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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer essay from the real test/exam on the topic of old and new buildings.

This is an agree/disagree essay so you can agree, disagree or write about both sides.

I always recommend writing about both sides so that you can have two clear main ideas, fully developed.

Check it out below!

Dave

Before reading, take a minute to listen to the audio for my sample answer to improve your listening skills:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Old Buildings (Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams)

Too much money is wasted on repairing old buildings that should be used to knock them down and build new ones.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Tests

Many people today claim that too much money is being allocated to the upkeep of older buildings that would be better utilised on modern infrastructure. In my opinion, though new buildings are more practical, old buildings are indispensable cultural relics.

Progressive supporters of modernity rationally point out the actual utility of a building should be the priority. A good example of this would be in cities that have developed substantially in the last half century such as Kolkata, India. Rapid economic development there has overtaken sentimentality over both pre and post-Colonial architecture. It is commonplace for old buildings that no longer meet today’s safety standards to be bulldozed to build hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and offices. All these new buildings serve vital functions in a 21st century metropolis and are not merely for show, as the buildings relegated for demolition are.

Despite the above justifications, old buildings serve to maintain the irreplaceable cultural identity of a city. While cities like Kolkata and Beijing have ruthlessly swept aside the past in favour of an inevitable future, smaller cities like Chiang Mai in Thailand have managed to protect the majority of their historic buildings. The result is more than just tourist attractions like classic homes, old city walls and ancient pagodas. The residents of Chiang Mai, and other citizens of Thailand, can visit and be reminded of the beauty and resilience of their ancestors. In Beijing, the disdain for history encourages the nation at large to imitate the stubborn pursuit of progress characteristic of the 21st century.

In conclusion, old buildings ought to be preserved as they are important for a nation’s cultural identity. The governments that adopt this long-term, multifaceted view will reap the rewards of a more unified national citizenry.

Word count: 285

Analysis

1. Many people today claim that too much money is being allocated to the upkeep of older buildings that would be better utilised on modern infrastructure. 2. In my opinion, though new buildings are more practical, old buildings are indispensable cultural relics.

  1. Paraphrase the main topic for this essay. This sentence can be long or short – don’t waste much time on it.
  2. Give a clear opinion. I use the word ‘indispensible’ to make my opinion clear enough but I will also repeat it even more clearly in my conclusion.

1. Progressive supporters of modernity rationally point out the actual utility of a building should be the priority. 2. A good example of this would be in cities that have developed substantially in the last half century such as Kolkata, India. 3. Rapid economic development there has overtaken sentimentality over both pre and post-Colonial architecture. 4. It is commonplace for old buildings that no longer meet today’s safety standards to be bulldozed to build hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and offices. 5. All these new buildings serve vital functions in a 21st century metropolis and are not merely for show, as the buildings relegated for demolition are.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a main ideas at the end of the sentence. Just 1 main idea so that you can develop it fully.
  2. Start your example right away if possible – don’t waste any time!
  3. Be specific and continue developing the same example.
  4. Include specific lists and detail to bump up your task achievement, cohesion/coherence, and vocabulary.
  5. Relate the last sentence back to your main idea or finish developing your example.

1. Despite the above justifications, old buildings serve to maintain the irreplaceable cultural identity of a city. 2. While cities like Kolkata and Beijing have ruthlessly swept aside the past in favour of an inevitable future, smaller cities like Chiang Mai in Thailand have managed to protect the majority of their historic buildings. 3. The result is more than just tourist attractions like classic homes, old city walls and ancient pagodas. 4. The residents of Chiang Mai, and other citizens of Thailand, can visit and be reminded of the beauty and resilience of their ancestors. 5. In Beijing, the disdain for history encourages the nation at large to imitate the stubborn pursuit of progress characteristic of the 21st century.

