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Listening Practice 1: Sentence Completion

Listening Practice 1

Libraries of the Future

Listen to the audio clip below and answer the sentence completion questions. If you have completed some of the practice questions for reading, you are probably already familiar with sentence completion tasks.

For the listening test, it is recommended that you use capital letters to record your answers – this will make your answer clear. And remember: to get a mark for a correct answer, it has to be spelt correctly!!!

In the instructions, you will be told how many words and/or numbers are expected to be given in the answer. Ensure that you check this carefully before answering the questions and be sure to stick to this amount of words and numbers in your response.

This practice exercise is focused on a text about future technology for libraries. This has been a common IELTS topic over the years, so it is good to familiarise yourself with it now.

A final top tip – be sure to quickly glance through the questions before listening to the recording – this will help you to listen out for relevant information!

 

Questions

Listen to the audio clip and complete the following sentences. In each answer, you must give no more than 3 words and/or a number.

 

  1. Libraries are an entrance to the ___________.

 

  1. To improve the technological ability of local societies, libraries should be supplied with __________.

 

  1. __________ the library itself needs to leave the physical library building.

 

  1. The Ideas Box will take the library to people in refugee camps and __________ societies.

 

  1. __________ paper books are included in the Ideas Box library.

 

  1. The Espresso Book Machine is sold by ___________.

 

Audio Clip

Listen to the audio file by clicking on the play button:

 

Transcript: Libraries of the Future

Libraries lead the way to digital citizenship. They should be the first places where most advanced technologies are implemented. They should be viewed as the entry points to the digital world. They are the way to embrace technology and avoid digital exclusion.

Therefore, to improve technological literacy of local communities, libraries should be equipped with relevant technologies.

The Ideas Box

Sometimes, to engage local communities, or reach people in remote locations, the library would want to physically leave the library building.

The Ideas Box is a revolutionary concept developed by Librarians Without Borders, with the aim to reach people in refugee camps and impoverished communities.

The most thrilling thing about this modern library center is that it can be assembled in less than 20 minutes. This library in a box includes 250 paper books, 50 e-readers, and a variety of educational apps.

Print On Demand Machines

Espresso Book Machine (EBM) is a real product. Manufactured by Xerox, it’s sold by On Demand Books. It can make a paperback book while you wait, printing up to 150 pages per minute.

The machine is connected to an online catalog of over seven million in-copyright and public domain books.

Transcript adapted from: https://ebookfriendly.com/library-future-technologies/

 

 

ANSWERS

  1. DIGITAL WORLD
  2. RELEVANT TECHNOLOGIES
  3. SOMETIMES
  4. IMPOVERISHED
  5. 250
  6. ON DEMAND BOOKS

 

Choosing A Title: Practice 3

The ‘Choosing A Title’ question regularly appears in the IELTS reading paper. The purpose of this question is to determine a students’ understanding of the ‘big idea’ of a text. Students are required to select a title, that is the most appropriate for the whole passage, from a list of titles that are provided.

The skills involved in this test include:

  • Students identifying the ‘big idea’ in a passage
  • Students successfully recognising the differences between details and main ideas

In order to be successful in this test, follow our top tips for ‘Choosing A Title’ tasks:

  • Read through the whole passage.
  • Pay close attention to the opening and closing paragraphs to ensure you fully understand the ‘big idea’ of the text.
  • Read through the possible titles and identify which are only relevant to certain parts or paragraphs in the text.
  • Remember that all of the title options will be relevant to a part of the text – the skill needed is for you to pick the one that is representative of the whole passage, not just a part of it.
  • Don’t waste time! This question is only worth one point so do not spend too long on it.

 

Difficulty Level: Medium

This is a slightly shorter text with an easier content. There is some more complex vocabulary but these words are repeated throughout the text, lowering the overall number of difficult vocabulary.

 

Reading Passage

We tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down. But this is not the case; sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Exactly how this happens and why our bodies are programmed for such a long period of slumber is still somewhat of a mystery. But scientists do understand some of sleep’s critical functions, and the reasons we need it for optimal health and wellbeing.

One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep. Overnight, bits and pieces of information are transferred from more tentative, short-term memory to stronger, long-term memory—a process called “consolidation.” Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

Healthy sleep is critical for everyone, since we all need to retain information and learn skills to thrive in life. But this is likely part of the reason children—who acquire language, social, and motor skills at a breathtaking pace throughout their development—need more sleep than adults. While adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10. During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need a heavy dose of slumber for optimal development and alertness.

Source: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles

 

Question: Select the best title for this passage from the list of titles below (A-D).

  1. How Much Sleep Do We Need?
  2. What Is A Good Night’s Sleep?
  3. The Importance of Sleep for Young People
  4. Why Do We Need Sleep?

 

Key Vocabulary:

restoration: the act of returning something to its original condition (making it new again)

occurs: happens

slumber: sleep

optimal: the best, most favourable

solidify: to make stronger, to reinforce

consolidate: to combine into a single, more effective, whole

retain: continue to have something

thrive: to prosper, to flourish

acquire: to get

 

ANSWER

D.

Title A ‘How Much Sleep Do We Need’ is mostly discussed only in the third paragraph. This title does not refer to the big idea of the whole text.

Title B ‘What Is A Good Night’s Sleep’ is not really focused on in this article. It doesn’t specifically state what determines a good night’s sleep, apart from the reference to length of sleep in paragraph 3.

Title C ‘The Importance of Sleep for Young People’ is discussed in depth in the third paragraph but does not refer to the big idea of the whole text.

Choosing A Title: Practice 1

The ‘Choosing A Title’ question regularly appears in the IELTS reading paper. The purpose of this question is to determine a students’ understanding of the ‘big idea’ of a text. Students are required to select a title, that is the most appropriate for the whole passage, from a list of titles that are provided.

