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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer from the general training exam on the topic of roads being difficult to travel on in major cities today.

It’s a fairly easy question but there are a couple of tricky areas that you can read about below.

Here are some other resources to help you improve your IELTS score:

Recent IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 & 2

Recent IELTS Speaking Questions and Topics

Dave’s Online Courses

Writing Correction Service

Patreon Exclusive Essays and PDFs

Good luck in your studies!

-Dave

Before you read my sample essay, you can take some time to practice your listening with the audio first – take some notes while you listen too:

Writing Task 2

The roads in major cities today are often difficult to travel on.

What are the causes of this?

What are some possible solutions?

Real Past IELTS Exam/Test

As world populations transition from rural to urban settings, there has been a resultant degradation of travel conditions within cities. The main causes of this are all related to overpopulation and the solution is for governments to incentivise living outside city limits.

The clearest source of crowded roads and degrading infrastructure is surging urban populations. Research has shown that now more than half the world is densely packed into cities built hundreds of years ago. Take Boston as an example. Boston was built for a population of under 100,000 people, who mainly travelled by walking or riding horses and carriages. Today the population is nearly a million and that means the narrow roads are gridlocked with traffic during rush hour. The relentless pounding of an overpopulated city also means that the roads suffer from greater wear and tear, which necessitates constant maintenance and exacerbates the average citizen’s daily commute.

In order to mitigate these issues, governments could encourage people to move outside cities. One half measure would be to lower taxes in neighboring districts. Many people could still commute to work from nearby suburbs, as is the case in most major cities already. Governments could also give special tax breaks and dispensations to companies that allow workers to work remotely. This would free people up to live outside of cities or, if they opt to remain in the city, they at least would not contribute to rush hour traffic.

In conclusion, worsening travel conditions for urban dwellers can be curbed through government intervention. The nations that take up this cause will be well placed to compete in a rapidly evolving 21st century.

Analysis

1. As world populations transition from rural to urban settings, there has been a resultant degradation of travel conditions within cities. 2. The main causes of this are all related to overpopulation and the solution is for governments to incentivise living outside city limits.

  1. In your first sentence, you should paraphrase the overall topic for the essay.
  2. Then answer the two questions – make sure your answers are 100% clear.

1. The clearest source of crowded roads and degrading infrastructure is surging urban populations. 2. Research has shown that now more than half the world is densely packed into cities built hundreds of years ago. 3. Take Boston as an example. 4. Boston was built for a population of under 100,000 people, who mainly travelled by walking or riding horses and carriages. 5. Today the population is nearly a million and that means the narrow roads are gridlocked with traffic during rush hour. 6. The relentless pounding of an overpopulated city also means that the roads suffer from greater wear and tear, which necessitates constant maintenance and exacerbates the average citizen’s daily commute.

  1. Your first topic sentence should be simple and contain the main idea for the whole paragraph.
  2. Begin to develop it. Here I use some fake research – that is fine to do as long as you don’t make it too specific.
  3. Begin a specific example – a real place, person, city, etc.
  4. Develop that example – be specific as possible.
  5. Keep developing the example – don’t switch to a new one.
  6. Draw your conclusions/the result of your example.

1. In order to mitigate these issues, governments could encourage people to move outside cities. 2. One half measure would be to lower taxes in neighboring districts. 3. Many people could still commute to work from nearby suburbs, as is the case in most major cities already. 4. Governments could also give special tax breaks and dispensations to companies that allow workers to work remotely. 5. This would free people up to live outside of cities or, if they opt to remain in the city, they at least would not contribute to rush hour traffic.

  1. For the second topic sentence, include another main idea.
  2. Give your first solution – be specific and clear.
  3. Develop it as much as you can.
  4. Give a second solution – it is good if they are related so that you can develop both.
  5. Conclude the paragraph by stating the result of your solution.

1. In conclusion, worsening travel conditions for urban dwellers can be curbed through government intervention. 2. The nations that take up this cause will be well placed to compete in a rapidly evolving 21st century.

  1. Repeat your solution or the causes.
  2. Add in an extra detail/final thought for full points for task achievement.

Vocabulary

As world populations transition from rural to urban settings, there has been a resultant degradation of travel conditions within cities. The main causes of this are all related to overpopulation and the solution is for governments to incentivise living outside city limits.

The clearest source of crowded roads and degrading infrastructure is surging urban populations. Research has shown that now more than half the world is densely packed into cities built hundreds of years ago. Take Boston as an example. Boston was built for a population of under 100,000 people, who mainly travelled by walking or riding horses and carriages. Today the population is nearly a million and that means the narrow roads are gridlocked with traffic during rush hour. The relentless pounding of an overpopulated city also means that the roads suffer from greater wear and tear, which necessitates constant maintenance and exacerbates the average citizen’s daily commute.

