The IELTS exam (Germany) Task 2 question (April 2011) response recently posted this question from the IELTS exam in Germany:

People in former times used to be more dependent on one another, whereas nowadays they lead a more independent life. Do you agree or disagree?

As you have heard me say before, I love these ‘do you agree or disagree’ questions. They are so simple and straightforward, your essay will practically write itself. (If you are new to essay writing, please take a quick review of my YouTube videos regarding structure). Here is my response to the above question:

The world of today is nothing like the world of several hundred years ago. However, it is curious that the degree to which people need one another to survive appears to have changed very little. It is argued that the people of former times are no more dependent on one another than the people of today. This will be shown by analyzing how both groups depend on one another for life necessities as well as protection.

Firstly, both the people of today and the people of former times depend on others to supply them with the very basics they need for life. For example, in early American settlements, the people who took on trades such as welding, masonry and carpentry depended entirely on farmers to provide them with sustenance. This same arrangement exists today, with farmers feeding workers from a variety of other trades. As can be seen, the people of former times are just as dependent on each other as those of modern times.

Secondly, the security that comes from living in a community is still as intact today as it was in former times. For instance, people who lived during the Middle Ages were completely dependent on the kingdom to which they belonged for protection from aggressive outside forces. In much the same way, the borders and immigration control of today’s modern countries provide stability and protection to modern people. Thus, the level of dependence people have on one another is no different today than it was in former times.

After analyzing how people depend on one another for basics as well as protection, it has been proven that the historical level of dependence one person has on another has not been altered. This codependency between people is expected to remain an inseparable part of human society into the foreseeable future.

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6 Responses to The IELTS exam (Germany) Task 2 question (April 2011) response

  1. Rose says:

    the phrase “the people of former times” had been used repeatedly,will it not affect the mark?

  2. Shawkat Hasan says:

    Yes… I am also curious to know whether the occurrence of the phrase “the people of former times” 3 times will affect the score in this writing task.

    Anyway, I found it a bit little in size. The example given related to American society could have been avoided to bring a broader picture instead that exists/existed globally.

    The essay should have global appeal instead specific to a particular country’s position.

    Thanks to Ryan ….. Hoping to see better input in future. All the best…..

  3. Ryan says:

    Hi Rose and Shawkat,

    Thank you for your comments on my work. Regarding the repetition of ‘former times’, I agree with you both in that I could have worded one of those instances differently. However, overall I do not think the repetition takes away from the essay enough that it affects the comfort level of the reader.

    Shawkat, I want to respond to your comments individually:

    1) ‘I found [the essay] a bit little in size’ – This essay counts at 303 words, so I am not sure what you mean here.

    2) ‘The essay should have global appeal instead of specific to a particular country’s position.’ – I think you are a bit mistaken here. The strongest forms of examples are those taken from real situations as they show a circumstance in action. All too often, students write examples like ‘many countries’ or ‘various cultures’. Examples such as these are too broad to really prove anything.

    Good luck,

  4. Sally says:

    Hi Ryan,
    According to all your essays, in supporting paragraphs, one example is given and followed with an explaination sentence, then a sentence restating the thesis of the essay. Is it not strong enough to support? And some instructors told me the restatement of thesis is not needed at the end of supporting paragraph because it is nothing more than putting more words here.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your message. Please keep in mind that you have 40 minutes on the examination with which to write an entire essay at a minimum of 250 words in response to a particular essay question. Students often prepare for their examination by studying how to write essay structures that require 300-350 words (or sometimes more). I feel executing this approach under examination circumstances is not very realistic and only leads students to diminish the quality of their writing. Sure, their essay may be longer and may include more examples, but if your writing is full of mistakes, discontinuity and lacks coherence, did that longer essay structure really help? By employing a shorter, but much more organized, style of writing (as I share in my videos and material), students can properly demonstrate the necessary 4 skills to their examiner without gambling on whether they will have time to finish their essay or not.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi again Sally,

      Are you preparing for your exam in China? (I see your name is ‘Wang’.) Just a note, I would be wary of many of those Chinese IELTS systems out there. Lots of them promise the world, but have very low track records of success. In fact, Mandarin speakers are among the lowest scoring language groups in the world for the IELTS exam. I really think this has a lot to do with the many poor quality resources and preparation styles you find here.

      Good luck,

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