See how sample essays can help you
Read this original essay written by me. Then look at the answer submitted as a comment. It’s a great example of how the system can work.
See how the learner essay
follows the basic 5 paragraph pattern of the model essay
uses the same sentence structures
borrows words and phrases
Read my model IELTS essay
It is certainly true that the more people nowadays do not have a close relationship with their neighbours and that this has weakened communities in our cities. This is probably due to a combination of our more mobile society and the nature of new building developments and is a problem that will require better planning policies.
One main cause of this change is the trend for people to move home to find work. This mobility means that there is less chance for people to put down roots in a community and establish relationships with their neighbours. If, for example, a person moves city once every five years then it is most unlikely that they will form lasting relationships where they live.
Another important factor is that when people move into a new area they often live in apartment blocks and not houses. This matters because these blocks do not have common social areas where people can meet each other in the same way as is possible in more traditional housing estates. It is possible for people who live in these new high rise buildings never to see each other, still less get to know each other well enough to form a bond.
Any solution to this problem will probably involve local government adopting planning policies that are focused on the community. While it is unlikely that anything can be done about social mobility, it is possible for local authorities to encourage a greater sense of community by ensuring new building developments have social spaces where people can meet each other regularly. These could include green spaces where children can play together, local markets and community halls.
My conclusion is that there may be nothing to be done about social mobility but it is possible for local government to foster a greater sense of community by ensuring new developments are more community friendly.
Now see learner version – it borrows and adapts
It is certainly true that the more people nowadays do not have a close relationship with their neighbours and that this has weakened communities in our cities. This is probably due to the change in work patterns and entertaniment culture and is a problem that will require better planning policies.
One main cause of this change is city dwellers’ daily working patterns. This means that the more citizens in the metropolitan areas are inclined to work longer and often commute for over one or two hours. This matters because the more city people spend most time at the workplace, the less they absolutely interact with their neighbours.
Another important factor is that there is a change in how city people spend their leisure time. As the advance in technology seems to be apparent, watching TV, playing video games and surfing the Internet have replaced our traditional entertainment culture, such as going camping and playing conventional games with their neighbours. It ispossible for young people who are addicted to new industrial entertainment devices never to talk to their next doors.
Any solution to this problem will probably generate the effort of local governments to adopt new policies that are focused on the communities.It is possible for governments to encourage cooperations to create new regulation which do not allow employees to work longer, and for local authorities to establish a lot of clubs where residents can socialize each other. These could, for instance, be social sports match, local markets and community halls.
My conclusion is that due to the change of working patterns and individuals’ leisure habit, a sense of bonding with neighbours have weakened. However, it is feasible for firms and local officials to foster a greater sense of community by ensuring new development are more community friendly.
How to use the sample essays for vocabulary
One way to use these samples is to find vocabulary you can use for yourself. This vocabulary can be divided into:
- topic vocabulary – specific vocabulary relating to the topic of the question
- structural/organising vocabulary (eg “One point to note is..”)
- academic vocabulary
Here is my link to useful vocabulary to structure an essay. You can practise the academic vocabulary on my Academic Word Listpage where you will find an interactive quiz on each essay.
How to use the sample essays for essay structure
Another way to use these essays is to see how an IELTS essay is structured:
- note how the introduction addresses the question and leads into the main body of the essay
- identify the main point of each topic paragraph
- note how the topic paragraphs link to each other (do they present similar or contrasting attitudes?)
- note the functions of the conclusion: to summarise and/or present the answer to the question
How to use the sample essays for paragraph structure
Note how each paragraph focuses on one main idea and how that idea is expanded by the use of examples and reasons. You will find more about this under coherence.
The post will give you the 10 most common IELTS Writing Task 2 topics.
IELTS Writing Topics
A question my students keep asking, again and again, is ‘What are the most common IELTS writing part 2 topics?’ They are worried that they won’t be familiar with the topic and will not have any relevant ideas. This is especially true for students from ‘developing’ countries, because most of the questions are ‘first world’ problems and issues. Let’s turn that disadvantage into an advantage.
To answer the question I have asked my students over the last few years to send me the topics on their exams.
A big thank you, to those students, who were kind enough to send me their questions. I have built up a huge amount of questions and I think it is about time to analyse them.
Are the same Writing Task 2 topics repeated?
