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Practice your Essay Writing with March Question

Hi guys,

Below is an IELTS essay question which was used this month, March 3rd, in writing task 2. The essay question below is one of a few questions that were used on March, 3rd. You can see other essay questions from March 3rd on my Recent Exam Questions page.

Post your essay by writing it in the comments box below. This is a chance for you to compare your essay with other students. This is not an offer of free marking – it is a chance for you to practise and compare. I’ll post a model answer tomorrow.

IELTS Essay Question March 2018

In many countries plastic shopping bags  are the main source of rubbish, causing pollution on land and in the water, so people think they should be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

I will post a model answer tomorrow.

All the best

Liz

 

How Nilay Scored IELTS 8.5 Overall

Nilay scored 8.5 Overall in the IELTS Academic test this month. Below are his tips for his great score in IELTS.

Nilay’s Scores: Overall 8.5

  • Listening: 9
  • Reading: 9
  • Writing: 8
  • Speaking: 8

Nilay’s Tips for IELTS 8.5

Nilay here. I am an orthopedic surgeon from India and currently trying to specialize in spine surgery. I appeared for the IELTS to register with the Canadian medical boards for which I needed minimum 7 in each of the four categories. This was the academic version.

To summarize the prep, I gave it around 12-14 days part time. I had been aware of your videos and thought to just concentrate on that during last 3 to 4 days and I attribute a large part of my writing score to your tips. I didn’t opt for paid tutorials but I feel that the content you generously provide is more than enough in most cases. Having said that, I was planning to get your paid tutorials if I couldn’t cross the required threshold of 7/9 in writing; I was reasonably certain I would cross 7 in RW and S. My tips are summarized here.
Reading Tips- As a compulsive reader, I was a bit overconfident when I started out the prep and expected to score a perfect 9 each time. My behind was handed back to me promptly by the No/Not Given dilemma. Your tips on that cleared out the webs and I highly recommend that video to polish the reading score. One thing I realized in the exam is that the reading paragraphs can be difficult and must not be underestimated even if you are good at reading to begin with. I consider myself a very fast reader and still had only 8-10 mins left at the end. I would advise underlining key words and phrases as it makes it easier to fish out the answers.  I wrote in all caps as advised.
Listening Tips – Tricky proposition. I feel that IELTS listening section doesn’t evaluate your listening capability but rather evaluates your presence of mind and multi-tasking ability to listen, note and paraphrase at the same time. I am very well versed with major accents and still made mistakes in answers due to missing plurals, not catching the exact words and sometimes missing paraphrases at the end of tests. I would really advise going through Cambridge practice tests to refine this. They are the real counterparts to the exam. I can’t stress enough on scanning the questions in advance, predicting answers and using the 30 seconds given to go over your last batch of answers to scan the questions ahead instead.  Presence of mind is really important or you would make a mess of it. Also, all caps again.
Speaking Tips –  Didn’t prepare much for it except for going through your tips and speaking to a local instructor I knew. I am fluent but I speak too fast and maybe that reflected on what I consider a lower score on my speaking test. Also, this is a live interaction test and your score will depend upon your rapport with and impression upon the examiner even if they are trained to disregard those factors. I more or less had  a friendly conversation and was asked questions about skilled and unskilled jobs in last part. I think the trick here is to fill up the time allotted and keep on speaking. I attribute the shavings in my score to speed and my roundabout answer to a bizarre question about soft and hard skills. I could have done better here.
Writing Tips – Last but not the least. I have BAD handwriting which live up to all the cliches about illegibility of doctors. This was a big issue for me with IELTS being a written exam. I realized that all my writing skills would be for naught if it looked like someone dipped ants in ink pot and let them loose on the paper. So I ditched the cursive, zoomed in the fonts and increased the space between words and made several people go through it till their satisfaction. I was confident about my vocabulary and grammar, so that helped but this exam is all about sticking to the format.  I can not stress enough how helpful your writing section videos are. I stuck to the outline stressed upon by you for both the tasks and I was rewarded. I made sure to follow the cite-support-example format for body paragraphs on task two; it really eased the though organization process. Task one is straightforward but it’s important not to get mired into details and just focus on major trends and data points. I didn’t have problem with time and word count. But even if you do, I really suggest taking 2 minutes to read the task and then a minute or so to jot down writing points on paper; paragraph wise. Also keep a minute or two at the end to go over your writing. Do not try to correct or improve large sections of a sentence but concentrate on spell check, grammatical gaffes and punctuation marks.
  To conclude [the format ,the format!], I am satisfied with my result and would thank you for your generous online help. I really stress upon test takers to go through your videos which I consider the best resource available online for this test. I hope my experience helps future test takers. Best of luck to you all!
Nilay 
Message to Nilay: Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I know students will be inspired by your results and also grateful for the experiences you have shared. Well done again with your excellent score 🙂

