Category Archives: IELTS Writing Academic (all)

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 004

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IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 4

All of the model answers on this site are guaranteed band 9

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

In some countries, people are forced to retire when they reach a certain age.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


 

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IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 4Compulsory retirement is common in many countries when members of the workforce reach 65 or 70, and this has both pros and cons as will now be considered.

The main advantage of requiring people to leave their job at a certain age is that it provides opportunities for younger members of staff to join the company, often meaning that the company benefits from having lower wages to pay for the new recruit and also having younger, potentially more dynamic employees. This in turn could well give the company the required boost to continue being profitable.

Another advantage is that some older people may choose to keep working more out of habit than enjoyment, and therefore a mandatory retirement may encourage them to enjoy their life more, having the free time to engage in hobbies and interests such as gardening, which they may not have previously had time for up to that point.

Yet there are significant disadvantages in forced retirement. Older staff members often have more experience, and may have no desire to leave their job. Requiring them to leave could mean a skill shortage for the company as well as a feeling of discontent from the employee. Added to that is the rising number of older people and the subsequent drain on resources if they are not working; if there are more elderly people on pensions or other benefits, the increased tax burden falls on the younger generation.

In conclusion, there are both social and economic benefits in allowing older people to remain in employment if so desired, so compulsory retirement would not be recommended. (266 words)

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 003

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 3

All of the model answers on this site are guaranteed band 9

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

We no longer need to have animals kept in zoos, so zoos should be closed.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 3There has long been an argument against maintaining zoos in which animals are kept away from their natural habitat, and there is strong evidence to suggest that technology has developed to a point where such institutions are no longer needed, as will now be argued.

Traditionally, the principal argument voiced by those who wish to retain zoos was that it allowed children and adults to see animals which they more than likely would not have had a chance to do if this had required visiting the creature’s natural environment. Yet there are now online videos and websites where these animals can be seen in high definition, therefore no longer needing to go to enclosures to see the animals. This is clearly evident by the declining number of visitors in recent years.

In addition, there are many cases in which animals held in captivity are not well cared for and are used solely to exploit them for profit. In some rare cases, the animals can suffer from neglect or malnutrition, and rather than being kept healthy are simply replaced when they are no longer of any value.

Granted, there are situations in which endangered species are protected and their numbers allowed to rebuild by housing them in the security of a zoo. However, in most cases the same effect is better achieved by using more open plan wildlife parks rather than traditional caged enclosures.

In sum, the factors which first led to the creation of zoos have been reduced by the ability of technology, so unless there is some advantage for the species itself, then the use of zoos should no longer be supported.

(273 words)

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 002

IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 2

All of the model answers on this site are guaranteed band 9

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Smoking can cause serious illnesses and should be made illegal.

To what extent do you agree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.


IELTS Task 2 Writing model answer 2There are clear arguments for banning smoking, based largely on health, but there is perhaps a stronger case to be made for maintaining the current situation, as will now be explained.

The most important factor for keeping smoking legal is that the decision to smoke is not something that should be controlled by the government, but by the individual. If a person decides to smoke, they do so of their own free will and this should be respected, as it is the government’s role to advise against harmful practices, but ultimately not to make decisions for its citizens.

The other reason for allowing smoking is that by making laws against it is more likely to result in the sale of tobacco moving to the black market, and consequently increasing the level of associated crime. There will still be people who cannot overcome their addiction, and will search for any means available to access cigarettes. A clear example of this reaction can be seen in the illegal sale of other drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.

Of course, there is the fact that smoking is known to have adverse health effects on both the smoker and those around them who are affected by passive smoking. Yet there are other lifestyle choices that also have a negative impact, such as fast food and alcohol, and banning these items would restrict the choice available to the consumer.

In conclusion, the decision to ban smoking, although having some advantages, would be more likely to have an overall negative effect. It would therefore be better for the government to continue campaigns that educate people about the potential dangers of the habit.

(276 words)

Punctuation in IELTS writing

Punctuation in IELTS writing

Punctuation in IELTS writingOne of the categories the examiner will be looking for when assessing your writing is your accuracy with punctuation, and the correct use of more accurate punctuation like semi colons and colons can make the difference between a band 6.0 or higher.

Below you will find a table showing the different punctuation symbols (also called punctuation marks), as well as a description of how they are and some example sentences.

Good punctuation is essential to make your writing clear and to be able to combine ideas into single sentences.

You should also look at the lessons on sentence fragments, as well as the lessons on simple, complex and compound sentences.

