Topic 21: Nowadays people can carry out tasks such as shopping and banking even business transactions without meeting each other face to face. What are the effects on individuals and the society?(IELTS Essay example)
With the wide use of the Internet, the way people conduct business and live their lives has vastly changed. Many businesses have websites that allow people to conduct business, execute deals and finish transactions online, as an alternative to a lengthy commute. Although people are thus free from the constraints of geography and time, there are some consequences of this trend that demand attention.
Supposedly, with Internet access, people are able to perform transactions and to do shopping without leaving home, but meanwhile they have to pay a heavy price for it. One of the most negative aspects is, for instance, that it alters their social behaviours and habits. For many people, to spend part of the day on the Internet is quite normal. It can be expected that being addicted to Internet use, most of home telecommuters or Internet users will become socially isolated. Poor social life and feelings of loneliness are those problems that are very often found among heavy users.
It is also likely that people have become increasingly accustomed to living in a world that appreciates convenience and inactivity and they do not want to evade those maxims. It gives explanation of why the sedentary lifestyle is now prevailing and why people spend little time on leisure or recreational activities. Time has been spent in front of the computer or Internet. The net result is that they suffer serious loss of vision, back pain and obesity. It is true that many people finally end up with struggling with deteriorating health.
Despite the negative effects, the Internet has its positive implications to the well-being of society. Online shoppers are able to seek out the lowest prices for items or services. Manufacturers, therefore, have to improve product quality and lower price levels in an effort to win the favour of consumers and secure a stable market share. Telecommuting-working at home using a computer is a solution to traffic congestion, the urban air pollution and petrol use.
As outlined above, people's growing obsession with Internet use, such as online shopping or banking, has both immediate and long-term impacts on health, social involvement, lifestyles and emotional well-being. Although it is of great value from a net surfer's perspective, people should step up efforts to minimise the negative effects.
1. alternative= replacement = substitute
2. supposedly = theoretically = purportedly
3. price = penalty
4. telecommuter = teleworker
5. social life = spending time with friends and other people
6. inactivity = idleness = immobility = indolence = sluggishness
7. maxim = rule = principle = tenet = guideline = motto = dictum = axiom = truism
Topic 22: Many people are optimistic about the 21st century and expect scientists to make positive changes to the world. To what extent do you agree or disagree with their optimism? What changes would you like to see in the new century?(IELTS Essay example)
As the 21st century continues to unfold, many technologies have arisen, most of which were previously out of the reach of people's comprehension. While some people are content with the current standard of living and tend to owe it to technical advances, an opposing point of view is that not all these changes to lives are positive. I am of the opinion that there is still room for improvement and many problems remain unsolved.
The continued improvement in technology undoubtedly accelerates industrialisation but meanwhile leads to the deterioration of the natural environment. Accompanied by technological development, many problems, such as over-exploitation of natural resources, intense use of artificial fertilisers, reliance on automobiles and deforestation, have arisen and intensified. Even worse, little progress has been made toward addressing these problems, possibly because implementing environmentally friendly policies will inevitably impede the development of energy-intensive industries. That is why the use of petrol continues to climb, despite the fact that many countries pledge to curb petrol use and discover or invent alternative resources.
Another problem is that many technologies have put people at great risks and highlighted the need for innovation. For example, the spread of the Internet is directly responsible for people's sedentary lifestyle and many health problems, such as obesity. The rise of the fast food industry, owing mainly to the development in the food processing technology, is linked to diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Many stress-related diseases are attributed to the increasingly fierce competition in society, a result of technological development. Fears of job loss have become one of the most common sources of social anxiety in these years, as computerisation has undermined the traditional position of labour by eliminating jobs. All these problems demand quick solutions.
Some other problems are associated with technology as well, although the actual impacts remain unforeseen. For example, the future of genetic engineering, a radical new technology intending to introduce genetic changes to a species, either animals or plants, and to increase crop yield, is dim. To date there is no compelling evidence to show that GE food has a good track record for human safety, especially when it has been found related to thousands of poisoning cases.
Overall, whether technology is a blessing to people remains yet to be seen, so does what the 21st century can bring to them. It seems to be a fact that whenever a new technology arises, there must be some problems that follow. When people are impressed by the benefits brought by a new technology, it is important to evaluate its negative impacts and take precautions in advance.
1. unfold = display = disclose = clarify = become known = reveal
2. content = satisfied = pleased
3. deterioration = corrosion-weakening = worsening
4. artificial = man-made = synthetic = non-natural
5. track record = past performance = reputation = background = history = profile
6. precaution = preventative measure = safeguard
Topic 23: Many employees may work at home with modern technology. Some people claim that it benefits only workers, but not employers. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
The spread of telecommunication technology — using the Internet, telephone, fax, scanners or text messaging — has opened up a new range of possibilities for working at home. Discussion has centred on whether it represents a benefit to workers alone, but not employers. In my opinion, employers can take full advantage of home working as well.
By allowing employees to work at home, employers can widen the base from which they recruit and boost the chances of capitalising on rich human capital. For instance, parents with childcare responsibilities and those with disabilities prefer to work at home. Distance between their work place and their place of residence has never ceased to be a problem. Homeworking enables working people to perform their jobs at ease, and thus gives employers more options in human resource use.
Another benefit obtained from home-working is the boost for staff motivation. By working at home, employees can manage their time on their own and strike a balance between work and rest. Similarly important is that, without the presence of their immediate supervisors, they feel less stressful and more comfortable. Those two factors both play a part in boosting their productivity and job satisfaction.