In order to mitigate these issues, governments could encourage people to move outside cities. One half measure would be to lower taxes in neighboring districts. Many people could still commute to work from nearby suburbs, as is the case in most major cities already. Governments could also give special tax breaks and dispensations to companies that allow workers to work remotely. This would free people up to live outside of cities or, if they opt to remain in the city, they at least would not contribute to rush hour traffic.

In conclusion, worsening travel conditions for urban dwellers can be curbed through government intervention. The nations that take up this cause will be well placed to compete in a rapidly evolving 21st century.

Answers

transition change to

rural countryside

urban settings in cities

resultant degradation concomitant decline

overpopulation too many people

incentivise encourage

city limits the edge of the city

degrading infrastructure streets, buildings getting old

surging urban populations rising number of people in cities

densely packed filled/crowded/traffic jams

carriages old fashioned transport

nearly almost

narrow thin

gridlocked jam-packed

rush hour peak hours

relentless pounding constant wear and tear

suffer from are hurt by

greater wear and tear more degradations

necessitates requires

constant maintenance always must be cleaned, fixed, etc.

exacerbates makes worse

average citizen’s the normal person’s

daily commute getting to work everyday

mitigate lessen

half measure partial solution

neighboring districts nearby areas

commute travel to work

nearby suburbs towns outside the city

as is the case in so it is in

tax breaks reductions in taxes

dispensations special allowances

work remotely work from home

opt choose

contribute give to

worsening becoming worse

urban dwellers city residents

curbed mitigated

government intervention government regulation

take up this cause deal with this problem

well placed in a good position to

rapidly evolving 21st century the world as it is changing

Pronunciation

trænˈsɪʒən 
ˈrʊərəl 
ˈɜːbən ˈsɛtɪŋz
rɪˈzʌltənt ˌdɛgrəˈdeɪʃən 
ˌəʊvəˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən 
ɪnˈsɛntɪv raɪz
ˈsɪti ˈlɪmɪts
dɪˈgreɪdɪŋ ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə 
ˈsɜːʤɪŋ ˈɜːbən ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃənz
ˈdɛnsli pækt 
ˈkærɪʤɪz
ˈnɪəli 
ˈnærəʊ 
grɪd-lɒkt
rʌʃ ˈaʊə
rɪˈlɛntlɪs ˈpaʊndɪŋ 
ˈsʌfə frɒm 
ˈgreɪtə weər ænd teə
nɪˈsɛsɪteɪts 
ˈkɒnstənt ˈmeɪntənəns 
ɛksˈæsə(ː)beɪts 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈsɪtɪznz 
ˈdeɪli kəˈmjuːt
ˈmɪtɪgeɪt 
hɑːf ˈmɛʒə 
ˈneɪbərɪŋ ˈdɪstrɪkts
kəˈmjuːt 
ˈnɪəbaɪ ˈsʌbɜːbz
æz ɪz ðə keɪs ɪn 
tæks breɪks 
ˌdɪspɛnˈseɪʃənz 
wɜːk rɪˈməʊtli
ɒpt 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
ˈwɜːsnɪŋ 
ˈɜːbən ˈdwɛləz 
kɜːbd 
ˈgʌvnmənt ˌɪntə(ː)ˈvɛnʃən
teɪk ʌp ðɪs kɔːz
wɛl pleɪst 
ˈræpɪdli ɪˈvɒlvɪŋ  ˈtwɛnti fɜːst ˈsɛnʧʊri

Vocabulary Practice

As world populations _____________ from _____________ to _____________ , there has been a _____________ of travel conditions within cities. The main causes of this are all related to _____________ and the solution is for governments to _____________ living outside _____________.

The clearest source of crowded roads and _____________ is _____________. Research has shown that now more than half the world is _____________ into cities built hundreds of years ago. Take Boston as an example. Boston was built for a population of under 100,000 people, who mainly travelled by walking or riding horses and _____________. Today the population is _____________ a million and that means the _____________ roads are _____________ with traffic during _____________. The _____________ of an overpopulated city also means that the roads _____________ _____________, which _____________ _____________ and _____________ the _____________ _____________.

In order to _____________ these issues, governments could encourage people to move outside cities. One _____________ would be to lower taxes in _____________. Many people could still _____________ to work from _____________, _____________ most major cities already. Governments could also give special _____________ and _____________ to companies that allow workers to _____________. This would free people up to live outside of cities or, if they _____________ to remain in the city, they at least would not _____________ to rush hour traffic.

In conclusion, _____________ travel conditions for _____________ can be _____________ through _____________ . The nations that _____________ will be _____________ to compete in a _____________.

Listening Practice

Watch the video below to learn about life in the ancient Indus civilisation:

Reading Practice

Learn more about the example in my essay, Boston, here:

https://www.bisnow.com/boston/news/construction-development/ten-years-after-completion-boston-says-the-big-dig-was-catalyst-for-a-city-building-boom-93821

Comment any questions/thoughts that you have below!


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