  1. Another topic sentence, with another single main idea that you can fully develop.
  2. Begin another specific example. This time I use a comparative example because it suits this question.
  3. Again, give specific details.
  4. Continue with the same example – don’t switch to a new one.
  5. Finish developing the example. Here I bring it back to Beijing to strengthen my support.

1. In conclusion, old buildings ought to be preserved as they are important for a nation’s cultural identity. 2. The governments that adopt this long-term, multifaceted view will reap the rewards of a more unified national citizenry.

  1. Repeat your opinion and make sure it is totally clear at this point or you risk a band 5 for task achievement.
  2. Add an extra detail/final thought to the end. Read more about your conclusion here.

Vocabulary

Take some notes on what the words in bold below mean:

Many people today claim that too much money is being allocated to the upkeep of older buildings that would be better utilised on modern infrastructure. In my opinion, though new buildings are more practical, old buildings are indispensable cultural relics.

Progressive supporters of modernity rationally point out the actual utility of a building should be the priority. A good example of this would be in cities that have developed substantially in the last half century such as Kolkata, India. Rapid economic development there has overtaken sentimentality over both pre and post-Colonial architecture. It is commonplace for old buildings that no longer meet today’s safety standards to be bulldozed to build hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and offices. All these new buildings serve vital functions in a 21st century metropolis and are not merely for show, as the buildings relegated for demolition are.

Despite the above justifications, old buildings serve to maintain the irreplaceable cultural identity of a city. While cities like Kolkata and Beijing have ruthlessly swept aside the past in favour of an inevitable future, smaller cities like Chiang Mai in Thailand have managed to protect the majority of their historic buildings. The result is more than just tourist attractions like classic homes, old city walls and ancient pagodas. The residents of Chiang Mai, and other citizens of Thailand, can visit and be reminded of the beauty and resilience of their ancestors. In Beijing, the disdain for history encourages the nation at large to imitate the stubborn pursuit of progress characteristic of the 21st century.

In conclusion, old buildings ought to be preserved as they are important for a nation’s cultural identity. The governments that adopt this long-term, multifaceted view will reap the rewards of a more unified national citizenry.