Apart from those benefits, homeworking might have its drawbacks. A challenge that employers have to face is the difficulty in managing and monitoring employees' performance. Whether employees are as likely to meet a deadline when working at home as they are in the workplace remains unclear. Similarly difficult is to maintain team spirit because employees have limited interaction between each other. Furthermore, staff training, an integral part of increasing human capital, is not practical in a business where homeworking predominates.
Therefore, it is clear that although employers can benefit a lot from integrating homeworking into his or her business, e.g., introducing more flexibility and increasing employees' job satisfaction, they should work out methods to prevent the problems that are likely to arise from this move.
1. represent = stand for = signify
2. capitalise on = take (full) advantage of = make the most of = benefit from
3. work place = place of work
4. at ease = comfortably = free from anxiety
5. productivity = output = efficiency = yield
6. team spirit = cohesion = unity
7. interaction = communication = contact
Topic 24: The leisure industry is growing rapidly. The active role of modern technology in people's leisure lives nowadays has made them less creative. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
Nowadays, leisure time activities are set to play a larger part in people's daily lives than ever before. There has been a perception that nowadays people could not derive the same pleasure as they did from the entertainment of yesteryear, as technology has made them less creative. This view is open to debate.
The maturity and popularity of network technology, together with the expansion of the software industry, has given today's entertainment seekers many opportunities to share pleasure, and enhance their intelligence. In the past, people could only play chess, cards, or other similar games with their friends. Now they can challenge other players via the Internet, professional or non-professional, familiar or unfamiliar. Some online games, by simulating real life conditions, enable players to exercise various tactics in dealing with difficulties. They improve players' abilities as well.
Technology also enables any person in a contemporary society to become enlightened and empowered and exhibits a high degree of creative power. Creativity stems primarily from knowledge. In the past, one's knowledge developed slowly or even stagnated throughout much of his/her life, simply because the access to information was limited. The situation has been subject to dramatic change, with the advent of modern technology. By gathering information from a variety of sources, modern people can adopt, adjust and restructure different strategies to address an issue. Even in doing simple jobs, such as gardening, dressing, people can expand their creative energy and add new varieties, regarding it as a means of self-expression.
Some people might argue that watching TV, a common leisure activity, has seriously hampered the viewers' development in creativity. Their argument is based on an assumption that TV viewers are passive when absorbing information presented by TV and respond with no active thinking. However, there is evidence that television programmes are becoming increasingly educational and instructive. For example, quiz shows encourage critical thinking, while educational channels, such as Discovery, broaden watchers' knowledge. While advertisements bear aesthetical and ideological values, talk shows display the art of languages.
What have been discussed above refutes a prevailing notion that modern technologies stifle people's creativity and make them passive and mechanical entertainment seekers. Modern technologies, as shown in above discussion, have made people more creative, and also given them more enjoyment in leisure activities.
1. debate = dispute = argument = heated discussion
2. together with = accompanied by = coupled with = combined with = alongside
3. intelligence = intellect
4. professional = proficient = trained = skilled
5. non-professional = inexperienced = amateur
6. unfamiliar = strange = unusual
7. simulate = replicate = imitate
8. empowered = competent = authorised = capable
9. stagnate = stand still = languish = remain unchanged
10. restructure = reform = reorganise
11. bear = have
Topic 25: Many people think that public libraries should only provide books and should not waste their money on expensive hi-tech media, such as software, DVDs or videos. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
A library, generally, refers to a place storing and managing books that can be booked or borrowed. In these years, there is a trend toward integrating new technologies, such as DVDs and videos, in libraries. Opponents argue that the emphasis should be placed on providing books, rather than on increasing modern equipment. Modernisation is, in my opinion, an inevitable tendency, although the enlargement of a library's reserve should not be treated lightly.
One of the main advantages of using computers or other hi-tech products is improving efficiency. By recording information of books such as titles, authors, dales of publishing, or even summaries in a computer system, e-library allows readers to find a book promptly. Likewise, librarians are more able to store, seek out and manage books. Moreover, with the central network connecting libraries throughout a country or worldwide, a library user can easily locate a book in n library wherever it is.
Meanwhile, one should note that e-books have become increasingly popular increasing the likelihood that e-library will sooner or later take the place of a conventional library. Compared with paper books, e-books not only use much less space but also give readers more enjoyment in reading. For example, readers can customise their viewing experience easily by adjusting font, size and style of characters, accessing the books that have the same subject, and modifying screen contract, and so forth. E-books appeal to young users or children specifically because of its remarkable ability to demonstrate or explain a subject vividly via pictures, videos or even movies.
The importance of updating the facilities is therefore evident, but it should be stressed that the primary responsibility of libraries is to provide as many books as possible to the public. A good library is judged not by the extent to which its facilities are modernised, but by how much information it can supply. The more books the library can make available, the more visitors it can attract. At the international level, nearly every distinguished library gains its fame by providing a vast collection and a delicate selection of books.
As suggested above, the library should focus not only on the instalment of modern equipment, but also on purchasing more books. The top priority for a library is to maximise the reserve of books and make the resource available.