Model Answers for IELTS Essays January 2018

Below are two essay questions with model answers that were reported in IELTS writing task 2 in January.

Model IELTS Essays Jan 2018

Essay Question 1: Some people consider price as most important thing to think about when buying product (such as cell phone) or service (e.g. medical treatment). Do you agree or disagree?

It is thought by some people that the price of a product or service is essential to consider before deciding to purchase something. While I agree that people need to consider carefully before spending large amounts of money in order to avoid debt, the necessity of the purchase must play a role in the decision to buy.

It is essential that people take time to reflect on how much money they should spend on an item or service, and whether or not they can actually afford it within their available budget. Over the last few decades, the rise in personal debt has escalated as people are tempted to buy goods and services due to pressure from advertising and the increasingly easy access of credit cards. For this reason, any purchase that is costly and is bought using credit ought to be well thought through, particularly when the item is a luxury item that is not actually essential.

On the other hand, there are circumstances when the cost of a service or item becomes an irrelevant consideration. A typical example of this would be when someone’s life depends on a product or service, such as a new treatment for a disease not offered through normal channels. In such a case, a person’s budget becomes redundant and the expense should not deter someone from proceeding with the purchase. However, these situations are rare and in most circumstances price ought to be considered so that excessive spending is planned and budgeted to avoid serious debt problems.

In conclusion, people should deliberate carefully before spending large sums of money on goods and services, except in cases of dire necessity.

  • Words 275
  • You do not need to write the word count at the end of your essay.  I am stating it here for your benefit.

Essay Question 2: In many cities, many people are living in large apartment blocks. Does this accommodation have more advantages or disadvantages.

An increasing number of people are choosing to live in high rise apartment blocks. In my opinion, although these blocks of flats are often cheaper, they offer cramped living space and can present serious fire risks.

One obvious advantage to living in a multi-story apartment block is that it offers people affordable accommodation in urban areas. With the growth of urban populations, land is becoming increasingly expensive and, as a result, many people are no longer able to afford their own house. Large apartment blocks require a small area of land but can provide a lot of flats which enable people on low incomes to continue living near city centers and near their jobs.

However, high rise apartment blocks usually offer small apartments with no outdoor areas. For families, this can be a problem as each individual member of the family has little personal space which can result in a build up of tension as relationships can become strained. Another problem is that such restricted living quarters offer no space for exercise which is a vital requirement for healthy living.

Finally, one of the worst problems of living in a high rise block of flats is the fire risk that it presents. If a fire should break out in one of the flats, the number of floors in the building means that people can become easily trapped on the top floors, unable to escape the fire. This was unfortunately illustrated by the Grenfell Tower block fire that claimed  71 lives in London in 2017. The speed with which the fire spread through the 24 floors, made it impossible for everyone to escape.

In conclusion, large blocks of flats may be offer a cheaper living option, but they also offer people lower quality accommodation with serious fire risks.

Words 297

 

 

IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions January & February 2018

Below are some IELTS Writing Task 2 Questions used in January and February 2018 so far. These topics are not predictions. No one can predict your topic. These questions have been reported by IELTS students in their test.

To prepare for IELTS writing task 2, you need to prepare both trending topics (below) and also common essay questions: see my 100 essay questions.