When you’ve finished reading this page, take a look at the Punctuation exercises

 

Full stop
.
Question mark
?
Exclamation mark
!
Apostrophe
Comma
,
Semi-colon
;
Colon
:
Quotation marks
‘ ‘ / ” “

Full stop

A full stop is used to show the reader that the sentence is finished.

Examples:

Every sentence ends with a full stop.

This is one of the first examples of punctuation.

Question mark

A question mark does the same job as a full stop, but tells the reader that the sentence is not a statement but a question that generally needs an answer from the reader.

Examples:

Do you understand how to use a question mark?

How many people live in your house?

Exclamation mark

An exclamation mark (or exclamation point) also does the same job as a full stop, but it shows surprise or strong feelings, or commands someone to do something. Note that we have included this on the page, but exclamation marks should NOT be used in formal IELTS writing.

Examples:

Sit down! (a command)

I will never forgive you! (strong feelings)

Ahh! You scared me! (surprise)


Apostrophe

There are two common uses for an apostrophe. Note that although we have included the apostrophe here, it is very rarely used in formal academic writing- it is important to write the complete words for IELTS (has not instead of hasn’t, for example).

1. to show that we have missed letters from a word when using a contracted form.

Examples:

do not = don’t

who is = who’s

2. To show a possession – that something belongs to someone

The boy’s car

John’s hat

the children’s dinner


Comma

A comma is normally used in the same place we would take a short pause if we were speaking. Below are common places commas are used.

1. When listing items, commas are used except between the second to last and last items.

Examples:

His new house was big, modern and expensive.

Africa, Asia, North America and South America are all continents.

2. When we add information to a sentence that is not absolutely necessary for the grammar of the sentence.

Example:

“My neighbour, who comes from London, is very friendly.” (the sentence would be grammatically accurate if it said ‘My neighbour is very friendly’, therefore the additional information is in commas).

3. Between large numbers (separating groups of three numbers).

Examples:

They won £26,500 on the lottery!

There are nearly 5,000,000 people living in New Zealand.

NOTE: There normally needs to be at least 5 numbers for a comma

4,500 4500


Semi-colon

1. Semi colons can be used to combine two sentences when there is a relationship between them. The relationship might not be immediately clear.

NOTE: the colon can also be used to combine sentences when the second sentence offers an explanation to the first. See ‘Colons’ for more.

Examples:

John lives in Hamilton; David lives in Auckland.

The government have promised to reduce unemployment; they are promoting job training at the moment.

The government have promised to reduce unemployment; but so far nothing has changed

This is wrong because the two sentences have already been joined by ‘but’

2. Semi-colons can also be used to separate items in a list (much like a comma) when there is punctuation in the list already.

Examples:

(comma list) We need bread, milk, cheese and butter.

(semi colon list) The main cities affected are Auckland, New Zealand; London, England; and Berlin, Germany.


Colon

1. Colons can be used to introduce a list.

Examples:

The company needs to meet the following targets: increased sales, wider product base, better transportation network.

The government should offer the following: more jobs, better health care and improved standards of education

2. Colons can also be used to offer an explanation.

Examples:

The skiing trip was cancelled: there was no snow.

He may have to go to prison: he was arrested for the third time.

Note: when using the colon, the sentence before the colon must be complete.

Students must have: pens, paper, books and a uniform. ‘Students must have’ is NOT a complete (independent) sentence.

Students must have certain items to attend school: pens, paper, books and a uniform. ‘Students must have certain items to attend school’ is a complete (independent) sentence.


Quotation marks

There are two types of quotation mark – the speech mark and the inverted comma.

The speech mark (or double quotation marks) are used to quote direct speech:

His last words were “I’ll be back”.

The inverted comma is used around words when we are using them in special ways (such as using them as titles or when we give them special meaning).

He wrote a book called ‘Chart Throb’.

Do you know how to spell the word ‘accommodation’?

 

Now try the punctuation exercises lesson!

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

Writing good body paragraphs for IELTS Task 2

In Task II, your essay should be composed of three distinct sections: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. On this page, we will look at writing a body paragraph.

Here is an example of a good body paragraph:

On one hand, there is a clear correlation between the availability of guns and the number of deaths or serious incidents they cause. Arguably these incident are not always intentional, they they occur nonetheless. In America, for example, it is a relatively simple process to acquire a firearm, and as a result the country suffers from one of the highest rate of gun related mortality in the western world.

The three parts of a good IELTS paragraph

A good body paragraph should have three parts: the topic sentence, the development and the example. In the paragraph above, this can be broken down like this.