1. opponent = challenger = antagonist
2. enlargement = amplification = growth = rise
3. reserve = storage
4. distinguished = famous = renowned = celebrated = notable
5. delicate = careful
Topic 26: It seems that with the increase in use of mobile phones and computers, fewer people prefer to write letters. Will the skill of writing disappear completely?(IELTS Essay example)
Text messages, emails and letters are everyday communication tools, although nowadays, text messages and emails appear to gain popularity while letters are used less frequently. The fears that writing skills will be attached with less importance are rooted mainly in the concern that the growing popularity of mobile phones and computers is about to make emails and text messaging much more popular. Such worries are unsupported.
A majority of daily communications involve written correspondence, whether it takes the form of emails or letters. As different from communicating in speech, communicating in writing requires a large number of techniques. The prevalence of emails and text messages will not change the purposes, contents and conventions of communication, but merely medium, font or sentence length. For example, successful written communications are normally measured by clarity and accuracy, two elements that remain unchanged despite the upsurge in the use of text messages and emails. An email or text message sender should pay the same attention to such elements as vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, wording and tone as a letter writer does in order to make sure that the reader understands and interprets the message as intended. Any misunderstanding or misinterpretation will cause dire consequences.
Another fact to note is that all communication is interpersonal and interactive, thereby requiring information senders to use language properly and convey messages clearly and precisely. In order to become a successful communicator, one should plan, tailor, and devise his or her writing according to the characteristics of the reader. Writing a message without considering the intended reader will increase the possibility of poor understanding or even misunderstanding. For example, choosing the right tone in communication is of great importance. Readers make assumptions about people's mood and intentions and speculate on the implied meaning of the messages, according to the tone suggested by words. Getting the right tone is therefore an important writing skill that is likely to influence the success of communication. It is particularly true in cases where the messages people send contain emotional components. Failure to manipulate these components properly will cause discomfort or hard feelings of the reader.
The examples that are outlined above have apparently overturned the prevailing notion that writing skills will vanish sooner or later as a result of the increased use of text messaging and emails. Written communication requires a good understanding of the rules of language, such as grammar, vocabulary and tone. Without a good command of those writing skills, a communicator will encounter many awkward situations in daily communication.
1. tailor = adapt = modify = alter
2. assumption = supposition = hypothesis = notion = belief
3. hard feeling = anger
4. overturn = reverse = invalidate
Topic 27: Some people think that radio has become out-of-date, and there is no need to listen to the radio for entertainment and news. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
In the past, radio broadcasting was deemed as the most convenient and important source of information. However, with the emergence of other mass media, there is a perception that radio as a medium will be at stake in the future if it does not undergo any significant change. In my opinion, such pessimism is ungrounded.
One of the main reasons why radio would not become obsolete in the near future is that driving is rife across the world as a way of life. Radio is a regular piece of equipment installed in a car, and to car users, listening to the radio while driving is an effective means of taking full advantage of their time and gaining the latest information, such as news, weather forecast, share markets, and so forth. Increased car use gives radio high mobility and its exposure continues to lead other media. For those people who have no time in watching TV, radio provides immediate and easy access to information. Its continued popularity is also linked to its high affordability. Radio broadcasting is, in general, accessible to the audience with charging no fee. Another overt advantage is that a radio set is portable. On the occasions where people cannot watch TV, read newspapers or surf the net, they can listen to the radio.
The advent of other technologies has also sustained the popularity of radio. For example, people can get radio via satellite, the Internet and cable nowadays. There are many other electronic devices, such as MP3 and MP4 players, which allow people to listen to the radio more easily and to use it for various entertainments, such as sharing their music collections. Although radio is unable to convey messages with sight and motion as television or Internet does, the improvement in those hi-tech devices will ensure that the radio is able to serve the needs of audiences as it always did.
As indicated above, radio broadcasting has many advantages that are scarcely found in other mass media, either electronic or print. With the developments in technology that enable radio to perform more functions and become more widely available, radio broadcasting will continue to form a very large segment of the mass media.
1. in the past = once upon a time = some time ago = in history
2. at stake = at risk = in danger = in jeopardy = threatened
3. means = method = instrument = way = measure
4. exposure = coverage = publicity
5. portable = moveable = transportable
Topic 28: People in many countries do not wear their traditional costume. Some argue that they would forget their history and tradition. Do you agree or disagree?
Traditional costume, both national and regional, is universally recognised as an integral element of every single culture. Despite its importance to a culture and ethnicity, it is now less frequently worn by people, at a time when Western formal and informal clothes are rife. Below are a number of facts that suggest the role of traditional costumes in protecting ethnicity and identity.
Wearing traditional costumes, first of all, reminds people of many distinct characteristics of their culture. How people perceive their traditional costume shows the extent to which they are willing to respect and retain their cultural heritage. In Vietnam, for instance, female office workers are generally required to wear Ao Dai, a traditional dress, as a custom being handed down from generation to generation. It is a national symbol, giving millions of Vietnamese a sense of ethnic identity, wherever they are. Besides, it represents cultural values of Vietnam and shows the perceived position of females in a Vietnamese society. Despite the success of Ao Dai, it is a rare example in today's world, where most of the traditional costumes have been marginalised by Western-style business suits. People see national costume only in theatre, film and TV.
Another point to support the importance of traditional costume is their presence in many social settings. Traditional costumes are required on many occasions, either formal or informal. Generally, they come in two forms: one for everyday occasions, the other for festivals and formal wear. Both have cultural meanings. For example, in many societies, a considerable number of traditional costumes evolved specifically for the wedding ceremony, and the wedding couple, as well as guests, are expected to wear traditional clothes, a symbol of eternity and solemnity. Traditional dresses in most cases differ in styles and vary according to circumstances. For example, in China, ceremonial clothing tends to be dark while lighter-coloured clothing is worn mainly by the common people for everyday life and around the house use. As the culture is very often reflected in the way of life of a society, the role of traditional costumes in a culture is undisputed.
Traditional costumes are therefore, worthy of people's concern and should be preserved; however, it does not necessarily mean that one should wear traditional costumes all the time. People wear clothing in general for functional reasons. Traditional costumes are of cultural and social importance but might not suit every circumstance. For example, exercise clothes are needed when people participate in physical exercise and play sports. Western-style suits are used more broadly on formal occasions where people of different cultural backgrounds gather for serious issues, such as business. Dressing in a standard manner is a demonstration of respect, the key to mutual trust.
As shown above, the costume, as a distinctive style of dress of a particular people in a particular country, should be distinguished from the wardrobes people are wearing every day in ordinary settings. Failing to maintain the unique characteristics of traditional costume of a country will surely cause destruction on the integrity of a culture.
1. integral = essential = vital = fundamental = central = important
2. identity = individuality = distinctiveness
3. demonstration = expression = display = manifestation = revelation
4. integrity = completeness = unity
Topic 29: People think that old buildings should be knocked down and give way to the new buildings. Do you agree or disagree? How important are old buildings to us?
Every item of property has its own lifespan. So does every building. City planners are very often confronted with a debate concerning whether an old building should be deconstructed or maintained. In my opinion, it depends on whether the targeted building can satisfy the needs of the city.
There is no denying that some old buildings are of aesthetic, archaeological or architectural values. They might be either integral to a culture as a symbol of a city or country or unique in the domain of architecture. Demolition of such buildings will inflict damage to cultural heritage and prevent architects from drawing their inspiration from their predecessors. Because of their uniqueness, old buildings are very likely to provide a source of tourism income, if maintained well. It is fair to say that old buildings of this kind are much more important than any new building and performing more functions than any new building does.
With regard to other old buildings, possessing no specific value while becoming dilapidated, entire destruction is an acceptable and understandable decision. Low in quality and poor in conditions, some old buildings are actually posing a danger on users and pedestrians. They might stand in the way of a new road line or impede other forms of urban development. Whether they have been renovated or not, these buildings blemish the landscape and provide no justification for continued maintenance. Replacing old buildings with new ones meets the renewed needs of the city.
In summary, whether to conserve or pull down old buildings is a question that can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. People involved should carefully weigh up the pros and cons of new developments before reaching a conclusion.
1. lifespan = lifetime = natural life
2. deconstruct = demolish = bulldoze = knock down = pull down
3. aesthetic = artistic
4. domain = area field
5 demolition = destruction = pulling down = knocking down
6. inflict = cause = impose
7. predecessor = forerunner = precursor
8. dilapidated = wrecked = decaying
9. pedestrian = walker = person on foot
10. renovate = refurbish = revamp
11. blemish = damage = tarnish = spoil-rum
12. renewed = changed = improved
13. weigh up-assess = evaluate = compare-estimate
Topic 30: Some people believe that new buildings should be built in traditional styles. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?(IELTS Essay example)
Architecture is an integral part of every single culture. Accordingly some people suggest that new buildings should be constructed with a classical style, in an effort to protect a nation's cultural identity. I agree with their recommendation that maintaining a nation's cultural identity is a priority.
New constructions might not only cause direct damage to those existing aged buildings, which are central to a nation's culture, but also destroy the integrity of the cityscape, which characterises a country. Over the past decades, there has been a growing recognition that architecture is an element that distinguishes one culture from another. That is why people are not surprised to see that buildings differ in styles from country to country. New constructions, if not aligned with the existing buildings, will impair the uniqueness of an architecture style, which has been widely recognised, studied and treasured by the world.
Another main justification for upholding a traditional building style is that it contributes to the diversity of building models in a country. By preserving classical architecture, some regions are marked by the mingling of buildings of different ages and types. Many cities in Europe can be cited as examples, where buildings in a traditional or ancient format coexist with modernised buildings, performing different functions and serving dissimilar purposes. It bridges the past and the present history, and reminds people of the heritage of a country. It creates a modern identity of a region or country as well.
Despite the role of old architecture works in retaining cultural heritage, not all the buildings should be necessarily designed and constructed in a traditional pattern. On the one hand, it is at odds with diversity. It comes as no surprise that ceaseless pursuit of a classical style will result in the sameness of buildings in a country. On the other, traditional building models require specific craftsmanship and building materials, which are neither affordable nor accessible to every developer, so they cannot be applied on a large scale.
From the points enlisted above, it seems obvious that architecture is an approach of preserving a nation's cultural heritage, so new construction should be undertaken to adhere to a traditional style. Although it might not be reflected in all buildings, it does play a great part in maintaining and reinforcing cultural identity of a region or country.
1. accordingly = therefore = hence
2. integrity = completeness = intactness
3. characterise = feature
4. aligned with = consistent with = in harmony with
5. uphold = defend = support
6. mingling = mixture = blending = combination
7. coexist = exist together
8. bridge = link = join
9. at odds with = contrary to = in opposition with
10. sameness = monotony = uniformity
11. enlist = introduce
Topic 31: It is more important for a building to serve its purposes than to look beautiful. Architects do not need to worry about whether it is a real work of art. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
Buildings, not very different from other commodities, perform various functions and serve varying needs of their users. At the centre of the controversy is whether the purposes of a building should be placed above its aesthetical values. As far as I am concerned, these two qualities are not conflicting, but mutually beneficial.
