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(Model essay) General Training exam in Sydney, Australia, December 2011

Posted on December 30, 2011 by - 8 Comments

(This question taken from IELTS-blog.com.)

Public transportation could be made free of charge. Are there more advantages or disadvantages to this change?

Most large cities today boast numerous public transit options, available to residents for a fee. Whether providing these options free of charge is a positive thing is often a highly debated topic. I argue that felt making public transportation available free of charge ramifies more advantages than disadvantages. This will be proven by looking at how a free public transportation system encourages more environmentally friendly living and provides accessibility to low-income individuals.

For one, encouraging people to use public transportation through fare elimination has many benefits to the environment. For example, as more people use a city’s public transit system, the congestion that city experiences on the road is greatly reduced. Having fewer vehicles on the road in turn reduces a city’s overall carbon footprint immensely. Thus, the benefit to removing public transportation fares can be seen.

In addition to this, allowing people to use a city’s transportation services without charge can be exceptionally helpful to low-income residents. For instance, any city that employs this change would empower its people with the ability to live and work in entirely different parts of a city, regardless of their economical situation. This would thus heighten a low-income earner’s chances of gaining financial ground. As this example shows, privileging a city’s people with free transit service boasts more benefits than drawbacks.

After analyzing the above, it is clear that removing the fare charged to public transit passengers has more pros than cons. This alternative should be considered as a future growth option for emerging cities.

 

(Model essay) Academic question as seen in Vietnam in late November

Posted on December 22, 2011 by - 8 Comments

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

Economic growth has helped to improve standards of living all over the world. However, some research shows that people in developing countries are happier with this trend than people in developed countries. Explain why you think this is.

Developments in the global economy mean different things to different people. To some, recent growth may be coupled with a rise in standards of living, and thus seen as positive. To others, this growth brings with it increased global competitiveness, and is thus seen as negative. These particular opinions are thought to reflect the results of recent research indicating more satisfaction with global growth among the developing world than the developed world. Both sides will be analysed in this essay.

It is easy to understand why global economic growth is welcomed among developing countries. In China, for example, young people today have vastly more developed lifestyles than their parents or grandparents. Today many Chinese people consume luxury goods, an ability seldom possible 30 years ago. From this example, it is easy to understand why people in developing countries see current global economic growth as a reason to be happy.

However, the economic rise of developing countries makes for more competition among developed countries. For example, microprocessor design, a field once dominated by countries with highly developed education systems, is now an area into which developing countries are making serious inroads. Because of this, the once technical giants of the developed world are now seeing their market share decline. This example makes it clear why developed countries are not entirely happy about the economical growth of developing countries.

I feel the above reasons explain why research results indicate the opinions of developed and developing countries contrast on this topic. So long as this trend continue, these viewpoints should not be expected to change much.

 

(Model letter) Task 1 question as seen in Egypt and the UAE in early December

Posted on December 19, 2011 by - 2 Comments

You went on a sightseeing trip with a tour company but did not like it.  Write a letter to the company manager to complain.  In your letter include:

  • why you went on the trip
  • what you did not like about it
  • what you suggest the company do to improve their service for future visitors

To the manager of Gordon Travel,

I am writing this letter to you to bring to your attention a few shortcomings in the service you provide.

Last week, I traveled to Kiev as part of your Eastern Europe Journey program in an effort to better educate myself about this region of the world.  Although the hotel and meals were fine, the tour guide on our bus was less than adequate.  He seemed ill prepared for the tour and kept forgetting facts and the names of the locations we were visiting.  To be honest, he seemed so unsure of himself when speaking to our group that I have the feeling he had never been to Kiev before.  In addition to this, although he was able to speak broken Russian, it was evident he could not speak any Ukrainian.  This of course made the tourists aboard our bus even more skeptical of the facts he was sharing regarding Ukrainian linguistic history.

I hope you use my feedback constructively to improve the quality of your tour for future visitors to Ukraine.  Ensuring your patrons receive an English-speaking Ukrainian native as a tour guide would be a good start.

Good luck,

Ryan

 

(Model essay) Academic Task 2 question as seen in Vancouver, Canada, in December 2011

Posted on December 15, 2011 by - 3 Comments

Some people believe advertising causes more harm than good to society. Others refute this.  Discuss both views and share your opinion.

One of the main stimulants of consumerism within a country is advertising. As such, advertising can be seen as a necessary practice within any healthy economy. However, people often counter this by saying that too much exposure to commercial promotions can cause societal problems. Both sides of this argument will be analysed before a conclusion is reached.

On the one hand, advertising stimulates healthy spending, which can grow economies and create jobs. Take Coca-Cola, for example. Coca-Cola is a company that spends massive amounts on marketing every year. Because of this, it has become a brand that is recognised in the most remote corners of the earth. This level of recognition allows even the smallest of vendors anywhere in the world to create wealth through providing an attractive product with a powerful brand to potential customers. Thus, it is understandable why many people believe the benefits of advertising outweigh the drawbacks.

On the other hand, it is purported by many that advertising has negative ramifications on societies. For example, at Christmas time, American children are often the target of very elaborate marketing schemes hatched by large companies looking for holiday sales. As these sorts of campaigns can induce children to become overly concerned with commercial matters, many people worry this may interrupt their development as moral people. When seen in this light, it is clear why many people feel there are more drawbacks than benefits to advertising.

Following this look at both sides of the above debate, I feel the manner in which advertising fosters wealth and economic growth makes it much more positive than negative in nature, and I hope these positive financial effects are increasingly experienced the world over.

 

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This way to band 9…

The essay in this video was written by a practicing IELTS examiner.

This question was seen last year in Moscow:

Some people contend that all young people should attend university after high school, while others maintain that this is not always the best option. Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include examples from your own experience where appropriate.

Some feel that all young people should attend university, while others point out this may not be a suitable path for everyone. I am of the latter view. I believe that career training in other areas may serve the interests of many young people far better than undergraduate studies.

On the one hand, there is convincing support for university education for all. Firstly, a liberal education encourages the broadening of the mind. For example, students of history, art and literature tend to be tolerant and thoughtful and fulfil useful service careers in teaching, journalism, public relations and politics. Encouraging everyone to enrol in university would also push people towards lucrative professional roles, such as those held by doctors and lawyers, positions that also bring great social prestige.

However, despite these benefits, universal tertiary education would be problematic at both the societal and personal levels. It should be noted that the building of houses and offices, the transporting of goods, and the production of furniture and appliances are essential to society and require skilled manual workers and tradespeople. Further, many young men and women naturally excel when working with their hands. Forcing them to study disciplines of abstract thought would clearly be a waste of their time and potential. Thus, encouraging people to choose a path that allows them to invest in their natural strengths is better for both the individual and society as a whole.

Overall, it can be seen that although pursuing a university education has many merits, it may be more of a hindrance than a help to some people. In my own case, being very bad with my hands but quite handy with words, university was the right option for me. As this essay has shown, everyone is different and no one course in life fits all.

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How to get full marks for Task Achievement

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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