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Task 1 (General) as seen in Brisbane, Australia, 25 June 2011, model letter response

Posted on June 30, 2011 by - 8 Comments

You are really impressed with the work of a photographer who captured guests at your friend’s party.  Write a letter to the photographer asking them to work at your next family event.  Your letter should include:

  1. Why you would like them to work for you.
  2. Which picture you liked most and why.
  3. What the family event is and what photo sizes you will require.

Dear Paul Lawson of Lawson Photography,

I am writing to you regarding your work and am hoping I can provide you more of it.

Honestly, I was quite taken by the portraits, couples and group shots you took at my friend Richard’s party last weekend.  The photos, now framed and sitting atop Richard’s piano, really captured the evening well and appear to be among the highest quality photography work I have ever seen.  In particular, there is a photo of Richard’s grandmother and grandfather, both Holocaust survivors, which reflects their happiness well and makes them look quite dignified in their old age.

Thus, I suppose it goes without saying that I am hoping I can convince you to join my family next month for the baptism of my cousin Robert’s son.  We’re hoping to have both indoor and outdoor small group shots, photos of the baptism itself and larger group shots of the entire family during the reception to follow.  All photos are to be in wallet and standard portrait sizes.

Hoping you will join us next month,

Ryan

Task 2 model response to a General question seen in Australia, June 2011

Posted on June 26, 2011 by - 4 Comments

(This question taken from www.ielts-blog.com.)

In the past, people wore traditional clothes, spoke languages and practiced activities as dictated by their regional culture.  These days, the world’s cultures resemble one another quite closely.  Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

Globalization has brought with it both positive and negative developments.  On the positive side, it has encouraged the world’s people to grow closer together through common culture and language.  On the negative side, it has caused the customs of certain people to become forgotten.  Despite this, it is argued the merging of the world’s lifestyles is a beneficial trend.  This will be proven by analyzing how common ideology and culture help to reduce both incidences of war and hate crime.

Firstly, countries that share common attributes tend to be less likely to engage in war with one another.  Europe acts as a good example here.  Only one hundred years ago, many European countries warred with each other over ideological differences.  Today, after major movements towards cultural, economical and linguistic unity, these same countries are proud to be united under a single heading, the European Union.  The now peaceful temperament of Europe acts as good evidence to the benefits that come through the blending of ideologies and cultures.

Secondly, the merging of global lifestyles poses a negative correlation to the incidences of hate crimes, and this is a very positive thing.  For example, membership to organized hate groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, has fallen drastically over the last century in North America.  This drops occurs simultaneously with the immigration rises that occurred during the same period.  Thus, it can be concluded that the mixing of cultures directly reduces hate crime.

After analyzing the manner in which globalization minimizes both the chances of war and crimes motivated by hate, it is concluded that this is a trend that brings positive results to the world.  It is hoped the mixing of cultures increases globally into the foreseeable future.

Complete Task 2 response to an General question seen in Dhaka (June 11)

Posted on June 24, 2011 by - 3 Comments

(This question taken from www.ielts-blog.com.)

In many countries, crime is increasing.  What are the main reasons for this?  What can be done to improve the situation?  Support your position with relevant examples and include your own experience.

Although it is arguably impossible to pinpoint a single cause for the recent rise in global crime, the main culprits are thought to be poverty and political oppression.  A commonality between the two appears to be the dissatisfaction of a people.  Thus, it is argued that global crime can be reduced through measures that promote public feelings of well-being and security.  To prove this, strategies that reduce poverty and oppression will be analyzed.

Firstly, encouraging prosperity among poverty-stricken areas can be a very powerful tool when combating crime.  For example, a once dangerous area of my hometown in Ottawa has undergone major infrastructural development over the past twenty years.  The addition of schools, libraries and quality health facilities led to the establishment of a new economical status for the people who lived there.  With the rise of this new affluence came a major fall in crime rates.  This clearly shows how tackling the issue of poverty creates inroads against violations of the law.

In addition to this, providing people more political freedom can also reduce crime.  For instance, over the past ten years China has increasingly allowed critical comment of its ruling party to appear in local newspapers.  Despite the fact that this level of freedom pales in comparison with many other countries, it is felt this thawing of political control has done a lot to reduce crime rates across the country.  Thus, providing increasing levels of political freedom can be seen as a measure to combat crime.

After analyzing the reduction of poverty and political oppression, it is felt that crime is best tackled by reducing the causes of unrest among people.  By following this course of action, major reductions in global crime rates are expected.