In a modern society, aesthetical considerations are no longer considered as insignificant or luxury but have been integrated as a core function of a building. People have comprehensive requirements or a building. No longer limited to such ordinary functions, such as safety, durability, space, access to facilities, their interests involve decorative details and visual qualities, including ornamentation and furnishings. In simple terms, a pedestrian-looking building is bound to mismatch the trend of the market.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that some types of buildings are broadly expected by the public to possess aesthetical values. Standard examples include restaurants, theatres, churches and so forth. A building falling in these categories desires a design of originality and rarity, aiming to distinguish itself from other constructions of its kind or those in its surroundings. Architects' inspirations add values to the building and increase its marketability. Many buildings have become symbolic in the city or region where they are located.
When being concerned with the aesthetic aspect of architecture, people should consider economic feasibility. The focus on the exterior of a building alone will lead to the increase in construction cost, making such an endeavour unjustified. In those cities where overpopulation continues to be a problem and many people cannot afford housing, whether a building looks beautiful would not be taken seriously. In that situation, the rationale is to accommodate a huge population, rather than simply please the eye.
Based on the arguments outlined above, adding visual appeals to a building is consistent with the needs of a modern society. However, it does not mean that the concern on aesthetics should be at the expense of a building's practical functions; on the contrary, a building should be the result of the delicate balance between the two ideals
1. integrate = incorporate = assimilate
2. ornamentation = decoration = adornment
3. bound to = set to = expected to
4. mismatch = fail to match or suit
5. rarity = uniqueness
6. marketability = profit-earning ability
7. symbolic = representative
8. feasibility = viability
9. unjustified = groundless
10. rationale = underlying principle
11. delicate = subtle = fine
Topic 32: Do you think a museum is to educate or entertain people?(IELTS Essay example)
Museums have long been known as centres of research and education. By acquiring, conserving, researching and exhibiting a great variety of tangible items (such as artefacts and specimens), museums are of great educational value. However, this notion has been refuted by some people in recent years, who tend to think that museums are intended for entertainment as well. In my opinion, a museum can serve dual purposes, although education tends to play a larger part.
Museums impart knowledge to visitors through different means. One is collecting and displaying objects of scientific, artistic or historical importance at a specific site. Staff members working for museums are trained to provide interpretations of the collected objects to the general public. Viewing these items enables visitors to acquire knowledge of a given subject, such as history, art, environment and technology. History museums are for example concerned with specialised aspects of history at the local or national level. Another approach taken by a museum is to invite specialists to lecture regularly in different fields, which is instructive as well. An entertainment business, by comparison, hardly serves an educational purpose.
In addition to the way it operates, a museum is distinct from any operator in the entertainment industry in some oilier aspects. First of all, museums are entirely not-for-profit. Although sometimes charging an admission fee, a museum very often has free entrance, and does not engage in any profit-making activity. It does not target any specific audience like an entertainment business does. Instead, it is open to the general public. Museums, meanwhile, choose items on display not according to their commercial values but according to the line of items they mainly focus on. For instance, a history museum would focus only on those items that are of historical value, although those items might not have sufficient market value.
However, a noteworthy development of museums in recent years is related to entertainment to some extent. Similar to other educational institutions, museums have to balance their budget. Many museums have therefore sought to operate more activities to attract more visitors, in order for an additional entry fee to cover costs. In addition to the traditional services, such as making collected objects available for public viewing, and organising lectures, a museum is interested in such entertainments as films, musical or dance performances, most of which are linked to the culture of its host region. Art museums, for example, bear a close resemblance to art galleries, in exhibiting a wide range of artworks. Museums falling in this category give visitors pleasure, and can be taken as a provider of both knowledge and entertainment.
As suggested above, there are many benchmarks against which a museum can be made distinct from an entertainment provider. Some museums are now providing services in overtly entertainment nature, although educational for the most part.
1. artefact = ornament = manufactured article = work of art = object
2. specimen = example = sample
3. refute = contest = rebut = disprove
4. lecture = make a speech = give an address
5. instructive = informative = educational
6. resemblance = similarity = likeness = semblance
7. benchmark = standard
8. overtly = openly = clearly = obviously = explicitly
Topic 33: People tend to work longer hours nowadays. Working long hours has a negative effect on themselves, their families and the society, so working hours should be restricted. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
In recent years, working hours have become a controversial issue, at a time when employees' benefits have been given serious thought. Although the extension of working hours is believed to have an impact on general well-being and result in work-family conflict and job stress, this practice is remarkably popular in many countries. I am supportive of the argument that long working hours have a negative impact upon individuals, the organisations they work for, and ultimately upon the national economy and society as a whole.
To job holders, working long hours triggers at least two problems. It is not only to damage personal relationships (with families particularly), disrupt social lives and impede community activities but also to cause a feeling of stress, a psychological disturbance that is experienced by many working people. It also tends to exert pressure on the employment market and make fewer employment opportunities available. Those with caring responsibilities for example, would be disadvantaged, because they are either unable or unwilling to work long hours. A high unemployment rate is always regarded as a threat to a country's economy.
To employers, long working hours, although promising maximum benefit from limited resources every now and then, have destructive effects in the long term. The primary reason is that employees tend to be less productive, and meanwhile, at greater risks of sickness. It would lead not only to the lower quality of work outputs but also to high turnover and absenteeism. As a result, employers have to spend much more on recruiting and training new workers. To a country as a whole, it has chronic effects, disabling the optimisation of resource use, human capital and natural resources.
