My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

IELTS Sample Essays - history and progress

Sunday, May 17, 2009 Posted by Dominic

Many old buildings are protected by law because they are part of nation’s history. However, some people think old buildings should be knocked down to make way for new ones because people need houses and offices.

How important is it to maintain old buildings?

Should history stand in the way of progress?

One issue that creates intense debate nowadays in many countries is how to preserve our heritage and at the same time provide for our children’s futures. This issue is particularly relevant in the field of architecture. In this essay, I am going to look at the relationship of progress and history.

There are those who claim that the single most important factor should be providing suitable accommodation for the growing population and places for these people to work. One of the reasons they put forward this argument is economic. In the twenty first century, it is not possible for people to progress and maintain a quality of life in cities and communities that were built in a different age. A good example here is Egypt, where the population has exploded in the last few decades and it has become necessary to put up new housing to cope with this phenomenon.

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.

As we have seen, this is a complex issue with no easy answers. On balance, however, I personally believe that it is more appropriate not to destroy old buildings as this has both cultural and economic benefits. History comes before progress.


Beware of the double question
You should note that this question is a double question: How important is it to maintain old buildings? And Should history stand in the way of progress? This is quite common in IELTS essay tasks and it can create problems. If you only answer one half of the problem, you will almost certainly be penalised.

One logical approach would be to deal with each separate question in a separate paragraph. An alternative, and perhaps more difficult, solution is to take a "for and against" argument essay approach. Here you must make certain you deal with both questions in each of your topic paragraphs.

One way to make your writing coherent is to reflect vocabulary and ideas. The benefit of this approach is that it actually makes the writing process simpler as you do not need so many ideas. In exam terms this is great because it simplifies the planning process as something many candidates find difficult under the pressure of exam conditions is to find enough ideas.

The basic idea is that in each of your topic paragraphs you use the same examples and some of the same vocabulary, rather than trying to say something completely new. For example, if you refer to the economy in one paragraph from a positive point of view, in the next you refer to it from a negative point of view. This works particularly well with the argument based for and against essay. To see what I mean and how it works in practice, take a look at this video commentary.

You can find out more about coherence here.

For free updates enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes