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IELTS Speaking contest results – 5 speakers assessed!

Posted on August 26, 2013 by - 1 Comment

Last week, five individuals posted their speaking as part of an IELTS Speaking contest.  They spoke in response to this cue card seen in Jordan:

Describe a person you know who made a good decision.

Who is this person?

What was their decision and why do you feel it was positive?

What resulted from their decision?

I assess their performance in this video:

IELTS essay contest results – 18 essays analysed!

Posted on August 25, 2013 by - 1 Comment

Thank you to those of your that got involved in our essay writing contest last week.  Last week, 18 students wrote essays in response to this essay question:

Tourism is an excellent tool through which a country can develop. However, certain side effects of tourism can be harmful. How can countries curb the damaging effects of a growing tourism industry?

In this video, I comment on each of the essay submissions:

(Disclaimer: I have never been an examiner. The below grades may not reflect the grade these works would receive in an actual IELTS.)

Here are the essay submissions themselves and my best guess at the band they would receive:

Vik (Band 7)

It is well known that tourism industry brings tremendous benefits to a country’s development. In fact, for many citizens of some exotic realms it may be one of the major sources of income. Unfortunately, despite of the obvious positive aspects, there some drawbacks present as well. It is agreed that growing tourism sector poses a threat to a region’s natural and cultural resources, as well as begets increased crime rates. To tackle these issues, the positive solutions of government issuing severe fines for littering and introducing more police patrol to the streets will be analyzed for viability in this essay.

For one, to address the problem of travelers damaging the flora and fauna of the county they visit, it’s administration could have imposed strict penalties for polluting resources such water supply, beaches, coral reefs, heritage sites and others. The effect of this can be seen in Stockholm, for example, where acknowledgment that city can fire you $1500 for throwing a garbage have impounded people with penchant for littering significantly. Thus it can be clearly seen from this example that imposition of such fines may help restrain tourists from tossing their trash wherever they please.

Further, additional security forces could be brought to popular crowded sights visited by many vacationers to crack down on criminal activity increase. For instance, during peak times of Olympic games in London, 2012, the number of police on duty had been increased fivefold. This, and draconian powers granted to law enforcement, boosted security in capital and helped to make the Games safe and secure for both visitors of metropolis and it’s townsmen. As this example shows, the conventional wisdom concerning the relationship between police numbers and crime has been proven true. Therefore authority should be encouraged to allocate more police resources to the places visited by sightseers.

After looking at potential resolutions to the complications associated with growing tourism industry, it is felt that establishing harsh punishment for damages caused to the nature and bringing more police to the places of interest can provide plausible remedies. It is thus hoped that the solutions

 

pinkroses (Band 6)

The tourism industry has a huge influence on the economy of many countries. It is important to protect this industry and ensure any negative effects caused within this field can be resolved. This essay will discuss the problems many countries face due to tourism and suggest idea’s as to how these can be rectified.

In certain tourist destinations a rowdy crowd can spoil the atmosphere for many other holidaymakers as well as the local people. For instance, a popular holiday destination in Europe is Spain; Many young people go to Spain for holidays, stag/hen parties and weekend getaways. The youths visiting Spain have been stereotyped as ‘drunk all day long’ and ‘too loud’. This has an impact upon other holiday makers who have spent their money to go to a place where they can relax but instead have their vacation ruined by other fellow holiday maker.

In order to ensure that people are not put off coming to Spain or other countries which face similar problems, the government need to learn from countries in which this problem is non existent and put rules and regulations into action. For example, in the USA, it is strictly prohibited for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Furthermore, the majority of people need to provide a valid proof of identification in order to buy alcohol. In certain European countries it is too easy for young people to purchase alcohol due to the lower age limit and lack of identity checking. If stricter rules were enforced then this could certainly make a difference to the economy.

To conclude, to protect the tourism industry in many countries from declining it is important for the government to act and enforce stricter rules to ensure that all holiday makers enjoy themselves and do not cause problems for each other. Enforcing stricter rules around identification and higher age limit for purchasing alcohol will contribute to ensuring that everyone can have a good time whilst visiting the country without any disturbances from others, which in turn will mean that people are more likely to return or recommend the holiday destination to others.

 

itssujan (Band 6)

In today’s world, tourism is one of the major sources of revenue for many countries.Even though the travel industry can bring many benefits economically and culturally, it is believed that there are certain side effects of tourism, which can be harmful. Global nations need to address this negativity by bringing in newer laws.Couple of possible solutions will be analysed below.

Firstly, pollution in various forms such as air and noise is one of the most harmful effects of tourism. Governments need to bring in ways to reduce the number of vehicles travelling from and to these places. For instance, environmental friendly means of transport such as bicycles should be promoted and group travels must be mandated instead of the normal transportation modes. By following this, the count of tourist vehicles would be reduced tremendously. Thus, this makes it clear that this step would minimize one of the negative impacts of the growing travel industry.

Secondly, due to the difference in cultures of people visiting a place, there might issues with the local population. For example, in India it is very uncommon for a person to drink alcohol in public or wear extremely small clothes when they are out. Nations should start a process in which, the first time visitors are educated about local cultures and are encouraged to respect them, to avoid any kind of violence or harassment. Therefore, taking this route, countries can address another bad effect of tourism.

In summary, steps such as controlling environmental and cultural impacts should be taken to address the problems which arise due to the growth in travel sector. Thus, it is recommended that it is high time for countries to give importance to the negative aspects of travel sector as much as the positives if tourism has to become an ever evolving economic growth tool.

 

Annabelle G (Band 6)

Traditionally, it is known that tourism can help the growth of a country’s economy and can contribute to the development of the local areas. However, it has been seen that tourism can have a very negative side effects on a country and is some cases will result in more cons than pros. It is argued that the main causes of this are visitor’s unsocial behaviour which affect the quality of life of the local community and over development of rural areas destroy a region’s natural resources and its community. To tackle these issues, law enforcement on alcohol limitations and council’s restriction on developments in rural areas related solutions will be analysed for viability.

Firstly, it is felt that if governments put higher limitations on problems surrounding alcohol it will result in less unsocial behaviour from travellers.

An instance illustration this action is, in some countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, the government is harshly restricting alcohol use. All bars and clubs are to be closed around midnight and age limitation is restricted to 18. 18 to 25 years old always have to show an ID and bars that have been found to serve alcohol to underage people are fined very heavily. This law enforcement helps in preventing problems such as noise, crime and drug issues. Without steps such as this it is easy to see how visitor’s behaviour under the effect of alcohol can cause negative impact on the local community. Thus, the effectiveness of this suggested solution can be seen.

However, to address the issue of rural areas development is it suggested that more local councils around the world should restrict or limit into a certain extant the amount of development allowed in rural areas. An idea that supports this is, in England many councils preserve natural resources of regions and refuse to give building permission in certain country sides areas. Their goal is that every area in the country and especially rural areas must have 40% natural land consisted of farms, parks and untouched land. By limiting companies from building enormous amounts of holiday sites, hotels and roads, the natural land, forests, beaches and heritage sites can be preserved. As this shows, preserving a percentage of rural areas against development of tourism can help natives and local community to prevent damage to the local environment.

It is felt that restriction on alcohol and building developments could do a lot to minimize the negative effects tourism has. It is hoped these strategies are put into place everywhere to help curb the damaging effect of a growing tourism industry.

 

nathan83 (Band 6)

It is true that tourism can bring both positive and negative impacts. While many countries benefit from the growing tourism industry, the accompanying damaging effects of tourism should not be neglected. This essay will present the harmful effects of tourism and give possible ways to reduce it.

In my opinion, tourism industry could bring a lot of economic benefits but poses greater threats to the socio-cultural and environmental aspect of a country. Firstly, tourism could lead to crowding and congestion along with alcohol and drug problems. Secondly, interaction between visitors and local people could erode traditional customs and cultural heritage. Finally, tourism could threaten the local natural environment by waste pollution and tourists’ activities.