The skills involved in this test include:

  • Students identifying the ‘big idea’ in a passage
  • Students successfully recognising the differences between details and main ideas

In order to be successful in this test, follow our top tips for ‘Choosing A Title’ tasks:

  • Read through the whole passage.
  • Pay close attention to the opening and closing paragraphs to ensure you fully understand the ‘big idea’ of the text.
  • Read through the possible titles and identify which are only relevant to certain parts or paragraphs in the text.
  • Remember that all of the title options will be relevant to a part of the text – the skill needed is for you to pick the one that is representative of the whole passage, not just a part of it.
  • Don’t waste time! This question is only worth one point so do not spend too long on it.

Difficulty Level: Hard

This is a long text to read with a lot of complex vocabulary for readers to comprehend.

 

Reading Passage

Some years ago, when several theoretical physicists, principally Dirk Helbing and Boris Kerner of Stuttgart, Germany, began publishing papers on traffic flow in publications normally read by traffic engineers, they were clearly working outside their usual sphere of investigation. They had noticed that if they simulated the movement of vehicles on a highway, using the equations that describe how the molecules of a gas move, some very strange results emerged. Of course, vehicles do not behave exactly like gas molecules: for example, drivers try to avoid collisions by slowing down when they get too near another vehicle, whereas gas molecules have no such concern. However, the physicists modified the equations to take the differences into account and the overall description of traffic as a flowing gas has proved to be a very good one; the moving-gas model of traffic reproduces many phenomena seen in real-world traffic.

The strangest thing that came out of these equations, however, was the implication that congestion can arise completely spontaneously; no external causes are necessary. Vehicles can be flowing freely along, at a density still well below what the road can handle, and then suddenly gel into a slow-moving ooze. Under the right conditions a brief and local fluctuation in the speed or the distance between vehicles is all it takes to trigger a system-wide breakdown that persists for hours. In fact, the physicists’ analysis suggested such spontaneous breakdowns in traffic flow probably occur quite frequently on highways.

Though a decidedly unsettling discovery, this showed striking similarities to the phenomena popularized as ‘chaos theory’. This theory has arisen from the understanding that in any complex interacting system which is made of many parts, each part affects the others. Consequently, tiny variations in one part of a complex system can grow in huge but unpredictable ways. This type of dramatic change from one state to another is similar to what happens when a chemical substance changes from a vapor to a liquid. It often happens that water in a cloud remains as a gas even after its temperature and density have reached the point where it could condense into water droplets. However, if the vapor encounters a solid surface, even something as small as a speck of dust, condensation can take place and the transition from vapor to liquid finally occurs. Helbing and Kerner see traffic as a complex interacting system. They found that a small fluctuation in traffic density can act as the ‘speck of dust’ causing a sudden change from freely moving traffic to synchronized traffic, when vehicles in all lanes abruptly slow down and start moving at the same speed, making passing impossible.

The physicists have challenged proposals to set a maximum capacity for vehicles on highways. They argue that it may not be enough simply to limit the rate at which vehicles are allowed to enter a highway, rather, it may be necessary to time each vehicle’s entry onto a highway precisely to coincide with a temporary drop in the density of vehicles along the road. The aim of doing this would be to smooth out any possible fluctuations in the road conditions that can trigger a change in traffic behavior and result in congestion. They further suggest that preventing breakdowns in the flow of traffic could ultimately require implementing the radical idea that has been suggested from time to time: directly regulating the speed and spacing of individual cars along a highway with central computers and sensors that communicate with each car’s engine and brake controls.

However, research into traffic control is generally centered in civil engineering departments and here the theories of the physicists have been greeted with some skepticism. Civil engineers favor a practical approach to problems and believe traffic congestion is the result of poor road construction (two lanes becoming one lane or dangerous curves), which constricts the flow of traffic. Engineers questioned how well the physicists’ theoretical results relate to traffic in the real world. Indeed, some engineering researchers questioned whether elaborate chaos-theory interpretations are needed at all, since at least some of the traffic phenomena the physicists’ theories predicted seemed to be similar to observations that had been appearing in traffic engineering literature under other names for years; observations which had straightforward cause-and-effect explanations.

James Banks, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at San Diego State University in the US, suggested that a sudden slowdown in traffic may have less to do with chaos theory than with driver psychology. As traffic gets heavier and the passing lane gets more crowded, aggressive drivers move to other lanes to try to pass, which also tends to even out the speed between lanes. He also felt that another leveling force is that when a driver in a fast lane brakes a little to maintain a safe distance between vehicles, the shock wave travels back much more rapidly than it would in the other slower lanes, because each following driver has to react more quickly. Consequently, as a road becomes congested, the faster moving traffic is the first to slow down.

 

Source: © 2000 The Atlantic Media Co., as first published in The Atlantic Magazine. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

 

Question: Select the best title for this passage from the list of titles below (A-D).

  1. Traffic Control
  2. Chaos Theory
  3. The Physics of Traffic Behaviour
  4. The Flow of Traffic

 

Key Vocabulary:

theoretical: concerned with the theory of a subject

physicist: a student or an expert in the science of physics

sphere: a particular area of interest or expertise

simulate: produced a computer model of

emerge: something that becomes apparent or prominent

modify: to change something from its original form

implication: a consequence of something happening

congestion: the state of being congested; something that is overcrowded

synchronise: things that occur at the same time and/or speed

density: the degree to which a substance is compacted

skepticism: to doubt the truth of something

constrict: to make narrower, to tighten control of something

 

ANSWER

C.

Title A ‘Traffic Control’ is discussed in the second to last paragraph. It is not the main focus for all paragraphs in the article.

Title B ‘Chaos Theory’ is discussed in the third paragraph. It is not the main focus for all paragraphs in the article.

Title D ‘The Flow of Traffic’ is discussed throughout much of the passage but this title does not incorporate the link made between traffic and physics that is explicitly introduced in the opening paragraph.