Answers

allocated assigned to

upkeep maintanence

better utilised used for a better purpose

modern infrastructure new buildings

practical useful

indispensable cultural relics cannot be replaced historic artefacts

progressive supporters those in favour of modern thinking

modernity the present moment

rationally logically/makes sense

point out argue

actual utility can be used in the real world

priority more important

developed substantially made a lot of progress

last half century last 50 years

Kolkata a city in India, also known as Calcutta

rapid economic development the economy developing quickly

overtaken sentimentality become more important than feelings

pre and post-Colonial architecture buildings before and after English occupation

commonplace ubiquitous

no longer meet today’s safety standards unsafe

bulldozed destroyed

serve vital functions provide essential services

21st century metropolis modern city

not merely for show actually useful

relegated dismissed, diminished

demolition destruction

despite in spite of, notwithstanding

justifications reasons/excuses

serve to maintain are used to preserve

irreplaceable cultural identity cannot be replaced sense of a culture/society

ruthlessly swept aside unfeelingly dismissed

in favour of preferring

inevitable future cannot be escaped

managed to protect were able to preserve

majority most of

ancient pagodas old temples

reminded make people remember

resilience strength

ancestors previous generations

disdain look down on

encourages reinforces

nation at large all of the country

imitate copy

stubborn pursuit single-minded, thoughless search

progress characteristic of the 21st century the advancing nature of the world

preserved protected

nation’s cultural identity the qualities that make countries unique

long-term over a long period of time

multifaceted view many perspectives

reap the rewards gain benefits from

more unified national citizenry united, patriotic country

Pronunciation

ˈæləʊkeɪtɪd 
ˈʌpkiːp 
ˈbɛtə ˈjuːtɪˌlaɪzd 
ˈmɒdən ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə
ˈpræktɪkəl
ˌɪndɪsˈpɛnsəbl ˈkʌlʧərəl ˈrɛlɪks
prəʊˈgrɛsɪv səˈpɔːtəz 
mɒˈdɜːnɪti 
ˈræʃnəli 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˈækʧʊəl ju(ː)ˈtɪlɪti 
praɪˈɒrɪti
dɪˈvɛləpt səbˈstænʃəli 
lɑːst hɑːf ˈsɛnʧʊri 
kælˈkʌtə
ˈræpɪd ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk dɪˈvɛləpmənt
ˌəʊvəˈteɪkən ˌsɛntɪmɛnˈtælɪti 
priː ænd pəʊst-kəˈləʊniəl ˈɑːkɪtɛkʧə
ˈkɒmənpleɪs 
nəʊ ˈlɒŋgə miːt təˈdeɪz ˈseɪfti ˈstændədz 
ˈbʊldəʊzd 
sɜːv ˈvaɪtl ˈfʌŋkʃənz 
ˈtwɛnti-fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri mɪˈtrɒpəlɪs 
nɒt ˈmɪəli fɔː ʃəʊ
ˈrɛlɪgeɪtɪd 
ˌdɛməˈlɪʃən 
dɪsˈpaɪt 
ˌʤʌstɪfɪˈkeɪʃənz
sɜːv tuː meɪnˈteɪn 
ˌɪrɪˈpleɪsəbl ˈkʌlʧərəl aɪˈdɛntɪti 
ˈruːθlɪsli swɛpt əˈsaɪd 
ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv 
ɪnˈɛvɪtəbl ˈfjuːʧə
ˈmænɪʤd tuː prəˈtɛkt 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈeɪnʃ(ə)nt pəˈgəʊdəz
ˈrɪmaɪndɪd 
rɪˈzɪlɪəns 
ˈænsɪstəz
dɪsˈdeɪn 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤɪz 
ˈneɪʃən æt lɑːʤ 
ˈɪmɪteɪt 
ˈstʌbən pəˈsjuːt 
ˈprəʊgrəs ˌkærɪktəˈrɪstɪk ɒv ðə ˈtwɛnti-fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri
prɪˈzɜːvd 
ˈneɪʃənz ˈkʌlʧərəl aɪˈdɛntɪti
ˈlɒŋtɜːm
ˌmʌltɪˈfæsɪtɪd vjuː 
riːp ðə rɪˈwɔːdz 
mɔː ˈjuːnɪfaɪd ˈnæʃənl ˈsɪtɪznri

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Many people today claim that too much money is being _____________ to the _____________ of older buildings that would be _____________ on _____________. In my opinion, though new buildings are more _____________, old buildings are _____________.

_____________ of _____________ _____________ _____________ the _____________ of a building should be the _____________. A good example of this would be in cities that have _____________ in the _____________ such as _____________ , India. _____________ there has _____________ over both _____________ . It is _____________ for old buildings that _____________ to be _____________ to build hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and offices. All these new buildings _____________ in a _____________ and are _____________, as the buildings _____________ for _____________ are.

_____________ the above _____________, old buildings _____________ the _____________ of a city. While cities like Kolkata and Beijing have _____________ the past _____________ an _____________, smaller cities like Chiang Mai in Thailand have _____________ the _____________ of their historic buildings. The result is more than just tourist attractions like classic homes, old city walls and _____________. The residents of Chiang Mai, and other citizens of Thailand, can visit and be _____________ of the beauty and _____________ of their _____________. In Beijing, the _____________ for history _____________ the _____________ to _____________ the _____________ of _____________.

In conclusion, old buildings ought to be _____________ as they are important for a _____________. The governments that adopt this _____________, _____________ will _____________ of a _____________.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn about another possible example for this topic, Karachi in Pakistan:

Reading Practice

Read the article below and if you are from India or Kolkata please let me know in the comments if it is accurate or not!

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/battle-save-kolkata-crumbling-heritage-buildings-190209212113999.html


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