Some might argue that it is reasonable for an employer to expect some degree of flexibility during a particularly busy period, but to those employers, reliance on the jobs with extended hours has the tendency to become a regular event. Tolerance of this practice would allow employers to exploit labour and disregard the benefits that employees are entitled for, thereby posing a challenge to the legal system. It is time that employers assessed alternatives like re-scheduling, flexible working arrangements and job redesign to explore the full potential of each employee.
As shown from the above discussion one can see no reason why working long hours us acceptable. It would lead to low productivity and frequent sick leaves, thereby doing more harm than good to employers and the society alike.
1. impede = hold back = hinder = hamper
2. productive = fertile = yielding
3. chronic = persistent = never-ending
4. optimisation = best use
5. tolerance = forbearance
6. disregard = pay no attention to = ignore = take no notice of
7. scheduling = arrangement-preparation
8. arrangement = roster = timetable
9. redesign = re-arrangement = re-scheduling = re-organisation
Topic 34: What is the difference between traditional food and fast food?(IELTS Essay example)
Fast food has come under fire over the past decade, following people's growing concern on health. When people's eating habits have shown a tendency to favour fast food, larger numbers of studies have been concentrated on its adverse impact. Below is an outline of some differences between fast food and traditional meals.
Fast food is distinguished from traditional food mainly by the selection of ingredients and cuisines. As distinct from a traditional meal, which has its emphasis on diversity and richness of flavour, taste and choice, fast food is well-known for its high levels of salt, fat and sugar and heavy reliance on meat, such as chicken and beef. When fast foods are processed and prepared for those time-minded eaters who are eager to relieve hunger, traditional foods are diverse and varying. Fast foods might not vary significantly throughout a country, but traditional foods are diversified due to ethnic diversity. That's why fast foods are very often thought to have direct threats on local cuisines.
Another problem found in the regular consumption of fast food is the high risk of obesity. A typical fastfood meal has a very high energy density, much higher than a traditional meal. In many outlets, the choice is so limited that it's virtually impossible to select a combination of items with even a moderate energy density. Many popular fastfood menu items are unhealthy, so excessive consumption can lead to obesity. It is one of the main reasons why many fastfood chains have now incorporated healthier alternatives in their menu, e.g., salads and fresh fruit. McDonald's is a telling example.
Moreover, it is important to realise that a traditional meal has many of its cultural and social meanings. Although fast food is recognised for its convenience and saving people from the routine of home cooking, meanwhile it discourages people from preparing deliberate meals for their families and friends. People are thus less likely to spend time talking to each other. Having a traditional meal is of importance in many social situations, and can be taken as a unifying element in family life, bringing people together in times of trouble and in times of joy.
As suggested above, the fast food, although cheap and convenient, has its shortcomings and a diet high in fast foods can increase a person's risk of gaining weight and other health problems. In terms of health, its impact on cuisine, community spirits and family solidarity, the real costs of convenient foods are shockingly high.
1. under fire = embattled = under attack = debated
2. cuisine = style of cooking = cookery = knowledge of preparing good food
3. richness = diversity = variety
4. varying = changing = altering
5. outlet = store = restaurant = shop
Topic 35: As most people spend a major part of adult life at the place of work, job satisfaction is an important part of individual well-being. What are the factors that contribute to job satisfaction? Are all the expectations for job satisfaction realistic?(IELTS Essay example)
Job satisfaction refers to the degree of pleasure employees can feel when working. It is of broad interest to employers because of its potential impact on productivity and morale of employees. Of those factors that contribute to job satisfaction, some are intrinsic while others are extrinsic. Both will be introduced below. In the latter part of the essay is a discussion concerning whether one's expectations for job satisfaction are always appropriate.
Most of the factors that have influence on job satisfaction are extrinsic. One is employees' material needs. It is understandable that income, housing, paid holiday, bonus and other job benefits are the main elements an employee will normally look into when evaluating whether a job is desirable or not. Another source of satisfaction is job satisfaction. An employee is delighted if continued employment is accessible, that is, staying on a job for some considerable time. Besides these basic needs, people crave for a positive self-image and to have their contribution valued and appreciated. That's why promotion is very often manipulated to improve employees' job satisfaction, sending a message to employees that their commitment has been recognised.
Along with extrinsic factors, intrinsic factors are important. Individual personality plays a large part in many cases. It is believed that the employees with a positive outlook on life and full of optimism are more likely to achieve higher job satisfaction irrespective of the job or workplace they are in. When optimism allows individuals to function well in the fact of adversity and prevents them from becoming depressed, pessimism makes them less likely to complete tasks and meet objectives successfully, thereby undermining job satisfaction.
Given the constantly changing nature of today's business environment, a job can hardly live up to the expectations of job holders. Weak economies, rapidly changing technology and likelihood of downsizing are combining to account for why the length of tenure is shortened nowadays and few people now expect to stay on the same job throughout their working lives. Rewards are able to raise motivation and increase satisfaction of employees, but not available for every individual that wants them. There is no guarantee that every good performer will be awarded all the time. Law of the jungle applies here: only the strongest competitors will win access to the majority of the resource.
As suggested above, job satisfaction is attributed to different factors, both extrinsic and intrinsic. The complexity of today's work environment has made it less likely for people to get whatever they desire from a job.