Summary Completion Task: Paraphrasing Practice 3

Better understanding synonyms and improving your paraphrasing ability is definitely going to help you to succeed in the IELTS Reading test.

Improving your skills in this area will help across all questions, but will particularly aid you in summary completion tasks.

Summary completion tasks require you to read a passage of text and then apply your understanding of the text to a task.

The task will either ask you to select the correct word from a list of provided words that best fit in the summary (based on the information in the main passage) or it will ask you to locate a word or words from the original text to insert into a summary in the correct place.

Tips for this task!

  • The summary sentences normally follow the order of the original text. This should give you a rough idea of where to find the answer in the text.
  • You don’t need to worry if you don’t understand every part of the text – as long as you can identify the main ideas and supporting facts
  • The summary sentence must make grammatical sense, so consider whether the gap requires a noun, verb, adjective etc. This will help you to narrow the selection of words that would work in the gap
  • Don’t spend too long reading the original passage and trying to understand every part. As long as you get the main ‘gist’ of the text, you will be able to complete the summary task
  • Do plenty of synonym and paraphrasing practice ahead of the Reading test!
  • Spend more of your time reading the summary sentence, finding the information in the original text and identifying the word needed to fill the gap.
  • Make sure you read the instructions carefully as the exact task changes every time. Particularly pay attention to how you are asked to record your answer. Sometimes you may need to write out the word/s and at other times you may just need to write the words corresponding letter. At other times, if you are asked to find words from the original text to go in the gap, it may specify no more than one/two/three words so make sure you are choosing and recording the correct number of words!

 

New space discovery sheds light on how planets form

July 25, 2019

Researchers at Dartmouth College have discovered a planet orbiting one of the brightest young stars known, according to a study published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Aged at approximately 45 million years old, the star and its planet could provide valuable information on how planetary bodies form.

Known as an exoplanet because it is outside of the solar system, the planet was found as part of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. While thousands of exoplanet discoveries have already been made, only a handful have been discovered circling relatively young stars.

The exoplanet observed in the Dartmouth research—known as DS Tuc Ab—can be considered a “pre-teen” in planetary time. The planet is no longer growing, but, because of its young age, it is still undergoing rapid changes like losing atmospheric gas as a result of the radiation coming from its host star.

Source: https://www.dartmouth.edu/press-releases/new_space_discovery_sheds_light_on_how_planets_form.html

 

Questions:

Find the synonyms of the words below in the passage.

  1. circling: _______________
  2. featured: _______________
  3. roughly: ______________
  4. important: ______________
  5. located: ____________
  6. few: ____________
  7. expanding: ____________
  8. giving off: _____________

 

 

Answers:

  1. circling: orbiting
  2. featured: published
  3. roughly: approximately
  4. important: valuable
  5. located: found
  6. few: handful
  7. expanding: growing
  8. giving off: losing

Summary Completion Task: Paraphrasing Practice 2

 

Better understanding synonyms and improving your paraphrasing ability is definitely going to help you to succeed in the IELTS Reading test.

Improving your skills in this area will help across all questions, but will particularly aid you in summary completion tasks.

Summary completion tasks require you to read a passage of text and then apply your understanding of the text to a task.

The task will either ask you to select the correct word from a list of provided words that best fit in the summary (based on the information in the main passage) or it will ask you to locate a word or words from the original text to insert into a summary in the correct place.

Tips for this task!

  • The summary sentences normally follow the order of the original text. This should give you a rough idea of where to find the answer in the text.
  • You don’t need to worry if you don’t understand every part of the text – as long as you can identify the main ideas and supporting facts
  • The summary sentence must make grammatical sense, so consider whether the gap requires a noun, verb, adjective etc. This will help you to narrow the selection of words that would work in the gap
  • Don’t spend too long reading the original passage and trying to understand every part. As long as you get the main ‘gist’ of the text, you will be able to complete the summary task
  • Do plenty of synonym and paraphrasing practice ahead of the Reading test!
  • Spend more of your time reading the summary sentence, finding the information in the original text and identifying the word needed to fill the gap.
  • Make sure you read the instructions carefully as the exact task changes every time. Particularly pay attention to how you are asked to record your answer. Sometimes you may need to write out the word/s and at other times you may just need to write the words corresponding letter. At other times, if you are asked to find words from the original text to go in the gap, it may specify no more than one/two/three words so make sure you are choosing and recording the correct number of words!

 

Google tackles the black box problem with Explainable AI

By Leo Kelion

There is a problem with artificial intelligence.

It can be amazing at churning through gigantic amounts of data to solve challenges that humans struggle with. But understanding how it makes its decisions are often very difficult to do, if not impossible.

That means when an AI model works it is not as easy as it should be to make further refinements, and when it exhibits odd behaviour it can be hard to fix.

But at an event in London this week, Google’s cloud computing division pitched a new facility that it hopes will give it the edge on Microsoft and Amazon, which dominate the sector. Its name: Explainable AI.

To start with, it will give information about the performance and potential shortcomings of the face- and object-detection models. But in time the firm intends to offer a wider set of insights to help make the “thinking” of AI algorithms less mysterious and therefore more trustworthy.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50506431

 

Task:

Complete this summary using words from the box below.

An _________________ has been identified with developments in artificial intelligence. Scientists recognise that artificial intelligence makes life easier for humans as it is able to ____________ very large amounts of _____________. This causes difficulties when trying to make _______________ or when trying to fix the machines. Google, this week, ______________ a new facility called Explainable AI. The new feature will share information about any ___________ in the face and objection detection _______________. This should help people to find AI more _____________.

 

Process Improvements Issue Sold Functions
Announced Faults Information Announcement Reliable

 

 

Answers:

An issue has been identified with developments in artificial intelligence. Scientists recognise that artificial intelligence makes life easier for humans as it is able to process very large amounts of information.

This causes difficulties when trying to make improvements or when trying to fix the machines. Google, this week, announced a new facility called Explainable AI.

