You need to be familiar with and practise both types of essay for the exam so that you can answer any question.
The argument essay:
- you already have the two ideas you need to write your essay: "I agree" and "I disagree" - all you need to do is find some reasons for and against together with examples to illustrate.
- the second content paragraph can mirror the language of the first paragraph and so make the writing process more efficient
- the conclusion is easy to write: you give your personal opinion and comment on the arguments on both sides - it is the answer to the essay task
- you may need more ideas and it is easy to start repeating ideas and language in your content paragraphs
- there is also a danger of repeating yourself in the conclusion if you use it to summarise your arguments
Part of the skill in task 1 writing is dealing with numbers. With a pie chart, line graph or table you need be able to summarise the key details: to do this you need the language of numbers, as you should not simply write out all the numbers - it is a summarising task. This can be surprisingly complex to do as the figures in most task 1 exercises are not “simple figures” but rather more complex
How to describe differences accurately
40 is double is 20, but what about 42 and 20? Or 30 and 88?
These are the sort of “complex figures” you may need to describe in the exam and the examiner is looking for an accurate description of just this type of numbers. What you need to do is compare the numbers. Here is some helpful language for you: it is important that you have some variations here
more or less
So 40 is exactly double 20
42 is approximately double 20
30 is just over a third of 88
More language of numbers
To do this well, you need some mathematical language too:
approximately double the amount
twice as many people
over three times as many people
nearly four times as many people
about half the amount of televisions
precisely a third of the televisions
almost a quarter of all televisions
just over one fifth of all televisions
a small fraction of students
a significant percentage of students
similar to %
a large proportion of students
How well can you work with number language? Try this brief quiz to find out.
"You should use your own ideas, knowledge and experience and support your arguments with examples and relevant evidence."
Read through these three paragraphs taken from different IELTS essays and note how they all have a similar structure.
This is a pattern you can follow in most essays to give coherence to your writing by expanding on one point. I will add that this just a model guideline, it isn't a rule. There will be times when you do not use examples for instance.
There are those who argue that the internet has had an extremely positive influence on communication. They say this because in the past it was sometimes impossible to call people in other countries on the telephone, but now it is relatively simple to use a program such as Skype to talk to them for free or to send an email. A good example here are the students who go to study abroad and are able to send messages home with no difficulty, when in past they would have had to buy stamps and go to the post office which was much harder and more expensive.
A strong argument can of course be made from the opposite position. Part of this argument is that countries and nations need to preserve old buildings in order to preserve their heritage. In addition, however, to this cultural argument, there are positive economic benefits in preserving old buildings. An illustration here is Egypt once again, a country which depends on tourism for much of its national income simply because visitors pay to come from other countries to visit its ancient sites.
There are several reasons why it can be argued that television has a negative effect on cultural development. Perhaps the principle argument is the lowbrow nature of many programmes, particularly sitcoms and soap operas. People who watch these programmes do not learn anything, they are simply entertained. The other major argument is that because people watch so much television, they no longer take part in more traditional forms of cultural entertainment. An example here is how traditional dancing and music is becoming much less popular because people are staying at home to watch the television.