On the other hand, it is necessary to combat the negative impacts of tourism. It is believed that the most important solution is for the government to ensure that tourism will become sustainable through careful management and planning. Another good solution is to raise awareness of visitors and local people about these negative effects because it is through understanding that people will be motivated to change behavior and cooperate in the preservation and conservation of natural beauty of tourist spots. It is also helpful to reduce the number of tourists visiting certain areas to reduce the amount of pollution and disruption people bring. Lastly, local management could train more staff who can instruct and guide guests into the right places especially in protected areas.

In conclusion, tourism certainly brings negative effects to the host country and the environment but careful management is important so that these potential negative effects would not outweigh the economic benefits.

 

Samat (Band 6)

A successful tourism industry has always affected a country’s economy positively. Besides its benefits, it has got some detrimental effects. One of those negative consequences is the problem with trash. In order to overcome it, governments need to introduce fees for tourists as well as seek out volunteers who will help clean the environments.

One effective way of tackling the problem is demanding money from tourists. For example, in some Japanese tourist attractions, if people want to enter the territory, they will have to pay a reasonable and affordable amount of money for it. Since there are many tourists, raising money this way is not difficult. After having received the money, the Japanese government begins to set up infrastructure, such as litter-bins. Thus, fewer people will be leaving their garbage on the ground. The adequate use of money, therefore, can considerably reduce the amount of trash being left.

Another possible solution would be assembling volunteers who are willing to work as scavengers. For instance, in Japan, tens of thousands of people have gathered together in the Mount Fuji to clean up the place. As a result, tens of tons of trash have been collected. What is great about this way of solving the problem is that it does not require money. In addition, having heard of this act, tourists and other people will be more appreciative of the importance of cleanliness than they used to. That is why governments should try to find as many volunteers as possible in order to cope with the garbage issue.

To conclude, establishing fees and gathering volunteers are two perfect ways of adressing the problem with trash. If governments consider the aforementioned suggestions, the amount of garbage being left in tourist attractions will decrease significantly.

 

Alessandro (Band 6)

The tourism industry in many countries around Asia is one, if not the most important, source of profit to their development. Being nature and its amazing sites the attractive to visitors, they have to be preserved in order to protect not only fauna and flora, but also the tourism. The Governments around the world must create programs to incentive preservation through tourists and locals. This will be shown that distribution of garbage bins and information signs in various languages can help to reduce de destruction of sites.

Firstly, it is essential for high visited places to have where to dispose garbage. To illustrate this, the local public city council in Sao Paulo city decided to install new and resistant garbage bins around Paulista Avenue. Considered the city icon, this avenue is cleaner than before when visitors had difficult to find where to dispose garbage. Thus, the connection between garbage containers and the conservation of sights where they are located is clear.

In addition, making tourists and locals aware of how to contribute to the preservation of visited places is essential. Taking Sweden as a example, it is possible to find information signs in 6 languages at famous museums. Besides guiding information, the signs also instruct visitors on what is forbidden inside the buildings in order to conserve them. It is clear that information signs in various languages contribute to reduce damages to visited places.

After analyzing how local Governments can promote tourism conservation through infrastructure and information, it is shown the importance of these sort of incentives to the tourism industry. It is hoped that nations around the world adopt these basic initiatives.

krucznik (Band 6)

Today, many countries use their touristic attributes as a main and easy source of profit and development. This can be seen among most countries of Southeast Asia and South Europe. It is believed that despite positive side, there are also negative effects of tourism such as pollution and noise. This essay will discuss the problems many countries face due to growing tourism industry and how these can be curb by setting up appropriate law and noise zones.

Firstly, one of the most common and easiest way of coping with pollution is establishment of appropriate law in order to maintain touristic places clean. For example, authorities of Boracay Island in Philippines banned smoking of cigarettes on a beach and person who break this rule may face high financial penalty. For this reason, beach stay clean and there is no danger for a wildlife. Thus, the effectiveness of this suggested solution can be seen.