The new feature will share information about any faults in the face and objection detection function. This should help people to find AI more reliable.

Summary Completion Task: Paraphrasing Practice 1

Better understanding synonyms and improving your paraphrasing ability is definitely going to help you to succeed in the IELTS Reading test.

Improving your skills in this area will help across all questions, but will particularly aid you in summary completion tasks.

Summary completion tasks require you to read a passage of text and then apply your understanding of the text to a task.

The task will either ask you to select the correct word from a list of provided words that best fit in the summary (based on the information in the main passage) or it will ask you to locate a word or words from the original text to insert into a summary in the correct place.

Tips for this task!

  • The summary sentences normally follow the order of the original text. This should give you a rough idea of where to find the answer in the text.
  • You don’t need to worry if you don’t understand every part of the text – as long as you can identify the main ideas and supporting facts
  • The summary sentence must make grammatical sense, so consider whether the gap requires a noun, verb, adjective etc. This will help you to narrow the selection of words that would work in the gap
  • Don’t spend too long reading the original passage and trying to understand every part. As long as you get the main ‘gist’ of the text, you will be able to complete the summary task
  • Do plenty of synonym and paraphrasing practice ahead of the Reading test!
  • Spend more of your time reading the summary sentence, finding the information in the original text and identifying the word needed to fill the gap.
  • Make sure you read the instructions carefully as the exact task changes every time. Particularly pay attention to how you are asked to record your answer. Sometimes you may need to write out the word/s and at other times you may just need to write the words corresponding letter. At other times, if you are asked to find words from the original text to go in the gap, it may specify no more than one/two/three words so make sure you are choosing and recording the correct number of words!

 

Dinosaur Institute

The Dinosaur Institute (DI) houses the museum’s collection of Mesozoic tetrapods, dating from 250 million years ago to 65.5 million years ago.

This collection includes fossils of dinosaurs spanning the Mesozoic Era, as well as fossils of other tetrapods that lived alongside the dinosaurs, such as flying and marine reptiles, crocodiles, turtles, amphibians, and early mammals.

The fossils in our collection have been acquired over nearly a century, and the collection continues to expand rapidly through the Dinosaur Institute’s very active field program.

The DI runs expeditions several times a year to collect fossils from Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. We also participate in international field programs, most recently in China, South Africa and Argentina.

The DI staff provides mentorship in palaeontology for a diverse group of people, from volunteers and docents to undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

A wide range of research is conducted here at the museum by both staff and visiting researchers, from examining different aspects of the evolution of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic animals to investigations into their diversity, genealogical relationships, ecology, and life history.

Source: https://nhm.org/research-collections/departments/dinosaur-institute

 

Questions:

Find synonyms for the following words/phrases in the passage above.

four-limbed animals:______________

with:___________________

obtained:__________________

grow: ________________

organises:_______________

take part in:___________________

mixed:______________

features:______________

ancestral:________________

 

 

Answers:

four-limbed animals: tetrapods

with: alongside

obtained: acquired

grow: expand

organises: runs

take part in: participate

mixed: diverse

features: aspects

ancestral: genealogical

Writing Task 2: Direct Questions Essay

General Information

  • Write a formal essay.
  • Write at least 250 words.
  • The task is the same for both the General and the Academic Path. However, the topic of the essay question in the General Path is sometimes more straightforward than in the Academic Path.
  • Depending on the question, you will need to either provide and justify your opinion, discuss a topic, outline problems and provide possible solutions, or summarise key details.
  • The ideas you provide should be supported with clear reasons and examples based on your knowledge and experience.
  • Spend 40 minutes on this task.

Scoring of Writing Task 2

This writing task is worth two-thirds of the total marks for the writing test. There are four areas that you will be marked on in writing task 2, and each area is worth 25% of the overall mark for this task.

  • Task Response: This gives marks for your ideas, how well you address the topic, and the extent to which you develop ideas and form a conclusion.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: This gives marks for the effective use of paragraphs, linking paragraphs and ideas, and referencing.
  • Lexical Resource: This gives marks for the range of vocabulary used, the inclusion of collocations, and accurate spelling.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This gives marks for the use of varied sentence structures, accurate tense, and accurate punctuation.

Structure of the Essay

The essay for task 2 must be 4-5 paragraphs long to show enough skill and evidence to score well for coherence and cohesion. The structure we suggest includes:

  • Introduction
  • Body 1
  • Body 2
  • Body 3 (optional)
  • Conclusion

Linking Words for Coherence and Cohesion

A quarter of your overall score depends on your ability to show cohesion across the essay. Linking words will help you to do this. The words in the table below provide a range of linking words with different functions for you to use in the task 2 essay.

To Order To Show Contrast To Provide Examples To Show A Result To Add More
Firstly, However, For example, As a result, In addition,
Lastly, Alternatively, For instance, Consequently, Additionally,
Finally, Nevertheless, such as Hence, Furthermore,
Although, in particular Thus, Moreover,
In contrast, specifically Therefore, Also,
On the other hand, especially so As well as,
In comparison, obviously For this reason, and
but clearly
despite namely

 

To Show Your Opinion To conclude
In my opinion, In conclusion,
I think that To summarise,
I believe that Overall,
I admit that
In my view,
I agree that
I disagree that
because
owing to
due to
since
as

Timings

If you use the first 5 minutes for planning, you will have 35 minutes to complete the writing task. I recommend using approximately 30 minutes of this time to write your essay and the remaining 5 minutes to check your work.

During this time, look specifically for spelling mistakes, misused words, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes.

Top Tips for Writing a Direct Questions Essay

  • In this essay, you will be asked 2-3 questions in the prompt.
  • You must answer these 2-3 questions in the main body of your essay.
  • For each question, have one main point. Then provide examples and elaborate on this point.
  • Each answer should be written in a separate body paragraph.