The topic sentence On one hand, there is a clear correlation between the availability of guns and the number of deaths or serious incidents they cause.
The development Arguably these incidents are not always intentional but they occur nonetheless.
The example In America, for example, it is a relatively simple process to acquire a firearm, and as a result the country suffers from one of the highest rate of gun related mortality in the western world.

The topic sentence

Start by telling the examiner exactly what the paragraph is about. This should be the main argument of your paragraph. By reading the first sentence of each of your body paragraphs, the examiner should be able to see exactly what points your essay is making.

Practice by reading the paragraph below and deciding which topic sentence is most appropriate.

  1. It is important to analyse why stress has become so common.
  2. It is important to remember that there are positive and negative aspects to stress.
  3. The problems of stress are not particularly widespread; they mostly concern people in the workplace.

________________________________________. On the one hand, it is commonly linked with medical problems such as headaches and heart problems. It causes sufferers to become both less productive in the workplace and less sociable in their private lives. On the other hand, stress is a natural warning sign, telling us that we are in danger of overtaxing ourselves and giving us the opportunity to slow down. The combination of overwork, lack of relaxation and poor diet are all contributory factors.

Click here to see the correct answer
The paragraph refers to positive and negative points, so topic sentence B is best.

Practice creating a paragraph

Now practice putting together a paragraph. Put the sentences below in the correct order to create a complete body paragraph.

  1. There are also options for those who do not want to spend too much.
  2. Equipment, from rowing machines to workout videos, is readily available for those wishing to create their own home gym.
  3. This means that even people with limited time, such as those who work long hours, should still be able to find the opportunity to exercise regularly.
  4. Reasonable membership costs for local gyms and clubs provide ample opportunity for the amateur interested in a little exercise.
  5. These days, there are many ways to keep fit.
Click here to see the correct order

These days, there are many ways to keep fit. Equipment, from rowing machines to workout videos, is readily available for those wishing to create their own home gym. There are also options for those who do not want to spend too much. Reasonable membership costs for local gyms and clubs provide ample opportunity for the amateur interested in a little exercise. This means that even people with limited time, such as those who work long hours, should still be able to find the opportunity to exercise regularly.


Tips and hints for writing a body paragraph for Task II

It is important to know what your paragraph will be about before you start to write, so a good body paragraph always starts with planning. Make a quick note on the question paper about the topic sentence, the development and the example(s) you will use before you start to write!

Tips for the IELTS writing test

Tips for the IELTS writing test

On this page are tips and hints for writing in the IELTS test. If you have a question or a tip that you think would benefit others, let us know using the message form at the bottom of the page.

Start with Task II

The scoring system for IELTS means that your Task II essay is worth more than Task I. For example – if you get a 6.0 for Task I and a 6.5 for Task II, your overall score is 6.5. However, if you get a 6.5 for Task I and a 6.0 for Task II, your overall result is 6.0. that’s why it always pays to start with Task II! The answer sheet you are writing on has different areas for Task I and Task II, so there’s no problem completing them in any particular order.

Tips for the IELTS writing testDO NOT copy the title of the Task

This will not be counted in your word count and will be simply ignored by the examiner. However, it will cost you time which would be better spent in planning, writing or editing your work.

Making corrections to your completed written work

For the writing test, you will be given a pencil to write with (you are not allowed to take in any pens or material of your own), but if you have made a mistake or want to change something you have written, don’t waste time erasing it – simply put a line through it like this just put a line through it and carry on.

If you don’t understand the the question (or a word in the question)

The best way to handle this is by having a well structured introduction. By including a rephrased definition of what you think the question means, you may lose points for not answering the question directly, but you won’t lose further points for not being clear and to the point. Take a look at the Writing an introduction page for more information.

Is handwriting important in IELTS writing?

It doesn’t matter if your handwriting is not very neat and tidy, so long as the examiner can read it. You can write in cursive (where the letters are joined to each other) or you can print (where each letter is separate). You can even write in capital letters for the whole test if you want to (as confirmed here:http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-your-test/test-day-advice/writing-test-advice – thanks to Ahmed El Talkawy for this link)

Make sure your paragraph breaks are clear

Accurate paragraphing is very important, so make sure that the examiner can clear see where your paragraph begins. Leave an empty line between each paragraph to make it very clear, and you can also indent your writing (that is, the first sentence of the paragraph should have a slight margin to the left). Also take a look at Writing better paragraphs.

Not writing enough words

The IELTS writing test is assessed based on 4 different criteria (as explained in the About the IELTS writing test page). Writing below the minimum word count in either Task I or Task II will mean your score for Task Completion will be reduced by up to 2 bands, so it is very important that you write at least 150 words in Task I and 250 words in Task II.