In addition to this, authorities of touristic places can create a noise zones in a cities. For instance, famous La rambla street in central Barcelona is a place where tourists and locals can gather and spend their free time enjoying parties and long conversations.

This makes it clear that everyone knows intention of this street and therefore most people would not choice this place to live in. As this shows, creation of a noise zones can be very effective way to create balance between growing tourism and local people’s life.

In conclusion, creation of proper law and noise zones can do a lot to overcome problems of growing tourism industry. It is thus hopped that authorities will do their best to diminish harmful effect of tourism.

 

aijazbasheer (Band 5.5)

Tourism is wide spreading industry now days. Revolution in communication and traveling gave a boost to tourism. Albeit of its positive aspects a large fraction of society is holding the notion that, tourism is undermining the cultural values and damaging the historic heritage of traveled destinations. This is responsibility of governments and as well as society to counteract the negative impacts of tourism.

Firstly, frequent visits by tourist can alter the historic ambiance of toured places. To preserve the historic sites into there original shape is a difficult task. There must be legislation at sate level which can restrain those activities which are demolishing the frequented areas. For instance in Venus which is a lucrative destination for tourists, dwellers obliged by law to take prior permission from local authorities to carry out any construction and amendment in their houses. In this way they are successfully preserving their historic legacy.

Secondly, visitors bring their own culture with them and with the passage of time this phenomenon can undermine the specific cultural aura of that area.Communities of toured areas can play a vital role in preserving their national heritage. For example, Mori tribes of New Zeland arrange annul festivals for promotion of their culture. These events not only provide chances for reviving local customs but also instill a sense of commitment to their national roots.

In order to preserve our culture and heritage from travelers it is necessary for governments and local societies to take plausible measures and if they fail to do so, destruction and damage of tourism sites are obvious pitfalls of flourishing tourism industry.

 

Mohammad (Band 5.5)

Today one of the relatively hot debate topics in many countries is flourishing tourism industry.It is commonly seen that tourism industry is an essential factor in developing many countries in terms of providing financial opportunities.However,its drawbacks ,such as increasing crime rate and influencing societies traditions,can negatively affect destination countries.

Firstly,as a result of increasing number of visitors from different countries,the crime rate in host societies is increasing.This problem has concerned governments of visiting countries.It seems that this problem should be handled by taking efficient security measures such as installing video surveillance cameras ,increasing number of police officers,and controlling the criminal background of tourists.In addition citizens should be taught how to do to increase their safeness.

Secondly,another disadvantage of developing tourism industru is that old traditions and customs of visiting countries can be negatively affected by introducing new cultures by visitors.These new habits and technologies can encourage citizens,specially young individuals,to ignore their traditions,and gravitate towards new cultures.This issue can be addressed by training people ,specially students,through educational systems to be more familiar with their traditions and customs.Moreover,media can enhance public awareness about their cultures and encourage them to preserve their precious old crafts and customs.

In summary,tourism industry can help governments to promote their countries,but they should consider its drawbacks such as increasing crime rate and endangering old traditions.It seems that these problems can be managed by cooperating goverments and citizens by taking effective security strategies and educating citizens to value their customs.

 

Manimala (Band 5)

Historically,it has been in man’s nature to explore and visit distant places.In recent times, this has come up as a fast developing industry called tourism.Although nations are economically benefited by such influx of foreign visitors, it is believed that it also has detrimental effect on traditionally based societies.The role of media and that of the natives in conserving the culture of a country will be seen for their viability.

Firstly, the government can highlight the importance of a tourist spot in its country by way of advertisement in television and newspapers. For example,the Indian government promotes tourism by the slogan Incredible India which carries with it both the pictorial and factual description of the place of interest in all leading dailies and important television channels.This enables one to gain essential knowledge of the place and to respect its importance. Thus, it is clearly seen how media can play a vital role in preventing vandalism and conserving a historically important place.

