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IELTS Writing

Try this problem solution essay about the internet. Im sure you can think of many problems but
I suggest you write about only two. You have only 40 minutes in which to write your answer.
The internet has transformed the way information is shared and consumed, but it has also
created problems that did not exist before.
What are the most serious problems associated with the internet and what solutions can you
suggest?

There is no doubt that the internet has revolutionized communication and information-sharing
in the same way that the telegraph and the television did before it. However, societies have had
to cope with unanticipated new problems, including crimes which traditional laws are
powerless to prevent. This essay will address some of the illegal acts enabled by the internet
and propose solutions.
To begin with, the global scale of the internet means that national laws are no longer adequate
to control what happens online. Take restrictions on legal reporting, for example. In some
countries, the media is prohibited from revealing details of a defendants past in case this
prejudices a fair trial. However, such restrictions are no longer enforceable now that
information may be freely published in other countries and accessed by all. The only solution
here, it seems, is to adopt global standards. Since the internet traverses national borders, the
flow of information can only be controlled if all nations agree on what can and cannot be
shared.
Another problem concerns anonymity, as internet users can easily conceal their identity and
even impersonate others. Many crimes such as identity theft and child abuse result from the
ease with which criminals can operate anonymously online. Some have proposed a system of
online identification, similar to a passport, which would allow all internet users to be verified
and traced. I believe this idea should be explored further, though there are clearly concerns
about the security of those who use the internet to protest against oppressive regimes.
In conclusion, the only long-term solution to the problem of internet crime is greater
international cooperation. Since the problem is global is scale, the solution must also be global.
A new agency of the United Nations should be created to tackle the problems described here.
(298 words, IELTS 8.5)
Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 8 score?
Task response: The model answer fully answers the question by stating two distinct problems
caused by the internet together with relevant solutions to each problem. Each problem is
illustrated with examples. The style is appropriate to academic writing and the answer is at
least 250 words in length.
Coherence and cohesion: The introduction to this problem solution essay ends with a clear
thesis statement. Each body paragraph deals with a different problem and its solution.
Examples are signaled with logical connectives like for example and such as. The conclusion
contains a clear recommendation which follows from the body.
Lexical resource: There are many instances of higher-level vocabulary such
as prohibited, verified and oppressive. Examples of good collocation include prejudices a fair
trial and tackle the problems. There are no spelling errors and correct word forms are used
throughout.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The candidate uses a wide range of conjunctions to link ideas
into more complex sentences. Where necessary, the candidate uses a shorter sentence to
emphasize a point more strongly. Verb tenses, including modals, are always accurate.
Punctuation is handled skillfully throughout.

Teachers Note
An IELTS problem solution essay will usually ask for problems and solutions (note plural), so try
to include two of each. This leads logically to an essay with two body paragraphs, like the model
answer above. Try to describe each solution together with the problem it solves in order to be
as coherent as possible. And remember, your solutions dont have to be original, or even
realistic, in order to get a high score. The IELTS examiner is only interested in your use of
language, not in the quality of your ideas.
Try this argument essay question about access to a university education. Its very important that
you write a balanced argument before giving your opinion.
It is sometimes argued that too many students go to university, while others claim that a
university education should be a universal right.
Discuss both sides of the argument and give your own opinion.

IELTS Writing Task 2: Model Answer


In some advanced countries, it is not unusual for more than 50% of young adults to attend
college or university. Critics, however, claim that many university courses are worthless and
young people would be better off gaining skills in the workplace. In this essay, I will examine
both sides of this argument and try to reach a conclusion.
There are several reasons why young people today believe they have the right to a university
education. First, growing prosperity in many parts of the world has increased the number of
families with money to invest in their childrens future. At the same time, falling birthrates
mean that one- or two-child families have become common, increasing the level of investment
in each child. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that young people are willing to let their families
support them until the age of 21 or 22. Furthermore, millions of new jobs have been created in
knowledge industries, and these jobs are typically open only to university graduates.
However, it often appears that graduates end up in occupations unrelated to their university
studies. It is not uncommon for an English literature major to end up working in sales, or an
engineering graduate to retrain as a teacher, for example. Some critics have suggested that
young people are just delaying their entry into the workplace, rather than developing
professional skills. A more serious problem is that the high cost of a university education will
mean that many families are reluctant to have more than one child, exacerbating the falling
birthrates in certain countries.
In conclusion, while it can be argued that too much emphasis is placed on a university
education, my own opinion is that the university years are a crucial time for personal
development. If people enter the workplace aged 18, their future options may be severely
restricted. Attending university allows them time to learn more about themselves and make a
more appropriate choice of career. (320 words. IELTS 9.0)

Why does this Task 2 answer get an IELTS Band 9 score?


