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(Video) How developed are your IELTS lexical resources? Try these 10 questions!

Posted on February 22, 2012 by - 35 Comments

(Please kindly provide me with some feedback.  Was this lesson helpful?  What would have made it better?)

Here is the text from the video:

Nowadays, young people admire sports stars though they often do not set a good example.  Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

The admiration young people hold for celebrities is not a new phenomenon.  Throughout/During history, youths have been inspired by people with outstanding athletic ability.  It is argued that this admiration brings with it more positive than negative issues/ramifications.  This will be proven by looking at how sports figures both instill inspiration and teach life lessons to young people.

Firstly, celebrities often display extremely developed skills, which can help to spur young people towards being/a life full of physically active.  For instance, school children are often driven to exercise in an attempt to become/emulate superstars, such as Sachin Tendulkar, Li Na and Kobe Bryant.  As this additional exercise is good for their health, it is difficult to argue that the inspiration celebrities bestow/leave upon young people is entirely a bad thing.  Thus, this shows that the admiration people hold for sports stars has positive implications/reasons.

Although the negative character figures/traits of many sports celebrities are often called into question, it is felt the public mistakes professional athletes make can act as good morality lessons for young people.  A good exhibition/image of this occurred when Canadian runner Ben Johnson dishonourably lost an Olympic gold medal due to steroid use.  This incident showed young people around the world that drug use is a shameful practice.  As this example illustrates/is shown, often the public errors athletes commit can act as good lessons for adolescents.

After looking at the above, it is felt to hold athletes in esteem does not bring with it entirely negative consequences.  It is assumed the historical admiration people will retain/retain for sports stars is not going to change into the foreseeable future.

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(Model essay) IELTS Academic essay in response to a question seen in India and Saudi Arabia in January 2012

Posted on February 21, 2012 by - 7 Comments

Do you feel artists like writers, musicians and painters still have value in modern society? Discuss.

The role artists play in modern society is an often debated topic.  On the one hand, many people see art and culture as critical components to a society’s image and sense of identity.  Others, however, feel that the significance of a society’s arts is overrated in the modern world.  This essay will analyze both sides of this argument.

From one perspective, many people believe strongly in the value that artists bring to a society.  For example, Bob Marley was a musician whose work helped to shape the modern cultural image of Jamaica and bring attention to global problems.  Performers like Marley help their countries establish recognizable cultures upon which valuable industries and worldwide recognition can grow.  It is thus clear why many argue that artists still bring value to modern society.

However, many counter that performers in the modern age contribute little of value to society.  Many pop music artists in Canada play a good example here.  Today, popular music production in Canada follows a very prescribed path.  An artist’s lyrics, image, sound and name are often decided by producers in an effort to maximize sales.  The unfortunate result of this is that it causes a lot of Canadian music to sound the same.  This repetitious quality to Canadian music and other modern arts of the world make it understandable why many feel artists contribute little of value to society.

Following this look, I feel that most performers still produce work that benefits society.  However, regardless of their effect on society, artistic freedom should be extended to all performers.

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(Model essay) IELTS exam blog entry in response to a General exam question as seen in Perth, Australia

Posted on February 19, 2012 by - 1 Comment

Violent films and TV programming are among the most popular forms of entertainment today.  Why do you think these programs are so popular?  Propose possible reasons to explain their large number of viewers.

The popularity of various forms of media are usually very revealing of a society’s collective psyche.  Often audiences consume programming that allows them to experience an existence not available to them in their day-to-day lives, and this is thought to be the main cause for the dramatic popularity of violent art.  This will be proven by looking at how violent media allows people to both explore certain curiosities and release tension.

Firstly, most legal systems around the world greatly reduce the amount of violence people experience in their daily lives.  For example, in countries with developed legal systems, experiencing physically aggressive situations in real life is extremely rare.  The irony is that this low exposure often piques a natural curiosity in violence among people.  Violent media, therefore, is popular because it allows people to vicariously experience a fantasised instance of violence without harming themselves or others.

In addition to this, violent media acts as an outlet for the natural aggression of human beings.  For instance, most would agree that adolescents act more physically aggressive towards each other than any other age group.  This aggression is usually thought to be a retained primitive instinct that predisposes adolescents to a natural degree of physical confrontation.  Thus, a likely argument for the popularity of violent media among adolescents is that it allows them to release this pent up hostility.

After looking at the above, it is clear that there are multiple factors contributing to the widespread consumption of violent media.  The enduring audience for this sort of media makes me feel violent programming will be made available to people for years to come.

 

(Model essay) Sample IELTS response to an Academic exam question seen 4 February 2012 in Wollongong, Australia

Posted on February 15, 2012 by - 8 Comments

Should young children be encouraged to follow a strict set of rules based on cultural tradition or should they be allowed to behave freely?  Discuss both and share your opinion.