Notice: I am on holiday until May. I will not be answering questions. I will continue to work with the Recent Questions Page and the Post Results Page.

January 2018 IELTS Essay Questions

IELTS writing task 2 questions reported so far this month. I will continue to add topics when students report them.

  1. The tendency of human beings to copy one another is shown in the popularity of fashion clothes and consumer goods. To what extent do you agree?
  2. Some countries encourage teenagers to have part-time job and see it as a good thing, while others disagree. Give your opinion and explain both views.
  3. Some people think it is more beneficial to play sports that are played in teams, e.g. football. However, some people think it is more beneficial to play individual sports, e.g. tennis and swimming. Discuss about both views and give your own opinion.
  4. In many cities today, most people live in large apartment blocks. Does this kind of accommodation have more advantages or disadvantages?
  5. Some people consider price as most important thing to consider when buying a product (such as a cell phone) or a service (e.g. medical treatment). Do you agree or disagree?
  6. Some people think it is a good thing for senior management positions to have very high salaries compared to other workers of the same company or organisation. To what extent do you agree?
  7. Many people prefer to spend money and not save it. What are the reasons? Is this a positive or negative development?
  8. Companies use a variety of methods to improve the sales of their products. What are those methods? Which is the most effective method?
  9. Nowadays, people living in large cities face many problems in their daily lives. What are these problems? Do you think the government should encourage people to move to smaller towns?
  10.  Science tells us about the activities which are good for our health and others which are bad. Millions of people all over the world knows this and still do unhealthy activities. Why do you think this is and what can be done to change it?
  11. Maintaining public libraries is a waste of money since computer technology is now replacing their functions. To what extend do you agree or disagree?
  12. Some people become famous at young age. Is it good thing or bad thing ?

 

February Essay Topics 2018

These questions are NOT predictions. I do not know what question you will get in your test. These are recent questions reported by students. It is useful to prepare both recent and common topics for your test.

  1. Most people believe that stricter punishment should be given for traffic offences. To what extent do you agree?
  2. Nowadays more and more people want to get things done instantly (services, information, tasks). Why is this? Do you think it is a positive or negative development?
  3. Scientific research should be carried out and controlled by the government, rather than by private companies. To what extend do you agree or disagree?
  4. People who go to live in other countries, should follow the customs and traditions of the new country. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  5. Some people say that the government should decide what subjects a student can study, while others believe the students should decide what they want to study. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  6. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing to become teachers. Why do young people not want to be teachers? How this could be changed?
  7. People living in the 21st century are enjoying better quality of life compared to people who lived in the previous centuries. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
  8. In many countries, the tradition of families having meals together is disappearing. Why is this happening? What will be the effects of it on the family and society?
  9. More and more people are finding it increasingly important to wear fashionable clothes. Is this attitude to wearing clothes a positive or negative development?
  10. Some people argue higher taxes should be collected from industries causing higher industrial pollution, whereas others argue there are better ways to deal it. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
  11. Some people want the government to spend more money for looking life on other planets, however others think it is waste of public money when there are so many problems on earth that the government should be solving. Discuss both sides and give your opinion.
  12. Some people believe school children should be given multiple short vacations, while others believe they should get one long vacation. Give the advantages of both and express your own point of view.
  13. Students in school and university learn far more from lessons with their teachers compared to other sources, such as the television or the internet. Do you agree or disagree?
  14. Some people believe that not all criminals should be kept in prison, but that some of them should be allowed to do unpaid work to help the community.Do you agree or disagree?
  15. Music should not be taught in schools Instead other subjects such as computers and science should be taught. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Model Essays: You can find model essays for number 4 and 5 on this page: Jan 2018 Model Essays. you can find writing task 2 tips and more model essays on this page: Main IELTS Writing Task 2 Page

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Deleting Words in IELTS Writing

IELTS Writing. Is it ok to delete words in IELTS writing? Read recommendations about this below.

Many students ask me:

  1. Is it ok to delete words and make corectons corrections to your writing?
  2. Can I write news words above using the “∨” sign to insert the new word?
  3. If your writing is messy, will you get a lower score?