Planning for the Direct Questions Essay

You must take the time to plan for writing task 2. You will already have completed two full tests and writing task 1. Your brain is likely to be fatigued at this point, so you need to take a few minutes to ensure you respond correctly to the task, generate some ideas, and sequence the essay logically.

The plan does not need to be complicated. I recommend spending up to 5 minutes on this. You can use space on the question paper to write the plan.

The plan for a direct questions essay will require four to five paragraphs, depending on whether you were asked two or three questions in the prompt. We suggest the following format:

Introduction

Introduce the topic of the essay

Provide your opinion on the topic

Body 1: Answer to Question 1

Point: Introduce a key argument

Example: Provide an example of this

Elaboration: Elaborate on this argument, e.g. what is its impact

Body 2: Answer to Question 2

Point: Introduce a key argument

Example: Provide an example of this

Elaboration: Elaborate on this argument, e.g. what is its impact

Body 3: Answer to Question 3

Point: Introduce a key argument

Example: Provide an example of this

Elaboration: Elaborate on this argument, e.g. what is its impact

Conclusion

State your opinion firmly with key reasons

Sample Question: Direct Questions Essay

The internet is an excellent source of information. More information is now more accessible around the globe.

Is information online always accurate and reliable?

Should the information be more controlled?

Model Plan: Direct Questions Essay

Introduction

Internet is an excellent source of information and is accessible around the globe

My opinion – not enough governance as there are with books to ensure reliability

Body 1: Answer to Question 1: Is information online always accurate and reliable?

Point: Information can be incorrect as anyone can post information as facts

Example: Wikipedia – not a reliable source

Elaboration: Forced to use multiple sources of information to determine the accuracy

Body 2 Answer to Question 2: Should the information be more controlled?

Point: There should be organisations that filter content put onto the internet

Example: This means checking for accuracy before a pending post is published online

Elaboration: Fear of control of ‘free speech’ – ensure a non-governmental organisation is in charge

Conclusion

Information should be better controlled to improve the reliability of sources of information on the internet – to ensure that we retain accurate information about the world moving forward

 Model Answer: Direct Questions Essay

The internet is considered to be a rich source of information. Due to its accessibility to people all around the globe, it heavily relies upon a source of information. However, in my opinion, there needs to be improved governance. Content of the internet should be moderated, as it is with printed materials. In doing so, the reliability of the information provided will increase.

Allowing the information to be uploaded anywhere in the world means that there are millions of people sourcing the information found on the internet. Due to typos and misunderstandings, there are frequent inaccuracies in this information, resulting in people’s lack of confidence in internet sources. Take, for example, the website Wikipedia. Anyone is able to upload to the site, and it is well-known that there are many errors in the information found on the site. For this reason, academic institutions deter students from referencing Wikipedia as a source of information in essays and coursework.

To enhance the reliability of information sources on the internet, there must be improved regulation. It would be of significant benefit to developing an organisation to filter online content. This would involve ‘pending’ posts, during which time they are carefully checked, before being officially published online for universal access when deemed to be accurate. Many people may fear a reduction in ‘free speech’ if such a proposal is implemented. However, ensuring that a company with no government affiliation runs the organisation would ensure that political agendas did not interfere with such a system. This way, if the content is checked before being uploaded, web users will have the assurance that these sources are reliable.

In conclusion, whilst the internet provides a wealth of information, this online information should be filtered. It is imperative to ensure that accurate information about the world is retained for both now and the future.

Key Words and Phrases for the Direct Questions Essay

  • considered to be
  • However, …
  • in my opinion
  • increase/decrease/reduce
  • Due to…
  • resulting in
  • it is well known that
  • For this reason, …
  • benefit/advantage
  • Many/Some people
  • In conclusion, …
  • It is imperative that…
  • This has resulted in…
  • I believe that…
  • If…then…

Practice Test: Direct Questions Essay

Nowadays, many cities around the world are more multicultural than ever.

How can governments ensure that people from different cultures can live together harmoniously?

Should people be able to live in countries other than the country in which they were born?

Practice Test: Model Plan

Introduction

Immigration has increased creating more multicultural cities around the world

My opinion – bringing together cultures in one city

Body 1: Answer to Question 1: How can govts ensure people from diff cultures can live together harmoniously?

Point: Not ‘us’ and ‘them’

Example: Valuing and appreciating the culture brought by immigrants to a city

Elaboration: Seeing all of the people in the city as the community, not the city itself

Body 2 Answer to Question 2: Should people be able to live in other countries?

Point: A whole world to explore – should not be limited by invisible fences around countries – break down the borders

Example: If we can move freely, people will see countries less as ‘mine’ and more of ‘ours’

Elaboration: more harmony between cultures and less wars between countries – live as one

Conclusion

People should be able to migrate around the world anywhere, anytime so that we can enjoy the rich, diverse opportunities the world has to offer

Practice Test: Model Direct Questions Essay

In the past hundred years, with the improvement of transportation, immigration has increased in popularity with many people choosing to live abroad to find new experiences or better opportunities. This has resulted in the sharp rise of multicultural cities; cities in which people of many cultures live together. In my opinion, this has brought much more diversity to many places around the world.

However, many people question how governments can ensure a harmonious living situation between residents of various cultures. I believe that governments must ensure that residents who have migrated to a city or country are fully embraced and seen as equals, so as not to create an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture. To do this, the cultures of immigrants must be valued, appreciated and celebrated. In this way, residents should value cities for their community – the people living there at any one time – not treating those born there as more important or entitled.

Due to conflicts that have arisen from migration, such as racist attacks, some people question whether we should be allowed to live in countries other than those in which we were born. However, it appears to be the borders of countries that act as invisible fences that cause such problems. If borders were broken down and people could move freely around the world and explore all that it has to offer, then it is likely that occurrences of these conflicts would significantly reduce, if not disappear completely. People would no longer see a place as belonging to them. This would create more harmonious relationships between cultures and fewer wars between countries.