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The essay in this video was written by IELTS Examiner C. This question was seen recently in Sydney:

These days many people prefer to rent rather than buy their own house. Why is this this so? Discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of renting or buying, and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and examples from your personal experience where appropriate.

Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

In most major cities in the west, people are opting to rent a home instead of buy. This is mostly because house prices have increased dramatically while personal income has not, a trend that means mortgage repayments now account for a much larger share of income than in the past. Renters have more disposable income every week than buyers and this is a big attraction. However, in my opinion, this is a false economy and in the long run I believe that the advantages of buying a property greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

While it is certainly cheaper week-by-week to rent than pay a mortgage, the renter misses out on the large capital gains to be made when buying a home. When I took out my own mortgage on my two-bedroom apartment, my repayments on a $400,000 loan were about $600 a week, compared with $500 for rental value on a similar property. However, over the past three years my apartment has appreciated by more than $250,000, greatly outweighing the $15,000 I would have saved by renting. In addition to this, my mortgage payments secured an acquisition of property that will remain valuable for my family into the future. Financial growth of this sort is not possible through renting.

Renters do not only lose out on capital gains, they also lose in terms of security and peace of mind. The roof over their heads once their lease is over is always at the mercy of the landlord, who might at any time decide to sell the property. The landlord can also put up the rent when they feel the market warrants it. Further, unless the renter invests their savings judiciously, the money they save will be frittered on day-to-day life, leaving them very much poorer than the buyer once retirement looms.

In conclusion, while a first mortgage will cost more each week than renting, the advantages of buying, including capital appreciation and housing security, greatly outweigh the short-term savings to be made by renting.

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Band 9 writing under an X-ray!

Thanks to ‘Examiner C’ for this model. Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people think that public celebrations (like national holidays, festivals, etc.) are a waste of money and that the government should spend these funds in a better way.

Do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and examples from personal experience where appropriate.

National holidays cost countries and their governments a lot of money. Wages need to be paid to employees despite their absence from work, and a national loss in productivity is experienced. For these reasons, some people suggest governments do away with holidays and instead spend the money on worthy projects. While this might seem at first to be a practical suggestion, I disagree strongly for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is axiomatic that a country’s production of goods declines when workers are not working; however, this is a tiny part of a much larger economic picture. Productivity is a function not only of hours worked but also of energy, drive, and morale. Thus, national holidays, which give workers a chance to relax and to celebrate aspects of their country and their lives, make for a happier and more productive workforce. In Australia, for example, the long weekend is a tradition that helps to unify society by making all feel rewarded and valued in a common enterprise and identity. It is for these reasons that labelling public celebrations ‘a waste of money’ cannot be supported.

Further, having the financial means to start new national projects is a good thing, but the question of apportioning funds in a manner that an entire society agrees is ‘a better way’ is simply unrealistic. A further consideration is the ramifications of pressure put on workers to work 52 straight weeks a year, a policy that could lead to stress-related illnesses and serious social problems. As this shows, the cancelling of public holidays and redirection of funds is an implausible suggestion.

In conclusion, I must affirm that while it is tempting to realise the short-term increase in productivity and savings that would result from abolishing public holidays, the overall cost greatly outweighs the gains.

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A former examiner wrote this band 9 essay…

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Here is the essay as it appears in the video:

Many people believe that a large proportion of a country’s health budget should be diverted from treatment to spending on health education and preventative measures. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give examples from personal experience where appropriate.

Modern medicine has evolved along two lines: prevention and cure. Many believe that too much emphasis is placed on the latter and that the balance of national health spending should shift to prevention. I am inclined to agree; however, my support is with the stipulation that an imbalance in the other direction should be avoided.

Many modern diseases that require pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, are induced by poor lifestyle choices. There is an abundance of evidence that these conditions are brought on by such factors as smoking, excessive dietary fat and sugar, and a lack of physical exercise. I have myself lost several family members to cancers and heart disease caused by smoking. Because the cost of treating these diseases is very high, and the prognosis uncertain, the need for preventative intervention is clear.

Fulfilling this need could be exercised in a number of ways. For one, the government could provide more health and fitness centres, and mount a public awareness campaign to encourage people to use them. In addition to this, taxes could be placed on excessive salt or sugar in processed foods, and special taxes could be added to tobacco products to discourage their use. I believe that measures such as these will in the long term dramatically reduce the incidence of certain deadly diseases.

However, it should be remembered that not all examples of modern disease are preventable or predictable, and it is critical to maintain research into cures for all diseases. Thus, in diverting health spending from treatment to preventative measures, countries should encourage a balanced approach to help extend lifespans and maximise quality of life. Prevention may be better than cure, but it can never wholly replace it.

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