Answers

 

Deleting Words

It is completely fine to delete words in your IELTS writing. Is it natural that might want to change a word when you proof read your writing or when you have made a mistake. Many students put a line through the word they want to delete – make sure it is a strong thick line so it is easy to see. You want the examiner to be able to see clearly that the word has been deleted.

Adding Words using “∧”

It is fine to add new words into your sentences. However, make sure it is easy to read. You should not need to do this often if you plan your essay properly. You should not start writing your essay until you have a very clear plan with all ideas and supporting points planned.

Messy Writing

If the examiner can’t read your writing, then the words or sentences that can’t be read will not be counted. This means it could have a serious impact on your score. So, make sure your deleted words are clear, new words are easy to read and that your handwriting is legible. It might help to practise handwriting your essays before the test.

All the best

Liz

 

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Answers to improving sentence exercise

Answers to improving sentences.

Below you will find different ways sentences could be improved to get a higher band score in IELTS writing task 2.

International charities have large funds. Local charities have small funds.

  1. International charities have large funds, while local charities have small funds.
  2. Larger funds are available to international charities compared to local charities which have relatively smaller funds.

Some natural disasters affect thousands of people. These situations require the aid of international charities.

  1. Some natural disasters affect thousands of people and, therefore, require the aid of international charities.
  2. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, can have disastrous consequences for thousands of people and for this reason the amount of aid required can only be provided by international charitable organisations.

Local charities know the needs of local people. Local charities can support both individuals and small groups.

  1. As local charities know the needs of local people, they are able to support both individuals and small groups.
  2. Local charities are able to support both individuals and small groups because they understand the needs of local people.

Local charities do not have big financial resources. They are still vital to the welfare of people within local communities.

  1. Even though local charities do not have big financial resources, they are still vital to the welfare of people within local communities.
  2. Despite local charities having limited funding and resources, they still play a vital role in providing support and caring for the welfare of people within local communities.

All charities need donations. International charities can draw donations from many wealthy countries. International charities have the money needed to promote their organisation. Local charities are less known but still require donations. Local charities must rely mainly on fund raising events.

  1. It is clear that all charities need donations in order to do their work effectively and offer aid when needed. International charities are able to draw donations from many wealthy countries through their capacity to promote their cause on a global scale. This is not the case with local charities who are not as well known and rely on receiving money through fund raising in local communities.
  2. It is clear that all charities need donations in order to do their work effectively and offer aid when needed. While international charities are able to draw donations from many wealthy countries through their capacity to promote their cause on a global scale, local charities are not as well known and rely on receiving money through fund raising in local communities. (This last sentence is very long. Do not try this unless you are excellent in English)

Let me know if this lesson was useful to you. 

Thanks

Liz

 

Can you improve these sentences?

Below are some sentences about the topic of international aid organisation.

How can you improve the sentences below?

Write them again by linking sentences together. You can also alter words and change the order of information if you need to. Question 5 does not need to be written as one sentence, it might be written as two or three.

  1. International charities have large funds. Local charities have small funds.
  2. Some natural disasters affect thousands of people. These situations require the aid of international charities.
  3. Local charities know the needs of local people. Local charities can support both individuals and small groups.
  4. Local charities do not have big financial resources. They are still vital to the welfare of people within local communities.
  5. All charities need donations. International charities can draw donations from many wealthy countries. International charities have the money needed to promote their organisation. Local charities are less known but still require donations. Local charities must rely mainly on fund raising events.

Answers

the answers and model sentences are now available to view.

Click here: Answers to improving sentences

 

Libraries & E-books: Your ideas

Hi guys,

Lets take a look at the questions below. The growth of e-books is a popular topic in both IELTS writing task 2 and speaking. You can find more questions about reading and books on this page: IELTS Essay Questions Reading and you can find over 100 essay questions to practise on this page: 100 IELTS Essay Questions

Questions:

  1. What problems can e-books cause for libraries?
  2. Will libraries one day cease to exist?

Answers

Share your answers below.

All the best

Liz