In conclusion, while immigration currently causes some difficulties amongst people in cities around the world, this can be resolved by breaking down the barriers that exist between people and cultures. Through the governmental promotion of acceptance and respect, we can move towards an open world through which people move freely and live together harmoniously.

Writing Task 2: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

General Information

  • Write a formal essay.
  • Write at least 250 words.
  • The task is the same for both the General and the Academic Path. However, the topic of the essay question in the General Path is sometimes more straightforward than in the Academic Path.
  • Depending on the question, you will need to either provide and justify your opinion, discuss a topic, outline problems and provide possible solutions, or summarise key details.
  • The ideas you provide should be supported with clear reasons and examples based on your knowledge and experience.
  • Spend 40 minutes on this task.

Scoring of Writing Task 2

This writing task is worth two-thirds of the total marks for the writing test. There are four areas that you will be marked on in writing task 2, and each area is worth 25% of the overall mark for this task.

  • Task Response: This gives marks for your ideas, how well you address the topic, and the extent to which you develop ideas and form a conclusion.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: This gives marks for the effective use of paragraphs, linking paragraphs and ideas, and referencing.
  • Lexical Resource: This gives marks for the range of vocabulary used, the inclusion of collocations, and accurate spelling.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This gives marks for the use of varied sentence structures, accurate tense, and accurate punctuation.

Structure of the Essay

The essay for task 2 must be 4-5 paragraphs long to show enough skill and evidence to score well for coherence and cohesion. The structure we suggest includes:

  • Introduction
  • Body 1
  • Body 2
  • Body 3 (optional)
  • Conclusion

Linking Words for Coherence and Cohesion

A quarter of your overall score depends on your ability to show cohesion across the essay. Linking words will help you to do this. The words in the table below provide a range of linking words with different functions for you to use in the task 2 essay.

To Order To Show Contrast To Provide Examples To Show A Result To Add More
Firstly, However, For example, As a result, In addition,
Lastly, Alternatively, For instance, Consequently, Additionally,
Finally, Nevertheless, such as Hence, Furthermore,
Although, in particular Thus, Moreover,
In contrast, specifically Therefore, Also,
On the other hand, especially so As well as,
In comparison, obviously For this reason, and
but clearly
despite namely

 

To Show Your Opinion To conclude
In my opinion, In conclusion,
I think that To summarise,
I believe that Overall,
I admit that
In my view,
I agree that
I disagree that
because
owing to
due to
since
as

Timings

If you use the first 5 minutes for planning, you will have 35 minutes to complete the writing task. I recommend using approximately 30 minutes of this time to write your essay and the remaining 5 minutes to check your work.

During this time, look specifically for spelling mistakes, misused words, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes.

Top Tips for Writing an Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • You must explore both sides of the issue – the advantages (the positives) and the disadvantages (the drawbacks).
  • Separate your arguments; one main body paragraph should focus on the advantages, and a separate main body paragraph should focus on the negatives.
  • Be sure to give clear points to support your arguments

Planning for the Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

You must take the time to plan for writing task 2. You will already have completed two full tests and writing task 1. Your brain is likely to be fatigued at this point, so you need to take a few minutes to ensure you respond correctly to the task, generate some ideas, and sequence the essay logically.

The plan does not need to be complicated. I recommend spending up to 5 minutes on this. You can use space on the question paper to write the plan.

The plan used for an advantages and disadvantages essay requires four paragraphs only; the introduction, main body paragraph (advantages), main body paragraph (disadvantages), and conclusion. We suggest the following format:

Introduction

State the issue of focus in the essay

Introduce that there are both advantages and disadvantages of this

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Introduce an advantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Point: Introduce another advantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Body 2

Point: Introduce a disadvantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Point: Introduce a disadvantage

Example/Elaboration: Provide an example/elaborate on its impact

Conclusion

State whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice versa

Sample Question: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

As China grows in size and economic stature, many people think that Mandarin will one day take over as the only language spoken in the world.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having one world language?

Model Plan: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Introduction

Mandarin could become the sole world language

Would help people communicate better across countries but also some drawbacks

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Every person in the world can communicate

Example/Elaboration: Open doors for people to travel more confidently globally

Point: Improved communication could help discussions between countries in conflict

Example/Elaboration: By discussing issues face to face, could see more resolutions

Body 2

Point: Countries will lose part of their unique culture

Example/Elaboration: Language is an integral part of the culture – losing it could take away the individuality of countries

Point: Losing part of our history

Example/Elaboration: Many languages have existed for millions of years

Conclusion

The disadvantages outweigh the advantages – allow countries to have their own identity

Model Answer: Solutions Essay

Many people think that as China becomes an increasingly powerful nation, and Mandarin becomes the predominant language for business activities in the world, other world languages may, one day, cease to exist. Having just one language spoken globally would certainly simplify communication across the globe, but there are some definite disadvantages of this happening.

On the one hand, a world with a single language would certainly simplify communication between people of different nations. It is evident that this would increase global connections and open doors for people to travel more confidently and comfortably globally. In addition, the ability of countries to communicate directly with one another would also be advantageous. Many conflicts exist between countries, and can often be caused by misunderstandings or poor relationships. With all countries speaking the same language, issues can be discussed and resolved face-to-face by world leaders.

On the other hand, there are some clear disadvantages to the use of just one global language. Firstly, there is the risk of countries losing their unique culture and identity. Language is a key component of cultural identity and, by taking it away, countries could lose their individuality. In this case, if all countries became too similar, there would be less desire for people to travel and the tourism industry could collapse. Furthermore, the range of languages spoken across the world has developed over hundreds of thousands of years. Specifying that just one language should be spoken globally eliminates an essential part of world history – the development of language in cultures around the world.

Overall, it is clear that, while there are substantial advantages to having a single world language, the risk of losing cultural identity outweighs this. Ensuring the continued individuality of nations is paramount to maintaining a rich world heritage for years to come.