1. morale = drive = spirits = positive feelings = confidence
2. intrinsic = inherent = basic = natural = native
3. extrinsic = extraneous
4. outlook = what is expected to happen in the future = prospect
5. irrespective of = regardless of
6. adversity = hardship = difficulty = harsh conditions = hard times
7. tenure = term
8. law of the jungle
Topic 36: Some people think that changing jobs periodically is good. What is your opinion?(IELTS Essay example)
In this fast-changing world, job-hopping (leaving the current employer for another employment opportunity) is not a rare scene. Much has been discussed about the gains and losses of such n career move. In my opinion, job-changing is an inevitable step in today's labour market, reflecting the nature of a modern society.
A new job implies opportunities for career development, an objective many working people intend to achieve. In general, there are two reasons behind a job holder's motive for a new job. The first is that the current job cannot make the best use of his or her abilities. The second is that he or she cannot improve skills and gain new experience. Both can lessen the possibility of a brighter job prospect.
Job-hopping, meanwhile, assists one to survive the keen competition. People are living in a fast-changing world and a once stable job is now vulnerable. Willingness to stay on the same job is no longer valued as much as before. Any employee, if complacent about the current employment, would be faced with threats posed by others. By comparison, taking the initiative to obtain a better job can at least drive people to increase skills and thereby improving the chance of continued employment.
When job-hoppers are craving for new chances, some issues are particularly worthy of concern. The first is adjusting to a new environment, such as working with new colleagues and supervisors. Besides, while valuing a job hopper's resume, employers too often tend to suspect his or her loyalty and resilience. It is therefore imperative for every potential jobseeker to learn the new employer better and evaluate the potential risk.
The above-mentioned facts give one a glimpse of the potential results of changing jobs. When the willingness to change a job and seize an opportunity represents a sound career move and provides the thrust for self-development, it might require a job applicant's extra efforts.
1. inevitable = inescapable = unavoidable
2. keen = intense = strong = stiff
3. vulnerable = in a weak position = defenceless
4. complacent = satisfied = unworried = contented
5. chance = possibility = likelihood = prospect
6. crave for = long for = desire = yearn for
7. resilience = flexibility = resistance
8. glimpse = glance = quick look
9. thrust = driving force = impetus
Topic 37: What are the factors that cause stress and how to cope with stress?(IELTS Essay example)
Life today is filled with sources of stress, much of which cannot be avoided. When stress appears to be a lifelong problem to many people, how it actually forms remains a subject of controversy to many scientists. The objective of this essay is to outline both the sources of stress and appropriate ways of dealing with it.
Many stressors arise from people's circumstances. For example, the high-pressured and fast-paced lifestyle has made it unlikely for people to gain adequate leisure time. Failure to balance work and leisure causes them either to struggle with deteriorating health or to cope with psychological distress, e. g., anxiety and depression. Together with some other problems, such as disharmony with others, unpleasant work or living environment, it would increase stress to an unmanageable level.
Another group of stressors is intertwined with personality. People interpret events or situations differently. A problem taken as a threat by many people might be accepted as a positive challenge to others. Evidence is inconclusive about the reasons behind this distinction, but it is widely believed that a person of a cheerful disposition is less likely to be heavily affected by adversity. Of equal importance is the ability to handle with some issues, such as time and money. Considering the role of personality in deciding the attitudes toward an issue and responses to an event, the effect of stress management skills actually varies from person to person.
Methods to cope with stress are many, but the most effective ones are in fact not remote or complicated but accessible and practicable. People under stress are advised to participate more in recreational activities, adopt a sound dieting habit, and exercise regularly. They should learn to block out worries and try to keep the effect of a challenge in life to a minimum. Finally, it is important to nurture a good slate of mind and to perceive things positively.
As suggested above, environment factors can be taken as the sources of stress, and people's personality determines the extent to which they are influenced by those factors. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and proper attitudes toward life can promote people's physical and psychological well-being and help them relieve stress.
1. lifelong = lasting = enduring = all-time
2. form = develop = take shape
3. lifestyle = way of life = daily life = everyday life
4. unpleasant = disagreeable
5. unmanageable = uncontrollable
6. interpret = understand = construe
7. cheerful = positive
8. disposition = character = temperament
9. practicable = workable
10. block out = erase = forget = wipe out
Topic 38: Fashion is difficult to follow, and some people argue that we should not follow it. They think that we should dress what we like and feel comfortable. Do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
Fashion refers to a style of clothing worn by most people of a country. The growing concern about fashion in recent years comes as no surprise, considering the fact that fashion is very often at odds with the traditional function of clothing, protecting wearers from the extremes of weather. In my opinion, fashion is not a betrayal but an indicative of a principle that wearing clothing is for both functional and social reasons.
Fashions are linked to personal style. Fashions allow wearers to express emotion and solidarity with other people. People dress to their mood and according to circumstances. Buying fashionable clothes is a process in which the buyer translates his or her self-esteem into a personal style. A fashion indicates one's taste, social class, likes and dislikes. It gives wearers a sense of identity and makes it possible for them to feel connected to society.
Fashions are designed and tailored to please buyers. Selecting, discussing and buying fashions can induce immense happiness. It has become a way of life and can be taken as a leisure activity, increasing interaction between people. With all types of images and colours, clothing is capable of giving buyers a desired look, boosting their moods and increasing their self-confidence. Fashion is about change which is necessary to keep life interesting.