The level of freedom children are allotted varies from one culture to another.  Among some, regimenting the behaviour of young children through strict traditional practice is thought to help them develop into skilled members of society.  Others argue the removal of strict household regulations allows young people to develop a free, inquisitive and creative mind.  Both points of view will be analyzed in this essay.

In one camp, raising children using a strict set of rules based on tradition is felt best.  For instance, in Japanese society often young children are taught how to properly conduct themselves in all social situations, including the manner in which they address elders, give and receive gifts and ask for favours.  As a result, Japanese society and the Japanese people are world renowned for their protocol, courtesy, attention to detail and charm.  As these are very positive qualities, it is clear that many benefits arise from the employment of a rigid parenting style.

On the other hand, however, many feel providing young people with freedom fuels their appetite for creativity.  American society, for example, is often mocked for its somewhat lax parenting structure.  Yet despite this, the United States was and continues to be home to the creation of some of the world’s most revolutionary products.  Thus, it is clear that freer parenting models pose numerous benefits.

After looking at both sides of this debate, I feel that a balance between protocol and free parenting structures should be sought after by guardians in the twenty-first century.  I expect this recipe to become more prevalent in the years to come.

 

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The essay as it appears in the video:

What are some alternatives to fossil fuels? Do you feel the world will ever stop using them?

Global dependence on fossil fuels continues to be a pressing problem in the modern world. Although environmentally friendly energy sources are available, market prices make these alternatives prohibitively expensive for most people. I argue that humanity will indeed stop using fossil fuels in the future, but this will only happen when the price of cleaner energy sources falls to a point of competition. This will be proved by looking specifically at current trends within solar energy and biodiesel consumption.

Firstly, the increased availability of solar water heaters has made solar energy prices competitive with fossil fuels in some parts of the world. For example, the mass production of solar water heaters in China has led to their adoption as a cheap alternative to water heated using coal. Because this trend comes as a direct result of financial incentive, it is logical to conclude that market shifts will eventually cause green energy to take the place of fossil fuels.

This phenomenon is further exemplified by alternative fuel types such as biodiesel. For instance, although still slightly more expensive than energy sources derived from fossil fuels, biodiesel’s steady decline in price over the past 20 years coincides directly with a rise in its sales in most parts of the world. As most experts argue, a massive shift to biodiesel consumption will occur when prices remain consistently below fossil fuels. Thus, worldwide dependence on fossil fuels can be expected to erode as alternatives become more economical.

As evidenced by these trends in solar energy and biodiesel consumption, humanity is gradually shifting itself from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly energy sources, and I hope this development continues.

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

Do the advantages trump the disadvantages in this IELTS essay?

[Note: The word ‘phenomenons’ appears in this video. This should be ‘phenomena’, as it is with reference to the scientific plural.]

More and more students are going to another country for higher education. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

It is very common today for students to go abroad to complete their college or university education. However, this trend presents both advantages and disadvantages to the students and the institutions involved. These items will be analysed in this essay before a position is declared.

The advantages of rising foreign student numbers are numerous. For one, this trend encourages human collaboration and the exchanging of ideas. For example, a Canadian engineering student attending a Japanese university would bring ideas and perspectives different to those of their classmates, a phenomenon that enriches the university’s program and level of discussion as a whole. In addition to this, having studied outside their home country, this student would take valuable international understanding with them, an important second benefit that promotes peace and international friendship. As this example shows, students and the world at large benefit when higher studies are engaged outside the home country.

However, many would argue the globalising of higher education does have certain disadvantages. For many young adults, foreign students may represent a threat to both professional opportunities after school and the overall workforce of their country. In the US, for example, companies scout talent on university campuses, and at select times this means offering employment to a foreign student instead of a local student. Although this scenario does occur, its impact on local graduates and their employment opportunities has been sensationalised by the media and large personalities like President Trump. Moreover, it should be remembered that attracting the world’s most talented students increases opportunities for important phenomena like scientific discoveries. Thus, the disadvantages of students going abroad for higher education are difficult to define.

As the above discussion reveals, the advantages of globalised higher education much outweigh the disadvantages, and I strongly hope countries continue to encourage the growth of their foreign student bodies.

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

CAN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS ON THE IELTS?! (…and other questions!)

In this video, we use the Information for Candidates PDF to answer a few questions. Download your own copy of this document at: https://www.ielts.org/~/media/publications/information-for-candidates/ielts-information-for-candidates-2015-english-uk.ashx

(Is that link not working? Google ‘IELTS info for candidates’.)

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

How does Ryan’s IELTS writing service work?

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess five of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

How to start sentences in your IELTS essay!

IELTS Academic and General Task 2 - How to write at a band 9 level

Buy Ryan’s Task 2 ebook here: https://gumroad.com/l/fWPb

Have Ryan personally assess 5 of your Task 1 or 2 samples: http://tinyurl.com/zkr9w2r

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