Key Words and Phrases for the Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • Many people think that
  • Some people say that
  • there are clear advantages/disadvantages
  • On the one hand…
  • It is evident that…
  • In addition, …
  • On the other hand…
  • Firstly,
  • there is the risk of
  • benefit
  • risk
  • outweigh
  • Furthermore, …
  • Overall, …
  • it is clear that

Practice Test: Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Many people are becoming vegans and are eating fewer or no animal products.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Practice Test: Model Plan

Introduction

Veganism is becoming increasingly popular as people better understand its health benefits

Are benefits and drawbacks

Body 1: Advantages

Point: Eating a plant-based diet is proven to be good for human health

Example/Elaboration: Doctors talk of its benefit and many stories of cancer patients overcoming disease

Point: Eating less meat also helps the environment

Example/Elaboration: Eating plant-based products means eating more local produce – fewer air miles

Body 2

Point: Difficult to get enough protein into the diet – animal products high in this

Example/Elaboration: Important to get enough protein for weight management and building muscle

Point: Less demand for meat = difficult for farmers

Example/Elaboration: Could put many farmers out of work

Conclusion

The advantages outweigh the disadvantages – farmers could focus on growing plant-based products to increase revenue

 Practice Test: Model Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

As plant-based diets become increasingly popular, people are consuming fewer animal products than ever before. While this has been proven to have numerous health benefits, there are also some clear disadvantages to this.

On the one hand, plant-based diets are scientifically proven to be beneficial to human health. Many scientists and doctors talk of its positive impact on the wellbeing of the human body, and there are stories of patients with life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, overcoming these through eliminating animal products from their diet. In addition, consuming less meat also helps the environment. Meat from countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA has often flown thousands of miles around the globe to reach consumers. However, plant-based products can be more locally sourced, reducing the carbon footprint of the food we consume.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to the elimination of meat and other animal products from our diet. Firstly, it is challenging to obtain high levels of protein with little or no meat consumption. The human body requires a higher intake of protein for weight management and to build muscle and meat is naturally very high in protein, while vegetable products are low. Furthermore, a reduction in the demand for meat products will put a significant strain on farmers whose livelihoods rely on the purchase of such products. A continued decline in this demand could put many farmers out of work.

Overall, it is clear that, while there are disadvantages to less consumption of animal products, the advantages outweigh these. The benefits to the health of humans and the environment are key factors for moving towards a vegan diet. Rather than being forced out of work, farmers should focus on the growth and harvesting of the plant-based products that are becoming increasingly high in demand.

Writing Task 2: Opinion Essay

General Information

  • Write a formal essay.
  • Write at least 250 words.
  • The task is the same for both the General and the Academic Path. However, the topic of the essay question in the General Path is sometimes more straightforward than in the Academic Path.
  • Depending on the question, you will need to either provide and justify your opinion, discuss a topic, outline problems and provide possible solutions, or summarise key details.
  • The ideas you provide should be supported with clear reasons and examples based on your knowledge and experience.
  • Spend 40 minutes on this task.

Scoring of Writing Task 2

This writing task is worth two-thirds of the total marks for the writing test. There are four areas that you will be marked on in writing task 2, and each area is worth 25% of the overall mark for this task.

  • Task Response: This gives marks for your ideas, how well you address the topic, and the extent to which you develop ideas and form a conclusion.
  • Coherence and Cohesion: This gives marks for the effective use of paragraphs, linking paragraphs and ideas, and referencing.
  • Lexical Resource: This gives marks for the range of vocabulary used, the inclusion of collocations, and accurate spelling.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy: This gives marks for the use of varied sentence structures, accurate tense, and accurate punctuation.

Structure of the Essay

The essay for task 2 must be 4-5 paragraphs long to show enough skill and evidence to score well for coherence and cohesion. The structure we suggest includes:

  • Introduction
  • Body 1
  • Body 2
  • Body 3 (optional)
  • Conclusion

Linking Words for Coherence and Cohesion

A quarter of your overall score depends on your ability to show cohesion across the essay. Linking words will help you to do this. The words in the table below provide a range of linking words with different functions for you to use in the task 2 essay.

To Order To Show Contrast To Provide Examples To Show A Result To Add More
Firstly, However, For example, As a result, In addition,
Lastly, Alternatively, For instance, Consequently, Additionally,
Finally, Nevertheless, such as Hence, Furthermore,
Although, in particular Thus, Moreover,
In contrast, specifically Therefore, Also,
On the other hand, especially so As well as,
In comparison, obviously For this reason, and
but clearly
despite namely

 

To Show Your Opinion To conclude
In my opinion, In conclusion,
I think that To summarise,
I believe that Overall,
I admit that
In my view,
I agree that
I disagree that
because
owing to
due to
since
as

Timings

If you use the first 5 minutes for planning, you will have 35 minutes to complete the writing task. I recommend using approximately 30 minutes of this time to write your essay and the remaining 5 minutes to check your work.

During this time, look specifically for spelling mistakes, misused words, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes.

Top Tips for Writing an Opinion Essay

  • The opinion essay question will ask at the end: ‘To what extent do you agree?’. Begin by deciding whether you agree or disagree.
  • Give your opinion and make sure that it is clear to the examiner.
  • Keep to the same opinion throughout the essay – there is no need to explore the ‘other side.’
  • Make sure the essay stays on topic and answers the question.

Planning for the Opinion Essay

You must take the time to plan for writing task 2. You will already have completed two full tests (reading and listening) and writing task 1. Your brain is likely to be fatigued at this point, so you need to take a few minutes to ensure you respond correctly to the task, generate some ideas, and sequence the essay logically.