In addition, the locals have the moral responsibility in continuing with the traditional importance of a place. For example, If one is to enter the premises of a sikh temple ,it is only when their traditional norms are adhered.They are helped in this by the personnels in the locality.By taking in the local flavor one is bound to enjoy the visit much more than otherwise.Therefore, the participation of natives in making tourism an experience of a lifetime cannot be disputed.

In conclusion, in order to promote tourism without any negative impact on a country, advertisement and citizens have major part to play.It is believed that with all technological developments and greater awareness on a country’s heritage ,tourism will come as a boon and not a bane to any country.

 

simona (Band 5)

It is common today , that tourist industry is flourishing at a tremendous rate owing to the economical stability experienced by most of the people the world over . Although tourism brings with it several privileges , the harmful effects to state s natural habitat and threat of invasion of foreign cultures cannot be denied . To tackle these issues , well maintained tourist spots and educating local people to serve as tourist guide related solutions will be analyzed for viability .

Firstly , it is felt that employing caretakers could helps to significantly minimize the issue of damage caused by visitors to tourist attraction . Take safari park of Malaysia , for instance . if there had been no restriction and defined rules applicable to the visitors of this spot , the park might have lost the original shape and value . Some people often find it hard to believe that this valuable tourist destination has managed to maintain its charm for last 40 years . Thus , the effectiveness of the suggested solution can be seen .

However, to address the issue of adverse effects of globalization brought about by tourists , it is suggested that local people should be adequately educated and trained to flourish their own culture to visitors instead of the letting the outsiders to spread foreign trends. For example , people visiting China are often supposed to wear the traditional dress and eat according to the customs there . As can be expected , this has resulted in survival of countries cultural values for which china is renowned world wide . Thus, this suggestion is plausible.

As can be seen the proposed solutions of maintaining tourist points and spread of traditional norms to visitors by educated residents will be very effective . it is thus hoped these strategies are put into place everywhere to stimulate efforts of attaining safe tourist globally .

 

atefeh (Band 5)

Today,one of the relatively fast-growing industries in the world is tourism.It is commonly seen that tourists bring some issues with themeselves fot their destination countries.It is believed that goverments can address these issues through enforcing specific rules and providing more facilities and information for their citizens and visitors in the period when there are many tourists in their countries.

For one,It is believed that authorities should pass laws to reduce the drawbacks of tourism industry and enforce those rules.For example,Shiraz is a historical city in Iran which receive many visitors each year.Most of those visitors were young individuals who wanted to stay awake late and drink and they used to make noise at night on weekdays .Local goverment enforce this rule that all clubs and amusement providers should be closed at 11 on weekdays .This rule helped many families to enjoy their rest at summers’ nights.Thus it is clear that new regulation can help to overcome some of the difficulties with tourism industry.

Secondly,goverments should be prepared to service the holiday takers with special facilities for them in order to preserve the rights of their citizens.For example,they can increase the number of buses and trains in their pulic transport systems or extent their working hours.Moreover,authorities should educate and inform their citizens to take percaution more tham before in the tourism seasons.In addition,goverments should ask the tourism companies to increase the awareness of the visitors about the traditions and specific rules in their destination.Thus,it can be understood that some issues can be tackled by being prepared in advance.

In summary,It is agreed that by following rules and providing knowlege and facilities tourism’s disadvantages can be solved in the near future.It is recommended that officials in different countries cooperate to find effective solutions for the problematic effects of tourism industry on countries.

 

deepak (Band 5)

Countries all over the world promoting tourism as it is a huge source of income. However, Tourism may leads to destroy local culture as tourist also comes up with their native culture. In this essay, I will describe how proper measures can be taken by authorities to control these damaging effects.

Firstly, there should be proper guide book in various languages to teach tourists about the local culture and how to access various destinations. As sometimes tourists can accidentally cause damage to the society. For example, sports like base jumping is banned in countries like Singapore. However, Switzerland does not have any restriction based to base jumping. This can be clearly seen from my example that tourist should knows about the rules and regulations of a nation.

