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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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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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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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