The plan does not need to be complicated. I recommend spending up to 5 minutes on this. You can use space on the question paper to write the plan. Try using a format like this:

Introduction

State the issue/topic to be discussed in the essay & if you agree or disagree

Body 1

Point: Clearly state the point you are making in this paragraph

Example: Provide an example to support the point

Elaboration: Elaborate on the point, e.g. explaining its impact

Body 2

Point: Clearly state the point you are making in this paragraph

Example: Provide an example to support the point

Elaboration: Elaborate on the point, e.g. explaining its impact

Body 3 (optional)

Point: Clearly state the point you are making in this paragraph

Example: Provide an example to support the point

Elaboration: Elaborate on the point, e.g. explaining its impact

Conclusion

Restate the two/three main points made in the body of the essay

Sample Question: Opinion Essay

In many countries around the world, an increasing number of people are suffering from health problems as a result of eating foods containing high levels of sugar. It is, therefore, necessary for governments to impose a higher tax on this kind of food.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Model Plan: Opinion Essay

Introduction

State the issue/topic to be discussed in the essay & if you agree or disagree

Governments should raise the tax on high sugar food to combat the number of health issues caused by eating sugary foods.

Body 1

Point: Firstly, higher prices, fewer people will buy

Example: fruit and vegetables more expensive than sugary sweets currently

Elaboration: people on a budget can’t afford healthy alternatives – switch taxes

Body 2

Point: Finally, more money from the tax can go to hospitals to help people

Example: by increasing by just a little, that’s millions of more pounds to the hospitals

Elaboration: with more money, hospitals can use the money for initiatives to stop sugar addiction

Conclusion

Restate the two or three main points made in the essay

In conclusion, / To sum up, / Overall, I believe that it is necessary to raise the tax on sugary foods so that:

–          People buy and consume less sweet treats

–          Hospitals receive more money to treat patients

Model Answer: Opinion Essay

In the past few decades, highly processed, sugary foods have become a staple part of the diet of many people around the world. Without a doubt, this has contributed to the rise in cases of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart issues, and respiratory problems. It has been suggested that governments should increase the tax on high-sugar products to combat this, and I agree that this would have a significant impact on improving this situation.

By inflating the price of sugary foods, they will become less accessible to the masses. Currently, cheap, sugary foods are affordable products for those from lower-income families. In fact, statistics show that lower socio-economic groups consume five times the amount of high-sugar foods in comparison to wealthier people. In contrast, healthier produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, has a higher price point. If the government increased the tax on sugary treats, then the additional money could be used to subsidise the cost of fruit and vegetables to make healthier foods more accessible to the masses.

In addition, the money made from increased taxes on these unhealthy, processed foods could be allocated to the health system to improve treatment for illnesses caused by these foods and prevent this ‘sugar epidemic’ from worsening. By increasing the tax of sugary products by just 10p, millions of pounds could be invested in further research. Through a focus on preventative measures, such as improved education on the negative effect of these foods on the human body, fewer people would require treatment down the line.

In conclusion, I believe that it is necessary to raise the tax on sugary foods. If the government were to implement this change, fewer people would buy and consume sweet treats, and hospitals would be in a better financial situation to both treat patients and educate society on eating for good health.

 

Key Words and Phrases for the Opinion Essay

  • without a doubt
  • has contributed to
  • rise/increase/incline
  • fall/decrease/decline
  • It has been suggested that
  • significant/insignificant
  • impact on
  • improving/worsening the situation
  • Currently, …
  • In fact…
  • Statistics show that…
  • in comparison to
  • If…then…
  • By increasing/improving/changing…
  • negative effect/positive effect
  • less people/more people
  • I believe that…
  • it is necessary to

Practice Test: Opinion Essay

In many countries around the world, an increasing number of people are suffering from health problems as a result of poor air quality caused by pollution. It is, therefore, necessary for governments to impose a higher tax on vehicles.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Practice Test: Model Plan

Introduction

State the issue/topic to be discussed in the essay

Should governments raise the tax on vehicles to combat the number of health issues caused by air pollution?

Body 1

Point: Firstly, higher prices, fewer people will buy

Example: cheaper to use public transport than buy a car

Elaboration: fewer vehicles on the road = less pollution

Body 2

Point: tax could be used to invest in solutions for the air quality problem

Example: turbines to keep air cleaner in towns and cities

Elaboration: focus on the solution to the lifestyle choice of driving

Conclusion

Restate the two or three main points made in the essay

In conclusion, / To sum up, / Overall, I believe that it is necessary to raise the tax on vehicles so that:

–          There are fewer vehicles creating pollution

–          There are improved systems to keep the air clean in highly populated areas

Practice Test: Model Opinion Essay

In the past 100 years, cars and other vehicles have become increasingly accessible and affordable. As a result of this, the number of vehicles on the roads is increasing year by year. Unfortunately, a key impact of this is the decline in the quality and freshness of the air in highly populated areas, due to increased fumes emitted from cars, lorries, trains, and planes. It has been suggested that governments should increase the tax on vehicles to combat this, and I agree that this would have a significant impact on improving this situation.

By inflating the price of vehicles, there will be a decrease in the number of vehicle sales. Currently, cars are a cheap and affordable product for those from various socio-economic backgrounds due to the range in car ages, models, and prices. If the cost of cars were to increase, those from lower-income families would be less likely to purchase a vehicle and, as a result, would use the public transport options available. Therefore, the number of cars being used and producing deadly fumes would be significantly lowered.

In addition, the money made from increased taxes on these vehicles could be invested in machinery or other solutions to improve the air quality in different regions. For example, turbines to clean the air could be installed in larger towns and cities with air quality issues to recycle and freshen the air. Additionally, this would allow people to retain the right to drive. Instead, it focuses on managing the pollution itself, instead of attempting to alter the mindset and lifestyle preferences of a global society.

In conclusion, I believe that it is necessary to raise the tax on vehicles to improve air pollution in populated areas. If the government were to implement this change, it is likely that fewer vehicles would be purchased and, therefore, less pollution would be emitted. Furthermore, investing additional tax income into technological developments allows the government to take a proactive approach to improve air quality levels.