Secondly, authorities should provide garbage bin to their popular or heritage buildings. Otherwise, tourists can throw garbage to any place thereby creating litter pollution. For Example, In India popular place like India Gate has number of garbage bin to control litter. As this helps to make our prestigious monuments to remain clean.

Finally, politicians and local police should need to control the usage of drugs and alcohol in their country. As this can create violation among local and tourists. For instance, In cities like Delhi no one can buy alcohol contained drinks under 18 years old. This provides a safe environment as sometimes youth can be involved in fighting.

In conclusion, no doubt tourism helps every nation for their growth of income. But with certain restrictions and guiding tourist about local culture we can effectively reduced the damaging effects by a tourist to our nation. In the end, creating more tourism and safe environment

 

delvydavis (Band 4)

In this modern day, exploring the world aka tourism is growing. Many countries have adopted tourism similar to one of their major industries, through which they earn good revenue. However, there are harmful side-effects too.

To start with, one of the major problems facing by tourism industry is accumulating garbage. Polluting the precious resources by simply throwing the waste away puts the , water, beaches, wildlife, heritage sites and nature in danger. Similarly another issue is the increased crime rate; some tourists have criminal background and some local people are criminals such as burglary, rape & drugs. They damage the harmony of fellow tourists and local public. In addition to that, there is a significant danger to the local culture. More tourists from different cultures mingling with local culture, even sometimes tourists do offensive stuff unknowingly to the local culture. For instance, a woman wearing a knee frock in Saudi Arabia is offensive.

Undoubtedly, there are many solutions to this. The local authorities can restrict these crimes by applying more police on tourist places will reduce the crime rate against the tourists. To avoid littering, the tourism department should impose very high penalty such as Dubai did in their country – 1000Dirhams as a penalty for littering. Additionally, warning multi-language sign boards placed everywhere in the tourist spot will convey the message. Similarly, appointing caretakers will suffice. Apart from that, the government can enforce new laws to preserve the wildlife and nature which should obviously be conveyed to the guests

To summarize, even though the government and local people will be benefited from the tourism, there are some troubles too. By going through the above mentioned recommendations we can avoid these to a certain limit.

 

CorinaS (Band 4)

Tourism is one of the main ways through which a country can be known and well appreciated. It is clear that tourism can contribute by far to the country’s economy. However, a bad management of the touristic program or an undeveloped infrastructure could do more damage that good. Every country should have a special department in charge with the touristic management. Those specialists have to develop a perfect program for making the tourism effective and successful.

First of all they need to highlight all the places with interest to the tourist people. Either is something extraordinary like art museums, palaces or beautiful gardens, sustained by the historical heritage of the country, or something untouched by people, natural reservations, wild areas for the most adventurous of the tourists. In all the cases, first thing to provide is the easy access to those areas. People need a good and secure way to access all this, as well as a proper accommodation and good resources. For example, you can’t develop worldwide programs and packages without having an airport, a good motorway or train network available.

In addition, there is absolutely necessary to advertise those programs, to let people know that that country has great and unique areas to show. Without a doubt, nowadays the internet is the main way of doing that. A proper advertisement requires an accessible and updated web page, which has to include all the information regarding the area of interest, the objectives, the easy access to them and of course, not last, the special programs and offers which cannot miss.

To sum up, if all these parts are well developed and properly managed, the tourism will not have damaging effects, on the contrary, will make the targeted places of interest worldwide known and will participate to the development of that country.

 

ngvantan91 (Band 4)

As we move into the twenty-first century, each country has many different of areas which desires to develop itself and tourism is a considerable field they do. Indeed, the extension of tourism is not only rapid own country’s profit, but also creates more job opportunities in unemployment issue, especially at developing countries. While there are a variety of benefits of tourism, there are also certain drawbacks.

