 
ˈrɛkəgnaɪz 
lɪˈʤɪtɪmɪt ˈmɛrɪts 
ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ˈʤɛnərəli saɪd wɪð 
ˈsɪstɪm 
teɪks ˈɪntuː əˈkaʊnt 
faɪˈnænʃəl ˈdɪfrənsɪz 
səsˈteɪnəbl
ˈæləʊkeɪtɪd 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈfʌndɪŋ 
ˈhaɪər ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃən
əˈtɛnd 
rɪsk 
ˈæflʊənt
ˈdaɪə ˌræmɪfɪˈkeɪʃənz 
ˈʤɛnərəl ˈpɒpjʊləs 
ˈʌpwəd ˈsəʊʃəl məʊˈbɪlɪti 
ˈnɪəli ɪmˈpɒsəbl 
diː-ˈməʊtɪveɪtɪd
rɪˈzɛnt 
ˈhaɪə ˈklɑːsɪz
kənˈdɪʃənz 
ˈsəʊʃəl ʌnˈrɛst
dɪsˈpaɪt kɔːlz 
ˈfeənɪs 
ˈsɜːtn dɪsˈtɪŋkʃənz 
ˈbɛtəmənt 
ɒn ðə həʊl
ˈgʌvnmənt ˈpɒlɪsi 
eɪmd 
i(ː)ˈkwɒlɪti ɒv ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
rɪˈdʌktɪv 

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 today would a______e that h____________________n is a b___________t that should e_________d to all, r________________f s____________________________d. In my opinion, I l_________________e s_______e there is more v_______e in i___________g the r_________________________n s_____________s.

S______________s of this p_________y p_____________t that every t___________r is e_____________o e_________________t. Those who are w_______y t________________e little f___________________t from the government u_______s if they have e______d a p_______________________p. However, such families pay t________s at f__________________s than the a______________n. They have c_____________________y to the f___________________t and it is only j_____t that they should receive an e___________________n of their s______e of government d____________________t for university. W____________________d, these individuals may feel they are being u_______________d simply because they are more successful.

Although I r____________e the l____________________s to the a___________t above, I would g___________________h those who believe a s________m that t_______________________t f______________________s is more s_____________e. If average families are not a____________d the m__________y of f__________g for h________________n, then they may not be able to a____d these schools at all. This r___k does not exist for the more a__________t. Over time, this could have d___________________s on society. The g____________________e might feel that u____________________y is n_________________e and become d___________________d. They may also begin to r_________t the government and h_______________s, creating the c_____________s for s___________t.

In conclusion, d____________s for f____________s under the law, c_______________s should be made for the b____________t of society o_____________e. G__________________y should be a_____d at e______________________y r__________n a r________e understanding of equality.

Listening Practice

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

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following topics below from IELTS speaking:

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?

Reading Practice

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

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/09/where-did-americas-dream-of-free-college-go/569770/

Writing Practice

Competition for university study is becoming increasingly strong.

Why are universities becoming more competitive?

Is this a positive or negative development?


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