The answer is yes and no. There are a huge amount of topics that come up in writing task 2. At last count there were around 50 different topics (based on collecting data over the last few years) and if you would like all 50, please let me know, but I’m more concerned about the topics that come up again and again. If you have time to familiarise yourself with over 50 topics then please do, but I think must people have to be smart with their time and it therefore makes more sense to prioritise the most common topics.
I try to encourage my students to be efficient when it comes to learning. However, I don’t agree with the saying ‘Work smart, not hard’ as this implies you can do very little work and still achieve your goals. My motto is work hard and smart.
IELTS Essay Topics 2015
There are 10 general topics that come up more often than all of the rest put together. They are:
So what can I do with this information?
Now you know the common topics there are 3 things you can do:
1. Develop a vocabulary list for each topic
Having relevant vocabulary for each topic will give you a big advantage. Many students fail to provide relevant vocabulary and their band score suffers.
When looking at new vocabulary try to guess the meaning from context first and then look up the meaning to make sure your idea matches the actual meaning. Also, be sure to look at the word within a sentence to be aware of the way it relates to other words.
When recording vocabulary do it in a way that will help YOU remember it. Everyone learns in a different way and everyone learns vocabulary in a different way. Some people like to draw pictures beside the word, some people like to write synonyms or antonyms, others prefer to write a few sentences and some people like to use the phonemic chart to write the word that way. Whatever works for you, do it.
It is also very important to review words regularly. This is the most effective way to remember the words. So many people learn lots of words and a week later they can’t remember them. I would recommend reviewing them one day after learning them for the first time, then one week later and then finally one month later. After that they should be firmly stuck in your head for good.
I am developing a vocabulary list for each of the topics above which you can access here.
2. Practice reading and listening within these topics
To do well on your IELTS test you should practice at home. Even just 60 minutes per day can make a big difference. This will not only improve all four skills but familiarise you with the common topics at the same time. Why waste time listening or reading something, if it is about something that probably won’t come up on the test? Unless of course you are listening or reading for pleasure, in that case, be my guest.
If you are reading an English newspaper, look for articles on the common topics and highlight any good vocabulary.
If you like listening to the radio or podcasts, find ones on the common topics.
Please check out my 25 online language learning tools for lots of ways you can study at home for free.
3. Study within the common topics
This method is so effective that some of the best IELTS schools are starting to adopt this approach. If you are going to study or practice anything then do it within the context of one of the common topics. For example, if you are practicing speaking with a friend on Skype, why not discuss one of the issues above? If you are practicing writing essays, find a question about one of the most popular or repeated IELTS topics.
This method allows you to practice both the skills and learn about these crucial topics.
They also come up quite a lot in the speaking test.
Can I just focus on these topics and get a high band score?
Obviously, there is much more to achieving a high score than just focusing on the repeated topics but this will allow you to study and prepare in a smarter and more efficient way, giving you a huge advantage.
However, I would like to add that it is also important to study things you have a passion for. If you are genuinely interested in a topic then it is much easier to study and you are less likely to quit. Please also make time to read, listen, talk and write about your passion. If you love football, read about your team everyday on www.goal.com. Love fashion?- find some fashionista blogs. Have a passion for photography?- why not blog about it? Have a passion for astrophysics? Listen to star talk radio.
Update- September 2015
I looked at 15 Writing Task 2 papers over July, August and September of 2015 to see if the same common topics were coming up. Here are the topics:
- Traditional Culture
- Government Spending
- Traditional Culture
- International Aid
- The Environment
As you can see, Technology, Health and Education are still prominent Task 2 topics. It was interesting to see Traditional Culture popping up twice in such a short period of time, but that doesn’t mean that it will definitely feature again soon.
I still think that Technology, Health, Education and the Environment are important topics and will feature regularly in the future. Reading within these topics will help you and you will also pick up other vocabulary just by reading about them.
The important thing is to read actively. When you see a word you don’t know, note it down and find out the meaning, collocation and synonyms. Soon you will have a notebook full of new words and you review them regualelry until they become part of your vocabulary.
Here’s a live video I did on Facebook about this topic:
I would recommend looking at our IELTS task 2 page for lots more lessons, tips and sample task 2 answers.
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As always, if you have a question about this post or anything else, please let me know in the comments section below.
For more help check out the IELTS Preparation Ultimate Guide.