Perhaps, the greatest bonus of touring industry is the increasing of total revenue annual. Comparing to others field includes agriculture, plenty of industries and so forth, tourism is almost dominant interest. Another benefit of developing tourism is to solve jobless matter which the challenge restrains the economy’ growth.

Not everything, however, about effects of tourism is positive. One major problem is that instead of encouraging the diversity of culture, it can ruin nation’s ethnic culture constantly. Since tourists come from everywhere, as a result, natives are easy to absorb their culture whether bad or not. In addition, negative potentials are more attractive than positive ones. It really becomes a dangerous nuclear.There is no doubt that prevention of unhealthy lifestyles enter to society by strict authorities’ inspection is prioritized the most. Moreover, not only adults, but also children should be encouraged and enlightened their awareness of bad sectors, also the preservation of beautiful culture.

As what has discussed above, one can reach a statement that the role of tourism is irreplaceable in developing economy’s consolidation. Although the advantage of tourism industry are huge, negative impacts would make our efforts turn to zero if without timely intervention of authorities.

 

showeb (Band 4)

Tourism is a vital element for a country’s economy. It can contribute an important role to develop the country. It is argued that some of its side effect is very harmful. We shall be looking forward about this issue prior get the solution of the damaging effect.

Firstly, The most harmful side effect can be caused by the tourism is environmental pollution. The more tourist come the more environment will become polluted.For example,Kolkata,One of the popular tourist spot in India is now become a very dirty city. By this we can observe how a popular tourist spot become a polluted place of a country.

However ,by taking necessary step this problem can be solved. We can arrange varieties of tools to prevent it polluted. For example , we can keep adequate dustbin in each place where there is a possibility of littering. Tourist spot should have a twenty four hour monitoring system to take necessary action against those tourist who make the spot dirty.Thus we can keep the environment clean. So, by arranging different kind of tools we can prevent the side effect of the tourism

To summarize, By taking appropriate action we can minimize the harmful effects of the tourism and thus can make it as an significant instrument for the country’s economy .So it is hoped,no more tourist spot will become dead by its damaging effect.

Shina scores an overall band of 8.5! You need to hear this!

Posted on August 24, 2013 by - Comments are off

I love opening my email box and seeing messages like this:

Hi Ryan,
 
I wanted to share some excellent news with you. I finally cracked the writing test in IELTS and got 8.5.
 
My marks in the other sections are: Reading- 8.5; Listening 9.0; Speaking: 8.0. and the aggregate is 8.5
 
I want to thank you for your superb guidance all through. 
 
Thanks a ton!

Shina was kind enough to participate in an IELTS Cast interview.  Our conversation revealed some surprisingly unorthodox things about her preparation and testing strategies.  For example, Shina skimmed and scanned through her reading texts (underlining key vocab along the way) before even looking at the questions.

Shina also shared the resources she used to score so well in the different sections of the exam.  Aside from our online work together, she engaged the British Council’s self-study courses at ieltspractice.com and roadtoielts.com, and she studied from Louise Hashemi and Barbara Thomas’s IELTS Trainer book.

Listen to our entire interview by clicking here.  For other interviews, visit ieltscast.com or search ‘IELTS Cast’ in the iTunes store.  Don’t forget to come and participate at ieltsnetwork.com, which is almost 100 users strong.

Two IELTS contests this week! Come and post your speaking and/or writing

Posted on August 16, 2013 by - Comments are off

ieltsnetwork

I’m very excited to announce the launch of The IELTS Network!  The IELTS Network is a hub for all people with interest in the IELTS exam.  It is a place where IELTS test takers and instructors can meet each other, share past exam questions and post their speaking/writing for others to critique (among many other things).  I’m very excited about this new forum for us to interact in and I hope to see you there.

As part of the launch of The IELTS Network, I’m holding two contests and encouraging students to get involved.  The first is a speaking contest (students post MP3s to IELTSNetwork.com).  The second is a writing contest (students post their responses as replies to my initial post).  For details about the new site and these contests, please watch the following:

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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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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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