Writing too many words

For Task I, you should write at least 150 words and for Task II you should write at least 250 words. However, it is also a mistake to write too much beyond these limits. Writing too many words in the IELTS writing test can potentially reduce your overall score for two reasons. The first is that the examiner may penalise you for not being concise and getting to the point. The other, more common reason for losing points is that the more you write, the more you risk exposing additional errors to the examiner. The ideal number of words in the IELTS writing test should be around 10% above the required minimum – that’s 165 words for Task I and 275 words in Task II.

Get used to handwriting for an hour

This might sound like a strange tip, but these days very few people write by hand for more than a minute or two (in fact many people are quicker on a keyboard than with a pen!). It is essential that as part of your IELTS preparations, you hand-write for increasing periods of time until you can comfortably complete over 400 words (Task I and Task II) in less than an hour. Getting a cramp (an ache) in your hand as you are writing can slow you down and will make it more difficult to focus.

Plan, Plan, Plan!!!

One of the most common failings in IELTS writing is when it is clear from the essay that the candidate has not had a clear plan before they started to write. This can mean that your work does not logically flow, repeats vocabulary and is not well organised. Spending a few minutes making a rough plan of what you will include in each paragraph means that you can focus more on your sentence formation, vocabulary and grammar when actually writing. Although you are not given any ‘rough’ paper on which to make notes, you can write on the question paper (this is collected at the end of the test but is then destroyed, not kept with your answer).

‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’

‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’

Two linking phrases that are often confused are ‘In contrast’ and ‘On the other hand’. Compare examples A and B.

'In contrast' and 'On the other hand'A. Tourism often has a positive impact on less wealthy countries. On the other hand, this can damage local culture.

B. New Zealand has a good reputation for environmental safety. In contrast, many countries in Europe have high levels of pollution.

If you are contrasting ideas about the same general subject, use ‘On the other hand’. In Example A above, the focus is on balancing on the impact of tourism in less wealthy countries.

If you are contrasting the subjects and the idea (the object), use ‘In contrast’. In Example B above, the first sentence refers to New Zealand’s reputation and the second second sentence compares this to Europe and higher rates of pollution.

This is a simple guide to using these two linking phrases correctly. You may find exceptions to this rule, but if in doubt it is a useful rule to follow.

Now test your skills!

Select the correct linking phrase to complete the sentences. When you have finished, click ‘Finish quiz’. After you have submitted the quiz, click ‘View questions’ to see which answers were correct.

Linking words

Sometimes it is difficult to identify whether longer paragraphs actually share the same subject. Complete the paragraphs below with either ‘On the other hand’ or ‘In contrast’.

Education is good not only for the individual, but also for society. A society without scientists, researchers and intellectuals has little ability to further itself in a number of fields, specifically medicine, literature and technology. (a) ______, the cost to the taxpayer has to be considered, as most countries offer either free or heavily subsidised schemes for further education.

Education should be made available to all. State-funded education systems offer a solid level of schooling with dedicated and qualified teachers. (b)______, private schools are advantageous only to those that can afford to pay to go to them, and this runs the risk of encouraging teachers only interested in the better wages and conditions offered in such establishments.

Show the answers The first paragraph needs ‘on the other hand’ because the same general subject is being discussed (education). However, in the second paragraph, ‘In contrast’ should be used as the subject in the first part is state funded education and the subject in the second part is private education.

Linking words for IELTS writing

Linking words for IELTS writing

Linking words for IELTS writingSo, yet and because are three basic examples of linking words –
words which allow you to put together ideas either through contrast,
comparison, example, cause, effect or sequence. Good use of
linking words makes your writing flow better and sound more
academic.

Here are some more examples of linking words

  1. Illegal immigrants continue to arrive in the country in spite of stricter government measures.
  2. In addition to having a lot of money, he is very good-looking.
  3. The level of English continues to be a problem amongst migrant workers. As a result, many
    companies have begun insisting on an IELTS result of at least 6.0.
  4. Building a road here will destroy an area of great natural beauty. Furthermore, nobody is really insupport of it.
  5. Not only is the tourist situation deteriorating, it is also spreading to other industries.

The linking words and phrases below are grouped in different categories.