Task response: The model answer fully answers the question by stating several arguments both
for and against the expansion of higher education. The candidates position is clearly expressed
in the conclusion. The style is appropriate to academic writing and the answer is at least 250
words in length.
Coherence and cohesion: The model answer has an introduction and conclusion. Each body
paragraph deals with a different side of the argument and begins with a clear topic sentence.
Arguments are developed with logical connectives such as therefore and furthermore.
Lexical resource: There is a good range of vocabulary suited to an argument essay, including
reporting verbs like claim and suggest, and hedging verbs like can and appear. There is native-
like collocation throughout, including growing prosperity, enter the workplace and severely
restricted.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The model answer uses a wide range of grammatical devices
appropriate to academic writing. These include conditionals (If), participle clauses (,
increasing the), concessive clauses (while it can) and passive constructions (it can be
argued that). There are no grammatical errors.
Teachers Notes
This IELTS Writing Task 2 question asks you to discuss an argument. Its easy to confuse this
with an opinion essay, since opinion and argument have similar meanings. However, in an
argument essay like this one, you must write about both sides of the argument before giving an
opinion, which can be difficult in just 40 minutes. Since time management can be problem
when writing an argument essay, plan to write two body paragraphs only, each dealing with a
different point of view. Finally, when you give your own opinion in the conclusion, try to make it
follow from the strongest side of the argument, not the weakest!
Try this opinion essay question about the cost of space exploration. Its best to state a clear
opinion for or against in your introduction.
Space exploration is much too expensive and the money should be spent on more important
things.
What is your opinion?
There is an argument that exploring space is a waste of money and that there are more urgent
needs to be addressed on earth, such as reducing poverty and preventing environmental
destruction. However, I completely disagree with this opinion for two reasons.
First of all, many of the technologies we take for granted today were originated thanks to space
research. Take satellite technology, for example, which we depend on for broadcasting and
weather forecasting. Without satellites, we would not be able to follow global events as they
happen, nor give populations any warning of approaching storms. Space research has also led
to the development of new lightweight materials that offer us heat protection and enable food
preservation. Therefore, the challenge of sending human beings into space has often driven the
development of new technologies that benefit our everyday lives.
Second, we cannot foresee the distant future, so we ought to develop the capability to escape
from the earth. Gradually, we are learning how humans can survive for long periods in space
and even travel to other planets in the future. If space exploration is halted, this valuable
knowledge will never be acquired. It is true that environmental destruction is also a serious
issue, but it is also true that we remain dependent on our environment if we never accept the
challenge of exploring other worlds.
In conclusion, while we undoubtedly face serious problems on our own planet, it is imperative
that we continue to explore space. This will promote further technological advances as well as
provide a possible means of escape should earth become uninhabitable in future. Ideally, all
nations should cooperate in the advancement of space research. (278 words, IELTS 8.5) Why
Task response: The introduction effectively paraphrases the question and presents a clear
opinion. The writers opinion is supported in the body of the essay. Concrete examples are
given. The conclusion restates the writers opinion and ends with a recommendation.
Coherence and cohesion: The model answer is divided into clear paragraphs and each body
paragraph contains one main idea. There are cohesive links between all paragraphs and
between most sentences.
Lexical resource: The key concept of space exploration is paraphrased several times. There are
many words characteristic of academic writing such as originated, imperative, and foresee.
Vocabulary is used with a strong awareness of collocation: take for granted, develop the
capability, and accept the challenge.
Grammatical range and accuracy: The model answer is free from grammatical errors. A good
balance of simple and complex sentences is used to develop an argument. Verb tenses vary,
and other grammatical devices such as conditionals and models are used with high accuracy.

Teachers Notes
This IELTS Writing task simply asks you to give your opinion, which appears to be a very open
question. As you have just 40 minutes to write your opinion essay, it is best to state a clear
opinion in the first paragraph and stick to it, rather than try to deliver a more complex or
nuanced answer. Use each body paragraph to add supporting points and restate your opinion in
the final paragraph to provide a satisfying conclusion.