Despite the enjoyment brought by fashions, people should beware of their ever-changing nature and the expenditure of time and money on this commitment. A fashion usually remains popular for about one or two years at most and then is replaced by another. Many people have been obsessed with following the current fashions slavishly and pursuing the clothing with promised quality and limited availability ceaselessly. Many of them are motivated to buy outlandish clothing in a belief that they can thus keep up with fashion and their social positions are displayed.
As shown above, there is no point in spurning fashion. Fashion is desired in a modern society as a means of expression and a source of enjoyment, although one should reduce unnecessary spending on fashions.
1. at odds with = in opposition to = contrary to = against
2. induce = stimulate = generate = bring
3. beware of = be careful of = be cautious about = wary of
4. at most = to the maximum
5. slavishly = sequaciously
6. outlandish = bizarre = peculiar = eccentric
7. spurn = reject = snub-rebuff = scorn = disdain = despise = repulse
Topic 39: Discuss the reasons why people define happiness differently and how to obtain happiness?(IELTS Essay example)
It is always interesting to find that individuals take different views toward the nature of happiness and the access to it. As far as I know, the perception of happiness differs considerably from one individual to another as a result of the mixed effect of individual characteristics and environmental factors. These elements determine the approaches taken by different people to attain happiness.
People have different objectives to attain and different interests to pursue in a lifetime, and meanwhile, their objectives and interests vary in different life stages. One has the passion for toys as a child, fashionable clothing as a youth, an admirable occupation as an adult and possibly company of family members as an elder. With age, one's attitudes, capabilities and concerns are subject to change. Following the latest fads, for example, appeals to young people, despite the expenditure of time and money. By comparison, senior people are hardly interested in keeping their clothes in fashion, buying trendy consumer products or changing a hair style, and moreover, tend to regard them as a wasteful use of money.
In addition to those factors that are visible, some factors are less obvious and tend to be subjective in influencing one's perception of happiness. These intrinsic factors include one's temperament, characters, pursuits and philosophies. Taking monetary wealth as an example, people perceive the value of money differently. Some people sacrifice everything in their pursuit of wealth, whereas some people take money lightly. Instead, they treasure family, friends, hobbies and philanthropy. It is also one of the reasons why people see favourable events differently (such as a marriage, a family reunion, lottery winnings, a promotion, and so forth) and react dissimilarly to troubles or bad luck, for example, accidents, conflicts, divorce, and so forth.
Considering the fact that people are all motivated to attain objectives for their happiness, they should first evaluate whether the objectives are attainable or not. High expectations for the future might bring nothing but high levels of stress and a sense of disappointment. Setting attainable objectives is a recommended alternative. Another step to be taken is giving different weight to different subjects, such as money, health, growth, fame, power and relationships. Few people can attain several objectives at a time. The key is to identify the top priority.
1. subject to = influenced by = exposed to
2. fad = fashion = trend = cult = craze
3. subjective = personal
4. sacrifice = give up = forgo
Topic 40: Some people think that telling the truth is not always essential. It is necessary to tell lies sometimes. To what extent do you agree or disagree?(IELTS Essay example)
Few subjects are as likely to provoke controversy as the necessity of lying. Those who defend lying contend that truth might not be always desired, while untruth provides the best solutions on some occasions in the real life context. This argument seems absurd at first sight, but with some facts closely examined, one can see some strong elements lie within it.
The first justification for lying is that a lie is not necessarily immoral. Instead, it can be benign and beneficial. There are occasions in life on which people have to conceal part of the truth or even twist facts. For example, it is acceptable if one withholds a fact from a friend or family member that he or she is diagnosed with cancer. It is to give the patient a peaceful frame of mind, a condition that has a healing power. From this example, one can observe that while a falsehood is condemned by many on ethical grounds, it in fact shows sympathy and goodwill.
Another justification is that lying, in the broad sense, has accompanied people since the early childhood as part of the daily routine. The boundary between lies and white lies or banters is blurred. Sometimes people tell a lie, or to be more precise, overstate or downplay a fact for amusement or other social purposes. A telling example is that people often compliment their friends on the food they prepare, despite the fact that the meal is not enjoyable at all. People are taught to spare another person's feelings, rather than speaking something straightforward that can cause discomfort or distress.
Although the preceding discussion tends to excuse a lie teller, it does not justify lying as an entrenched habit. Honesty is still being regarded as a core virtue in many traditions. There is little doubt that a man who is known for his candour is more likely to earn respect than a man lying habitually. A truth-telling environment is what communities are striving to establish. Lying should not be allowed unless it is appropriate, as it creates an ethos of distrust.
From what has been discussed, it is unfair to label lying as an unethical act. People's moral standing depends as much on their willingness to look after others' feelings and please others for better moods as on their adherence to truth. While telling a lie is accepted or even recommended in some situations, telling the truth is what people pursue as an honourable tradition.
1. untruth = lie = falsehood
2. context = background = circumstance = environment
3. absurd = ridiculous = bizarre = illogical = meaningless
4. justification = reason = explanation
5. benign = kind = benevolent
6. diagnose = detect
7. frame of mind = mental condition
8. goodwill = kindness = friendliness = benevolence
9. banter = tease = joke
10. amusement = pleasure = enjoyment = laughter = delight
11.compliment = praise = pay tribute to = remark favourably on
12.spare = save
13.excuse = forgive
14.entrenched = ingrained = deep-rooted = fixed = unshakable
15.virtue = good value
16.distrust = disbelief = scepticism