Time in the meantime / meanwhile / while
Comparison
(talking about similarities)
likewise / in the same way / equally
Contrast
(talking about differences)
whereas / in contrast / on the other hand / nevertheless
Examples for example / for instance / to illustrate
Cause and effect consequently / hence / thus / as a result
Concession
(admitting another point of view)
although it may be true / granted / admittedly
Sequence
(describing the order of something)
following which / subsequently / afterwards
Addition
(giving more information)
moreover / furthermore / in addition / not only … (but) also

Tips and hints for using linking words in IELTS writing

Some linking words are used at the beginning of a sentence, some in the middle. Some linking words need a comma after them, while others don’t. Some linking words are considered in IELTS to be ‘academic’ and others are too common. Using linking words accurately is essential to getting a good result.

Now practice!

Click here to try Exercise 1

Click here to try Exercise 2

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

With only 40 minutes to read the question, get ideas, plan your essay, write the essay and then proofread your work, you need to be quick getting ideas.

Here are some useful methods of getting ideas:

Brainstorming

Getting ideas for IELTS Task 2

This simply means thinking about anything that is connected to the topic. It doesn’t matter whether or not the idea seems good at the time; the aim is to get your brain thinking about the topic and writing notes on the question paper. When you have finished brainstorming, you will find that some of your ideas don’t relate to the topic so need to be rejected, but at least you have a place to start.

If your Task II title was ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘ you might think of the following ideas:

  • underage crime
  • bad parenting
  • crime rates in developed countries
  • young / busy parents
  • society
  • the child’s friends
  • TV and video games

Then when you look again through the list, you need to reject the ideas that are not directly relevant to the questions. In the example above, you would reject the idea about ‘crime rates in developed countries’, as this does not directly relate to parents or children. Then look again and see which ideas would be difficult to support or argue in 250 words / 40 minutes, and would probably reject ‘society’ as it is a very wide area.

Who’s involved?

Another method of getting ideas is to think about who is affected by the topic raised in the question. If you are thinking about ‘Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘, then the people involved would be:

  • parents
  • children
  • the police
  • the victims of crime
  • other criminals

Then you need to think about how each of the affected groups of people may react. Victims of crime, for instance, might want to see the parents punished as the child is arguably too young for prison. The police might also want parents to be responsible for the same reason.


Applying the questions words

A third useful method of getting ideas is to use the question words – who, what, where, when, how etc. In the example we have used so far (Should parents be responsible for the criminal actions of their children?‘), you could think about the following questions:

  • How could parents be punished?
  • What actions should the parents take responsibility for?
  • When is a child old enough to take responsibility themselves?

Here’s another example of applying question words:

TITLE: Everyone should be made to learn English. Do you agree or disagree?

You could consider aspects such as:

  • why should everyone have to learn?
  • what would happen to non-English people’s native language?
  • where would people study?
  • how would this be controlled/regulated?
  • who should pay for it?
  • when would many people find a use for English?

 


Always keep in mind that the ideas you support or argue against do not have to reflect your true opinion – if you find it easier to argue something that you don’t actually agree with, then do it!

General Writing #1

About IELTS writing

About IELTS writing

It is very important to note that there are significant differences between the Academic Module and the General Training IELTS writing test.

Parts of the test

writingThere are two parts to the IELTS writing test – Task I and Task II. Task I should take approximately 20 minutes and requires you to write at least 150 words, and Task II should take about 40 minutes and you need to write at least 250 words. Note, however, that time management within the IELTS test is your responsibility – you have a total of one hour to write at least 400 words in total, so you can decide how much time to spend on each Task.

Academic and General Training IELTS writing

Task II for the Academic Module and the General Training Module focus on the same skills. However, Task I is significantly different. In the General Training Module, you are required to write 150 words or more in a letter format – this could be a formal, semi formal or informal, depending on the context, and you may be writing to complain, apologise, request or give thanks. In the Academic Module, you are required to write 150 words or more as a report on a graphic – this could be a chart, graph, table, diagram or process.

What is the IELTS writing test assessing?

The IELTS writing test is assessing your ability to write clearly and coherently, using a range of grammar and vocabulary and addressing the task you are given. Your writing is marked by a trained examiner who will evaluate your work based on a set of criteria given by the IELTS organisation.

In Task I, the examiner is marking you on the following:

  • Task Achievement
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

In Task II, the examiner is marking you on the following:

  • Task Response
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

For specifics of what you need to achieve in each band, there are publicly available descriptions. Links to the PDF documents keep changing, so here is a Google search result that will show you their current location!

Topics you can expect in Task II

There are a wide range of possible topics that you may be asked to write about in Task II, but generally it related to one of the following:

  • education
  • health
  • society
  • transport
  • the environment
  • culture
  • technology